Monday, November 20, 2017

A twofer: Ohio's 2017 youth-only deer season kill plagued by poor weather. Again

Ohio’s youthful deer hunters had to contend with adult-sized nasty weather during their just completed two-day special season.

Not surprisingly, therefore, the kids experienced a decline of nearly one thousand deer taken during the statewide two-day/youth-only deer hunt, November 19th and 20th. These young guns shot 4,958 animals; a drop of 972 deer taken when compared to the 2016 two-day/youth-only season that saw 5,930 animals being shot.

This was also the second consecutive year that the youth-only season was plagued by poor weather that ultimately resulted in a decline in the kill. The 2015 two-day/youth-only season produced a kill of 7,223 deer; a take blessed by much better hunting weather than what youngster faced in 2016 or this year.

For further comparison purposes, the 2014 two-day/youth-only deer season produced a kill of 6,453 animals while the 2013 two-day/youth-only season yielded 6,640 deer for the young guns.

As for the number of youth hunters in Ohio, the state has sold to-date 28,468 youth hunting licenses and 10,406 apprentice youth hunting licenses, says John Windau, Ohio Division of Wildlife media spokesman.

The two-day/youth-only season was open to those persons age 17 and younger at the time of their respective hunting license purchase. Legal firearms included the types of firearms used by their adult counterparts including slug shotguns, muzzle-loaders, certain handguns, rifles firing certain straight-walled cartridges along with legal archery tackle. All youth hunters had to be accompanied by a non-hunting adult.

A county-by-county list of all white-tailed deer checked by youth hunters for the specially designated 2017 two-day/youth-only season (with their respective 2016 figures in parentheses) are: Adams: 106 (139); Allen: 21 (37); Ashland: 72 (111); Ashtabula: 115 (108); Athens: 97 (106); Auglaize: 20 (35); Belmont: 143 (147); Brown: 60 (70); Butler: 21 (19); Carroll: 135 (127); Champaign: 24 (36); Clark: 14 (11); Clermont: 33 (56); Clinton: 25 (25); Columbiana: 93 (117); Coshocton: 225 (222); Crawford: 37 (34); Cuyahoga: 0 (0); Darke: 24 (22); Defiance: 46 (63); Delaware: 17 (26); Erie: 71 (72); Fairfield: 60 (53); Fayette: 9 (18); Franklin: 11 (6); Fulton: 19 (20); Gallia: 76 (114); Geauga: 30 (41); Greene: 13 (21); Guernsey: 155 (197); Hamilton: 10 (18); Hancock: 34 (40); Hardin: 28 (48); Harrison: 119 (116); Henry: 22 (25); Highland: 97 (96); Hocking: 77 (73); Holmes: 125 (145); Huron: 59 (80); Jackson: 88 (108); Jefferson: 63 (98); Knox: 124 (144); Lake: 7 (6); Lawrence: 57 (84); Licking: 130 (138); Logan: 48 (74); Lorain: 39 (62); Lucas: 7 (6); Madison: 17 (21); Mahoning: 35 (38); Marion: 24 (36); Medina: 28 (42); Meigs: 104 (152); Mercer: 16 (32); Miami: 16 (25); Monroe: 84 (112); Montgomery: 5 (4); Morgan: 82 (121); Morrow: 32 (38); Muskingum: 164 (162); Noble: 75 (118); Ottawa: 19 (20); Paulding: 33 (44); Perry: 89 (101); Pickaway: 30 (27); Pike: 59 (85); Portage: 20 (32); Preble: 29 (22); Putnam: 27 (34); Richland: 71 (99); Ross: 138 (128); Sandusky: 9 (29); Scioto: 70 (72); Seneca: 68 (75); Shelby: 29 (47); Stark: 56 (62); Summit: 6 (6); Trumbull: 49 (79); Tuscarawas: 186 (178); Union: 26 (31); Van Wert: 14 (19); Vinton: 67 (87); Warren: 18 (26); Washington: 101 (126); Wayne: 54 (72); Williams: 26 (32); Wood: 25 (30); and Wyandot: 51 (52). Total: 4,958 (5,930).

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ohio's to-date deer kill still lagging; potential poor weather could threaten youth gun hunt success

Even in the thick of the rut, Ohio’s archery hunters are still lagging behind when laid next to the respective to-date 2016 numbers.

The current to-date deer kill – as of November 7th – stands at 37,861 animals. That figure is up 10,184 deer from the October 31st to-date kill of 27,677 animals, or an increase of about 27 percent.

By comparison – and comparison is the only way that statistics can be assessed as being meaningful – the November 6th 2016 to-date deer kill was 42,268 animals.

Thus the current to-date tally is down 4,407 animals and when it is laid alongside the respective 2017 figure.

Dimming the lamp a bit more as well, Ohio’s November 8th 2016 to-date weekly deer kill count was 33 percent higher than was its previous (November 1st 2016) to-date weekly deer kill count. Which is another way of saying that last year’s to-date deer kill pace was quicker than it is for the (so-far, anyway) 2017 to-date deer kill.

Which is why baseball statistics and deer kill statistics are so much fun for their respective wonks to follow and to digest. But I digress.

In other news regarding the current to-date deer taken numbers, we see five of Ohio’s 88 counties with reported to-date kills of 1,000 or more animals each. They include in alphabetical order (with their respective 2016 to-date numbers in parentheses): Ashtabula County – 1,171 (1,192); Coshocton County – 1,305 (1,371); Licking County – 1,101 (1,324); Trumbull County – 1,040 (1,146); and Tuscarawas County – 1,031 (1,000).

The only current 2017 to-date county not yet in the “One-Thousand Club” that was a member in 2016 is Knox. Knox has seen a serious drop in its respective to-date/year-to-year deer kill, too – 894 animals currently verses 1,067 to-date in 2016, or a decline of 173 deer.

Ohio does have several counties that likely – almost certainly, in fact – will assume a membership in the One Thousand Club. Those candidates with to-date kills of at least 750 animals each (with their respective to-date 2016 figures in parentheses) are: Guernsey County – 766 (773); Holmes County – 972 (991); Knox County – 894 (1,067); Muskingum County – 859 (926); Richland County – 788 (818).

It is perhaps telling to note that every county mentioned so far – with the exception of Tuscarawas County – has seen a decline in their respective 2016 verses 2017 to-date deer kills. They are not alone. Among some of Ohio’s other counties with notable to-date deer kill declines (with their respective 2016 to-date numbers on parentheses) are: Adams – 676 (811); Brown – 466 (543); Carroll – 560 (680); Columbiana – 560 (729); Highland – 483 (618); Hocking – 538 (605); Jefferson – 254 (489); Lorain – 582 (755); Perry – 408 (500); Ross – 504 (645); Scioto – 377 (502); and Williams -382 (485).

In all, only 12 of Ohio’s 88 counties have posted to-date 2017 deer kill gains when compared to their comparable and respective 2016 to-date deer kill numbers. They are: Auglaize County – 220 (198); Butler County – 410 (404); Clinton County – 179 (152); Erie County - 255 (235); Huron County – 478 (465); Montgomery County – 224 (215); Morgan County – 494 (486); Morrow County – 358 (348); Noble County – 452 (427); Ottawa County – 118 (112); Tuscarawas County – 1,031 (1,000); and Union County – 249 (233).

Crawford County has posted identical to-date 2016 and 2017 deer kill numbers – 239.

Lastly, only one of Ohio’s 88 counties has yet to see a 2017 to-date kill that hasn’t crossed over into the three-figure tally. Fayette County’s 2017 to-date deer kill stands at 68 animals. Last year this time Fayette County had achieved the same piece of statistical notoriety only in 2016 its to-date kill number was 81 animals.

Of course, all of these figures will change and perhaps markedly so as Ohio’s two-day youth-only firearms deer hunting season is scheduled for this weekend, November 18th and 19th. The weather will unquestionably determine the deer kill, just as it did in 2016 when rain, cold and wind hit much of the state during the youth-only deer gun season.

Unfortunately, the weather forecast is calling for breezy conditions along with unseasonably cooler than average temperatures as well as a strong chance of rain and then a rain-snot mix followed by a chance of all snow in some locations and for both days. Ugh and double ugh.

- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

UPDATED: Ohio deer hunters picking up pace but EDH mortality thwarts kill in some counties

(Note: Corrected to reflect "EHD," and not "EDH."

With the rut in Ohio now underway the state’s archery deer hunters are beginning to pick up for lost time in the woods.

However, the pace dramatically lags behind in a couple of Ohio’s 88 counties as the midge-transmitted viral malady epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) has taken a deadly and serious toll on the localized deer herds. This reduction in deer numbers is consequently being reflected in the to-date deer kills and almost certainly will carry over into the up-coming firearms deer-hunting season.

The October 31st to-date deer kill total stands at 27,677 animals, including 11,040 antlered deer. Those numbers translate into more than a 30-percent jump in the total deer kill during the one-week reporting period. Along with that jump is a nearly 50-percent gain in the number of antlered deer being shot by archers during the same seven-day period.

For a little review the previous to-date (as of October 24th) deer kill stood at 18,123 animals, including 5,821 antlered deer.

Importantly, though, when placed alongside the comparable 2016 to-date figures we see that the current similar statistics still demonstrate some lag. For the period ending November 1st, 2016, the-then total deer kill was 28,402 animals that included an antlered deer take of 10,761 deer.

However, such differences can only and best be described as minuscule and inconsequential. For now, anyway.

In reviewing the current to-date (again, as of October 31st) numbers we see that several of Ohio’s 88 counties are approaching the four-digit mark. The current Top 10 crop of counties (with their respective to-date 2016 numbers in parentheses) are: Coshocton – 912 (also 912); Ashtabula – 892 (853); Licking – 814 (881); Trumbull (also 814) & (852); Tuscarawas – 737 (648); Holmes – 714 (677); Knox – 618 (688); Muskingum – 600 (566); Richland – 582 (583); Hamilton – 528 (516).

As can be seen, five of the aforementioned Top 10 counties saw increases in their respective 2017 to-date deer kill when compared to their respective 2016 to-date numbers. And one county saw identical figures while a seventh was short by just one deer.

Taken as a whole, 40 of Ohio’s 88 counties posted gains or identical numbers in their 2017 respective deer kills from the previous to-day reporting week, ending October 24th. That 40 figure is substantial, too, given that last week only seven counties had recorded gains from their previous 2017 to-date numbers as of October 17th.

However, the EHD anomaly is impacting to a large extent the deer herd and kill numbers in Jefferson County, located in Northeast Ohio and along the Ohio River. And to a lesser – though still serious - degree, Jefferson’s next-door neighbor, Columbiana County.

To date as of October 31st, Jefferson County recorded a deer kill of just 163 animals. That is a huge drop from its respective 2016 to-date (as of November 1st, 2016) kill of 308 animals; or drop of 145 deer – close to being a 50-percent decline.

In Columbiana County the 2017 to-date deer kill ledger stands at 386 animals. Its comparable 2016 to-date deer kill was 509 animals, though; representing a smaller drop though still a significant decline at around 22 percent.

Scott Peters, wildlife biologist for the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s District Three (Northeast Ohio) office in Akron said that Ohio was not alone in seeing EHD attack a state’s deer herd. Across the Ohio from Jefferson and Columbiana counties, Pennsylvania's sister counties also saw severe EHD -related deer mortality this past summer and autumn, Peters said.

Such depressions in the deer herds in Jefferson and Columbiana counties could prove worrisome for hunters who spent time in their respective woods. Each county is home to multiple numbers of areas open to public hunting. Among them are the 4,167-acre Brush Creek Wildlife Area and the 3,023-acre Fernwood State Forest, both in Jefferson County; and the 2,266-acre Highlandtown Wildlife Area and the 3,848-acre combined Beaver Creek State Park and State Forest – all three in Columbiana County.

For the Bottom Bunch, the current to-date figures are (with their respective 2016 to-date numbers in parentheses) are: Henry County – 97 (103); Pickaway County – 93 (101); Ottawa County – 84 (83); Van Wert County – also 83 (84); Madison County – 72 (89); and Fayette County – 41 (45).

In Northeast Ohio, the current to-date numbers with their respective 2016 to-date numbers in parentheses are: Lake County – 237; Cuyahoga County – 345 (362); Erie County – 194 (167); Geauga County – 374 (415); Lorain County – 448 (562); Media County – 382 (421); Summit County – 397 (433); Portage County – 461 (487).

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

To-date 2017 deer kill off by more than 15 percent

Ohio’s to-date deer kill appears to have suffered at the hands of unseasonably warm and dry weather and maybe an abundant mast crop in some locations that’s kept animals away from game feeders stuffed with corn.

The to-date deer kill count stands at 18,123 animals, including 5,824 antlered animals, almost exclusively, bucks.

By comparison, the close 2016 approximation date of October 25th was a then to-date deer kill of 21,336 animals. Contained within this number were 6,948 antlered animals.

Thus, this deer-hunting season to-date kill is off by more than 15 percent, though a lot of hunting remains ahead for both archery and gun Ohio sportsmen and sportswomen.

Current leaders with their to-date numbers (and 2016 proximate to-date figures in parenthesis) are Ashtabula – 650 (641); Trumbull -620 (682); Coshocton – 579 (666); Licking – 527 (643); Tuscarawas – 488 (474); Holmes – 442 (492); Knox – 406 (515); Richland – 390 (431); Muskingum – 363 (421); Clermont – 341 (364).

For Northeast Ohio, the comparable figures – excluding Ashtabula and Trumbull counties – are Lake – 173 (201); Cuyahoga – 277 (294); Lorain – 317 (445) ; Erie – 127 (also 127); Geauga – 254 (323); Medina – 263 (318); Summit – 291 (326).

Only seven of Ohio’s 88 counties have posted to-date gains when placed alongside their respective 2016 to-date numbers. Besides Ashtabula and Tuscarawas counties, the others are Fayette – 31 (26) (Fayette is also the to-date caboose in the number of deer taken to-date during the 2017-2018 season) ; Henry – 69 (67); Madison – 55 (50); Miami – 129 (127); Union – 113 (105).

And one – Erie County – has identical 2016 and 2017 to-date numbers, 127.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Seven percent of adult Ohioans now leagally licensed to carry concealed

While the issuance of new concealed carry permits fell slightly from the first quarter to the second quarter of this year, the number of legally licensed Ohioans being granted renewals increased during the same period.

Also, it is now estimated that Ohio has more than 627,000 legally licensed concealed carry permit holders, says the Buckeye Firearms Association.

The Association says too that such a figure translates into seven percent of the state’s adult population being licensed to carry a firearm concealed: more than doubling the three percent so accredited 10 years ago.

In scouring the concealed carry permit numbers complied every three months by the Ohio Attorney General, the agency’s pegs the number of new licenses issued during the period of April, May and June at 22,306 with the number of renewals stated as 14,647. During the first quarter period of January, February and March, the corresponding numbers were 24,516 and 13,167, respectively.

However, a further look at 2016’s second quarter concealed carry new and renewal license issuance does show a significant drop when stated against the comparable 2017 second quarter new license category but an increase – again – in renewals. During the second quarter of 2016 the state’s 88 county sheriffs issued a whopping 32,259 new concealed carry licenses and renewed 11,276 such permits.

In total year-end numbers for 2016, Ohio’s 88 county sheriffs issued 117,953 new concealed carry licenses (a new record) and renewed 40,986 concealed carry license.

As for second quarter 2017 concealed carry license leaders, the Top Five counties for issuing NEW licenses were: Franklin – 1,669; Lake – 1,618; Montgomery – 1,113; Butler – 768; Clermont – 717.

At the tail end of the ledger with the issuance of the least number of NEW concealed carry licenses during the second quarter of 2017 the rankings were (in descending order): Fayette and Pike – 40 each; Monroe – 39; Morgan and Putnam 37 each; Meigs – 33; Noble and Paulding – 28 each.

The 2017 second quarter Top Five counties for issuing RENEWAL concealed carry licenses were: Franklin -961; Lake – 752; Montgomery – 694; Clermont – 580; and Hamilton – 494.

Ohio saw 20 of its 88 county sheriff’s issue more 2017 second quarter renewal concealed carry permits than new ones. And while most of these counties were rural a couple of urban exceptions included Lucus – 383 new licenses verses 401 renewals – and Cuyahoga – 215 new licenses and 348 renewals.

Also, Ohio saw four counties where no renewals were indicated by their respective sheriff as being issued during the second quarter of 2017. These counties included Monroe, Gallia Lawrence, and Erie.

Other 2017 second quarter statistics provided by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine showed that there were 432 concealed carry license suspensions, 85 revocations, 350 denials, 16 so-called “license processes suspended,” and the granting of 12 temporary emergency licenses.

During the 2017 first quarter these figures were – respectively – 352 concealed carry license suspensions, 176 revocations, 520 denials, 33 so-called “license processes suspended,” and the granting of 17 temporary emergency licenses.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Lake Metroparks' aggressive fish stocking program hooks eager anglers

Lake Metroparks has the perfect bait to lure anglers.

The Lake County-based agency has long maintained an aggressive fish stocking policy and this autumn has proven itself to be no exception.

In early October the parks system poured one-thousand pounds of largemouth bass and five-hundred pounds of keeper-size sunfish into four of its ponds and small lakes. All of the bass were at least 12 inches long while the sunfish measured six to eight inches.

If that were not enough, on October 25th Lake Metroparks stocked one-thousand pounds of rainbow trout – these fish averaging between one and one and one-half pounds each – into the parks system’s Granger’s Pond, located within Veteran’s Park in Mentor. At 33 acres Granger’s Pond is Lake County’s largest inland body of water.

And about the same time the agency officially dedicated is 200-foot long fishing pier at its Painesville Township Park; offering Lake Erie anglers a golden opportunity to cast for resident walleye, white bass, rock bass and smallmouth bass along with seasonally migrating steelhead trout.

Broken down the ponds receiving the warm-water species were the aforementioned Granger’s Pond, the 2.5-acre Blair Road Park Pond in Perry Village, the one-half acre pond at the Farmpark in Kirtland, and the 1.5-acre wetlands at the agency’s Concord Woods Park in Concord Township.

Lake Metroparks also has a score of other small, farm pond-type waters that receive stockings at other times of the year.

As for the rainbow trout, Lake Metroparks spent $3.80 per pound – or something on the order of $3,800 – for the fish which came from a private fish hatchery in Castalia, near Sandusky, said Tom Koricansky, the parks system’s natural resources manager.

“That’s about the same number of trout that we’ve been stocking in Granger’s for the past couple of years,” said Koricansky, who added in something of an understatement, “It’s been a popular program.”

Understatement it is, as the following morning more more than two dozen motor vehicles were observed occupying slots in Veteran’s parking lot while their owners and others were busy fishing from the three T-docks that jut into the small lake.

“What’s nice too is that some of the fish will over-winter in Granger’s and will still be available in the spring,” Koricansky said also.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Ohio's Attorney General channels NRA to help with school safety

Announced 2018 Republican gubernatorial contender and current Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine last month announced a school safety educational partnership between his office and the National Rifle Association.

The partnership involved bringing to Ohio the NRA’s National School Shield Assessor Training program. The first of these classes was conducted October 24th and 25th in the Wellston school district.

Attending the two-day conclave, said DeWine, were various school personnel, school resource officers as well as law enforcement officer representing more than 20 Ohio school districts. The NRA’s foundation picked up the entire tab for the progra, including paying for the various participants to attend.

The NRA-led program involves the organization helping to provide security experts who have the ability to help educate not only the educators but also local law enforcement regarding security assessment techniques.

This assembly encompasses everything from what to look for as it relates to current school building security, but also what improvements can be incorporated to make such structure even more safe for students, school staff and school visitors, DeWine said.

“I am proud to partner with the NRA to bring its impressive and helpful National School Shield training to Ohio,” DeWine said. “Keeping our kids safe at school is a too priority at every school.”

Course participants received certification on what was presented during the course study while their respective school districts will also now be eligible to apply for grants to help bolster safety improvements within structures The money will come from the NRA’s foundation and not taxpayer sources, DeWine said.

DeWine said that the initial success of the conclave at Wellston was so obvious that the attorney general wants to take it to other school districts around the state.

Following the February 12, 2012 shooting tragedy at Chardon High School and the one December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, DeWine said his office has made raising awareness regarding the importance of school safety a priority, and that the NRA’s “expertise and resources provided through this program will help to ensure the success of this important work.”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn