Atterbury site for conservation officer dog training course

Teams of conservation officers and their dogs from four states are beginning their training at the Atterbury Fish and Wildlife Area in Johnson County this week.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources says that six teams from Indiana, Kansans, Oregon and Utah are taking part in the 9-week long K-9 Resource Protection Program at Atterbury.

According to DNR, the Indiana program trains teams in human-tracking, wildlife detection and article searches. All canines are trained to locate white-tailed deer, wild turkey, waterfowl, and ginseng. They may also be trained to locate other species, depending on where the handler is stationed.

The teams provide conservation officers an essential tool to help stop poaching. The teams have been used to find concealed game and guns, as well as to find shell casings in road hunting and hunting-with-a-spotlight cases.

Indiana has also helped start and train teams from natural resource agencies in Idaho, Kentucky, Maryland, Virginia, Washington, and the African country of Zambia.

Since starting the program in 1997, there are now 13 Indiana conservation officers and dog teams in the state, with at least one team stationed in each of the state’s 10 law enforcement districts.