Thursday, February 11, 2016

Ohio's deer hunters to see same rules, but the weather? Not so much

Ohio’s deer hunters will see a mirrored reflection in the 2016-2017 deer-hunting seasons, bag limits and other regulations, the image being the same as the just concluded all-inclusive 2015-2016 deer-hunting season profile.


Thing is that while the deer-hunting regulations will be the same the probability is high – make that, very high – that Ohio’s hunters will encounter much poorer weather.


On Wednesday the eight-member Ohio Wildlife Council was presented with the proposals for the various up-coming deer-hunting seasons. These rules and regulations were then showcased again this afternoon during an Ohio Division of Wildlife-hosted teleconference with the state’s outdoors writers.


Left unchanged are in which counties hunters can shoot two, three, or four deer. Along with those county-by-county respective bag limits come where an antlerless-only tag is legal tender.


Under the proposals, only in 10 of Ohio’s 88 counties will a single antlerless-only tag be legal.


The proposed various 2016-2017 deer-hunting dates are: Archery - September 24th to February 5th; Youth-only firearms season – November 19th and 20th; General firearms season – November 28th to December 4th; “Bonus” two-day general firearms season – December 28th and 29th; Statewide muzzle-loading season – January 14th to January 17th.


Wildlife Division officials did, however, engage in some back-peddling on when it would likely propose abandoning its long-standing county-by-country deer management protocols in favor of a deer-management unit profile that is employed by many other states, including next door neighbor, Pennsylvania.


“We’re looking for more constituent input,” said Clint McCoy, the Wildlife Division’s lead deer management biologist. “If in six months we hear from more hunters that they want it than it would become more likely (sooner).”


About the only noticeable difference between the actual 2015-2016 and the proposed 2016-2017 season dates is where the two-day often-called “bonus” two-day general firearms deer-hunting season lines up. This past December that season fell on a Monday and a Tuesday. For this year the proposal hooks on to a Wednesday and a Thursday.


Asked also about the fact the antlered deer harvest jumped an impressive and unexpected 12 percent for the 2015-2016 all-inclusive seasons, Wildlife Division officials reiterated that it was their belief how a poor hard mast crop (the acorns from white and red oaks, mostly)forced many deer to go on a search for food.


Such a hunt meant that the deer sought out game feeders and corn piles maintained by hunters, thus making the animals more vulnerable to the arrow and the bullet.


Also, the Wildlife Division maintains that this past autumn’s and winter’s El Nino-driven much warmer weather allowed more hunters to stay afield longer than usual.


However, neither of those conditions is anticipated for this up-coming all-inclusive deer-hunting season, regardless of which dates the Wildlife Council ultimately does approve.


The reason for this upheaval is two-fold. First, seldom is there a back-to-back hard mast crop failure. Typically a lean year of acorn production is followed by a strong year, and vice-versa.


Then too, this past year’s El Nino-influenced weather pattern will be nothing more than a memory receding in the weather record book rearview mirror.


Scientist’s with the federal government’s Climate Prediction Center have issued a report noting that “Since we are now past the peak of the El Nino event… the relevant questions relate to how quickly the event decays and whether we see a transition to La Nina, which frequently follows on the heels of El Nino events.”


In climatologically spoken geek, the Centers’ scientists are predicting a “return to neutral conditions” by late spring and early summer along with a 79-percent chance of “La Nina by next winter.”


Likewise, the Centers is saying that the historic run of La Nina events drives wetter than average precipitation amounts in at least some portions of North America.


Thus for the upcoming 2016-2017 autumn and winter periods, the Centers is projecting above average amounts of precipitation for the Pacific Northwest, as well as the Ohio Valley and the Great Lakes.


In short, Ohio’s troupe of deer hunters will almost certainly see both a colder than normal and wetter than normal 2016-2017 all-inclusive deer-hunting season.


Or much closer to what they encountered during the 2014-2015 all-inclusive deer-hunting season when deer kill numbers retreated from the previous 2013-2014 all-inclusive deer-hunting season tallies.

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Uncle Ted Nugent must go

Many families have a wild and nutty relative, a person that at parties will plant a lampshade on his head, tell inappropriate jokes in front of children, guests and women, and generally engages in embarrassing behavior.

We – the five million members of the National Rifle Association – have a crazy uncle, too.

Worse, we facilitate Uncle Ted Nugent’s crash rudeness and all-too frequent deplorable acts that - while they may prick the thin skins of the Anti-Second Amendment Lobby - they also do nothing to enhance our organization’s image before a much less tolerant public. A public, by the way, we’re going to need this election cycle to help defeat the likes of Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton.

Nugent’s latest episode should be that last straw; an act so lacking in dignity, self-control and just plain meanness that as an organization we must relegate Uncle Ted to the basement.

His latest over-the-top – no, hatred - rant involves a posting that Nugent recently wrote (February 8th) on his Facebook account. This diatribe included photographs of a dozen leading members of what I prefer to call the Anti-Second Amendment Lobby.

The names are familiar to each of the NRA’s five million members. Among those whom Nugent singled out were California’s retiring Senator Dianne Feinstein, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and the Anti-Second Amendment Lobby’s sugar daddy and former mayor of New York City, Michael Bloomberg.

Of course Nugent had every right and reason to note that this group of 12 men and women hold in contempt the Second Amendment along with the NRA and its membership roster, which features several members of my family; my wife and me included.

However, Nugent went far beyond simply showing the 12 faces and correctly identifying them as being opponents of a treasured Constitutional right. He included electronically pasting the image of an Israeli flag across each of the faces of his 12 chosen Anti-Second Amendment Lobby activists.

Adding another disgusting anti-Semitic viewpoint, Nugent tossed more volatile words on his hate-filled fire. He tattooed to the photograph of the late Senator Frank Lautenberg this written notation: “(He) gave Russian Jews millions of your tax dollars.”

Certainly I hold little regard for Bloomberg, a billionaire with a trillion-dollar-size ego. But Nugent’s screed that Bloomberg is an “Israeli agent” that helps fund that Middle East state goes well beyond simply being an embarrassment. It is hateful. It is uncalled for. It is unnecessary.

And it is politically counterproductive to protecting the Second Amendment; a task now made more challenging because we the members of the NRA are letting our crazy uncle get away with his hate speech.

News accounts do note that my wife and I are not alone in the pro-Second Amendment camp in denouncing Nugent’s horrid display of anti-Semitism.

Not that it has done any good.

When the founder of “Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership,” Aaron Zelman, denounced Nugent’s unspeakable harangue, Uncle Ted fired back at the person he once said was “my American BloodBrother” with “How tragic that the self inflicted scourge of political correctness can blind so many otherwise intelligent people!”

In other words, Nugent simply cannot grasp the damage and danger his pen and mouth pose to advancing the pro-Second Amendment agenda of the NRA membership.

And don’t be fooled. The opponents of the Second Amendment have wasted no time in capitalizing on what Nugent refuses to accept: That words do hurt a good cause.

No, it is time long past that the NRA’s membership insist that Uncle Ted be directed back to the cellar, the door closed and there for him to be forgotten as one of the Anti-Second Amendment Lobby’s best weapons.

Take note as well that if the NRA refuses to take action against Nugent, well, the organization will have seen the last $50 check from me for the organization’s up-coming political campaign.

Even more, Bev and I will simply no longer renew our respective memberships once they become due.

We can tolerate an embarrassing, lampshade-wearing uncle. What we will not do is facilitate a venom-filled one that spews the kind of hateful bile spewed by the likes of Ted Nugent.
Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, February 8, 2016

Ohio's deer hunters posted unplanned deer kill gain

With the dust all ready settling on Ohio’s 2015-2016 deer kill totals only 24 hours after the archery season ended, the Ohio Division of Wildlife is expected to announce as early as within the next 72 hours what the 2016-2017 deer-hunting proposals will look like.

In all, Ohio’s hunters bagged and tagged 188,335 deer. That figure is up 12,590 animals that hunters killed for the all-inclusive 2014-2015 deer-hunting year. For this deer-hunting year (2014-2015) hunters killed 175,745 animals.

For the previous 2013-2014 all-inclusive deer-hunting year Ohio recorded a kill of 191,465 animals, which is only 3,130 more animals than hunters arrowed and shot during the just-concluded 2015-2016 all-inclusive deer-hunting year.

Then again, the entire intend behind 2015-2016’s ramped up deer-hunting restrictions was to cut back on the number of animals killed, not to produce an increase.

That being said, the modest gain of 12,590 deer being killed is tolerable, Ohio Division of Wildlife game biologists are saying.

This belief is enhanced given the fact that the weather during the 2014-2015 all-inclusive deer-hunting year was not kind to deer hunters while the El Nino-driven weather for the just-concluded year enhanced hunter activity, agency biologists are saying.

And when the fact that a widespread dearth of hard mast – fat-rich white and red acorns – is factored in, the state’s slight deer kill gain is understandable. Deer simply had to keep on the move in order to sustain good health by finding a decent meal, says Clint McCoy, the Wildlife Division’s deer biologist.

“Yes, our regulatory changes were designed to cut back on the antlerless harvest, and though that didn’t happen as we had hoped, it did help prevent the sort of harvest increase we saw with antlered deer,” McCoy said.

A breakdown of the 2015-2016 all-inclusive deer-hunting year’s antlerless and antlered deer kills show that 76,689 antlered deer were taken and 111,640 antlerless deer were killed. For the comparable 2014-2015 hunt the figures were, respectively, 66,058 (antlered) and 109,687 (antlerless) deer.

In bringing the view into sharper focus with an additional comparison – the best way that numbers have meaning – for the 2014-2015 all-inclusive deer-hunting year the figures were 67,267 (antlered) deer and 124,188 (antlerless) deer.

Thus, Ohio’s 2015-2016 all-inclusive buck kill is way up from what was produced during any of the previous two all-inclusive deer-hunting seasons.

“Obviously we couldn’t predict the big hurt on the mast crop nor the change in the (climatic) weather,” McCoy said.

All in all then, McCoy says, Ohio’s deer hunters ought to expect seasons dates and lengths, bag limits, and all of the other deer-hunting rules to closing shadow those encountered during the 2015-2016 all-inclusive deer-hunting year.

“I don’t believe there will be many changes,” McCoy said.

In looking at the county-by-county deer kills, the Number One spot goes to Coshocton County. Here, a recorded total take of 5,700 animals was posted. The previous all-inclusive deer-hunting year saw a take saw a total deer kill of 5,727 animals, representing a miniscule drop of just 27 white-tails.

Second place goes to Licking County with a kill of 5,365 deer. The previous all-inclusive seasons’ kill was 5,281 animals. Simple math shows that Licking County’s kill rose by a minuscule 80 animals.

A closer look at the county-by-county deer kill shows that some 23 of Ohio’s 88 counties saw declines; most by small amounts. However, there were some noticeable drops. Among them were Erie County – falling from a posted 2014-2015 deer kill of 951 animals to 750 animals (a decline of 201 deer, or 21 percent); and Morrow County – dropping an even 100 animals; 1,437 deer taken during the just-concluded all-inclusive 2015-2016 deer-hunting year and 1,537 animals shot there the year before.

The county that brought up the rear turns out – once again – to be Fayette County where only 310 were shot this past all-inclusive deer-hunting year. Fayette likewise finished last during the 2014-2015 all-inclusive deer-hunting year with a kill of 380 animals as well as the 2013-2014 all-inclusive deer-hunting year with a kill of 292 animals.



Here is a list of all deer checked by hunters during the all-inclusive 2015-2016 deer-hunting season and as provided by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
The first number following the county’s name shows the kill number for the 2015-2106 season, and the 2014-2015 season kill number is in parentheses:
Adams: 4,157 (3,278); Allen: 1,102 (1,027); Ashland: 3,026 (2,903); Ashtabula: 4,844 (4,418); Athens: 3,979 (3,317); Auglaize: 828 (786); Belmont: 3,205 (3,128); Brown: 2,754 (2,596); Butler: 1,382 (1,391); Carroll: 3,557 (3,406); Champaign: 1,242 (1,317); Clark: 759 (755); Clermont: 2,821 (2,689); Clinton: 789 (915); Columbiana: 3,299 (2,996); Coshocton: 5,700 (5,727); Crawford: 1,165 (1,081); Cuyahoga: 814 (725); Darke: 738 (730); Defiance: 1,767 (1,724); Delaware: 1,684 (1,586); Erie: 750 (951); Fairfield: 1,955 (1,931); Fayette: 310 (380); Franklin: 817 (790); Fulton: 802 (736); Gallia: 2,914 (2,564); Geauga: 1,886 (1,859); Greene: 835 (849); Guernsey: 4,435 (4,181); Hamilton: 2,007 (1,743); Hancock: 1,185 (1,116); Hardin: 1,270 (1,149); Harrison: 3,788 (3,448); Henry: 684 (697); Highland: 2,919 (2,662); Hocking: 3,727 (2,856); Holmes: 3,718 (3,625); Huron: 2,204 (2,064); Jackson: 3,194 (2,560); Jefferson: 2,663 (2,565); Knox: 4,465 (4,191); Lake: 908 (897); Lawrence: 2,113 (1,791); Licking: 5,365 (5,281); Logan: 2,071 (1,885); Lorain: 2,459 (2,401); Lucas: 759 (655); Madison: 497 (493); Mahoning: 1,835 (1,991); Marion: 892 (819); Medina: 1,873 (2,013); Meigs: 3,592 (3,125); Mercer: 603 (583); Miami: 833 (835); Monroe: 2,598 (2,162); Montgomery: 684 (780); Morgan: 3,096 (2,822); Morrow: 1,437 (1,537); Muskingum: 4,966 (4,748); Noble: 2,970 (2,419); Ottawa: 424 (488); Paulding: 1,064 (1,072); Perry: 2,867 (2,495); Pickaway: 803 (806); Pike: 2,382 (1,880); Portage: 2,178 (1,968); Preble: 965 (1,020); Putnam: 704 (759); Richland: 3,189 (3,141); Ross: 3,425 (2,921); Sandusky: 874 (935); Scioto: 3,034 (2,148); Seneca: 1,785 (1,677); Shelby: 1,050 (1,118); Stark: 2,760 (2,625); Summit: 1,487 (1,436); Trumbull: 3,293 (3,185); Tuscarawas: 4,922 (4,883); Union: 932 (904); Van Wert: 492 (576); Vinton: 3,059 (2,503); Warren: 1,266 (1,244); Washington: 3,526 (2,954); Wayne: 1,971 (1,923); Williams: 1,836 (1,790); Wood: 841 (1,077) and Wyandot: 1,515 (1,568). Total: 188,335 (175,745).

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 125 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

If gun shows are so bad than why do so many good people attend them?

My brother and I visited the Akron gun show yesterday, Saturday, February 6th; a sort-of fairly regular ritual for the two of us retirees.


At such events we pluck down one buck to park our car – almost always my Jeep – and each pay our respective $6 admission fee. Every now and then Rich will spring for my ticket as well, though not as frequently as I’d like.


Attendance at such events may include one of us (very occasionally) selling a firearm, (even less occasionally) buying a firearm, or (much more frequently) stocking up on some shooting do-dad or gun-related tool.


Since I have a federal Curio and Relic license I have bought a couple of inexpensive old-timey and ex-military weapons that are chambered for hard-to-find caliber ammunition. Sometimes I can locate a decent deal on ammunition for my Polish Mokarov-wanna-be or my Romanian Tokarev.


Such pricing needs to beat what can be found on-line at a score of sites that sell ammunition. Sometimes I can and sometimes I can’t, but just the act of looking through ammunition display racks of the weird, unusual, obsolete and new calibers is itself a cool way to spend a few hours on a Sunday.


In some respects for gun cranks on the order of Rich and me its comparable to what some women see in visiting shoe stores and arguing over whether to buy pumps or high heels. Or so I’ve been told.


Anyway, Rich and I arrived late in morning, operating under the assumption that the gun show’s early morning crowd would have seen it all and that the Summit County Fairgrounds' parking lot would have begun to lose cars and gain parking spaces.


We were wrong. Ho, boy, were we ever, as I deposited Rich near the front entrance while I continued to cruise the parking lot in a hunt for a reasonably close place to stash my Jeep.


When we departed at 2 p.m. there still was a long line of attendees waiting to get in, each to pay their $6 each admission fee and then tour the displays of guns, ammo, knives and aged military bric-a-brac for sale.


Such a long line of eager attendees appearing some two or three hours before the show closed for the day is not only unusual, it is unheard of. Much credit is being given to that best of gun salesman, President Obama.


I’m not entirely sure of that, however. Gun shows have always proven to be popular with a lot of firearms enthusiasts; a slice of Americana that I doubt exists in such a form and format anywhere else in the world. Maybe having such an Anti-Second Amendment sort of guy for president is just another excuse we gun cranks use in order to saddle up and head for the big show.


Anyway, Rich went his direction once inside and I went another, me spending time looking over largely the older stuff, and giving just the slightest and cursory look at the AR-platform rifles that seem in congregate in dealer clumps here and there.


By no means do these purveyors of such firearms dominate gun shows; not the ones Rich and I attend, anyway.


Yes, we do see what legitimately could be said sellers who obviously don’t pocess a federal firearms license. They’re the ones that have a hand-drawn placard that says something to the effect they’re liquidating at least a portion of their firearms inventory.


The firearms that these sellers put out have always seemed to me to be grouped into two two types: Owners of the expensive collectables like Lugers, Winchester Model 12 shotguns, and M1 Garands with a smattering of British Enfields, Russian Mosens, and American Springfields.


The other type also has left me with an impression, that being, they are asking way too much for their handguns, rifles and shotguns, operating under the false assumption that what is valuable to them as family heirlooms must be worth a pretty penny; even when they are not, however.


Oh, and outside there was the so-called "gun show loophole" crowd; gun owners trying to get the attention of passer-bys to at least look at their respective 19th Century Trapdoor Springfield buffalo rifles, well-worm Remington and Mossberg hunting shotguns and assorted other odds and ends of the sporting and surplus military arms world.

Not a single assault rifle, grenade launcher, or multi-purpose combat support aircraft was to be seen, either.


Yes, gun shows get a bum rap; typically by those individuals who have never been to many or even one. Their only mental image is formed by those who simply don’t like guns and believe that the government ought to be the final arbitrator of who gets to own what and for what purpose.


Thanks, but that’s not my game plan when I visit a gun show. I pay my six bucks, maybe buy some normally hard-to-find ammunition, and inspect a hardly used camouflaged Mossberg semi-automatic shotgun that would go nicely with a ground hunting blind.


If there is evil in this world – and I surely do believe there is – it exists in no larger measure at a gun show than it does anywhere else. I just wish the Anti-Second Amendment crowd would come to understand that truism instead of opining on a subject it really knows so little about.

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ohio's 2015-2016 total deer kill finish line in sight

Ohio’s deer hunters are breaking new ground here, relatively speaking.

With just four days left in Ohio’s four-plus-month-long archery deer-hunting season, that’s six days longer at the tail end than what archers saw at the conclusion of the respective 2014-2015 deer-hunting season.

So, we’ll look at the to-date kill as of Tuesday, February 2nd and reported Wednesday, February 3rd.

This latest report notes that the total to-date deer kill stands at 186,332 animals while the previous January 31st report noted a then to-date kill of 184,791 deer.  Simple math says that an additional 1,541 deer were taken between these two reporting periods.

Included in this 1,541 figure is an antlerless kill of 1,174 antlerless deer. Given that some hunters are reporting seeing or shooting bucks that have dropped their antlers it would be reasonable to suggest that not all of these antlerless deer were does or even button bucks.

And given that last year the final weekly report was dated February 2nd, the ultimate kill for the 2015-2016 all-inclusive deer seasons will trump that seen for 2014-2015. Then again, all along this has been a more successful deer hunting season than what archers and gunners encountered last season.

The total 2014-2015 deer kill was 175,745 animals while its 2013-2014 counterpart was 191,455 animals. Taking it all in, a total 2015-2016 all-inclusive deer kill could conceivably reach 188,000 animals, give or take a few hundred whitetails.

On a county-by-county basis not much positioning has changed. The two counties with kills of at least 5,000 deer are still Coshocton County at 5,650 deer (the January 26th report noted 5,603 deer) and Licking County at 5,266 deer (the January 26th report noted 5,204 deer).

Only one other county is statistically close enough to possibly leap over the 5,000-deer threshold in time for the final count next week. That is Muskingum County with a to-date deer kill of 4,926 animals. The next closest is Ashtabula County with a to-date count of 4,805 deer.

Given Muskingum County saw an additional 31 deer killed between the two reporting periods it just might reach that 5,000 summit. A long shot, though still doable.

Unfortunately for Ashtabula County, just 41 deer were killed during this same period so its chances of breaking the 5,000 ceiling are next to none.

Oh, and the only one of Ohio’s 88 counties not to see any deer killed between the January 26th and the February 2nd reporting periods was Van Wert County. Each report for Van Wert County noted a kill of 489 deer.

Along those same lines, there still remain 26 counties with deer kills of fewer than 1,000 animals each.

 And even though Preble County has a to-date kill of 954 deer and Union County has a to-date kill of 925 deer it is highly unlikely that either of them will see a deer kill of at least 1,000 animals.

For comparison purposes the 2014-2015 season saw 24 counties with total deer kills of less than 1,000 animals each. That figure for the 2013-2014 season was 25 counties.

At the bottom – still – is Fayette County with a total to-date deer kill of 308 animals. Fayette County likewise holds the dubious honor of having the smallest deer kill for the 2013-2014 and the 2014-2015 all-inclusive seasons, too.

Hey, someone has to be in last place.

By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Wildlife Division's Deer Summit merges past, present, future management strategies

AKRON - In the span of three hours – duplicated twice – the Ohio Division of Wildlife reviewed the state’s deer management program’s past, examined its present, and then forged ahead to give Deer Summit attendees a peek at the playbill’s future.

Today - January 30th and eight days before the books were closed on Ohio’s all-inclusive 2015-2016 deer-hunting season picture – a troupe of Wildlife Division officials addressed a crowd of roughly 70 interested deer hunters, landowners and two Wildlife Council members in a morning’s worth of speaking and power-point presentations.

The same officials then repeated their agenda to a similar-sized group in the afternoon.

While the same process was held several days earlier in Columbus that presentation wasn’t exactly a bust though calling it a dud in terms of attendance would not be far off, either.

Combined, the two sessions at the Wildlife Division’s District Three headquarters in Akron saw an attendance rally roughly four times larger than it was for the Deer Summit scheduled held in Columbus.

Melding the past with the present, several agency speakers touched on any number of current hot-button issues. Among them were the computerized deer-check reporting system (a good thing), the status of Chronic Wasting Disease (a very bad thing), and the agency’s CWD surveillance efforts in Holmes County (another good thing).

As for the oft-times-lament by sportsmen of the maligned computerized deer-check system, Wildlife Division District One law enforcement supervisor Leighland Arehart pointed out that the deer-check process is easy on the successful hunter in a number of ways. Included is not having to rush around and find a check station that is still opened at night.

As for the system’s impact on the Wildlife Division; well, says Arehart, that’s all pretty positive, too.

“The system has been very good for us,” Arehart said. “It helps us by providing real-time data and access to that data, and we see far fewer data entry errors. It’s a more efficient system in saving time for our field officers.”

All of which saves sportsmen’s dollars, Arehart said.

Almost anticipating the sound of the “yes, but” wheels turning within the heads of at least some Deer Summit attendees, Arehart pointedly noted that while the computer-based deer-check system is hardly foolproof  - “no system is,” he said – the fact remains that on-going assessments have determined that it is no more and no less inclined to result in cheating by hunters.

“If that were the case, our biologists would note some sort of (reporting error) trend but we’re not seeing anything that cannot be explained,” Arehart said.

Adding another nail to coffin that the computer-based system is not up to the challenge of thwarting cheating hunters, Arehart said that as a percentage, violations for improper tagging under the old deer check system accounted for almost 25 percent of all deer-hunting violations.

Under the current computerized system the ratio is, Arehart says, also about 25 percent.

“It’s a terrible misconception that the system does not work,” Arehart said.

In moving up to the present, the Wildlife Division’s deer management program administrator Mike Tonkovich noted that Ohio’s deer hunters enjoyed an overall good hunt in 2015-2016; maybe even one of the best in the past few years.

Though the final deer kill numbers weren’t known at the Akron Deer Summit due to the fact that eight days still remained in the archery season, Tonkovich was confident enough to say that a total deer harvest of around 187,000 animals is in store, which would represent an increase of six percent over the total kill recorded last year.

Several factors found their way into the increased deer kill; chief among them being a generally poor mast crop statewide. Without a hearty stock of acorns the deer – especially bucks – began frequenting bait sites placed by archery hunters, Tonkovich said.

Then too, said Tonkovich, nice weather and an early harvest of standing corn that deer typically use as sanctuaries helped see to it that animals became more vulnerable to the arrow and the slug this year.

“Everything worked in favor of the hunter ,” Tonkovich said. “But we may pay the price a little next season with a slightly smaller herd size.”

One item that Tonkovich made sure to address was the abandonment of the two-day mid-October antlerless-only/muzzle-loading-only deer-hunting  season in favor of the two-day late- December general firearms deer-hunting season that was held this session.

The actual number of deer killed during the 2014 early muzzle-loading season was practically identical to 2015-2016’s two-day/ bonus gun deer hunt, Tonkovich said.

“So all it became was just a swap,” he said.

In the realm of the guessing-game of what’s in store in the way of laws, seasons, and such for the future, the near-term for 2016 will largely - if not, identically - mirror what deer hunters encountered this season past, said Mike Reynolds, the Wildlife Division’s point man on wildlife management when it comes to such critters as the white-tail deer and other forest game animals.

However, the Wildlife Division is poised to make a long-term change as to how the agency manages deer - and deer hunters - that puts even the flip to the computerized deer-check system a distant second in significance.

What the agency is moving towards is a deer management unit system instead of the present one that is based on population objectives for each of Ohio’s 88 counties.

Ultimately the Wildlife Division’s objective is for Ohio’s deer herd to get off the “roller coaster ride” of tough-to-manage high and low swings in animal numbers, Reynolds said.

“As an agency we’re going to form a committee on how to go down this path,” Reynolds said as how the Wildlife Division will formulate, refine and adopt a long-term deer-management strategy that will carry the program through 2030.

“We want to develop ‘adaptive harvest strategies,’ ” Reynolds said also.

Yet none of this can be accomplished without hearing from the Wildlife Division’s constituency groups, among them being the state’s farmers and who once were the only ones the agency surveyed.

Excluded were Ohio’s deer hunters but not anymore.

However, the silence on the part of these deer hunters has largely proven deafening.  While the agency’s deer management policy and strategy survey of farmers has experienced a very good return rate the same cannot be said of those forms sent to hunters and then subsequently returned to the Wildlife Division.

“It’s been only 14 percent; that’s not very good,” Reynolds said in an understatement. “We need to hear from you (the hunters.)”

To which Petering agreed.

“Communication is vital and it needs to be on-going and two-way,” Petering said in a conversation before the summit session began. “We need to learn to understand each other, and that the information presented in such a way that the process is better stretched out so that we as an agency and hunters as our constituency have time to absorb the information and have input into the process.”
Jeffrey L. Frischkorn


Friday, January 29, 2016

A reminder that no profanity and no anonymous replies will be posted

Just a reminder that readers are free to agree or disagree with whatever is said here; including expressing the view that I'm a low-down, bush-whacking skunk if that's they're beef.

However, profanity will not be tolerated.

Also, anonymous comments will not be posted. That decision was made with the expressed belief that if a person has something to say than the individual must own up to his or her opinion by including his or her name.

No exceptions.

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn