Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bass Pro Shops' founder one of world's richest persons


Collecting new fishing tackle and then carting it in a U-Haul trailer to where the material was sold out of a liquor store jump-started Johnny Morris’ ride to membership in the world’s most exclusive club.

Ranked Number 405 on Forbes’ list of the world’s richest people, Morris has a net worth of $4.1 billion. Yes, that’s with a “B” and not an “M.”

The 68-year-old Morris is the founder of the ever-expanding Bass Pro Shops’ universe of mail-order and retail sales.

In looking at the impressive list of billionaires, Morris is ahead of such other noteworthy persons as Steven Spielberg (Number 481 at $3.6 billion), Oprah Winfrey (Number 603 at $3 billion), Jimmy Haslan (owner of the Cleveland Browns and Number 663 at $2 billion, and Ted Turner (Number 847 at $2.2 billion).

Morris is also “tied” with land developer and maybe yes/maybe no Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

Forbes magazine annually compiles a list of the world’s richest people. There are the obscenely wealthy folks such as Number One Bill Gates – worth $79.2 billion – and Number Three Warren Buffett – worth $72.7 billion to such lowly entries as basketball legend and underwear commercial actor Michael Jordon – Number 1,741 at $1 billion.

Though worth oodles and bundles of big bucks, Morris still carries about him the airs of normalcy, or at least what passes for being normal and worth considerable change.

No longer actually running the day-to-day operations of Bass Pro Shops, Morris likes to say he’s the company’s “CFO.”  But that title doesn’t mean “Chief Financial Officer.” Oh, no; for Morris the three letters stand for “Chief Fishing Officer.”

Bass Pro Shops has 88 store outlets – with two in Ohio – and is looking to add 20 more – including one in Ohio – within the next few years.

In 2013, these stores and the firm’s mail-order business generated $4 billion in sales.

All in all, not bad for an enterprising sport who grew frustrated with the lack of fishing tackle being sold locally and who then came up with a game plan to overcome the problematic obstacle.

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Ohio's new concealed carry issuance numbers slip but rise in renewals


The number of Ohio concealed carry renewals is inching closer to the number of issued first-time permits.
Also, the number of Ohioans seeking their first-ever concealed carry permit has dramatically declined.
 
By law the Ohio Attorney General must submit quarterly and an annual report on the county-by-county breakdown of concealed carry permits. This tally includes first-time issuances, renewals, rejections, emergency-granted/non-renewable 90-day permits, and revocations.
The report is required to go to Ohio’s governor as well as the leaders in both chambers of Ohio’s state legislature.
In his recently issued report Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said that for 2014 the state’s 88 county sheriffs processed 58,060 new concealed carry permits as well as 52,146 renewals.
By comparison, for 2013 those figures were 96,972 and 48,370, respectively.
And for 2012 the numbers were 64,650 and 12,160, also respectively.

Begun in 2004 with the issuance of 45,497 concealed carry permits the number of Ohioans seeking such documents generally and steadily increased. Exceptions were the first couple of years when the program was just getting started and the number of permits declined.
The number of new permits applications processed peaked in 2013, though the number of five-year renewal permits being processed appears now to be on the rise.
Likewise rising is the number of revocations. In 2014 the state – through the various sheriff departments - revoked 1,412 permits. That figure is very nearly double the number of permits revoked in 2010: 720.
However, the number of denied permit applications dropped in 2014 (882) when compared to 2013 (1,142) and practically identical to the number in 2012 (889).
For 2014 among the counties with the highest number of new and renewal permits issued (respectively were: Lake –3,748 (the most new permits), and 1,853; Hamilton – 2,434 and 1,918; Butler 1,750 and 2,293; Montgomery – 2,798 and 2,258; Lucas – 907 and 1,127; Lorain – 1,228 and 1,116; Franklin – 3,696 and 2,770 (the most renewals); Clermont – 1,773 and 2,361; Summit – 1,353 and 1,973; Mahoning – 1,494 and 686.

Among Ohio’s 88 counties which either issued the least number of new or renewal concealed carry permits were: Coshocton – 87 and 33 (the least number of issuances in each category); Hardin – 153 and 105; Harrison – 132 and 70; Meigs – 98 and 97; Noble – 137 and 37; Paulding – 102 and 36; Henry – 140 and 84; Monroe – 112 and 75; Adams – 136 and 156; Defiance – 114 and 92.

In regards to permit application denials among the leaders were Hamilton – 113 (the greatest number of denials); Montgomery – 106; Lake – 92; Summit – 57; Stark – 45; Cuyahoga – 34.

Also, about 19 or so counties saw no denials in their application processing with a goodly number more counties experiencing fewer than 10 denials each.
As for revocations, Ohio recorded yanking 373 permits. Among the counties withdrawing the greatest number of concealed carry permits were: Montgomery – 40 (the county with the most revocations); Lake – 39; Franklin – 34; Cuyahoga – 33; Clermont and Hamilton – 30 each.

The largest ever number of concealed carry revocations was in 2012 with741 license retrievals by Ohio’s 88 county sheriffs.
Revocations are made for several reasons and not just because a permit holder may have been convicted of a crime worthy of having to give up a concealed carry permit
Among the other revocation possibilities are the holder dying or moving out of state, the holder being legally determined to be considered drug- or alcohol-dependent, the holder determined under Ohio law as being mentally ill, or the person simply no longer wanting a concealed carry permit.

DeWine’s extensive report further lists the number of states that have signed reciprocity agreements with Ohio. These compacts allow legally licensed concealed carry permit holders “… carry weapons in those jurisdictions and for those states’ citizens to carry weapons in Ohio.”

Importantly, notes DeWine as well, that such legal documented exchanges are required to include an analysis of those other state laws “to ensure they meet the requirements of Ohio’s concealed carry handgun law (ORC 109.69) and vice versa.”

 To date Ohio has official reciprocal agreements with Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
 
- 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.
 
 
 

 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Upcoming Wildlife Division Open Houses; or the agency's annual Dog and Pony Show


The cynic in us might very well ask whether it’s worth attending the up-coming concurrent Open Houses that will address the game law proposals for the 2015-2016 hunting seasons.

After all, following the conclusion of the recently held Deer Summits the Ohio Division of Wildlife made a not-so-subtle end-run around that series’ attendees.

While agency officials stressed in no uncertain terms their unwavering support for the early antlerless-only/muzzle-loading deer-hunting season those empowered to override the field staff did just, many who attended the summits were chagrined to learn.

Added to the dismay that the Wildlife Division says one thing on a Saturday and then presents something else entirely several days later was the out-from-far-right-field proposal to add a two-day general firearms deer-hunting season the day after Christmas.

In the world of the British Commonwealth December 26th is known as “Boxing Day.” And rightfully many Ohio’s deer hunters believed the Wildlife Division had unnecessarily and unfairly repackage the deer hunting comments (promises?) that called for holding the line for the 2015-2016 season.

And now the agency is calling for all good hunters to come to the aid of the annual so-named Ohio Houses, scattered across each of the Wildlife Division’s five districts.

Each of these district Open House meetings are set for noon to 3 p.m., Saturday, March 7.

Additionally, comments will be taken electronically through the following day, Sunday, March 8.

On the agenda are – in the words of the Ohio Division of Wildlife – “…opportunities for anyone interested in sharing input and participating in Ohio’s professional wildlife management process.”

To attend the meeting will be Wildlife Division biologists and law enforcement personnel who’ll explain the proposals as well as listen to the praises, gripes, concerns and opinions of the attendees.

Of course those goals were also the thrust behind the Deer Summits. Yet many of the hunters who attended them now understands why cynicism about what the Wildlife Division says at one point isn’t always what the Wildlife Division produces somewhere else down the line.

Still, if you have a hankering to attend - and still believe that your praise, gripes, concerns and opinions really do matter - by all means visit one of the five locations. A well-orchestrated dog-and-pony show is often good for a chuckle or two.

And it may not hurt though chances are it really won’t matter because as often as not (and increasingly so) the voice of Ohio’s sportsmen is falling on deaf ears.
 

The locations for the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s March 7 Open Houses:

·         Central Ohio: Wildlife District One office, 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus 43215; 614-644-3925;

·         Northwest Ohio: Wildlife District Two office, 952 Lima Avenue, Findlay 45840; 419-424-5000;

·         Northeast Ohio: Wildlife District Three office, 912 Portage Lakes Drive, Akron 44319; 330-644-2293;

·         Southeast Ohio: Wildlife District Four office, 360 E. State Street, Athens 45701; 740-589-9930;

·         Southwest Ohio: Greene County Fish and Game, 1538 Union Road, Xenia 45385; 937-372-9261.

·          

·          

·         By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

·         JFrischk@Ameritech.net

·         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, February 22, 2015

Angler-shooter buying habits are detailed


If any surprise exists for the buying habits of American hunters and anglers it is that there are no surprises.

Or at least only a few surprises.

The highly respected and thoroughly performed summaries of buying trends performed by the co-joined AnglerSurvey.com and ShooterSurvey.com are go-to insights useful for their respective industries, state fish and game agencies and even sportsmen and sportswomen.

Pooled together under the banner Southwick and Associates, the latest compilations illustrate just how traditional-bound are the nation’s anglers, hunters, and shooters.

Among the most recent AnglerSurvey.com’s findings were that the vast majority of fishing rod and reel combinations were – on average – one-half the cost of purchasing rods and reels separately in order to make an assembly.

This trend is easily noticeable in any good fishing tackle or general purpose outdoors store where such “combos” are often more numerous than the racks of reels and the counter displays of fishing reels, each of which is looking for a suitable partner and a good home.

Also, spinnerbaits are much less popular fishing baits than are hardbaits and jigs. Meanwhile, more than a little bit are the sales of various terminal tackle (hooks, bobbers, sinkers) made at local bait and tackle stores.

In both of these cases every head ought to bow in recognizable understanding.

So too is what anglers seek with largemouth/spotted bass so far in the popularity lead (50 percent of fresh-water anglers) that the second place category – panfish – is way far back; less than 35 percent, in fact.

Sorry, Lake Erie walleye anglers, nationally AnglerSurvey found that only 14 percent of the surveyed anglers sought this species. It’s even less for steelhead; try 5.9 percent.

And almost as many anglers seek carp (2.2 percent) as do those who seek white bass (2.9 percent).

If any eyebrow-raising was seen in the AnglerSurvey.com findings it is that fly fishers are far more likely to utilize the Internet than are anglers who utilize other types of fishing gear.

AnglerSurvey.com found that while fly fishers made 32 percent of their purchases in specialty angling stores,\ some 33 percent went on-line an made buys via fly-fishing websites.

Then again – and certainly predictable – is that flies were the Number One purchase made by fly fishers, though a “huh?” is credible regarding the AnglerSurvey.com finding that of the flies purchased more than one-half were nymph patterns, and not dry flies, streamers, and wet flies.

Too, of the fishers profiled in the latest survey, 65 percent of the respondents fished in freshwater only, 20 percent in saltwater only, and 15 percent fished in both mediums.

(As a personal aside, during several fishing trips I’ve made to Florida I’ve always been amazed as to how many saltwater anglers and freshwater anglers fished only their own respective turf, and even acted astonished when asked whether they’ve ever crossed over to the other side.)

Anyway, a couple of other surprising/not-so-surprising numbers is that more freshwater anglers fished from powerboats (65 percent) than those who fished from shore (39 percent).

On the okay-we’ve-got-something-new-to-report-here side, more anglers fished from kayaks (12) than either from bass boats (7 percent), from canoes (2 percent), or from float-tubes (also 2 percent.)

That fishing from kayaks has grown so rapidly is also likely being noted in the growing presence such vessels are having in larger outdoors retail stores.

Moving on to hunting, HunterSurvey.com hardly shatters the world with the news that 9mm and .45 Auto – in that order – remain the most popular handgun cartridges.

Hardly surprising either is that the vast majority of handguns purchases were for self-defense (45 percent).

A figure I’m not sure how to interpret other than to note the continued supply shortage of .22 long rifle cartridges, is that for every box of rimfire ammunition sold, shooters bought three boxes of center-fire rifle ammunition.

Not even worth a wrinkled brow in surprise is that purchases of lead shot shotshells are twice as popular as those containing non-lead shot.

Oh, and in spite of inroads made by such firms as Mossberg, Winchester, Weatherby and Beretta, the making, marketing and selling of affordable shotguns, far and away Remington remains the Number One preferred.

Something of a personal eyebrow twitch-raiser was how Pyrodex still holds the top spot in sales for black-powder substitutes and not Triple Seven or any of the other current stable of black-powder exchange materials.

In terms of why people bought hunting/firearm-related products during the survey period for November-December, for the use in hunting was most at 36.2 percent. Meanwhile, purchases for general shooting were 31.5 percent, self-defense at 14.9 percent, and gift at 9.5 percent.

Again when thinking about no-brainer firearms/hunting-related, ammunition accounted for 63.7 percent of sales while the purchases of firearms ranked fifth at 40.9 percent.

Purchases of shooting equipment, hunting equipment and even hunting apparel ranked higher than did the buying of firearms.

Maybe an “oh, boy” surprise is the statistic whereby more air rifles were bought during the survey period (4 percent) than were crossbows (3.5 percent.)

Okay, since this story is also about no surprises here’s one: Of the types of shotguns purchased during the survey period it wasn’t even close. Pump-action models accounted for 40.7 percent of such buys. Trailing behind were semi-autos at 30.8 percent.

Hardly a blip were the sales of over/unders (13.9 percent), side-by-sides (9.9 percent), and single shot shotguns (2.8 percent).

Anyone startled by these numbers? Didn’t think so.

In the arena of archery tackle sales, I was taken aback somewhat by the fact that many more purchasers said they bought longbows (19.8 percent) than did those people saying they purchase crossbows (10.1 percent).

So there you have it. Pump-action shots remain king of the hill as does 9mm ammunition, the Internet sale of fishing flies, and  fishing for largemouth bass.

On the other hand, a bit of noteworthiness is how in spite of more states liberalizing the allowance of crossbows for hunting, longbow sales still rank supreme.

Similarly, on the trends-to-watch categories is the growth of fishing from kayaks as well as the one for sales of fishing reel-fishing rod combinations.

Take all of this to the bank, if you will; and I suspect that is exactly what the shooting/hunting/fishing industries are doing with such reports as those under the banner of AnglingSurvey.com and ShooterSurvey.com.

-         By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

-         JFrischk@Ameritech.net
     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, February 15, 2015

Arctic cold not putting chill on Great Backyard Bird Count


Half-way through the annual Great Backyard Bird Count and event participants are demonstrating their stubborn streak in defying the cold.

Nationally and to date, 42,862 Americans have chalked up seeing 620 bird species.

And having gone international a few years ago the project (a joint venture of the Cornell Ornithological Laboratory and the National Audubon Society) electronically recorded tallies are now coming in from 116 countries such as Canada, the United Kingdom, India and even Serbia.

So far the GBBC has recorded nearly 74,00 checklists, observed almost 3,900 bird species and checked off an astonishing nearly nine million individual birds.

A growing interest in the program has led to the establishment of various categories that – alas – are more complex in deciphering and ferreting out the details than in the past.

That said, the to-date tally for Ohio features 1,912 checklists with 120 bird species being listed.

In the lead is California with 3,835 checklists and 346 bird species. Other southern migration states like Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Florida also understandably are faring well in the bird species seen and the number of birding participants.

For Ohio the (so far, anyway) top five counties for bird species counted are Hamilton (80), Franklin (68), Delaware 965), Butler (60), and Montgomery (59).

Closer to home here in Northeast Ohio, Geauga County’s to-date roster feature 44 species tallied by 55 participants, Lake County to-date score card includes 45 species and seen by 69 participants, Cuyahoga County’s current up-to-date data is built on 50 species as seen by a mind-warping 230 participants, Ashtabula County’s figures are a more modest 31 species an just 17 participants.

Ohio also has – thus far, anyway – eight counties with neither any recorded bird species sightings or counters. Among them are Adams, Meigs, Noble and Van Wert.

As for species being featured thus far for Ohio Canada geese easily stand on the upper rung with 3,000 individuals counted thus far, common grackle and ring-billed gulls, each with 1,000 individuals counted, and American crows with 538 individuals thus far counted.

Among the species on the not-so-many-counted side of the ledger are the northern bobwhite quail (two), American woodcock (one), killdeer (one), and American bald eagle (seven).

The strictly volunteer-based Great Backyard Bird Count continues through Monday, February 16 though participants can continue to update or add their lists for a while longer, though the official web site doesn’t make finding this piece of vital information all that easy to locate. (Like I said at the top, the GBBC has gotten pretty complex over the years).

Anyway, for further information and to register to participate, visting the program’s web site at www.gbbc.birdcount.org.

And good luck at finding what you need. In spite of its electronic complexity the count really is a good and fun birding project.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

 

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Ohio's Deer Summit concerns tallied and quantified by the numbers


Some three weeks after five concurrent Deer Summits were held the Ohio Division of Wildlife has released a tabulation of attendee preferences.

Given that only 160 people total took the time January 24 to hear what the Wildlife Division had to say on the subject and then voice their opinions and concerns, the figures may or may not be a true representation of the state’s deer hunters.

Yet those interested persons who did take the time to tune into one of the five concurrently held sessions believed strongly enough about Ohio’s deer management to give up a Saturday morning.

Based on the replies collected by the Wildlife Division during the question and answer period, six subjects were of paramount importance for the attendees. These points included:

·        Concerns over the new deer check-in system and possible related increased instances of poaching.

·        Concerns and understanding of chronic wasting disease.

·        Licensing fees for out-of-state hunters and the widely held belief these fees are too low.

·        The impact of coyote predation on deer, particularly fawns.

·        The overall impact on Ohio’s deer herd as it relates to the issuance of deer damage permits.

·        Concern over the widely held belief that bag limits on deer as they exist now are too high/liberal.

For some specific areas and as assembled from all five summits in each of the Wildlife Division’s districts, the agency tabulated responses for and against the several questions.

For the question of whether to allow the use of legal firearms during all or part of the January statewide muzzle-loading season only 17 summit attendees expressed support while 65 attendees were opposed and eight persons had no opinion.

As for the question of ending all deer hunting – including archery deer hunting – following the conclusion of the statewide muzzle-loading deer-hunting season, more than twice the number of respondents said “no” as compared to those who said “yes.” Exact  numbers were 22 attendees in support and 47 attendees opposed. Another 18 attendees had no opinion.

However, the number of people who expressed “no opinion” greatly exceeded proponents or opponents on the subject of moving the youth-only general firearms deer-hunting season to another weekend. The tabulation numbers were 19 attendees in support of such a move, 26 in opposition, but 43 attendees expressed no opinion.

Support was greatest for limiting the killing/harvesting of antlerless deer on public lands. Here, fully 45 respondents were in the affirmative. Meanwhile only 15 attendees were opposed and a significantly large number - 28 attendees - had no opinion.

As the debate intensifies over Ohio’s deer management policies and practices ride the second rail and the subject of regulatory changes rides the first rail these and other related subjects will be taking center stage in the weeks ahead.

That said, on a topic of keen interest to hundreds of thousands of Ohio sportsmen and sportswomen it would be a pity that change will come – or not come - about because of hunter apathy.

 - 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.
 

 
 

Friday, February 13, 2015

Ohio's Wildlife Division employs too many explosives in its deer management profile


It was a classic line in a classic movie but speaks volumes regarding Ohio’s start-stop-redo deer-management program.

In the 1969 blockbuster “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” the duo had just robbed a train, using a significant amount of pyrotechnics to accomplish their nefarious ends.

As the two men get up and dust themselves off, the Sundance Kid (portrayed by actor Robert Redford) looks to Butch Cassidy (played by actor Paul Newman) and rhetorically asks: “Think ‘ya used enough dynamite there, Butch?”

The obvious answer is an unqualified “yes.” It’s also the same rhetorical Q&A response that more than a handful of Ohio deer hunters are cynically applying to the Ohio Division of Wildlife and its deer-management strategies, goals, rules, bag limits and other such accompanying truck.

For good reason, too, since the Wildlife Division just doesn’t get it. Instead, the agency has jumped into the cold waters of rejuvenating the state’s deer herd via revamped (but still proposed) 2015-2016 deer-hunting regulations, any number of which defy common sense.

Startling in oh-so-many ways, the Wildlife Division doesn’t even think the look of the proposed 2015-2016 deer regulation are all that different from the ones Ohio’s hunters dealt with during the 2014-2015 season.

That the Ohio Division of Wildlife abandoned – at least for now and almost assuredly forever if truth be told – the early two-day antlerless-only/muzzle-loading-only season and substituted it with the calendar-relocated youth-only/general firearms deer-hunting season is a sure sign of how agency officials are groping in the dark in an effort to make (most) everyone happy.

Likewise, for the agency’s chief to say that a five-day gap between the proposed two-day so-named “holiday” gun season and the start of a four-day muzzle-loading season is ample time for deer to calm down is pretty much proof positive the Wildlife Division is out of touch with reality.

After all, one of the reasons cited for the reshuffling of the deer season deck that (among other things) would move the youth-only season further back in the calendar, was to keep it at long-arm’s length from the general firearms deer-hunting season.

Ignored as well is that a tacked-on two-day late season falls immediately after Christmas Day properly leaves deer hunters scratching their heads in wonderment.

The day after Christmas: Really and seriously, Wildlife Division? Perhaps such a season makes sense for those hunters who have the good fortune to be able to walk out their back doors.

However, for any hunter who wants to head out for deer camp late on Christmas Day, the best advice would be to have on retainer a good divorce attorney. Surely one will be needed on returning to the home front and a family that was abandoned on this all-important and family themed holiday.

Then too there comes to mind the words of the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s deer-management administrator Mike Tonkovich.

At the Wildlife Division’s recently held Deer Summit  at the agency’s Akron office, Tonkovich more than implied how little different the 2015-2016 deer-hunting regulatory framework would look when stacked next to the just concluded 2014-2015 regulatory (supposed) twin.

Focus, rather, on the 2016-2017 season, Deer Summit attendees were told. That is when the Wildlife Division will roll out a totally redesigned deer-hunting model, complete with a zone/unit, Tonkovich noted.

In attempting to explain it all away, the Wildlife Division’s chief Scott Zody said during a teleconference with outdoors writers yesterday (Thursday, February 12) the agency’s proposals were tweaked a short while after after the deer summits.

Don’t want to incorporate too many changes all at once, was the way Zody put it.

Ho-boy, tweaking is a word of vast understatement. Especially since Zody’s take on the subject is polar opposite of what hunters were exposed to at the several concurrently held deer summits only a few weeks earlier.

And demonstrating further a believability disconnect is the notion of how the Wildlife Division all too often says one thing only to retract it later under the guise of fine-tuning.

A source in Columbus says the revisions really weren’t the Wildlife Division’s design anyway. Instead, the agency is being overly manipulated by politically hired and politically motivated minions within the parent Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Who –in turn, it’s being said – are seeing their puppet strings livened by state legislators and a governor hell-bent on dismantling as many Natural Resources divisions as possible.

All of which falls under the spreadsheet of speculation, more or less.

Still, where there is smoke there has to be at least a spark of some fire. And few people inside the Wildlife Division - coupled with some who have retired or left the agency as well as more than a few deer-hunting sportsmen and sportswomen - believe this is not the same agency it was a generation or even a decade ago.

Far from it, they’ll note, saying the Wildlife Division used way too much dynamite is its previous efforts to reduce the state’s deer herd with better management and with fewer deer-damage complaints in mind.

Even so and for whatever reasons and for whomever in political power is helping to call the shots, the Wildlife Division’s 2015-2016 deer-hunting proposals are no less an extravagant overuse of regulatory explosives.

This has all got to come to a screaming halt if the Wildlife Division is ever again to regain the respect of its constituency base and the trust of its hard-working grunts in the field.
 
- 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.