Thursday, December 31, 2009

Lake Erie bucket brigade ready (But are the walleye?)

John Hageman Jr. - a Lake Erie western basin ice fishing guide - is pumped up about this week’s cold weather.

And his hope is that sub-freezing temperatures will continue through the next week as well. Such conditions will bolster the lake’s ice-making duties.

“I heard that the western basin has a skim of ice and the Miller ferry ran until just after Christmas,” said Hageman who uses South Bass Island’s Put-in-Bay as his jumping-off point.

“It’s finally looking like it might happen, especially since we’re going to get cold,” Hageman said.

The big question is what will happen next week, weather wise. A warm up will delay ice production while continued cold will see good ice-making conditions, Hageman said.

Typically the western basin’s ice fishing season begins around mid-January, Hageman said.

Hageman said also that ice fishing for walleye should be “fair” this season but not much more.

“It won’t be outstanding because we’ve been taking out of that large 2003 class. But the fish are big and that will make a lot of fishermen happy. We also have fish from the 2007 hatch and many of these fish became legal size this past summer. I know a lot of guys don’t like them that small but if they are the only game in town that’s what you go for,” Hageman said.

As for yellow perch this fishing, this angling likewise should be fair. Which is due to a respectable - though not super-abundant - population of yellow perch, Hageman said.

“The perch have seemed to have done better due to more stable weather during this species’ spawn,” Hageman said.

Hageman said also that he’s received fewer inquiries about bookings though that could change with the formation of good ice.

“In my case I don’t need all that many people, just enough to replace the ones I lost due to the economy. There’s plenty of work to go around,” he said.

For information about ice fishing with Hageman, contact him at 419-285-2029.

A roster of licensed Ohio Lake Erie fishing guides is available by sending a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: Ice Fishing Guide, Outdoors, The News-Herald, 7085 Mentor Ave., Willoughby, Ohio 44094.

The self-addressed stamped envelope is required or the request cannot be processed.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Is it good-bye LORAN-C? (or hello enhanced LORAN?)

Once the mainstay for navigating on large bodies of water (like Lake Erie,) the "long range aid to navigation" - or LORAN-C - may be terminated as early as January 4.

The process - if the Secretary of Homeland Security certifies that existing infrastructure is not needed as a GPS backup - could take months to complete. The Coast Guard's commandant has all ready certified that LORAN-C is not needed for maritime safety.

Zachariah Conover, president and CEO of Windham, MA.-based CrossRate Technology, LLC, says there is "a mountain of evidence" that suggests that enhanced eLORAN-C should become the long-term backup for GPS and that the Homeland Security Department head is weighing this evidence.

First employed during World War II, LORAN-C was the only reliable electronic navigation system for several decades. But it began its decent due to the almost universal switch to the satellite-driven Global Positioning System (GPS).

It is unclear, the Ohio Division of Watercraft Division notes, how other nations who operate their own LORAN-C systems will react should the U.S. moth-ball its system.

For CrossRate Technology's take on the subject, visit the firm's web site at

In other Watercraft Division news, the agency will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2010. At the same time it is looking for new watercraft officers.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Ohio deer kill update (On the rise, too)

The tally of deer legally taken during Ohio's various hunting seasons continues to climb. So much so that when all things are said and done the total all-seasons harvest for the year will likely exceed 250,000 animals.

Right now the figure is more than 227,748 deer as being shot. Broken down, that figure is made up of the 474 deer shot during the special early muzzle-loading season at three locations, the 53,959 deer killed during the first six weeks of the archery hunting season, the 9,331 deer taken during the youth-only gun season, the 114,633 animals harvested during the week-long gun season, the 19,900 deer shot during the bonus two-day gun season, and the 29,451 deer harvested during weeks seven through nine of the archery hunting season.

From 16,000 to 21,000 deer are typically killed during the four-day muzzle-loading season. This year's statewide muzzle-loading season is set for Jan. 9 through 12.

Ohio's deer archery hunting season continues through Feb. 7.

Last year, the all-seasons deer harvest totaled 252,017 animals.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santa's coming to twon (Hey, I resemble that remark)

At least I got the part correct about the sleigh being red and all.

Of course my Hyundai Tucson is fueled by a V6 engine with a whale lot more horsepower than that provided by Santa's eight tiny reindeer (nine, if you count Rudolf).

Our respective missions, however, are similar in a number of respects. Santa delivers the stuff to good little boys and girls.

Meanwhile, I set about Wednesday - and several days earlier - delivering "thank-you" gifts to landowners who allow me to fish for steelhead on their properties as well as those landowners who permit to seek ducks, wild turkeys, deer and small-game on their farms and rural real estate.

For many years now I've used the week before Christmas to make my run; one being about 25 miles round-trip and the other about 120-miles round trip. This year everyone got a decorative decanter of home-made maple syrup; liquid gold that my wife and I produced last spring in our own backyard sugar-bush.

Some people might say this is all a bribe. If that's what you think, fine. How I view it is appreciation for allowing me the opportunity to trespass. This has earned me more than my share of fish and game for the freezer as well as the chance to work my dogs, forget about the pressures of work for a while and take my wife, grandchildren, grand-nephew, brothers, sister and friends for a few hour of hunting and fishing.

So what if I go overboard, spending around $200 or more for the gifts, their containers and baskets and similar goodies? These are all fine folk and it shows that they appreciate as much my thoughtfulness as I appreciate their thoughtfulness.

Surprisingly a lot of other hunters and anglers fail in this mission, maybe sending a greeting card or making a cheery telephone call around the holidays. But not much more, if at all.

But my older brother Terry and I believe that a token of appreciation is always well accepted. That's why Terry gives out more than one canned ham or frozen turkey every holiday season.

Besides, it's a lot of fun and I enjoy the smile on the faces of the recipients. In one case I had the homeowner come out of his house after i dropped off the syrup and tell me how much he and his wife love the sweet treat, looking forward to it every Christmas season. Another recipient even sent an e-mail to me saying how much they liked the gift, too.

No question this is a feel-good deal that runs up and down both sides of the street. But it also is something (I believe) that more hunters, anglers, sportsmen should think about doing.

And it's not too late to play Santa, either. After-Christmas sales will happen starting Saturday, and even if the gift is one of those ubiquitous cheese-sausage-cracker gift boxes it really is the thought that counts.

So buckle up, put on your best holiday face and blaze orange suit and greet the landowners who let YOU hunt and fish with the most hearty "Ho-ho-ho, Merry Christmas" that you can muster. They'll thank you and you'll feel downright pleased with yourself.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Hi-Ho, a camping we'll go (Along with everyone else)

Overnight stays at Ohio's state parks jumped this year in spite of a still-sour economy.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Parks and Recreation notes that overnight stays jumped nearly 10 percent this year.

This past year the parks division recorded 578,248 overnight camping stays, an increase from the 531,612 overnight camping stays in 2008.

"Helps" that aided in the increase included the voluntary services of no fewer than 54 local "friends" groups that assisted with individual park improvement projects.

Not surprising then, customer satisfaction increased by 1 1/2 percent to a sliding scale of 4.613 out of a possible 5.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tons of venison donated (Tis' the hunting season)

With the second component of Ohio's firearms deer hunting season set for tomorrow and Sunday it's noteworthy to point out that the state's hunters have (so far) donated 95,500 pounds of venison from 1,910 deer. This figure represents 382,000 meals.

Last year at the same time, 671 deer were donated and collectively provided 33,550 pounds of venison.

The project is a cooperative venture between the Ohio Division of Wildlife and butchers. It is called Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry. A $100,000 subsidy grant was provided in two $50,000 installments by the Wildlife Division with the understanding that the funds would be matched by the FHFH.

Venison donated to food banks must be processed by a federal, state or locally inspected and insured meat processor that is participating with the FHFH. There are currently 65 participating meat processors in Ohio.

Locally in Lake County, Lake Metroparks has teamed up the Coast Guard's Station Fairport Harbor, the United Way of Lake County and Leroy Township butcher Joe O'Donnell in providing processed deer for several area food banks.

During the recently concluded first segment of the firearms deer hunting season O'Donnell had processed 200 pounds of venison.

For information about donating a deer, contact O'Donnell at 440-667-6907.

In other deer gun hunting related news, during the seven-day deer gun season the state recorded eight hunting accidents, called incidents. This figure was on the high average end. At least none of these accidents were fatal.

Last year during the two-day extended gun season the Wildlife Division recorded four hunting accidents, two of which were fatal.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Second best (Bear went over P-As' mountain)

Pennsylvania's black bear hunters scored their second-best-ever harvest this past season.

In all, the state saw a black bear kill of 3,499 bears. The record was set in 2005 with a take of 4,164 bear.

Some of the top counties - and very familiar with many Northeast Ohio sportsmen - included (with 2008 figures in parentheses): Warren - 101 (59), Crawford - 8 (31), Venango - 33 (64), Tioga - 215 (236), Potter - 181 (294), and McKean - 142 (141).
Super kills were recorded in Clinton - 294 (139), and Lycoming - 280 (251).

Some of the biggest, baddest bears were a 655-pound brute taken in Carbon County, a 654-pound male shot also in Carbon County, and a likewise 654-pound bear harvested in Carbon County as well.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Farmers not coming aboard (Dismal hunt match)

Ohio's efforts to link deer hunters with property owners in four deer-rich, southeast Ohio counties are much less than stellar.

This program combines backing by the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the Ohio Farm Bureau and is designed to link via the Internet farmers with hunters.

However, the ratio is only about 100 hunter applicants to every farmer who signs up. Only 75 of the latter have signed on with several thousand eager hunters having filled out a profile in the hopes they'd be selected. Very few were, though.

Luke Miller, the Wildlife Division official in charge of the new program, says the Farm Bureau will conduct a survey to see how many farmers actually made contact with any on-line hunter or simply stayed with the tried-and-true method of a knock on the door.

The goal - should further study indicate - might include expanding the project, Miller said also.

In other outdoors-related news, Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla., has introduced legislation that will prevent the further importation and interstate sale of nine species of constrictor snakes.

This proposal comes as Florida is being overrun with constrictor snakes, some of which have escaped from the owners while other people simply abandoned the reptiles once they became too large to be cared for.

But the constrictors have found an inviting home in Florida and are beginning to cause environmental problem in the Everglades. Sankes in excess of 400 pounds have been captured.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Weather takes bite out of hunt (Oh, and Al Lindner, too)

With today's really crummy cold, windy, snowy weather the end to this year's waterfowl hunting season is almost assured.

Wednesday I managed to take both Berry and Jenny Lynn - my two Labrador retrievers - out for a goose hunt on a small lake I have access to.

I had to turn around and face away from the lake, the wind coming so strong with large droplets of rain that pelted me. The dogs weren't happy, either, and 12-year-old Jenny Lynn frequently came into the blind to get out of the nasty brew.

We didn't see a single goose and heard only one bird way off in the distance.

With well below freezing temperatures expected for the next several days I suspect the pond's waters will freeze solid and put an end to the goose season even though it just started up again Monday.

I might be able to do some land hunting, largely pass shooting for geese but I dunno'. It's pretty iffy and up in the air right now.

I did seed my deer stand/ground blind area today with 100 pounds of shelled corn and a half-peck of apples. What was placed there two days ago was gone and I suspect the deer will be looking for food during this cold snap.

Oh, well, I do have the up-coming ice-fishing season to look forward to.

On another note, famed fishing brothers Al and Ron Lindner are celebrating their 40th year on television as fishing show hosts.

It all started in 1970, three years after Al had returned from Viet Nam. They began with sponsors Rapala, MinnKota, Lund and Mercury - all of whom continue their relationship with the Lindners.

Creators of the In-Fisherman TV show and magazine, the brothers have branched out in other directions but still maintain their main goal of in-depth fishing education. The Lindner's latest remaking of themselves can be seen starting at 10 a.m., Jan. 2 on the Vs cable network.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sad day (Grand Rivet Tackle begins close-out)

There we were this morning, anglers gathered together like a flock of greedy vultures picking over the remains of a dead deer.

But it would be difficult to blame us for wanting to snatch up deals on fly-tying equipment and supplies, fishing line, reels, St. Croix rods, hooks, bobbers and virtually everything else inside Grand River Tackle's Fairport Harbor emporium.

For 25 years Bruce Dickerson has dispensed with sound fishing advice along with tackle and gear not generally found in most other tackle shops. It was the area's go-to place for fly-tying supplies, emerald shiners, ice-fishing maggots and a whole lot more.

This morning the shop was being overseen by Bruce's daughter, Kelly, along with Jon Ondo. The sale will continue either until the end of the month or when all the merchandise has been sold, which may come first, based on the number of buying customers visiting the store this morning.

While the 50-percent-off deals were too much to pass up it still was a sad occasion. I will miss the shop; its fishing reports, the opportunity to buy hooks for making sucker spawns and woolly buggers and just a neat place to wool gather fishing opinions.

Here's to whatever is in store for Bruce and Kelly. May all their future dreams be fulfilled.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Deer season starts quiet, ends even more quiet (There's always the two-day hunt))

The muzzle-loader hunter strolled up and out along the trail, past where I was sitting and toward the small parking lot that held our respective vehicles.

We both had permission to hunt this corner of Geauga County, a parcel with deeply steep ravines, benches and open woods.

He was dejected. Today was the close of Ohio's seven-day firearms deer hunting season and it ended with a whimper. No make that no noise at all. In four hours of hunting today the muzzle-loader hadn't seen a single deer - and he had ventured far into the large piece of private property.

For me I snatched another hour or so, situated myself at the pointed edge of a ridge overlooking a bench and seeing one further below. The last thing I wanted to do was move forward to overlook the next step, however. What goes down must come up and if I shot a doe down yonder it would have been one heck of a drag up the hill.

I had hunted nearly all of two days and parts of three others. In that time I had seen but two deer, a buck and one doe. Not very promising.

But the word throughout Northeast Ohio was how empty the fields and forests seemed to be both of deer and deer hunters this gun season. It's been a puzzle but maybe the muzzle-loader had accidentally hit on something.

Today - Sunday - was the first opportunity he had during the entire seven-day season to seek a deer with his side-lock percussion rifle. He's been busy. So busy that he apologised to no one in particular that he and his friends were not able to even get together and assemble typically successful drives on various holdings in west-central Geauga County.

That could very well be the case with many other hunters as well. In this tight economy trying to take time off to go and chase deer might bring down the wrath of an employer. So perhaps hunters are holding back, dreaming of the day when the economy turns around and they can take vacation time to pursue game.

Then again - and like the muzzle-loader - they're just waiting (and hopeful) the weather will cooperate, the deer will cooperate and the boss will cooperate and then they'll be able to take in the bonus two-day gun hunt or even early January's muzzle-loading season.

No use pining over what was. Now's the time to look ahead and keep the spark of hope alive.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day Six of Gun Season (Hey, where did all the deer go?)

Today is Day Six of Ohio's firearms deer hunting season and it turned out largely to fire blanks.

For eight eager hunters who shared breakfast together along with hopeful anticipation the plot of ground along the Grand River in Ashtabula County fueled our communal desire to score on some more venison.

Yet even before we started our first drive of the morning we sensed that something was amiss. We had seen few other hunters as we left the Rock Creek diner and headed south to our destination.

Worse, absent was the sound of much distant gunfire, a foreboding that would toss an anchor line around our efforts as well.

Drives that normally squirted out multiple numbers of deer yielded nothing, though the cover was still excellent and the history of the place spoke of success.

The best we could do today would be to bump a trio of does; the animals and us play hop-scotch from one wooden draw to the next logged-off ravine as they snaked along the Grand River.

Clearly we were growing frustrated and disappointed. Last year this chunk of Ashtabula County real estate held an abundance of deer. And even though we didn't kill them all we sure did help keep the ammunition companies in business.

Today we could have gone gun-less and done just as well. Only one of our party of eight even came close to killing a deer - and that was unloading three rounds in a Hail Mary attempt at a fleeing doe.

After a short lunch break we were all primed for the best of the day. It was here last year where our same party had bagged three deer and missed a bunch more. Deer were squirting out everywhere.

Not this time. Only a lone, rather pale-looking red fox was pushed out ahead of the walkers and toward the four standers.

It was a very disappointing end to a frustrating week of gun hunting. In four days of effort (either the whole day or a partial day) I had seen just one buck and one doe.

I know the Ohio Division of Wildlife is trying to reduce the state's deer herd but I am hoping their objectives are being too liberal.

We will know by Monday afternoon whether the rest of Ohio's corps of 425,000 or so gun hunters were similarly perplexed at the lack of deer.

But our party will try again during the up-coming two-day bonus season along with the four-day muzzle-loading season.

Hopefully what we saw today was just a fluke.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, December 4, 2009

End of an era (Grand River Tackle to close)

A Northeast Ohio fishing institution for a generation, Grand River Tackle in Fairport Harbor is set to close, likely by the end of December.

The tackle shop's owner, Bruce Dickerson, and his daughter, Kelly, tried to keep the shop open and profitable.

However, the continuing sour economy has taken its toll on many industries, not the least of which is the sport fishing industry. That includes such operations as Grand River Tackle.

The store became more than just a place to buy emerald shiners, fly-tying equipment to self-make woolly buggers and sucker spawns, but also a go-to destination for local fishing advice, whether it be for Lake Erie walleye and yellow perch or for stream steelhead.

What started out in Grand River Village the shop eventually moved to Fairport Harbor at the crossroads where anglers wanting to launch their boats at the public ramp or head right and fish the Uniroyal Hole of the Grand River pretty much had to pass by.

Dickerson was always more than willing to give his advice for free and also run a first-class annual steelhead fishing derby. His skills at tying flies and instructing beginners (myself included as well as my wife, Bev) were (are still) as rock-solid. He's first-class act all the way.

But a tackle shop needs to do more than just sell Sticky Eggs for spawn sack making or maggots for farm pond fishing. It also has to sell higher-end items like rods, reels and such. That is tough enough for big sporting goods chain stores let alone a small, family run business.

The shop will conduct a 50-percent off sale starting at 8 a.m., Tuesday, Dec. 8. And depending upon remaining inventory and volume of traffic, the store will remain open through the end of the month.

No question, however, the anglers of Northeast Ohio have lost more than just a dependable place to buy neccessities not typically found elsewhere. They're also out an old-fashioned angling hang-out and centralized location for local fishing lore.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Castalia trout fishing & deer hunting accidents (Good and better)

You can bet that I'll be applying for one of the slots to fish the Ohio Division of Wildlife's Castalia Trout Hatchery near Sandusky.

The fishing can be that could. Correction. The fishing IS that good with virtually everyone who gets drawn and goes there being able to creel a five-fish limit, sometimes too quickly.

Other rules include allowing a successful applicant to bring two adult guests and three youth guests under the age of 16.

Fishing sessions run from 7 a.m. to noon.

This year the agency is accepting applications through Jan. 31 for the available fishing slots that will run from April through October 2010.

Online applications cost $3 while mail-in applications cost $5. Only one applicant per person is permitted.

To apply online, visit the Wildlife Division's web site at or call 800-WILDLIFE for a paper application.

Ohio's more than 400,000 deer hunters successfully completed Monday's opener without a single hunting accident, called incidents by the Wildlife Division.

But by today - Thursday - that number stood at three, none of which were fatal but all of which were two-party incidents, reports Matt Ortman, the agency's official in charge of monitoring such matters.

Though one incident is still one too many, the fact is that during the course of the week-long firearms deer hunting season the state typically records 10 to 12 such hunting incidents, Ortman says.

As for an incident-free deer gun season opener, Ortman was impressed.

"I've been sitting here wondering how long it's been since that has happened and it has to go at least as far back as 2001. It was a pleasant surprise," Ortman said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ohio's fall turkey harvest results (Gobble 'em up)

It was a good fall turkey season for Ohio, particularly in the northeast corner of the state.

The fall season ran from Oct. 10 through Nov. 29 and was allowed in 48 of the state's 88 counties. This year's harvest saw a kill of 2,180 birds, both males and females. That figure is up from the 2,012 turkeys taken during the fall, 2008 season.

Dropping from first place to second place, however, was Ashtabula County with 127 birds killed. This compares to the 130 turkeys shot in Ashtabula County during the fall, 2008 season.

A big gainer was Geauga County. Here, hunters killed 58 turkeys compared to just 22 birds shot there during last year's fall season.

Lake County also saw a gain: To 23 turkeys from the 17 shot in 2008.

Lorain County likewise was up in the harvest. Here, 39 turkeys were shot this season while 34 were taken during the 2008 fall season.

Down, however, was Cuyahoga County. Way down, in fact. During this year's fall season just one turkey was reported as being killed. Last season that figure was 12 turkeys.

The Top 10 counties were, with the fall, 2008 figures in parentheses: Tuscarawas - 135 (112), Ashtabula - 127 (130), Jackson - 91 (52), Trumbull - 73 (82), Guernsey - 72 (60), Coshocton - 70 (83), Hocking - 68 (23), Medina - 67 (33), Ross - 65 (47), and Knox - 63 (57).

It was estimated by the Ohio Division of Wildlife that about 20,000 people participated in this year's fall turkey season hunt. Division biologists further believe that many of these participants were opportunistic hunters, or those sports who bought a license in the hope they'd shoot a turkey while pursuing other game such as deer.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Opening day deer season results (Cold NEO start)

Statewide, a preliminary 33,607 deer were shot by Ohio hunters Monday. This represents a modest increase from last year’s gun season opener kill which was a preliminary 33,034 deer.

Many Ohio Division of Wildlife officers - at least those in Northeast Ohio - reported a quiet deer gun season opener.

“It had to have been the quietest deer gun opener I’ve ever seen here. My voice mail never recorded a single complaint, not even for trespassing or anything else,” said Tom Rowan, state wildlife officer assigned to Lake County.

Here are the local preliminary opening day deer season results with the 2008 preliminary opening day results in parentheses: Lake County - 63 (113), Geauga County - 188 (326), Ashtabula County - 836 (1,089), Cuyahoga County - 25 (32), Trumbull County - 572 (657), Lorain County - 210 (165), Medina County - 146 (158), Huron County - 367 (288), Erie County - 112 (82).

Ohio’s all-seasons pre-hunt deer population stood at around 650,000 deer. The state also estimates there are 420,000 deer gun hunters.

The seven-day deer gun season continues through Sunday, Dec. 6. A bonus two-day statewide deer firearms hunt is scheduled for Dec. 19 and 20. The statewide muzzle-loading deer season is set for Jan. 9 through 12.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Youthful deer hunters (Good, but not great)

As we await the results of Monday's Ohio firearms deer hunting season opener the tally of the recent youth-only deer gun hunt may prove revealing.

In that Nov. 21 and 22 hunt, youthful gunners age 17 and under killed 9,331 deer. That compares to the 9,852 deer taken during the special youth-only 2008 hunt.

Ohio's deer biologists believe that hunters will ultimately kill fewer deer, which is the goal of the agency. That is because the Ohio Division of Wildlife is trying to manage the state's herd of about 650,000 animals in such a ways as to reduce conflicts with humans and their activities.

Those efforts may be paying off. This year's herd is a projected 50,000 fewer animals than for the 2008 herd estimate.

Consequently the various hunts may be experiencing reductions in total harvests.

Locally, this is how youth hunters fared with 2008 kills in parentheses:

Lake County - 14 (20), Geauga County - 38 (48), Ashtabula County - 117 (147), Trumbull County - 96 (115), Cuyahoga County - 6 (5), Lorain County - 61 (89), Huron County - 105 (132), Medina County - 72 (65), Sandusky County - 18 (26).

The three alleged deer poachers who were believed responsible for the Oct. 30 shooting at an occupied state Wildlife Division vehicle were charged with various felony and misdemeanor violations.

Those charged included 34-year-old Tood M. Noel of Urbana, 37-year-old Jesse W. Coffey of Paris, Ohio and 18-year-old Jacob E. Shephard of Somerset, KY.

Among the charges all three face are hunting without permission (a misdemeanor of the third degree).

Among some of the other charges were prohibiting jacklighting (a misdemeanor of the third degree and faced by Noel and Coffey), as well as complicity to prohibiting jacklighting (a misdemeanor of the third degree and faced by Shepherd).

The most serious charges include improperly discharging a firearm in a motor vehicle (a felony of the forth degree and faced by Noel), and complicity to improperly discharge a firearm in a motor vehicle and faced by Coffey and Shepherd).

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Youth deer gun hunt results (and Punderson Lake trout update)

With a deer herd that numbers 50,000 fewer animals than last year, the kill during the recently concluded youth-only deer hunt also saw a reduction.

Statewide, youths age 17 and younger shot 9,331 deer during the two-day hunt Nov. 21 and 22. Last year that harvest figure was 9,852 deer.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife estimated that around 40,000 youths participated in the hunt, seeking an animal from an estimated population of 650,000 deer and prior to the start of Ohio's various deer-hunting seasons.

Youth hunters were required to be properly licensed, wear blaze/hunter orange clothing and be accompanied by a non-hunting adult.

The local youth-only deer kill (with the youth-only 2008 harvest in parentheses) was: Lake County - 14 (20); Geauga County - 38 (48); Ashtabula County - 117 (147); Cuyahoga County - 6 (5); Lorain County - 61 (89); Huron County - 105 (132); Erie County - 28 (33); Medina County - 72 (65).

Monday marks the start of Ohio's seven-day general deer firearms hunting season where more than 400,000 hunters are expected to participate. They are forecasted to shoot up to 115,000 to 120,000 deer.

On another Wildlife Division note, the agency has scaled back the number of excess breeder trout it was to have stocked today - Tuesday, Nov. 24 - into Punderson Lake. Instead of the more than 500 breeders the agency will stock 375 large fish.

But the number of catchable rainbows has been increased from 1,000 fish to 1,500 fish.

The stocking is to occur around 2 p.m. today at the camground area of the lake.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, November 23, 2009

Punderson trout stocking update (Go fish)

Several problems at the Ohio Division of Wildlife's hatchery that raises trout will delay by several hours Tuesday's stocking of 101-acre Punderson Lake in Geauga County with fish.

Originally set for about noon the stocking will now likely occur sometime around 3 or 3:30 p.m., says Phil Hillman, fish management supervisor for the Wildlife Division's Northeast Ohio office in Akron.

Still to be stocked are approximately 750 excess breeder trout, these fish weighing several pounds each.

Also to be stocked Tuesday are about 1,000 catchable rainbow trout. These fish will average 9 to 12 inches.

Hillman says also that all of the trout are scheduled for stocking at the usual campground location. Talk that some of the fish will be stocked near the lake's boat launch and marina are not true, Hillman says.

The main reason that trout are not stocked at the marina site is poorer water quality, Hillman has said previously.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, November 20, 2009

Deer scouting venture (Looking ahead to opening day)

With time running out the need to do some pre-scouting of the gun club property was in order today.

There won't be sufficient time next week for such necessary work with all of the holiday fuss and bother and family obligations that Thanksgiving brings.

So I spent the better part of an hour early this afternoon at the club in Ashtabula County. There, I walked a flats situated between a winter wheat field and a low, undulating ridge line with several deeply cut ravines. Perfect habitat and escape cover for deer.

The flats appeared ideal but twice I pulled up to great-looking locations only to discover that someone else had beat me to the punch and saddled a tree with a metal tree stand.

The ridge appears promising, having a view of the flats below and the top of the knob. The only drawback is the somewhat constricting brush and saplings that dresses the hillside. The view would spy a deer out to well beyond 50 yards but the shotgun sabot would likely have to do a lot of brush busting. That never works, either.

Back down on the flat I continued walking north, close to the end of the property and where it curls around the Grand River. Maybe, just maybe, I reckoned, this could be the place to sit come opening day of Ohio's general deer firearms hunting season on Nov. 30.

(This stand will, though, require a heck of a long drag should I shoot a deer back that far from the car).

Not that going out is mandatory since I've collected two deer thus far. But I would like to add another animal to the freezer. That would greatly help out my daughter and her family who feast on much of the venison that I provide.

So if the weather is kind enough on the opener and I have a little elbow room on the stand, I guess I'll hunt the club.

Otherwise (or if the weather is particularly unpleasant) I'll return to my archery stand and its fabric tent-like blind. The only problem here is that the landowner requires any hunting to be archery only. I could be pretty frustrated if I were to archery hunt and see that none of the deer comes to within the 20-yard window I've declared to be my shooting venue.

Still, the scouting was a nice way to spend an hour afield, especially since I hadn't visited the flats, ridge and adjacent woods in more than 20 years.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Heros (Our waterways made better)

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of watercraft has toasted waterways educators and local marine patrols for their support in providing boating safety education program and related matters.

Among the recipients is the Mentor-based Spirit of America Foundation which has for several years helped local school children learn the basics of safe boating through hands-on experiences.

This safe-boating group earned one of the agency's Outstanding Boating Safety Program awards.

So too did the late Patricia Eichenlaub who participated in the Spirit of America Foundation's programing in Lake and Ashtabula counties, reports John Wisse, spokesman for the Watercraft Division.

All of the award recipients were among those local community organizations and law enforcement agencies which received Watercraft Division funding assistance grants during the past year.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Is hunting season winding up? (Or winding down?)

I'm in a race against the clock. Or more specifically, the calendar.

Ohio's hunting seasons are reaching a crescendo; the early phase of the archery deer, fall turkey, waterfowl and squirrel seasons nearing their ends.

But the biggie - the general deer firearms hunting season - is fast approaching and will arrive Nov. 30. Expect that about 420,000 Ohio hunters will take to the field for seven days, many of them for the season opener.

And they are expected to shoot between 115,000 and 125,000 deer. For some of the successful hunters this will be their first deer and for others, their last.

Just how much the hunting pot is stirred is seen in the fact that more hunting licenses are sold the Friday after Thanksgiving to the Sunday after Thanksgiving than at any other time of the year.

Obviously then the general deer firearms hunting season is important. Not just in terms of deer killed or people participating, either.

The many circulars now going out from area sporting goods stores and gun shops are full of advertisements for deer-hunting slugs and sabots as well as deer-hunting shotguns and rifles (for those who hunt out of state). It's an exceptionally busy time.

Yet there is a certain melancholy about the arrival of the gun season. It is the pivotal point of the hunting year. Tipped in one direction and it points to the end of what came before. Which for me was jammed with activity.

But when the archery season resumes and the second phase of the waterfowl season starts don't expect a lot of activity for either from most other hunters.

Besides, the holidays will put a crimp on hunting activity. Men will be drafted into shopping and putting up the Christmas decorations, leaving little time to hunt.

Oh, there will be the hound men who'll be seeking rabbits during the day or raccoons at night but the bulk of the hunting activity will be dying embers.

I am disappointed too, though I have only me to blame. Along the way I had promised myself that I'd take another shot at bagging a fall turkey and using my .22-caliber rifle on a squirrel hunt. But I never kept either of those pledges.

Still, if the farm pond is open and ice free come Dec. 7 I'll be there with my two Labrador retrievers in the hope of shooting another goose or two.

And as long as I can drive back on a short access road to a piece of property I regularly visit I'll continue to drop off bait alongside my deer-hunting blind. It will no doubt be a lonely, cold vigil of a hunt knowing that the woodlot contains fewer though, wiser, deer.

But the late season archery deer hunt is something I've done many times before. To do otherwise risks being called a fair-weather hunter. And while I am fast approaching the 60-year-old mark I'm not ready to assume that title. No yet anyway.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, November 16, 2009

Punderson trout stocking (The more the marrier)

Punderson Lake is going to provide even greater trout fishing opportunities Nov. 24.

Instead of releasing 500 excess breeder golden strain and regular strain rainbow trout into the 100-acre natural lake, the Ohio Division of Wildlife will instead stock 675 of the no-longer-needed breeder trout.

These fish will average 16 to 24 inches each and weigh between two and 10 pounds.

But that's not all, says Phil Hillman, the fisheries management supervisor for the agency's Northeast Ohio office in Akron.

Nope. Rather, the Wildlife Division also will stock another 1,000 rainbows at the same time. These catchable trout will average between 9 and 12 inches each.

Both stockings will occur around noon and definitely at the campground area. This is because of the poor water quality at the boat launch/marina area.

The breeder stocking fisheries has proven increasingly popular and the addition of the catchables likely will only intensify interest in this put-and-take fisheries that will last through the winter ice-fishing season.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Fresh fish (annual Punderson Lake trout stocking)

What would Thanksgiving Day be without fresh rainbow trout for dinner?

Anglers who annually look forward to the trout stocking of Punderson Lake in Geauga County's Newbury Township can again wet a line on Nov. 24.

This year the Ohio Division of Wildlife will stock about 500 surplus brood stock rainbow trout and golden-strain rainbow trout. Each fish will average between between 16 and 24 inches and weigh two to 10 pounds.

The stocking is set for around noon and will be done by the state park campground, says Phil Hillman, fish management supervisor for the Wildlife Division's Northeast Ohio office in Akron.

The reason for the stocking there and not by the boat launch area is due to frequent low oxygen and high algae problems associated with the marina's boat launch area.

Each year this stocking has proven more and more popular with anglers, some of whom arrive early to station themselves close to where the fish are stocked.

Shore anglers often use jigs tipped with maggots or Berkley PowerBait along with canned corn or else small spawn sacks. Boat anglers do the same but also cast in-line spinners and small spoons.

The stocking provides the lake with enough fish to last through the winter with ice fishing for the trout a popular activity.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jenny Lynn still has the right stuff (Good dog)

The farm pond was littered with the bodies of six Canada geese.

Not bad for an eye-blink of a shoot involving three goose hunters who hardly settled in before a large flock of birds showed up.

It was no more than 10 minutes after legal shooting time and the hunters were finished with their chore. Not so Berry - my black Labrador retriever - nor for the semi-retired Jenny Lynn, my other Lab who is a senior citizen with all the aching joints that comes with such a status.

Now-a-days Jenny Lynn only accompanies me when I go to the farm pond in search of geese or ducks. It is a short, easy walk from the car to the blind. And it gives Jenny a sense of hunting even if doesn't involve much work. That is why I've hired Berry.

But this morning belonged to Jenny and the memory will walk with me until I die.

At the sound of the gunfire and that of birds whacking the farm pond's surface, Berry was hot on the trail of one of the geese. A fast swimmer, Berry wasted little time in picking out a goose and returning with it.

Jenny sort of hung back, almost questioning what to do. But that indecision didn't last long.

Even before Berry was back with her bird Jenny was swimming ever-so-slowly to another goose. It would take Jenny Lynn longer to go there and come back though she's always been a dependable sort and really enjoys water retrieving.

Try as I could, though, I was unable to convince Berry to get back in the water and fetch another goose. Instead, she wiggled in excitement, sniffing her goose and running to and fro. I was none too happy.

Jenny on the other hand; now there's where all the years paid off. After she returned with the first goose she immediately turned and went for her second bird. Again, ever so slowly out there and back but just as dependable.

When that bird was fetched to shore Jenny went after her third goose, this bird being the furthest of the group.

All I could do was encourage her and shout out praises for her championship performance.It nearly brought tears my eyes.

Jenny Lynn is more than 13 years old and can no longer tolerate either runs on land after pheasants nor all-day waterfowling trips. It grieves me that I have to leave her at home in such circumstances but she's paid her dues - and then some.

And the time is fast approaching, when mild-weather waterfowling will be even too much for the old girl. At that point (no doubt next year) she'll have to take up permanent residence on the dog bed. I do not look forward to that day, I must say.

Still, I will always harbor with great love the warm, bright November morning where Jenny Lynn's strength matched her heart and she fetched three giant Canada geese, one right after the other, with not a complaint or hesitation.

It is such days that makes a dog man burst with pride.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, November 6, 2009

Small-game opener (So what's with the goose?)

As far as small-game openers go, today's model was all bright and shiny coming out of the showroom.

The morning sky was a brilliant turquoise and softened the brightest of the stars before they faded with the rising sunlight.

A chilling frost smothered the grass, offering a crunchy scale that crinkled with each foot fall.

I headed for the Club as I always do if I am in town for the small-game opener, which to me is better than the deer season - or even, turkey - opener.
Maybe that's because growing up I relished the small-game opener with our beagles. My dad, who never took a day off unless it was during his two-week vacation, always made an exception for the small-game opener. It was quite a crew, me, my dad and my two older brothers.

Now it is my turn and the Club in Ashtabula County is always my destination. Oh, I suspect I might find more stocked pheasants at the Grand River Wildlife Area but I'd also have a lot more company. I don't want to be peppered with shot. It's happened before. So I settle on the Club and hope there is still a leftover rooster pheasant from a field trial held periodically there.

Berry, my black Labrador retriever, joined me this morning. We left Jenny Lynn behind, though. She's almost 14 years old and her hips are uncomfortably stiff. I doubt she could handle two hours of rough going through neck-high corn and chest-high ragweed.

After about 15 minutes of hunting I needed to stoop down and retie the laces of my right boot. That's when a bunny jumped out only a few feet away. No way could I get off a quick-enough shot.

Several passes through standing corn didn't yield anything either. Berry never got excited and I didn't see any pheasant scat. I was rapidly becoming disappointed.

What I did see on my final west-to-east pass through the corn was the neck and head of one very much alive rooster pheasant. The bird was perhaps 60 or 70 yards distant and near the end of the corn.

Hoping the bird would stay put in the weed-infested corn patch, I kept walking forward with Berry cruising to my left. But when the pheasant reached the corn's terminal it became airborne and still at that 60 to 70 yard range; way, way, way too far for a shoot.

I tried to mark where the rooster came down and Berry and I searched for the better part of a quarter-hour but we found no bird. I figured it continued on to either adjacent private property or still further to another Club-maintained corn patch.

So I towed Berry through a large-size ragweed field and then turned west along a swale. This wet sink is a thick goo of brush that often holds a pheasant. Not this time, though.

Continuing on, Berry and I took our time going through the woods. Normally not a good place to find pheasants, the woods still serves as a bird thoroughfare. And sometimes you can pin one down beside a tree. Not this time, either.

Tired and starting to get played out, I ushered Berry to a 50-foot-wide strip of trees and brush that separates two fields. I've found many birds before hanging out in this strip that runs for perhaps 150 yards.

Getting to the end where a tractor path connects the two fields, I stopped to collect my thoughts as to what to do next. My shotgun was held at parade rest on my right hand and I hiked up my brush pants with my left hand.

Of course that is when the rooster decided to bolt, pushed out by the eager-beaver Berry. But the charmed bird used the brush to its advantage. Even though it erupted at less than 30 feet away there was too much natural screening for the shot from my 16-gauge Ithaca pump to worm its way to the rooster.

Bluntly, I missed as clean as a whistle.

Berry was none too happy that she couldn't fetch the pheasant and I was even less pleased. I had been bamboozled out of a rabbit and twice on a rooster.

After two hours of hunting I left in order to drop off a photograph of a young man to a mother who had requested it.

Fortunately for me the family also happens to own a farm pond that is often visited by Canada geese. And a small flock was there, too, lounging around on the grass between the barn and the house.

I parked by the barn and walked forward, not carefully or stealthy but normal like. The geese were puzzled and soon waddled into the pond. Flushing the flock I managed to drop two geese.

Maybe next year I'll take the plunge and go to Grand River and hope to find a pheasant or two. Then again, maybe not. For many years now the Club has been the place to begin my small-game hunting season and maybe I'm too old a bunny to make the switch.

Besides, a goose or two isn't a bad consolation prize.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Best of times ('Tis the hunting season)

For now through Thanksgiving are the best of outdoors times.

There is just simply so much to do. Maybe even too much, if that is possible.

Though fishing buddy Bob Ashley has been whacking the steelhead and Paul Liikala has found the night-time walleye bite, my evenings have been spent deer hunting and the mornings chasing geese.

Alas, I have to give in to this evening by covering Lake Metroparks' park board meeting so I'll have to rearrange things. Maybe I'll go deer hunting in the morning. That worked Monday.

In any event there is just so much going on afield that it is difficult to hit the streams too.

This morning was spent in the goose blind and two friends and I bagged four birds out of several flights that maybe totaled 300 geese. Neat thing was three of the birds were dry-land retrieves for my two Labrador retrievers while Berry got wet fetching up the forth goose. And what a party that one provided. I managed to hail it from a long, long way off and we watched it glide straight into the decoys. Nice piece of work.

One of the tempting things too was hearing a tom gobbling its head off in the woodlot across from the pond we were hunting. That gave me another option to think about.

And come Friday morning I'll be at the Club in search of any pheasants that may be left over from a pair of recently held field trials. It's something that I do each year and I rally look forward to the experience.

I love November, fully realizing that after Thanksgiving things move pretty quickly and it will all be over in an eye blink.

For now, however, I'm in seventh hunting heaven.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, November 2, 2009

Wildlife officers' cruiser shot (Close Call)

State Wildlife officer assigned to Champaign County Jeffrey Tipton, and Adam Smith, State Wildlife Officer officer assigned to Logan County, had a too close call Oct. 30.

The two state wildlife officers were sitting in their cruiser that was parked in a field while on surveillance duty looking for night-time poachers.

Another vehicle with three Champaign County men pulled into the field and directed the headlights toward the cruiser.

One shot was fired, hitting the cruiser in the windshield and piercing the glass.

The officers turned on the cruiser's emergency lights and the suspects fled.

The officers pursued the suspects for 4 1/2 miles, apprehending the suspects with the assistance of the Ohio Highway Patrol and the Champaign County Sheriff Office.

Jim Lehman, the Ohio Division of Wildlife's chief law enforcement officer, said the matter is under investigation that is jointly being conducted by the agency as well as the Ohio Highway Patrol.

Charges could be filed as early as Tuesday or possibly by Wednesday, Lehman said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, October 30, 2009

Paddlers ship out with new fees (Supports new duties)

Owners of rowboats, canoes, inflatable boats and kayaks are going to fork over an additional $5 beginning next year.

Because the Ohio Division of Watercraft has assumed ownership of the state's Scenic Rivers Program, the state legislature figured that paddle sports owners would foot the bill. This calculation is based on the assumption that such owners are the direct beneficiaries of the program.

In bureaucratic lingo, the additional $5 is being called the "Waterway Conservation Assessment Fee" and applies only to non-motorized vessels. Ohio has an estimated 83,000 non-motorized vessels, a figure that is growing.

The income - expected to be around $150,000 annually - will go toward management of the Ohio Water Trails and Ohio Scenic Rivers programs. It is expected that the agency will also use the money to develop and maintain boating access to owners of paddle sports vessels.

With the additional charge, the registration tax for non-motorized watercraft becomes $17 for a three-year period. The registrations for one-third of all such vessels is up every year.

Alternative registration decals will cost $22.

Not included in any of these charges is the $3 writing fee, collected by watercraft registration agents.

Fees charged to owners of motorized pleasure craft are NOT going up.

In other Ohio boating-related news, the state has experienced just eight deaths as a result of boating mishaps this year. That figure is about one-half the typical number and also represents the second lowest number of boating-related fatalities on record in Ohio.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New outdoors playground (Can see the forest through the trees)

Ohio's hunters retain access to a nearly 16,000-acre playground.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources - in cooperation with such groups as the Nature Conservancy, the Conservation Fund, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, other groups and agencies as well as Ohio senators Sherrod Brown and George V. Voinovich - will be acquiring the property in two parcels.

Total cost will be $15.1 million with 70 percent of the funding coming from the federal government's U.S. Department of Agriculture/U.S. Forest Service along with private sources.

The ODNR also will release $3.9 million that's all ready been appropriated to complete the purchase of the 3,250-acre Vinton (County) Furnace Experimental State Forest and the adjacent 12,599-acre Raccoon Ecological Management Area.

The fear was the property would pass into private hands and then closed to public access. Final sales work is expected to be completed by next July.

The Vinton Furnace area is said to contain one of the last large remnants of Appalachian forest left in Ohio and provides habitat for the state's endangered bobcat and black bear along with a host of birds, including the highest recorded densities of cerulean warblers.

ODNR spokeswoman Christy Wilt said the property will be open to public access, including hunting, once all the paperwork is completed and the property is owned by the agency.

It has good populations of deer, wild turkeys and even ruffed grouse.

While the site has been open to public hunting for at least the past several decades the current owner has not allowed roadside camping, though previous owners have permitted this activity. The ODNR's Division of Forestry is looking at reestablishing this item.

Interestingly too, the site is the first in the state where wild turkeys were released to repopulate Ohio.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Results are in (Early muzzle-loading season that is)

Liberal hunting laws, a healthy deer herd and lots of hunters still failed to result in a higher animal kill during the recently concluded early muzzle-loading deer hunting season.

This season ran Oct. 19 through 25 at three southeast Ohio locations: Salt Fork Wildlife Area and State Park, Wildcat Hollow and Shawnee State Forest.

At Salt Fork, hunters killed 271 deer last week compared to 315 deer during the same season last year.

Wildcat Hollow saw 159 deer taken. This compares to the 162 deer shot there last year.

Finally, just 44 deer were taken at very rugged Swanee State Forest. That's more than one-half the 91 deer taken there last year.

Add them all up and the figures were 474 deer this season and 568 deer last season.

Salt Fork receives particularly heavy hunting pressure and seemingly there is a black-powder hunter behind every tree. But this is only one of two locations (Cuyahoga National Park being the other place) where deer actually die of starvation during the winter.

It is one reason why the Ohio Department of Natural Resources permits the taking of any deer by any properly licensed hunter without any special restrictions such as by permit-only or bucks-only as was once the case.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, October 26, 2009

Ohio big BUCK-eye (Air support needed)

Steve Esker of Reynoldsburg has quite a deer tale to tell, and it's all found on

While hunting Sept. 29 in Columbus proper, Esker used a crossbow to kill a 340-pound, 20-point monster white-tail buck that green scored at 216 6/8 points with a 26inch main beam.

Esker had seen the buck last year before and spent his time hunting the brute but didn't draw a bead on the animal. He continued to observe the animal with the aid of trail cameras throughout this summer, the deer growing in stature.

When Sept. 29 came, Esker saw the deer a piece off but headed his way. He shot the buck while it was about 20 yards away.

The buck ran off and Esker said he backed away, returning the next day to look for the deer. When he still couldn't find the downed deer Esker hired a helicopter to take him in the air. He spotted the buck within moments of taking off and in a place probably only about 10 yards from where he had walked.

The deer's two lungs were hit and the heart clipped.

Esker, his story and 20 photos are available for viewing on Field and Stream's web page and is well worth a look-see.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, October 23, 2009

Fall foliage (Color me gone)

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources look at the changing fall colors says that most state park locations around Ohio are reporting near peak or at peak conditions. Among the latter is Punderson State Park in Geauga County.

Colors appear particularly vibrant this year, especially with maples.

However, the winds today and Saturday are expected to be very strong which should denude many of the trees and put most locations at past peak.

Most locations will likely be past peak by Sunday.

Bottom line: If you want to enjoy the fall foliage, get out this weekend before its all gone until next autumn.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Safe boater course now required (Oh, no, Canada!)

Moving to reduce to absolute zero the number of boating mishaps and fatalities, Canada now requires anyone (well, almost everyone) to take a safe boating education course.

That includes old salts and non-Canadian boaters and anglers. Call it the Nanny State, but Canada still has pressed onward.

What the country says now is that visitors to Canada must show proof of having successfully completing a safe boating course from either it or from a state.

Exceptions include persons bringing in their own boats for up to 45 days. Another exception of a kind is that persons visiting a lodge or resort can still use a rental boat and motor if also given something called a boat rental safety checklist.

Officially, this checklist is a document ".. of important safety information relevant to the boat you are renting and the area that you are going to be boating. It is a form that the rental agency would provide and go through with you. It needs to be signed by both the renter and an agent of the rental agency and is valid proof of competence for the duration of your rental," the Canadian authorities say.

Prospective visitors to any Canadian lodge or resort should ask the owner about this subject before signing on the dotted line for a week's stay.

For further information about this important subject, visit Transport Canada Office of Boating Safety's web site at

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, October 16, 2009

Parks chief retires (West goes south)

Handed a barrel with a whole lot of problems, Dan West is retiring as chief of the Ohio Division of Parks and Recreation.

West, 53 years old, has had to shepherd an agency for 13 years that continued to see its budget slashed and reputation degraded by administrations that didn't care and legislatures that ignored the agency's plight.

He served under three administrations as chief and several others as the agency's assistant chief.

Now West will officially retire though he'll stay within the industry. He's taken an assistant director job with the Broward County, Florida, County Parks System. He will start Nov. 2, after leaving Ohio at the end of this month.

Broward's parks system includes a new shooting range, horse stables, campgrounds, nature preserves, ocean-side beach parks and a large water park.

Simply put, West most likely just plain became burned out and over-taxed. Pity since West became one of the best chiefs that Parks and Recreation ever had.

West has been with Parks and Recreation for 32 years.

"It's been quite a ride and has been fun, though I do want to keep working for another 10 or 15 years," West said.

"I think it's just the right time to move on. I loved my job and not everyone in my profession can say that. We've accomplished a lot and still have more to do like getting Wingfoot Lake on line and working with Middle Bass Islands as ell as taking over the Ohio Canal Lands program from the Division of Water."

As chief, West oversaw about 430 full-time employees, or about one-half of what it was in 1991. The agency has 74 state parks encompassing 177,000 acres and an operating budget of $31 million, slashed several times over the years.

Other activities include grants to local park districts as well as the Office of Trails, which programs to motorized and non-motorized trail building throughout the state.

"We still have a dedicated staff, even with the budget cuts," West said.

"I just want to give it a shot and I'm looking forward to the new challenges that I'll face."

An announcement on a replacement will be named later though the Ohio Department of Natural Resources director will likely first appoint an interim division chief.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Fall turkey harvest (For many, a wild goose chase)

One week deep into Ohio's seven-week-long fall wild turkey hunting season and the report card shows a "D."

For the first week, hunters killed 438 wild turkeys, a significant drop from the 547 birds shot during last fall season's opening week. The season continues through Nov. 29 and hunters may kill one turkey only of either sex.

Locally, Ashtabula County suffered one of the state's more noteworthy declines. For this year's first week Ashtabula County turkey hunters shot 23 wild turkeys: A sharp decline from the 39 birds recorded for last year's first week of turkey hunting.

Lake County saw slight increase from 4 birds last year to 7 birds this year. Geauga County saw a minuscule drop of just one bird. The magical number last year was 11 turkeys and 10 this year.

No birds were killed during the first week in Cuyahoga County either last year or this year.

Trumbull County is a popular place for area turkey hunters and its numbers were 17 last year for the first week and 15 for this year's first week.

The Top Five counties for Week One were: Coschocton (24), Ashtabula (23), Guernsey (18), Brown and Tuscarawas (17 each).

In other news, the Holden Arboretum will host its first fall/winter science lecture series from 7 to 9 p.m., Oct. 21.

The guest speaker will be Kurt Smemo (Holden's soil biogeochemist) and his topic will be "How do we define a healthy forest?" The health and function of forest ecosystems is intrinsically linked to the well-being and prosperity of human communities in Northeast Ohio, the arboretum says.

Subsequent lectures will explore a number of environmental stresses on forest ecosystem health, function and diversity.

Cost for the lecture is free for Holden members or $6 for non-members. Call 440-602-3833 for further details and to register.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Pretty in Pink? (Not so fast)

The recent craze of painting, finishing, coloring all things outdoors in the color pink may not be such a red-hot deal.

Southwick Associates has conducted a survey of both anglers and hunters - male and female - about their thoughts on pink-colored outdoors gear which includes firearms and fishing tackle.

Pink is being used to attract females with often a bent toward breast cancer research and awareness.

The most popular color for purchasing hunting supplies is camouflage, Southwick found, favored by 62 percent of men and 60 percent of women. Only 15.4 percent of women hunters preferred pink.

Much the same is true for fishing tackle with the most popular color for both sexes being black. Only 16 percent of women chose pink fishing gear with lesser percentages selecting other bright colors.

Interestingly, however, both male sportsmen and female sportswomen believe that if pink is chosen to promote cancer awareness instead of just offering an attractive color then the sexes agree it isn't a bad idea. But by large minorities both men and women believe that offering pink just a color alternative was "condescending" to women.

Only when pink is attached to breast cancer awareness does it seem that the color is acceptable, notes also Tammy Sapp of the Womens' Outdoor Wire.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

No more dog raffles? (Good-bye DU fund raising)

In what could prohibit the raffling or auctioing of any Labrador retriever or other bird dog at a sportsmen's fund-raising event, an animal rights agenda-backed campaign is inching closer to the ballot box.

Ohio officials have Ok'd a path for dog auction/raffle opponents to put a measure on some future ballot.

Given Ohio's somewhat complex formula for such matters, the antis must submit 120,700valid signatures for their Dog Auctions Act. This would then put the issue before the state legislature for its review and vote.

Should the legislature do nothing within 90 days the proposal's supporters could solicit more signatures to put it on the 2010 ballot.

This proposal would not only end dog auctions in Ohio, it also would prohibit the sale or trading of a dog that was acquired through an auction elsewhere.

Bad for organizations like Ducks Unlimited, Whitetails Unlimited and other sportsmens organization the proposal also would ban raffles of dogs. Anyone who has ever attended a DU event knows that at least one Labrador retriever is typically auctioned or raffled off.

In fact, the first Labrador I ever owned - Rebel - was acquired through a DU auction.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

And the winner is (Lake Erie's walleye reputation, of course)

Matt Davis of Marion, Ohio and Dan Gies of Huron didn't care much for the walleye fishing prospects in the Detroit River where the championship was headquartered.

Consequently, they traveled more than 45 miles one way to fish the waters of Lake Erie off Huron. In the process the two-man team recently won the Cabela's Masters Walleye Circuit Championship.

Their three-day catch totaled 85.36 pounds and was good for $25,000 in cash plus a few more bucks for using contest-sponsored items..

I had almost forgotten about the Masters Walleye Circuit, the nation's oldest walleye fishing tournament trail. That was until local walleye fishing nut Larry Fielder mentioned that Cabela's has taken it over and that the winners fished off Huron.

For updates on the program, visit the Cabela's Masters Walleye Circuit at

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, October 12, 2009

Management decision (and perch-walleye-crappie are affected)

The eight-member Ohio Wildlife Council made its corporate decision to (again) follow lock-stop in action what the agency has determined as being best for the resource.

At least in this case the yes-men were right on in adopting the Wildlife Division's recommendations as to the length limits and bag limits on crappie for 38 reservoirs.

And they were equally correct in agreeing to when to set new bag limits for Lake Erie-caught walleye and yellow perch.

The council has added Mosquito Creek Reservoir and West Branch Reservoir to the list of lakes where anglers can keep no more than 30 crappies, each of which must measure a minimum of 9 inches. This action is designed to protect a valuable resource that is being well utilized by a large contingent of anglers.

As for the Lake Erie rule, what happens now is that new bag limits on Lake Erie-caught walleye and yellow perch will become effective May 1 instead of March 1. Changing this effective date will allow for the walleye and perch quotas set by the Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission to be considered prior to the setting of bag limits.

Translation: Instead of relying on a guess as to what the quotas MIGHT be the committee will set the bag limits on what are the actual quotas.

One change the angling community will note by this change is that the 2010 fishing regulations will not have Lake Erie walleye and perch bag limits. Those rules will come in a supplemental document in much the same fashion that waterfowlers have grown accustomed to with duck and goose hunting regulations.

It is a proper and necessary step in the right fisheries management direction. And for once the Ohio Wildlife Council got something right and not just agreeing as a rubber-stamp of the agency.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, October 9, 2009

Steelheaders bare souls (and open their wallets)

Ohio spent a considerable bit of time from last October through May, interviewing 3,838 steelhead anglers.

What the Ohio Division of Wildlife found as its creel census crews did their work was went on in the hearts and minds of the state's troupe of steelhead anglers.

Among the findings:

* The average length of fish measured was 25 inches.

* Nearly 90 percent of the legal steelhead caught were released.

* Anglers came from 59 of Ohio's 88 counties; the most from Cuyahoga, Lake and Ashtabula counties.

* Anglers from 19 other states and the province of Ontario fished for Ohio steelhead.

* Over 60 percent of the steelheaders surveyed used spinning gear while 34 percent used fly fishing tackle.

* Most anglers fished for one day, a small number fished for 2 to 3 days, and the longest steelhead trip was for 9 days.

* The typical steelhead trip lasted 5 hours though one angler fished for 11 hours.

* Most anglers spent $10 to $20 per trip while anglers spent an average of $300 annually. Annual expenditures ranged from a low of about $5 to as much as $18,000. Yikes, even my wife would cringe at that last figure.

What the survey does is provide another tool for the box in helping the Wildlife Division tailor its activities to best provide steelhead fishing opportunities, said Kevin Kayle, ODW fisheries biologist in charge of the state's steelhead program.

"Questions concerning how many fish the anglers have caught helps us determine if stocking rates are appropriate for a species that doesn't successfully reproduce to any appreciable level in Ohio," Kayle said.

The data further aids the division in determining whether current length or daily bag limits are appropriate, Kayle said also.

"Other questions on the survey can help determine the benefits of a fisheries has on the local economy and helps us also define angler demographics," kayle said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Savoring the sights (More to bow hunting than the kill)

Steve Myers of Ashtabula County's Rome Township came to appreciate this morning that not every successful archery deer hunt ends in a kill.

All ready having bagged two deer during the first weeks of the season, Myers was out on his stand this morning, looking to make it number three.

Instead he watched as a family of seven river otters climbed out of a small feeder stream to the Grand River and flopped down on a small wooden ATV bridge. There the animals played, the otters less than 15 yards from Myers' tree ladder.

He watched the otters for perhaps 15 minutes, noting how they swarmed on each other and how large they actually are.

Even though Myers saw no deer this morning he has a memory that will far outlast any temporary disappointment at not launching an arrow at another deer.

Along the same lines, I've spent a number of hours in my own deer ground blind, overlooking a bait pile of shelled corn. There have been the usual suspects of cardinals, bluejays, nuthatches and the like that have pestered the corn. But I've also been treated by the appearance of at least one handsome Eastern towhee, formerly called the rufous-sided towhee.

And to add to the mix have been at least one wood thrush plus any number of various sparrows.

Such visits help to pass the time along with providing limitless entertainment.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Six-gun reminder (Rootin' Tootin' Shootin' good time)

Area folk are reminded that the Buckeye rangers will host an " 'Ol Time Shoot'N Gallery'" from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday at gander Mountain's Mentor Store.

Activities will include lessons on firearms safety as well as learning how to shoot Western-sty;e firearms that include lever-action rifles, six-gun, and hammer shotguns.

An exhibition on target shooting, fast draw, split the bullet, and clay targets also will be presented by the locally based Buckeye Rangers.

For details, call Ron Paul Duning at 216-956-4874.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Arm in arm (Farmers and hunters tie the knot)

The effort to link farmers in four southeast Ohio counties with willing deer hunters is right on track.

While the number of farmers who've signed up for the Internet-based matching service remains modest at just 58 so far, the number of eager hunters is around 5,000. And more than few of these prospective hunters are not only from out of state but also out of the country.

Still, the effort is a tool advocated by the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the Ohio Farm Bureau. It is an attempt to get hunters unto private farms while reducing problem deer on those holdings.

"One of the things that I tell people is that hunters from all over the world can apply but only farmers from four of the state's 88 counties," said Chris Henney, the OFB's director of legislative relations.

Henney said this is the first year for the project, one that both sides wanted to dip into cautiously. Part of the reason for that caution was because farmers have misconceptions about the consequences of allowing hunting as well as an-often past history of trespassing issues, Henney said.

Then too, Henney says, both the Farm Bureau and the Wildlife Division wanted to see how the system works before expanding it further.

"I'm pleased with where we are at," said Henney who added that this year's targeted objective is to sign up 100 landowners.

Henney said also that farms now enrolled in the computer-based survey project range in size from a few acres up to 1,000 acres.

"This is a marathon and not a 100-yard dash," Henney said.

To participate in the survey visit the Wildlife Division's web site at

Monday, October 5, 2009

Great walleye fishing (Surprise, surprise!)

Painesville charter captain Ron Johnson is saying the walleye fishing from Vermilion to Huron is nothing short of phenomenal.

Which comes as something of a shock, given the string of super windy days and generally rough seas of late. Which Johnson loves, matter of fact.

"It's the way we like it. That keeps the little boats away and let's us work," Johnson said.

Johnson said he and his fellow charter skippers are not only catching lots of fish they are catching lots of big fish. They are doing this by trolling spoons in about 42 feet of water - pretty shallow by Lake Erie walleye fishing standards.

"And a lot of the are up high. They've moved up into the top 15 to 20 feet," Johnson said.

An interesting point is that the walleye in this zone are close to shore while the yellow perch anglers are having to go out 10 to 12 miles for their fish.

Johnson says the walleye fishing is only going to get better, too. Pretty soon, he says, the walleye will start hitting body baits.

As for Cleveland- east area, few are the fishermen and fewer still are the fish. That is true whether the target is walleye or yellow perch.

For information about autumn walleye fishing with Johnson, contact him at 440-487-0002.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, October 2, 2009

Standing up for freedom (Attorney General Cordray a gun rights hero)

As the Supreme Court moves to hear a case of Second Amendment rights that will resonate throughout local and state legislative bodies, Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray comes down solidly on the side of firearms ownership.

Cordray will join with a number of other states attorney generals in filing a friend of the court brief that backs the idea that the Second Amendment applies not only to the federal government but also to state and local governments.

The Supremes are expected to hear arguments on the case early next year and it is hoped that they'll support Second Amendment rights again following their decision a year or so ago that said Washington D.C. could not outright ban handguns.

Bravo, Mr. Cordray.

In other outdoor happenings, the B & N Coal Company has withdrawn a portion of its holdings in Noble County as open to public hunting. Previously the land open to hunting amounted to 6,194 acres in Noble County. That has been whittled down to about one-half.

This property had been open since the late 1960s or early 1970s. Much of the land still available is ideal habitat for small-game with minimal forested tracks.

An update map of B&N Coal lands is available for viewing at

Wow, Remington Arms is announcing that it will soon produce the 10th MILLIONTH Model 870 pump-action shotgun. That is a whale of a lot of shotguns and I bet that a lot of gun closets out there has at least one Model 870.

To recognize this achievement, Remington is sponsoring a sweepstakes with participants eligible to win a special commemorative Model 870. To enter and view the rules, log on to www.remington.come/10milu. Entries will be received up through Dec. 31, 2009.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Conneaut Creek access ( looking good)

The Ashtabula County Metro Parks is the little engine that could.

With no local tax money to speak of the parks system still has been able to leverage state and federal dollars for worthwhile projects.

Not only does the parks system operate a first-rate paved north-to-south bike/hike trail through the middle of the county it now is being given big bucks to acquire land along Conneaut Creek for steelhead anglers.

The parks system will get $18,650 in state voter-approved NatureWorks money to help buy 35 acres along Conneaut Creek. Ohio's voters first approved the bond-issuing program in 1993 and has proven popular ever since.

Also, the parks system will get another $70,000 in order to expand Conneaut Creek Metro Park under the same 35-acre plan. This latter funding comes from the federal Land Water Conservation Fund, which gets its dollars from offshore oil lease revenues and other non-tax sources.

What all the dollars mean is that Conneaut Creek steelheaders will have more public waters to fish without being hassled by irate private landowners - a situation that is growing more acute, particularly along the Ashtabula River and to a lesser extent, along Conneaut Creek.

While on the subject of Ashtabula County, Wade Dunlap - the Ohio Division of Wildlife officer assigned to the county - is leaving to assume the same duties in Tuscarawas County.

No replacement has been found though a replacement could be named as soon as next week. Until then Dunlap will stick around. Part of the problem in keeping wildlife officers in Ashtabula County is that it is "an extremely demanding county," said one Wildlife Division official.

No way, though, will the county ever be left vacant, in spite of the fact that it is the busiest in the state in terms of TIP line calls.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, September 28, 2009

For the birds (We're Number One! and other stuff)

the Cornell Laboratory of Ornithology announced that the Great Backyard Bird Count is scheduled for Feb. 12 to 15, 2010.

Last year, more than 93,600 checklists were submitted, the most coming from Mentor, due in no small measure to efforts by the Mentor Schools and a now-retired middle school media specialist who saw to it that kids would participate in the count.

Here's hoping that Mentor Schools will continue to carry on so the city again can be the top gun in both the U.S. and Canada.

For further information about the project, visit the GBBC at

Kiddos to the Fairport Harbor Rod and Reel Association which has (once more) donated $250 to The Ohio State University's Ohio Sea Grant program/Stone Lab.

The money will go toward scholarships to help young people attend the lab and learn about Lake Erie ecology.

Since 2000 the university has awarded 353 scholarships valued at $147,119. The fishing club has helped in this effort through its donations, says Frank Lichtkoppler, the local Ohio Sea Grant agent.

If you haven't tuned in to PBS and caught a segment of Ken Burns' documentary series on the national parks you're missing a treat. With a style that mirrors his "Civil War" series of 20 or so years ago, Burn's treatment of the national parks is both informative and eye candy. The photography is to die-for. And the background music is first-rate.

And along that line the Sierra Club is giving away a free trip for two to Yosemite National Park and San Francisco. Visit to enter by naming your favorite national park.

Though an on-going investigation into American ginseng may yield charges to perhaps 30 or more individuals, the Ohio Division of Wildlife says none will likely come from Northeast Ohio.

The plant's roots are said to have medicinal properties and poachers have long sought to exploit the crop, especially for the Asian market.

Ohio's legal ginseng harvest season is Sept. 1 through Dec. 31. Early cultivation leads to the extraction of the plant before it has an opportunity to produce seeds and thus repopulate.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Concealed carry numbers high caliber stuff (On new record target)

Demand for concealed carry permits is on the rise with Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray saying figures point to nine consecutive quarters of growth.

The Buckeye Firearms Council further says that this year's Second Quarter represents the third consecutive quarter in which demand for concealed carry permits has more than doubled from the same period one year ago. The 17,921 permits issued represents a 106 percent increase, the Council says.

Also, during the second quarter some 4,825 concealed carry permits were renewed; which is about 68 percent of the licenses expiring during the period.

For the period April through June, a total of 22,768 concealed carry permits were issued, exceeding what was issued for all of 2008, the Council says.

There are now more than 158,000 Ohioans with concealed carry permits.

Less than one-half of one percent of issued permits have been revoked. And among the reasons include the license-holder dying or else moving out of state, the Council says.

Ohio is now in its sixth year of the concealed carry law with minimal troubles or increases in gun-related crime. That dispels the fear mongering that the anti-gun crowd kept saying during the debate on concealed carry.

- Jeffrey L. Frichkorn

Draw, pardner (Free Old West-style shooting)

Mentor's Gander Mountain store is hosting a free "Ol' Time Shooting Gallery" from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Oct. 11.

featured will be learning how to shoot Western-style lever-action rifles, six-gun and shotgun. There will be featured target shooting, fast draw, "split the bullet," and clay targets.

Also, participants will learn safe firearms handling techniques.

And a special exhibition shoot by the Lake County-based Buckeye Rangers is in the works, too.

For details, call Ron Paul Duning at 216-956-4874.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, September 21, 2009

New York hikes fishing fees (Stick 'em up!)

It appears that New York state is trying to rid its General Revenue deficit on the backs of anglers, especially non-resident fisherman.

Starting Oct. 1 the cost of a seasonal non-resident fishing license in New York will be $70. That is up from the $40 the state charged last year. Put another way it's about a 90-percent increase.

Resident anglers took a hit, too. Their season license rises to $29, up from $19.

By comparison, Ohio's resident season fishing license is $19 and its non-resident season license is $40. Those are - or WERE - the same rates charged by New York until that state's legislature sought to become highwaymen by increasing fees to near space levels.

How such increases can be justified in these tough economic times remains a mystery but they are pretty outrageous.

It will give me pause to consider whether a winter trip to the Niagara River is worth the expense.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

No Grand River Tackle fishing contest (Blame hard economic times)

The popular steelhead fishing contest sponsored by Grand River Tackle in Fairport Harbor has been shelved for at least this year.

The event required a lot of grunt work and was also expensive since participants received a 10-percent store discount besides having the opportunity to win money, said the store's owner, Bruce Dickerson.

That leaves contests just for members of various area fishing clubs such as those sponsored by the Central Basin Steelheaders.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

My, that's a big one (Possible new world record largemouth)

The necessary paperwork to certify a new world record mark for the largemouth bass has arrived at the International Game Fish Association's offices in Florida.

IGFA reports that Japanese angler Manabu Kurita, 32 of Aiochi caught a 22-pound, 4-ounce bass from Lake Biwa, an ancient reservoir northeast of Kyoto. The fish measured 27.20 inches and had a girth of 26.77 inches.

Kurita's trolled a live bluegill to catch his fish, which was examined by Japanese fisheries biologists. These biologists concluded that the fish was a female and not a sterile bass. Such sterile fish are called triploids which often grow larger than sexually correct fish.

IGFA spokesmen said also they have a number of questions to pose to Kurita. Among them are local fishing laws and where he caught the fish in a canal.

An announcement on the catch could come within three to four weeks, the IGFA said.

But if it is certified than Kurita's bass will tie the current largemouth bass record caught June 2, 1932 by George Perry near Jacksonville, Georgia.

This record - as the IGFA notes - is the "Holy Grail" of fresh-water fishing. That is because the species is the Number One sport fish in North America and also because the record has stood for 77 years, the IGFA said.

Interestingly, too, it rumored that Lake Biwa contains a 25-pound largemouth bass - a species the Japanese consider to be invasive.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Goose on the loose (or how I achieved redemption)

Okay, so I was mad as heck that on Monday I made a really bad rookie gunning mistake.

No way should I have stood up and shot at the geese when I did, the two birds not losing so much a single feather. Clearly the situation called for me to remain calm and let the geese throttle down and locked their landing gear.

I did not, becoming much too excited for a guy bearing down on 60. Which didn't help Jenny Lynn and Blackberry, my two Labrador retrievers. They couldn't understand how I could miss such an easy shot. But I did, much to my chagrin.

No so this morning, the last day of Ohio's early Canada goose-only hunting season.

This time I made the requisite toots on the goose call and had a small flock coming directly toward my smaller still flock of goose decoys. And I didn't budge until I was sure the birds were within range, though Berry had gone all crazy like and bolted from her position in front of the blind.

When the flock (of live birds, not the decoys) peeled off to the right I swung on the closest member and dropped it in the lake.

Berry made a fine retrieve and I was satisfied enough to bag the day and call it quits.

Thing is, it doesn't take as much to get me happy any more. Time once was in my youth I'd have stuck around to see how many more birds would come and how many of these I could kill.

Much of the satisfaction now comes from doing a good job well and watching my dogs work. If that means going home early with "just" one goose in hand then so be it, I say.

The fact that I had an opportunity to redeem my poor showing and lack of good judgement one day was enough of a thrill. It was a fitting end to a season that arrived all too quickly.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, September 14, 2009

Goose on the loose (And goose egg on the face)

It was - without question - one of the worst rookie mistakes of my shooting career. This happened this morning on a farm pond in Ashtabula County.

I did a good job of calling; just enough toots on the Glynn Scoby walnut goose call to get the attention of two Canada geese.

The birds were heading straight into the small spread of decoys. No questions asked. They wanted in.

But I shot waaaaay too soon. No doubt I should have waited until they were locked in and even back-tracking. Instead, I fired when they were still out there a ways and could still collect their thoughts.

As a result, I didn't touch a feather and the birds quickly recovered.

It was the kind of shot I get only once or twice a year and I blew it. You'd think that after 40 years of waterfowlign I wouldn't make this error and could hold my peace until the correct moment. Nope.

Poor Berry and Jenny Lynn couldn't figure out why the geese didn't drop so they could retrieve them.

This one is going to haunt me for the rest of the year.

And I only have tomorrow - Tuesday morning or evening to make amends during the early Canada goose-only season, too.

Oh, well. It was my mistake and I take all of the blame. Rats, the embarrassment still hurts, though.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, September 11, 2009

Draw, pardner (Northcoast National Gunslingers contest results)

The recently held Northcoast National Gunslingers contest held at Gunny's Hall in Mentor produced a good number of blazing speed results.

Try thinking of drawing a firing a six-gun at less than 3/10 of one second. That was accomplished by Howard Shingler of Holtwood, Pa. who took first place in the Fastest Guns on Earth - Traditional Class, Mens Division with a time of .292 seconds. The Womens Division winner was Donna Lechner, also of Holtwood, Pa. with a time of .333 seconds.

In the Open Class, Mens Division, the winner was Ron Paul Duning of Willowick with a time of .257 seconds while Lechner won the Womens Division with a time of .329 seconds.

In the Unlimited Class both Duning and Lechner repeated with times of .262 seconds and .339 seconds, respectively.

The World-wide Double Rig was captured by Mentor's Bill Sajovic of Mentor with Second Place going to Harry Ballenger of Greenville, Ohio and Shingler winning Third Place.

The Rolling Thunder game was won by Shingler with Tom Crawford of Freemont, Ohio in Second Place and Melinda Shingler in Third Place.

Shingler repeated by winning the Showdown competition. Second Place was won by Tom Lechner of Holtwood, Pa. Third place went to Tim Roberts of Painesville.

In the Fireball Phil Classic competition, Ron Zimmerman of Wellington, Ohio won the Mens Division while Donna Lechner won the Womens Division.

Meanwhile, Tom Lechner won the Shooters Choice Open, Mens Division and Melinda Shingler won the Womens Division. This category is named after the Middlefield-based gun cleaning company.

The 2009 Overall Top Guns were Ron Zimmerman and Melinda Shingler.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Sen. Voinovich disappoints (Supports anti-hunting bureaucrat)

I was afraid this was going to happen by Ohio Sen. George V. Voinovich voted yesterday (Sept. 9) to end debate on Cass Sundstein as President Obama's pick to lead the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs - more commonly called the "regulatory czar."

Voinovich was one of seven Republican senators to basically support the hardcore anti-hunter. In this he joined uber-liberal Ohio SEn. Sherrod Brown.

His appointment was opposed by not only the National Rifle Association but also the Columbus-based U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance and the National Wild Turkey Federation.

Just how extreme is Sunstein's anti-hunting opinions is reflected by his past comments and positions. Among them were..."we ought to ban hunting, if there isn't a purpose other than sport and fun."

Sunstein also wants to give legal rights to both domesticated as well as wild animals, ban grayhound racing, cosmetic testing on animals, and even meat eating.

Likewise Sunstein also believes that rats (RATS!) should be humanely removed instead of being killed as the vermin they are.

If that isn't enough Sunstein wants every animal product to be packaged with graphic pictures and descriptions of how those animals were processed! YIKES! So not only is he anti-hunting but also anti-farming, and the last time I checked raising livestock in Ohio was a pretty big business.

How in the world Voinovich - who likes to fish and has courted sportsmen - could support Sunstein is a total mystery. Had he and the other RINOs (in this case) voted not to end closure then Sunstein would not be a position to regulate federal laws impacting both hunting laws and farm policy.

It was a very sad day for this country's hunters and I for one am very, very disappointed in a man I've always liked and respected.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fish Ohio changes (and for the better)

Accompanying the really neat Fish Ohio pins being distributed this week is a yellow postcard-size notice from the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

The note says that beginning next year the Wildlife Division will only accept online Fish Ohio applications. No longer will it record data from mail-in entry forms. These forms, in essence, will no longer exist.

It's a cost- and manpower-saving strategy and follows on the heals of the agency offering only online Fish Ohio certificate-printing capabilities.

The switch will, of course, affect people who do not own a computer or else those who do not know how to use them. I count my oldest brother Terry in that group.

For these people the Wildlife Division recommends asking a friend, neighbor or relative to input the data. Or else visit a public library that offers Internet access.

Really, the process is quick and painless and it saves you the cost of a stamp and envelope.

The Internet site that will be used (and can be used even now) is

Questions about the new procedure, says the Wildlife Division, is available by calling either 614-265-6317 or 614-265-6325.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, September 4, 2009

Friday's musings (From trout stocking to crazy laws)

Few things are more popular in the area than the stocking of catchable rainbow trouth. Every October the Ohio Division of Wildlife releases fish in the 9 to 13 inch range into a host of waters.

This year is no different. The agency intends to stock about 25,000 rainbows into 25 waterways. Among them for far west siders is Huron County's Norwalk Reservoir No. 1 on Oct. 9.

For those in the Lake County area, the stockings will include Lake Metroparks' Grangers Pond in Veteran's Park in Mentor. Last year the state stocked 1,900 fish there.

To say the stocking was popular is an under-statement. The parking lot was completely full. This year should be no different when the pond is stocked on Oct. 15.

Another batch of trout will go into Painesville City's Recreation Park, a once-youth-only fishing hole that is now open to anyone. Last year this pond was stocked with 300 trout.

For pure enjoyment check out Outdoor Life mgazine's web site at It includes a gallary of 50 of the nation's craziest laws regarding wildlife and the like.

Examples include:
> In Ohio violators can be fined or jailed for making an ugly face at a dog.
> In Idaho it is illegal to fish from the back of a camel.
> Georgia prohibits tying a giraffe to a telephone pole or street lamp.
> In Lousiana it is illegal to tie an alligator to a fire hydrat.
> You cannot use a larriat to lasso a fish in Tennessee.
> Wyoming prohibits taking a photograph of a rabbit in June.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn