Thursday, November 20, 2014

Lake Metroparks out does itself with "The Wild Days of Winter" project

The first thing that punches you in the arm when stepping inside Lake Metroparks’ Penitentiary Glen Reservation’s Nature Center is the ingenuity that is behind the venue’s current  “The Wild Days of Winter” holiday project.

Maybe “project” is not the correct word but neither is “exhibit.”

Annually the park’s Nature Center – located in Kirtland – is transformed in a people-size game board. In all, 48 wooden plates are snaked through the chamber, color-coded in such a way as to best understand the particular nuances the game intends to convey.

This year’s theme “A Taste of Seasons” is a nifty ploy to educate young people in particular where their food comes from, season y season.

As has been the custom the past several years the brand-new “A Taste of Seasons” is the same thing, only different to the previous walk-through “Candy Land” game that also had a natural slant.

Anyway, while all previous holiday assemblies at the Nature Center featured substantial planning and execution, this year’s “A Taste of Seasons” is (by far) even much more impressive.

The game corkscrews throughout the main auditorium, utilizing virtually every inch, every nook and every cranny though one doesn’t really feel cramped.

If you go – and you should, especially in the company of a child – take note of the impressionistic tone of the “trees,” how the parks system’s staff gave each one’s foliage a seasonal look.

The project obviously takes time to put together and even more to design. The Wildlife Center staff actually begins nearly a year in advance, brainstorming what is the intended goal and how best to accomplish the task with limited funds and an even tighter floor plan.

In any event, “A Taste of Seasons” is well worth the price of admission. And that is even better, given that the annual holiday project is free.

“A Taste of Seasons” runs November 22 through January 4, closed Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve.
Hours are noon to 5 p.m.

On Saturdays from 1 to 3 p.m., the parks system will host what it calls a special activity.

The 424-acre Penitentiary Glen Reservation is located at 8668 Kirtland-Chardon Road, Kirtland, Ohio. Its telephone number is 440-256-1404.

- 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 100 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, November 16, 2014

Bitter cold, wind, snow, little sun expected through start of Ohio's deer gun season

y Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

With Ohio’s general firearms deer-hunting season moving into the gun-sights a look at the weather for the remainder of the archery season’s first segment is showing widespread unseasonably cold temperatures.

And for much of northern Ohio the two-week climatic forecast is including bouts of snow showers; in some locations, heavy lake—effect snow bands, too.

Likewise the weather conditions for the up-coming youth-only two-day firearms deer-hunting season along with the resumption of the North Zone waterfowl-hunting season – both on November 22 – will hardly be pleasant enough affairs.

As it now stands a Winter Weather Advisory is in place for much of Ohio as the white-tail deer rut begins to wind down. The National Weather Service is forecasting a general snowfall over the next day or two of three to six inches with some locations in extreme Northeast Ohio potentially seeing a foot or more.

Coupled with winds in excess of 20 miles per hour and temperatures that are expected to drop into the teens and archery hunters will find the going tough and uncomfortable sledding.

Not until just after the youth-only gun season is State College, Pennsylvania-based AccuWeather forecasting a return to moderating near or above average temperatures approaching 50 degrees for northern Ohio. And then the temperatures accompanied by rain instead of snow, too.

Until then northern Ohio will remain in the temperature cellar department. Highs will struggle to reach the upper 30s and on some days fail to clear the mid-20 degree department.

Lows will fall at some points to below the teens.

For the youth-only deer gun season and reboot to the North Zone waterfowl-hunting season on November 22, highs will be around 40 degrees to the mid40s at best with lows right around the freezing mark.

Thanksgiving week will start out at around the previously mentioned 50-degree mark but that somewhat pleasant temperature is forecast to be short-lived. The cold and snow is expected to return to northern Ohio with highs in the mid-30s and possibly upper 30s but no better.

The snow is forecast to resume, says AccuWeather’s frequently spot-on long-range weather forecasters.

Much of the rest of Ohio should not feel comfortable that it will escape the cold and snow, either.

Indeed, the central part of the state is forecast to experience very similar weather conditions for the remainder of the archery season’s first segment, the youth-only, two-day firearms deer-hunting season, and the general firearms deer-hunting season, which starts December 1st.

A mix of penetrating cold, chilling winds, and snow will be shuttled aside only briefly by near-average temperatures and rain with just a rare glimpse of the sun.

Even southern Ohio along the Ohio will fare little better, AccuWeather’s extended forecast says.

Maybe a few more days with rain instead of snow, a couple additional days of sunshine and somewhat less radically cold temperatures here and there is the best southern Ohio deer hunters can anticipate through the early days of the general firearms deer-hunting season.

Only for the youth deer-gun season and portions of Thanksgiving week will white-tail hunters be able to don a little less cold-preventative clothing than will their counterparts further north. But not by much.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, November 10, 2014

Horton crossbow owners can still find (some) parts for their no-longer-made hunting tools

With archery deer-hunting in full swing just about everywhere likely a few owners of crossbows made by the now-defunct Horton Archery Company may find themselves with a broken tool they cannot use.

Even though this blog space has noted in previous postings that a fairly large stock of Horton crossbow components exist out there, some archers are still wandering around in a funk they can't find necessary replacement parts.

However, there are a number of Internet sites operated by corporations that specialize in liquidations, obtaining in bulk parts, components and remnants of now-defunct other companies.

Among the firms stocking up on Horton crossbow parts is Here a Horton crossbow owner can explore's and buy either a complete unit or such hard-to-find replacement parts as limbs, limb silencer kits, and limb silencers.

Today my aged Horton Hunter arrow retention spring (not a trust-worthy Horton component I found on another Horton crossbow model) rolled up and under the scope base and mount assembly. I can Jerry-rig a fix for now but a new one would save me from any unexpected grief should the spring decide to roll into a ball again or break off entirely.

Here, has something like 17 different arrow retention springs for various Horton crossbow models. These retention springs run from $14 to $19. Compare those prices with an arrow retention spring for a currently made TenPoint crossbow: $9.

Other potential sources of Horton spare parts is,, and to a lesser extent,

So if an archer has a Horton crossbow and calculates that a parts fix is still more economical than buying a new and still-being-made crossbow, than scouting out sites such as, and makes considerable sense.

Note too some routine maintenance is a good idea. The same Horton Hunter in which the retention spring curled up also would not allow the bow string to set and cock, also returning the safety from on to off.

Full disclosure here must include that though the crossbow technically belongs to me in actuality it is used almost exclusively by my wife, Bev.

So when the additional problem developed I inspected the crossbow, noting that its innards were crudded with an accumulation of rail grease that ultimately jelled and took hold of dirt and grime.

A simple flush with an aerosol spray can of bore scrubber/degreaser allowed the cocking mechanism to function as originally intended.

By 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 100 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, November 9, 2014

NE Ohio in for a bumpy weather ride

With virtually every meteorologist noting the approach of one nasty storm in the form of a bent 
of a Polar Vortex, NE Ohio will experience a dramatic shift in the weather from Tuesday
to Wednesday. Highs will got from the 60s on Monday and Tuesday into the 30s for the rest
of the week with wind chill possibly being in the mid-teens along with lake-effect
snow squalls. 
Here is the official National Weather Service's Hazardous Weather Outlook for
both northwest Pennsylvania and Northeast Ohio: 




By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn 

From Good story how the vast majority of country will experience biting cold this week

Arctic Blast via Polar Vortex to Chill 42 US States

Play video An overview of the weather across the North Central region is given in the above video.
As the polar vortex gets displaced to the south, the door will open for arctic air to plunge over the most of the United States as the new week progresses.
Only the Southwest, Hawaii, Alaska and South Florida will escape the grip of the upcoming arctic blast that the polar vortex can be blamed for.
"The polar vortex is a large pocket of very cold air, typically the coldest air in the Northern Hemisphere, which sits over the polar region," stated Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski.
"Occasionally, this pocket of very cold air can get dislodged farther south than normal, leading to cold outbreaks in Canada and the U.S."

For this current outbreak, the harshest cold in relation to normal will encompass the northern Rockies and Plains. However, temperatures will also plummet throughout the Northwest and to the Gulf Coast and I-95 corridor.
The arctic blast will drop into the northern Rockies on Monday, accompanied by a snowstorm on its leading edge, then will spread across the Northwest and Plains through Wednesday.
Latest Snowfall Forecast for North Central US
Forecast Temperature Maps
Snow- and Cold-Related Watches, Advisories

Later in the week is when the cold will reach the I-95 corridor, but it will not be of the same magnitude as earlier in the week.
Many communities across the northern Rockies and Plains will experience a 20- to 40-degree drop in high temperatures from one day to the next.
Tuesday and Wednesday will prove to be the coldest days of the week across the northern Rockies and northern High Plains, where highs will be held to the teens with subzero lows.

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, November 7, 2014

Grand River steelheaders will likely find disruptions as Vrooman Road work commences

It’s going to be a temporary tight squeeze at one of Northeast Ohio’s most popular – and productive – public steelhead fishing venues.

Following the passage of an illegally overweight truck traveling across the Vrooman Road Bridge, enough damage was done to shut the structure down.

This might not be much of a problem for anyone other than motorists except that the bridge spans the Grand River between Lake County’s Perry and Leroy townships.

And on the north side of the bridge is Lake Metroparks’ 133-acre Mason’s Landing Park while cattycorner on the southeast side is the agency’s 408-acre Indian Point Park. This latter park shares space with the Grand River and Seeley Road.

Indian Point Park – and to a lesser extent Mason’s Landing Park – is a major destination for steelhead anglers. This park not only edges the Grand River but encompasses much of Paine Creek; itself a highly sought-after watering hole for migrating steelhead.

So while the Lake County Engineer, working with the Ohio Department of Transportation, roll up their collective sleeves to build a temporary bridge in this location both agencies are also engrossed in planning and preparing to construct a multi-million dollar high-level bridge.

This latter bridge will facilitate better access between Ohio Route 84 on the north and Interstate 90 to the south.

Consequently, the effort to erect two bridges back-to-back at the same location and within a good fly-rod cast of an enormously popular and productive steelhead fishing hole is bound to create conflicts for anglers.

However, efforts are underway by Lake Metroparks to try and ensure the least amount of disruption for steelheed anglers and all other park users, says the agency’s Executive Director, Paul Palagyi.

“Indian Point Park and its proximity to the Grand Rivers poses unique challenges but we are working closely with the Lake County Engineer and Leroy Township trustees to maintain access to the park this winter,” Palagyi said.

That being said, Palagyi notes too that at times the weather and other possible factors may require the closure of Seeley Road, itself not an always unusual event.

“Our first priority has been – and will continue to be – the safety of our visitors,” Palagyi said.

While Seeley Road and subsequent access to Indian Point Park via that route is frequently closed off whenever spring flood waters and ice sprint unto the road, the additional drama of bridge construction will add another element to the closure mix, also says Palagyi.

“It will create some additional challenges,” he said.

Among them will be an almost certain blockading of Seeley Road from the opposite direction. A steep, graveled road plunges just before it finishes its dip at the base of a bridge over Paine Creek.

This hillside road can prove treacherous when covered in snow and ice or even when rains create rivulet washouts in the gravel.

So the best advice is for steelhead anglers to exercise restraint and patience while all the responsible parties work through the anticipated and unanticipated difficulties, says Palagyi.

“At the end of the project we are going to have a new park on the river’s south side, a new canoe launch area, a new pedestrian bridge across the Grand as well as additional acreage of publicly accessible river frontage,” said Palagyi. 

“All of this will ultimately contribute to improved public access to this great natural resource, including for our steelhead-fishing guests.”

- 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 100 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.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

BREAKING: Maine's Bangor Daily News is projecting anti-bear-hunting referendum has failed


With more than 50 percent of Maine's November 5 votes counted, that state's bear-baiting/hounding/trapping referendum has failed, projects that state's Bangor Daily News late Tuesday night.

The results were gleaned from the newspaper and came from near real-time results. The latest count  show that the referendum's "no" votes stands at 53 percent while the percentage of Maine's voters backing the initiative is 47 percent.

It is widely held that the Humane Society of the United States largely bankrolled the voter-initiative, proposal by contributing an oft-quoted figure of $2.5 million, or 97 percent of the movement's entire contribution figure.

This is the second time within 10 years that Maine voters have faced a measure to severely limit the methods the state's resident and non-resident hunters can use to take black bears.

Maine's gubernatorial candidates all came out in opposition to Question 1, believing that bear management rightly belongs in the hands of wildlife professionals.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn