Monday, August 29, 2016

Ohio Wildlife Division Lake Erie fisheries expert to take on all the Great Lakes

A leading Ohio Division of Wildlife Lake Erie fisheries expert is trading his state management hat for a quasi-federal larger size.

Jeff Tyson – current Lake Erie fisheries program administrator stationed at the Wildlife Division’s Sandusky office – will transfer his biological status flag to the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission office in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

There he’ll move out of administering people and shuffling papers to “facilitating” communication, priorities, plans, and activities between all of the Great Lakes’ state, provincial, tribal, and federal stakeholders. The commission is a joint venture between the United States and Canada and receives funds from these two respective federal entities.

In effect, Tyson’s job will entail helping to keep these varied interests from pulling in opposite directions; in effect , ensuring that “we’re all working toward the same set of objectives;” those points  being what’s  best for the Great Lakes fishes and their respective end users including sport and commercial fishers.

“I wasn’t job hunting,” Tyson also said about making such a major career move after spending 23 years with the Wildlife Division.

“I’ve always been happy here but I’m going to be able to take what I’ve learned and accomplished and now do it on a larger Great Lakes regional scale. I guess what it will be is that I will remain engaged but in a different way.”

As the head of the Wildlife Division’s Lake Erie fisheries program, Tyson supervised some 14 full-time and 10 seasonal employees bivouac at the agency’s Sandusky and also Fairport Harbor research station offices. The annual budget for this combined state fisheries research arm is $2.5 million.

However, at the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission Tyson will no longer manage people but rather work to build consensus between stakeholders so that the right hand does know what the left hand is doing.

“The Commission really is a vital link in helping people and government understand what everyone is doing and also to help them understand what options are available,” he said.

Though Tyson has held his present Wildlife Division job for only four years his impending departure in a few days from now does not mean a bitter separation from the agency.

“Absolutely not,” Tyson said. “It was a difficult decision; I owe a lot to the Wildlife Division, the people here and also with the lake’s stakeholders, like the anglers.”

True enough, also says Rich Carter, the Wildlife Division’s executive administrator for fish management and research.

Carter added that while Tyson’s departure represents a loss for the Wildlife Division and Lake Erie specifically, his move to the Commission really represents a plus for the entire Great Lakes and its mammoth fisheries diversity.

“We were surprised, sure, about Jeff’s move but all of us certainly recognize that someone as capable as he is – with all of his talents and with a great resume – deserved to take the job when presented with such a tremendous opportunity,” Carter said.

Carter said also that replacing Tyson will encompass a search that will begin immediately; a task made more difficult by the fact that Tyson was a perfect fit as the Lake Erie fisheries project administrator.

Regardless of who eventually replaces Tyson, the work of managing Lake Erie’s fisheries will continue without missing a heartbeat, Carter says as well.

That effort will remain focused on properly managing Ohio’s share of Lake Erie’s walleye and yellow perch fisheries “because they are critically important for our anglers and the economic health of our region,” Carter says.

And the new, still-to-be-named administrator will likewise focus on helping the “viability” of Lake Erie’s smallmouth bass and largemouth bass populations along with the Wildlife Division’s goal of restoring the Lake’s once thriving sauger population, Carter said.

“We’re confident we’ll find someone to lead our Lake Erie fisheries program into the future,” Carter said.

- 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. Jeff is 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

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Physics works against Ohio Wildlife Division officer's pick-up

The Pauli Exclusion Principal to the contrary, Ohio Division of Wildlife officer Brad St. Clair saw firsthand on July 28th the consequences of quantum mechanics as to how two bodies cannot occupy the same space at the same time.

While headed in a certain direction on one of Noble County’s ubiquitous narrow and serpentine backcountry road, St Clair’s state-owned, seven-foot-wide 2012 GMC pick-up truck met a seven-foot-nine-inch wide 2001 Dodge pick-up coming from the other direction.

However, the problem was that the point where the two vehicles met at the top of a blind crest is only 13 feet across and festooned on either side with Noble County hard rock.

Consequently, it was crunch time with both vehicles suffering the effects of physics; each in spite of the fact that St. Clair was piloting his Wildlife Division-issued truck at a creeping-along speed of just 15 miles per hour while the Dodge wasn’t inching forward much faster: Only 25 miles per hour.

No way, however, could either vehicle come close to the road’s legal allowance of 55 miles per hour, also says a Wildlife Division official.

St. Clair was on routine patrol when the accident occurred. He’s been the state wildlife officer assigned to Noble County for the past eight years and graduated from the agency’s wildlife officer cadet academy in 2003. Previously St. Clair had postings in both Van Wert and Fairfield counties; zones with much flatter terrain and often much straighter and wider country roads.

Though the Dodge pick-up was up to be driven away under its own power, St. Clair’s GMC needed assistance from a tow truck, said Wildlife Division assistant chief Susan Vance.

Vance added that neither driver was cited by the Ohio Highway Patrol which investigated the incident. No word yet on the degree of damage to St. Clair's pick-up truck, Vance said.

“If you’ve ever been to Noble County and its curvy, narrow, steep, hilly roadways, it should come as no surprise that both drivers were travelling at reduced rates of speed in an effort to be safe,” Vance said. “State employees are people, and accidents do happen. Everyone here is really thankful that everybody is okay.”

Vance said that in addition to the accident being looked into by the Ohio Highway Patrol, Wildlife Division administrative protocols were followed as well.

These building blocks of procedures included input from various agency supervisors, the state’s Department of Administrative Services along with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Office of Human Resources, Vance said.

And with a fleet consisting of some 377 registered vehicles, Vance says also, the Wildlife Division’s track record of avoiding traffic accidents is stellar in every respect. This safe driving regimen is particularly true given the wide array of drivers that includes commissioned officers, hatchery workers, maintenance crews, administrators, and educators – the whole lot of employees tasked with driving motor vehicles, Vance says.

So good is this attention to driving defensively that no one in the agency could recall any Wildlife Division employee ever being killed in a motor vehicle accident while on the clock, Vance said.

“We have vehicles travelling 365 days a year at all times of the day and night, on road, off road, hauling boats, trailers, and equipment; all across the state, and sometimes travelling out of state when needed,” Vance said. “All in all, our staff does a great job of focusing on safety – which in turn helps us manage state equipment, including vehicles.”
- Jeffrey L Frischkorn

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Ohio Wildlife Division's "Operation North Coast" a massive law enforcement undertaking

After more than two years of tracking down leads and tips - as well as performing extensive investigative operations by 45 of its officers - the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife has seen charges brought to date against 28 Ohioans for various alleged illegal fish and game activity.
The charges stemming from the agency’s “Operation North Coast” range from such routine and mundane alleged misdemeanor violations as hunting without the permission of the landowner and one deer-check-in issue, to such alleged felonies as “engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity,” “tampering with records,” and “felony sale of wildlife.”
Several of the accused individuals have pled out to at least some of their charges, says officials with the Wildlife Division.
Also, at least one of the individuals currently charged with alleged fish or game law violations has encountered prior arrests for breaking the state’s fish and game laws.
Ohio’s Wildlife Division officials first made public its “Operation North Coast” back in early March and as reported in the March 29th issue of “Ohio Outdoor News.”
At the time the agency reported that its “Operation North Coast” was still an on-going investigation that involved some 40 individuals in 10 of Ohio’s 88 counties, and that the Wildlife Division had received various courts’ permission to serve search warrants.
Counties where arrest warrants have thus far been obtained include Wood, Lucas, Henry, Lorain, and Richland.
Wildlife Division spokesman John Windau said in an interview with “Ohio Outdoor News” in March that the agency’s law enforcement agents’ work included at least two deer-hunting seasons plus last summer’s walleye-fishing season.
Some of the investigative work was done secretively by the Wildlife Division’s corps of undercover commissioned agents, added Ronald L. Ollis, supervisor of the agency’s special operations wing.
Ollis says too that the Wildlife Division continues to investigate other individuals who may have allegedly committed various state fish and game law violations. If the Wildlife Division determines that additional people have allegedly broken the state’s fish and game laws then likely more charges will be forthcoming, Ollis says.
As for the alleged crimes themselves, Ollis noted that more so than the alleged buyers of fish and game were the alleged sellers of such wildlife, calling the latter the operation’s “big fish.”
“I don’t know if ‘Operation North Coast’ is the largest investigation we’ve ever done or not,” Ollis said. “Certainly, if additional charges are brought against others then, yes, it could become the largest such operation in our history.”
Besides the state’s alleging that illegal selling of fish and game occurred there was evidence that suggests how “gross over-harvesting” of deer occurred in at least some instances, Windau said as well at the time.
Windau said too in March that the genesis of the investigation was in large part prompted by calls to the state’s Turn-In-A-Poacher (TIP) hotline; a toll-free telephone project that allows the public to call in with possible fish and game law violations. Tipsters are potentially eligible for monetary rewards.
Also, said Windau in March, that while the investigation did not have a deliberate “connect-the-dots” scenario about it, “Operation North Coast” investigators were able to channel their energies and work at alleged similar illegal activity elsewhere; thereby evolving a cascade effect.
Similarly, Windau said in March, the Wildlife Division was working closely with various county prosecutors who are the persons legally empowered to file charges though with extensive input from the agency.
Wildlife Division officials maintained a collective bell of silence covering its agents’ investigations through the remainder of the spring and into the summer.
As the process has unfolded, the Wildlife Division said in a statement that on August 4th its agents served an arrest warrant on Robert Mandon Freeworth (age 36), Grand Rapids, Ohio.
Freeworth was indicted by a Wood County grand jury earlier in the week. He was indicted on various felony and misdemeanor counts for alleged fish and game law-related misdeeds. The alleged felonies include: engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity, sales of wildlife, having weapons under disability, improperly handling firearms in a motor vehicle (three counts), tampering with records (two counts), and aggravated possession of drugs.
Freeworth’s alleged misdemeanors include: using weapons while intoxicated (2 counts), jacklighting, hunting without permission of the landowner, and wildlife violations (3 counts).
If convicted, Freeworth faces incarceration, fines, wildlife restitution, community control sanctions, suspension or revocation of any fishing and hunting licenses, the re-imbursement for investigative cost, and the forfeiture of firearms and a vehicle.
Further, the Wildlife Division says, Wood County’s Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Gwen Howe-Gebers has been working with state wildlife investigators on the case.
“The investigation was well executed and prepared which is a testament to the ODNR investigative unit in making sure rules and regulations are followed by all,” Howe-Gebers said in a prepared statement. “The cases demonstrate that those who hunt illegally need to be held accountable for their actions.”
As for the Wildlife Division, the agency’s law enforcement administrator Ken Fitz said “The indictment demonstrates the seriousness of wildlife crimes and commercialization that was taking place in the Wood County area.”
Besides charges being filed against Robert Mandon Freeworth (age 36), Grand Rapids, Ohio, others who’ve thus far been charged with alleged fish and game law violations include (Note that some of the defendants have all ready appeared in court and received judicially applied punishment):

Dawn Large (age 42), Grand Rapids, Ohio:

  • No hunting license - (Wood County, Bowling Green Municipal Court, M-4).
  • Hunting without permission  (Wood County, Bowling Green Municipal Court, M-3).
  • hunting deer with aid of motor vehicle – (Henry County, Napoleon Municipal Court, M-3).
  • shooting from or across a roadway (Henry County, Napoleon Municipal Court., M-3).
  • possessing a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (Henry County, Napoleon Municipal Court, M-1).
    Robert V. Freeworth (age 59), Grand Rapids, Ohio:
  • Two counts aiding another in a wildlife violation - Aiding in Henry County, Napoleon Municipal Court, M-1 Second Offense Deer Violation, $500.00 fine plus $156.00 CC, 3 years hunting and fishing license suspension). Wood County charge not finished.
    Ronnie L. Borders (age 34), Weston, Ohio:
  • Deer check-in violation (Wood County, Bowling Green Municipal Court. M-1, Second Offense Deer Violation).
    Jo L. Sears (age 62), Bowling, Green, Ohio:
  • Purchase wild animal or part thereof  (Wood County, Bowling Green Municipal Court., M-3).
    Robert Parker Jr. (age 64), Portage, Ohio:
  • Purchase wild animal or part thereof (Wood County, Bowling Green Municipal Court, M-3).
    Shawn Matthews (age 34), Grand Rapids, Ohio:
  • Purchase wild animal or part thereof (Wood County, Bowling Green Municipal Court, M-3).
    William Seyfried (age 70), Gibsonburg, Ohio:
  • Purchase wild animal or part thereof (Wood County, Bowling Green Municipal Court., M-3).
    Rodney Hall (age 44), Bowling Green, Ohio:
  • Purchase wild animal or part thereof (Wood County, Bowling Green Municipal Court., M-3).
    Jarod Sinning (age 39), Bowling Green, Ohio:
  • Purchase wild animal or part thereof (2 counts) (Wood County, Bowling Green Municipal Court, M-3).
    Albert Tift Jr. (age 63), Toledo, Ohio:
  • Purchase wild animal or part thereof (Lucas County, Sylvania Municipal Court., M-3.)
    Matthew Langlois (age 40), Waterville, Ohio:
  • Theft by deception (Lucas County, Maumee Municipal Court., M-1).
    Samuel Young (age 65), Liberty Center, Ohio:
  • Purchase wild animal or part thereof (Henry County, Napoleon Municipal Court. M-3).
    Lawrence Turner (age 39), Toledo, Ohio:
  • Theft by deception (Lucas County, Maumee Municipal Court., M-1, but as part of plea agreement amended to  a M-4 unauthorized use of property, $250 plus $180 court costs. Also Turner was ordered to pay Maumee Bait and Tackle back his half of prize money totaling $187.50. Turner likewise is prohibited to have any contact with Maumee Bait and Tackle, and is further prohibited from entering into any fishing tournaments on the Maumee River for a period of three years).
    Rick Bruielly (age 66), Weston, Ohio:
  • Failure to keep and maintain proper taxidermy records (Wood County, Bowling Green Municipal Court, M-4, paid $100.00 fine and $145.00 court costs).
    Louis Takas (age 49), Toledo, Ohio:
  • Failure to keep and maintain proper processor records (Lucas County, Toledo Municipal Court.  M-4, No fine, assessed $99 in court costs).
    Beth Blaze (age 46), Swanton, Ohio:
  • Purchase wild animal or part thereof – (Lucas County, Maumee Municipal Court, M-3. Paid $75 fine, assessed $130 in court costs).
    Jason Szczublewski (age 40,) Maumee, Ohio:
  • Purchase wild animal or part thereof (Lucas County, Maumee Municipal Court, M-3. Paid $100 fine, assessed $105 in court costs).
    Cyndal Waldvogel (age 30), Grand Rapids, Ohio:
  • Purchase wild animal or part thereof (Lucas County, Maumee Municipal Court. Court, M-3. Paid $35.00 fine, assessed $130 in court costs).
    Roger Havens (age 70), Port Clinton, Ohio:
  • Felony sale of wildlife (two counts) - (Ottawa County, Ottawa County Municipal Court, F-5)
    Steven Rider (age 57), Port Clinton, OH:
  • Three counts sale of wildlife (sport fish)- (Ottawa County, Ottawa County Municipal Court, M-4)
    Carl Taylor Jr. (age 57,) Lorain, Ohio:
  • Felony sale of wildlife (Four counts), illegal use of supplemental nutrition assistance program (Seven counts) - In conjunction with Ohio Department of Public Safety, Ohio Investigative Unit. (Lorain County, Lorain County Common Pleas Court, F-5).
    Melissa Taylor (age 36), Lorain, Ohio:
  • Illegal use of supplemental nutrition assistance program - In conjunction with Ohio Department of Public Safety, Ohio Investigative Unit- (Lorain County, Lorain County Common Pleas Court, F-5).
    Victor Velez (age 35),Cleveland, Ohio:
  • Sale of wildlife (sport fish) - (One felony and Two misdemeanor counts), receiving stolen property- In conjunction with Ohio Department of Public Safety, Ohio Investigative Unit.- (Lorain County, Lorain County Common Pleas Court, F-5 and Two M-4s, receiving stolen property, M-1).
    Carmillo Gonzales (age 57), Lorain, Ohio:
  • Sale of wildlife (sport fish) - In conjunction with Ohio Department of Public Safety, Ohio Investigative Unit.- (Lorain County, Lorain Municipal Court, M-4).
    Dennis Urig (age 64), Sheffield Lake, Ohio:
  • Felony sale of wildlife (deer), deer hunting violations (Two counts) - (Lorain County, Lorain County Common Pleas Court, F-5 on sale, M-3 on deer violations).
    Anthony Lenz (age 31), Grafton, Ohio:
  • Felony sale of wildlife (sport fish)- (Lorain County, Lorain County Common Pleas Court, F-5).
    Ronald Gasparac (age 60), Mansfield, Ohio:
  • Felony sale of wildlife (sport fish) (Three counts) (Richland County, Richland County Common Pleas Court, F-5).
    Degrees of penalty under the Ohio Revised Code. Here is a list of the maximum penalties that can be applied:
     Fourth Degree Misdemeanor (M-4 -  no more than 30 days jail and/or up to $250 fine.
    Third Degree Misdemeanor (M-3) -  no more than 60 days jail and/or up to $500 fine.
    Second Degree Misdemeanor (M-2) - no more than 90 days jail and/or up to $750 fine.
    First Degree Misdemeanor (M-1)  - no more than 180 days jail and/or up to $1000 fine.
     Fifth Degree Felony (F-5) – up to1 year imprisonment and/or up to $2,500 fine.
    “The other alleged crimes have specific penalties, depending upon the paragraph which they are convicted,” said Ronald L. Ollis, the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s Special Operations Supervisor. “I would say the penalties include the possibility of significant jail sentences and fines along with what other community control sanctions the court wishes to apply.”  
     A license revocation and restitution could be applied to all the defendants with wildlife violations (including sales and purchases). The Wildlife Division typically requests for that for those who are selling, based on the facts of the case.
    Three of the charged individuals with known prior fish and game law arrest history are:
     Robert Mandon Freeworth  - (Two) priors; one on 10/8/2015 for taking yellow perch over the limit, and the second on 11/14/1997 for trapping muskrats during the closed season.
    Robert V. Freeworth – (One) prior on 12/5/2000 for hunt/take/shoot deer from roadway or motor vehicle.
    Ronald Borders – (One) prior for deer-tagging violation.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, August 5, 2016

Lake Metroparks sets rules, application time frame for its annual controlled archery deer hunts

Lake Metroparks is reminding hunters that it’s not too early to begin planning and preparation.

Then again, that’s true for other government bodies that host controlled deer hunts. Including the Ohio Division of Wildlife, which on Tuesday, August 9th, will release the results of its annual controlled deer and waterfowl hunts.

And on September 6th and 7th the Kirtland-based Holden Arboretum will conduct its meetings with selected hunters regarding the organization’s annual controlled deer hunts, chiefly by archery tackle means. A few changes have occurred here with Holden having pared back on those hunters who either had not been participating or else had failed to achieve the degree of success necessary to stay in the program.

For Lake Metroparks the agency is accepting on-line applications for its series of controlled archery-only deer hunts at four locations. These hunts, however, are open only for Lake County residents or owners of businesses anchored to Lake County.

Also, Lake Metroparks is maintaining controlled archery deer hunts at two other locations for veterans with service-related injuries. These hunts are not resident-restricted, though.

“Our hunt program will run pretty much as it did last year with the lottery accepting applications through August 30th,” said Tom Koritansky, Lake Metroparks’ natural resources manager.

Last year, said Koritansky, the parks system received 337 applications for the 147 available slots and issuing 208 permits. That latter figure incorporated partner hunters, or those persons who can sub for the original applicant should that person not be available on a particular drawn day.

In all, the locations where the controlled hunts will commence include River Road Reservation in Madison Township (eight hunt sites), Indian Point Park-Lower in Leroy Township (three sites), Blair Road-South in Perry Township (two sites), and Lake Erie Bluffs Park in Perry Township (three sites).

For the veterans the locations include Indian Point Park –Upper in Leroy Township (two ground blinds), and Big Creek-Williams Road in Concord Township (one ground blind and two tree ladder stands).

Lake Metroparks’ controlled deer hunt program began in 2011 at just the River Road location, Koritansky said.

Since the inaugural series of hunts the agency has seen 77 deer shot by hunters. Among them were the 15 deer taken last year, one of which was a female sika deer along with five antlered white-tails. A small but thriving population of sika deer lives in eastern Lake County, the offspring of a group that escaped from a-once private estate in Leroy Township.

“Other hunters said they passed on shooting sika deer, too, and for various reasons,” Koritansky said also.

As for the best location, that would be River Road Park, with the only property not seeing any deer being taken was Indian Point Park-Upper.

Koritansky said he doubts that the construction of the Vrooman Road Bridge and all of the associated hubbub was the chief factor in the lack of deer being taken there last year.

The rules linked with the hunts have not changed. Among them include completing the application on-line with the exception being for the veteran hunts, which are handled by applications being dropped off at the parks system’s headquarters at Concord Woods Park in Concord Township.

Selected hunters also must attend a mandatory orientation meeting, successfully complete a qualification test with their archery tackle at one of two Lake County sporting goods stores with a suitable target range, and follow all applicable Ohio hunting rules and laws.

As for the hunting itself, Koritansky says that the first group of hunters will be given two-week slots at the start of the season, followed by five, three-week segments. Assignment to a particular hunting time and location is dependent upon the order in which an applicant’s number is drawn in the lottery.

“That is so we can accommodate more hunters and give each one a reasonable opportunity to kill a deer through the rut,” he said.

For all hunters except for the handicapped veterans individuals, are responsible for bringing their own ground blinds, tree ladder stands and bait, if they desire to use such products, Koritansky says..

Handicapped hunters can be accommodated as well at some of the locations though here, too, lottery-winning hunters must bring their own bait, Koritansky says.

Lake Metroparks will again go the extra mile for veterans with service-related injuries and make additional effort to help ensure their safety, comfort and opportunity to take a deer, Koritansky.

Asked if the hunts have helped reduce the respective deer herds at the individual parks, Koritansky says “it’s still a little early to tell.”

“But we do know that controlled deer hunts are a good deer-management too,l which is why we’re continuing with the program,” he said.

Lottery results will be posted September 1st.
For further – and full - information and to apply, visit Lake Metroparks’ web site at, then go to “2016-2017 Wildlife Management Program” and then follow the appropriate prompts.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Hillary Clinton's Anti-Hunting Remarks Could Give Sportsmen Pause

That Mrs. Clinton has consistently shown her anti-Second Amendment cards is now further revealed that she doesn’t much care for hunting, either.

During a campaign whistle stop in Las Vegas, Nevada, today (August 4th) Mrs. Clinton’s stump speech was interrupted by a small band of animal rights activists who media outlets say rushed the stage.

When the Secret Service took the proper security precautions one agent was overheard on an open microphone that all was okay and that Mrs. Clinton could continue with her speech.

That did not entirely satisfy Mrs. Clinton who took the bait and noted that: "We’ll keep talking and apparently these people are here to protest Trump because Trump and his kids have killed a lot of animals, so thank you for making that point."

Thing was Mrs. Clinton was totally wrong and consequently she deserves Four Pinocchios for her serious breach of honesty.

Donald Trump does not hunt and has stated he has never hunted. However, his two boys – Donald Jr. and Eric - do, and were taught so by their maternal grandfather.

The question is whether the two sons are fair game for such criticism. Maybe, yes, since they are out stumping for their father. Maybe, no, since what they do in their personal lives is their business and not subject to political rhetoric and opinion.

Of course, Donald Jr. Trump and Eric Trump can be thumped for comments regarding policy and positions taken by the father, the presidential candidate. Yet it would be just as ethically disagreeable to drag up the fact that both Mrs. Clinton’s husband – former President Bill Clinton – and their daughter, Chelsea Clinton – are vegans and thus might not be inclined to agree with sport hunting, let alone the concept of the “American Model” of wildlife management.

What her outburst does do is make all-ready nervous American sportsmen and sportswomen more worried.

After all, it was during an interview conducted earlier this summer by “Field & Stream” magazine editor Mike Toth of representatives to both Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton that the latter said his candidate “…will listen to sportsmen and sportswomen…”

The interview took place at a two-day Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership meeting in Fort Collins, Colorado. The short interviews appeared in the on-line edition of “Outdoor Life” magazine, “Field & Stream’s” sibling publication.

Speaking for Mrs. Clinton was U.S. Representative Mike Thompson while Trump’s eldest son, Donald Jr., spoke on behalf of his father.

n his published remarks, Thompson is quoted as saying about Mrs. Clinton lending an ear to hunters and anglers:

“I think the fact that she asked me to come and meet with you is an indication that she cares what the hook and bullet community wants and needs,” the published interview with Representative Thompson says.

Representative Thompson’s statement to the outdoors magazine continues with: “She will listen to sportsmen and women and I anticipate that I will have an ear in the White House and I’ll be a good bridge. I know the folks who you all represent, I’ve worked with you and I’ve worked with these organizations, I’ve lived this life my entire life. She’ll know what’s going on, she gets it and she will be operational to our advantage.”

As for Donald Trump Jr’s remarks, the short magazine narrative goes: “For us, it’s a real issue. Preservation of habitat, conservation of species, the ability to access these lands, the Second Amendment… those issues are the big sportsmen issues.

“Hunting and fishing is my lifestyle, it’s how I choose to live my life and it’s how my brother chooses to live his life, and it’s how we are going to raise our families. To me these issues are as important as many other things that people probably view of much greater importance, and I will be a loud voice in my father’s ear on all of these issues.”
Based on Mrs. Clinton’s impromptu remarks, it would seem that the kid’s pro-hunting arguments trump those of Mrs. Clinton and her surrogate.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

UPDATED THROUGHOUT- CORRECTED/ Ohio's to-date fishing/hunting license sales up

With sales of fishing tags on the seasonal wane and those for hunting on the cusp of their seasonal commencement, the Ohio Division of Wildlife is reporting increased license sales of nearly all types.

The net result is an infusion of money into the agency’s Wildlife Fund to the tune of $814,824 in additional revenue over the to-date 2015 ledger entry.

The tally of resident annual fishing sold to-date this year numbers 583,353 while the same 2015 to-date resident fishing license sales figure was 553,739 for a 5.35 percent increase. In all, for 2015 the Wildlife Division sold 635,732 resident fishing licenses.

The increase, says one Wildlife Division official says, is largely tied with a bow directly to the fisheries gift offered by Lake Erie to its anglers though the state’s inland fisheries are pretty darn good, too.

Weather and the quality of Lake Erie fishing have always been important factors associated with good fishing license sales,” says Scott Hale, one of two agency assistant chiefs.

“Good weather patterns are certain to influence participation in our numerous inland lakes, rivers and streams, and the Ohio River, as well.” 

Up, too, so far this year is the number of non-resident annual fishing licenses. The to-date figure for these licenses stands at 34,166 whereas for the same period in 2015 the number was 31,916 for a 7.05 percent increase. Last year the Wildlife Division sold a total of 36,390 non-resident annual fishing licenses; an obvious indicator that such tag sales have crested and have begun to seasonally recede.

Increased also are sales of the state’s one-day resident, one-day non-resident and three-day fishing licenses. For the first category the number rose from 3,626 one-day resident fishing licenses to 4,310 for a gain of 18.86 percent. In 2015 the Wildlife Division sold 10,667 of these permits.

As for the one-day non-resident fishing licenses those tags climbed from the 17,602 figure in 2015 to the to-date number of 18,706 for a gain of 6.27 percent. Last year the Wildlife Division issued 29,549 such permits.

“One-day fishing license sales are very much weather dependant,” said Wildlife Division communications spokesman, John Windau. “Often buying one is a last-minute decision.”

Three-day license sales also rose, though statistically by a rather insignificant number: from a to-date 2015 number of 19,144 to 19,636 thus far and for a paltry gain of just 2.57 percent. In 2015 the Wildlife Division sold 26,737 such tags.

Up as well, though of only tiny significance, have been sales of the so-called one-day resident Lake Erie charter fishing licenses. To-date last year just 720 of these licenses were issued compared to 734 such permits sold to-date this year. Just 1,684 of these licenses were sold.

In terms of fishing license sales the only category to experience a drop was that for the one-day non-resident Lake Erie charter tags. Here the to-date number fell from 7,370 to 7,352; or hardly a dent in the to-date total. Last year the Wildlife Division sold 11,649 of these tags.

What all of this means in the way of additional to-date fishing license-related sales revenue is that to-date in 2015 the Wildlife Division collected close to $13.5 million whereas so far this year the agency has seen fishing license sales receipts totaling around $14.1 million; a 4.93-percent increase. For all of 2015 the Wildlife Division sold nearly $15.4 million worth of fishing licenses of all kinds, said Andy Burt, the Wildlife Division’s licensing coordinator.

Though hunting license sales typically and always take a back seat to sales of their fishing tag counterparts, there is always an uptick the closer the season arrive. And with such early seasons as those for teal, Canada geese and squirrel sales activity the various hunting permits will begin to rise shortly.

As it now stands the to-date number of resident general hunting licenses is positioned at 59,230 such documents compared to its comparable 2015 number of 58,505 such tags for a 1.24 percent rise. Last year the Wildlife Division sold 267,636 resident general hunting licenses.

Up even higher on a percentage basis – 9.3 percent, in fact – are the reduced-cost general hunting licenses sold to resident senior citizens age 66 and older and who are not eligible for free general resident hunting license. The to-date figure for this class of tags is 10,375 compared to its 2015 counterpart of 9,492. Last year the state issued 24,528 of these licenses.

There is little reason to put much stock yet in the number of general non-resident hunting licenses having been sold. The to-date number for both last year and this year are equally small when stacked up against the final total. Last year the to-date number for this category was 3,514 while this year’s to-date figure is 3,768. Last year the Wildlife Division sold 39,361 such licenses.

Without belaboring the actual figures due to their small to-date numbers and relevance are the two youth-only licenses (youth apprentice and youth hunting) as well as the general apprentice license sales. All show declines in their to-date sales but by very small percentages with equally small total figures when lined up against their respective final 2015 numbers.

Down too are the to-date figures for nearly all sales categories of deer-hunting tags. However, in some cases – such as the sale of general resident antlerless-only permits - the to-date numbers provided by the Wildlife Division are in the low triple-digit range when the agency actually sells tags totaling in the upper five-figure and even six-figure range.

Much the same applies to more than one-half of the sales of the various fall-only wild turkey hunting tags and nearly all of the various trapping permits.

Up, though, were the sales of this past season’s various spring wild turkey hunting licenses. The number of resident (adult) spring turkey hunting tag issued in 2015 was 41,395; a figure which crept up to 41,876 this year.

This rising tide of spring turkey permits helped float those sold as resident reduced cost (senior citizen) spring turkey-hunting tags along with non-resident adult spring turkey hunting tags, and youth-only spring turkey-hunting licenses.

“Part of the reason, again, was good weather during the spring turkey season, but we hope that trend continues as we move into fall,” Hale says also.

In the run-up to the typical push by hunters to buy their various licenses, tags and permits the Wildlife Division has to date sold slightly more than $1.8 million worth of general hunting licenses. In 2015 that to-date figure was just under $1.8 million, so the figures are very comparable, agency officials say.

Both figures are likewise small and reflect that the Wildlife Division isn’t even close to selling anywhere near the number of general hunting licenses that sportsmen typically buy. In 2015 the agency sold nearly $11 million worth of general hunting licenses.

The same goes for income raised through the sale of deer tags. Last year at this time the agency sold $77,754 worth of deer-hunting permits while $76,797 worth of such licenses have been sold thus far in 2016.

However, both figures are dwarfed by the total dollar amount the Wildlife Division raised via deer-hunting tags last year; a reflection that hunters wait until much closer to the season - and throughout the season - before buying their required documents. Last year the Wildlife Division sold about $9.6 million worth of deer tags.

Perhaps reflecting an increase interest in shooting rifles and handguns the Wildlife Division is seeing a substantial increase in the number of shooting range permits the agency sells.

The to-date figure for sales of the Wildlife Division’s one-day shooting range permit has grown 25.64 percent; from the 11,636 such permits sold to-date in 2015 to 14,620 thus far in 2016. Last year the agency issued 35,129 such permits.

Likewise the sale of annual range permits has climbed; this figure by 14.16 percent. To-date in 2015 the number of annual tags was 7,668 whereas its 2016 counterpart is 8,754. In 2016 the Wildlife Division sold 9,894 annual range permits.

Not surprisingly then the income generated by range permit sales has risen, too; up 15.4-percent thus far alone – from $250,447 to-date in 2015 to $289,022 to-date this year. Last year the Wildlife Division sold $413,101 worth of range permits, Burt said.

“There certainly is a lot of interest in firearms, and people wondering where they can shoot,” Windau said. “That’s particularly true if the person is unfamiliar with where to become a member of a sportsman’s or gun club.”

Certainly pleasing to the Wildlife Division has been sales of its official periodical “Wild Ohio” magazine. This is particularly true for the sales associated with persons buying or have bought either a hunting license or a fishing license. Instead of the usual $10 annual subscription price persons who buy or hold either a fishing license or a hunting license can also purchase an annual “Wild Ohio” subscription for $5.

In 2015 the to-date number of such $5 reduced cost subscriptions stood at 5,592. To date this year those sales are 8,445; a number which represents more subscriptions sold than for all of 2015 – 7,909 to be exact.

“We’re pleased that ‘Wild Ohio’ magazine sales have also increased compared to last year,” Hale said.

Still, “Wild Ohio” subscriptions for those persons who have not purchased a fishing or hunting license is $10 annually; and sales here have plummeted by nearly 37 percent, though actual paid subscriptions are small. Last year to-date the Wildlife Division sold 411 of the $10 annual subscriptions. To-date this year that figure stands at 563. For all of 2015 the Wildlife Division sold 852 “Wild Ohio” annual subscriptions at the $10 rate.

“We’re in the fourth year of paid circulation but it’s not really very expensive nor difficult to sign up for; most subscribers sigh-up when they buy a fishing of hunting license,” Windau said. “No question, more people are becoming aware of the magazine.”

Also, the to-date sale of the $15 Legacy stamps has risen: from 1,247 in 2015 to 1,612 to-date this year. In 2015 the Wildlife Division sold 2,270 Legacy stamps.

For $15 a Legacy stamp buyer gets a copy of the collector stamp, a “window cling” associated with the stamp program, and a commemorative card. Money raised via this program goes into the agency’s Endangered Species and Wildlife Diversity Fund.
Combining the sale of both “Wild Ohio” magazine subscriptions and Legacy stamps and the Wildlife Division has collected $79,399 to-date this year versus $57,085 to-date in 2015. For all of last year the Wildlife Division sold $101,573 worth of “Wild Ohio” subscriptions and Legacy stamps, Burt said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn