Friday, January 30, 2009

See Pets Unleashed blog, too

As we try to work out this bliog thing I'll be making posts on our Pets Unleashed blog, too.

The latest one is on the impact of this winter on deer and wild turkeys.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Preparing for the bad guys

Every Thursday (or sometimes Tuesday) evening you can find my wife, Bev, and me at Atwell's Shooting Range on Chestnut Street in Painesville.

We go there to punch holes in paper with our .22-caliber handguns - Bev's Browning and my Smith & Wesson.

It's all part of a weekly get-together with other handgun owners in an informal - but organized, if that makes sense - effort to become as familiar as possible with our shooting pieces.

The indoor program is a defensive-style shoot, using a variety of targets that in one way or another mimic a human torso.

Center-fire pistol owners fire a 25-round course while those of us who want to keep ammunition expenses down by using .22-caliber handguns fire a 50-round course.

They are timed courses and include both aiming and point-and-shoot ("rip and grip") handgun handling.

In one portion the target is "running" toward you.

The latest class is also doing the shooting in low-light conditions as a means to replicate when could happen in your home if you were to confront an intruder in the dark.

Scores are kept but only so that participants can see if they are improving.

All of which is developed and administered by Ron Paul Duning, the gunsmith at Mentor's Gander Mountain store.

For those who complete 10 of the $10 per session round, an invitation to a really great end-of-season party is in order.

While the shoots have proven helpful in developing our shooting skills and increasing our confidence level, Bev and I participate because it's just plain one heck of a good time.

You can stop by Atwell's after 5 p.m. on either Tuesdays or Thursdays. The latter typically sees smaller crowds.

New shooters are always welcome, and Ron Paul is the perfect host and helpful instructor who stresses safety and is always willing to share his considerable firearms handling knowledge.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Lake Erie's 2009 fishing forecast

The experts with the Ohio Division of Wildlife says we Lake Erie anglers will have a good fishing season this year.

Walleye fishermen will be catching fish that mostly originate from the really huge 2003 class with these fish averaging 18 to 26 inches.

These walleye will be assisted by fish from the 2001 year class (23 to 28 inches) and the 2005 year class (17 to 20 inches).

For the lake's perch jerkers, the outstanding fishing seen in 2008 will continue into 2009. The catch will largely consist of fish from the 2003, 2005 and 2007 year classes and will range from 7 to 13 inches.

Once again the bulk of the lake's jumbo perch will be caught right here in the Central Basin.

Expect only fair smallmouth bass fishing, however, as stocks remain below Wildlife Division desired levels.

Many of those bass that are caught, though, will average 15 to 22 inches.

Steelheaders should see another good to excellent trolling season on Lake Erie as well as in its tributaries during the species' autumn runs.

Lake Erie's white bass continue their march toward greater acceptance by anglers. An excellent white bass fisheries is anticipated with many fish running between 10 to 1 inches, based upon good hatches between 2003 and 2006.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Pennsylvania hunters get to use crossbows

Sportsmen long accustomed to Pennsylvania's often antiquated and tradition-bound hunting rules may be pleased to know that the state's Game Commission has gone kicking and screaming into the 21st Century.

The commission's board gave final approval today (Tuesday) to allowing the use of crossbows by anyone during the deer and bear archery hunting seasons.

Previously, the state required only handicapped persons could use the horizontally held hunting tools.

Limitations on broadheads apply but they're matters that a crossbow hunter already deals with.

A catch to the rules is that the prohibition on the use of telescopic sights continues, though red-dot type 'scopes can be used.

Crossbows also will become legal implements during Pennsylvania's early muzzle-loading-only antlerless deer hunting season and the late season flintlock deer hunting season.

The board also reserved to itself the right to vote on the matter again before June 30, 2012.

Pennsylvania's general archery deer hunting season will be Oct. 3 through Nov. 14 and Dec. 26 through Jan. 9.

The state's general deer hunting season will begin Nov. 30 and end Dec. 12.

Other antlered and antlerless seasons will exist, depending upon Wildlife Management Units.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, January 26, 2009

Let's go fishing (or not)

Sure it's cold. Even bitterly cold.

But that's not stopping some die-hard steelhead anglers.

The bulkhead seawall area at the end of Erie Road in Eastlake has seen considerable fishing traffic with enough parking spaces cleared for around a dozen vehicles.

Problem is, the steelhead fishing there has been really, really slow.

At least you don't have to worry about being ticketed for fishing. Eastlake's mayor Ted Andrzejewski said Monday that the city's not contemplating issuing citations.

Meanwhile, John Sima, head of Eastlake's port authority realzies that while the seawall officially closes November 1 the place still attracts a lot of winter trout anglers.

The fear is that someone is going to slip on the ice and fall into the lake; hence the city warning.

Steelheaders are doing better at FirstEnergy's East 72nd Street plant in Cleveland.
Here, the steelheaders are fishing the short hot-water discharge slip and are catching trout by using either jigs tipped with minnows or else casting spawn sacks.

A few walleye are being caught here, as well. These fish are hitting Rapala Husky Jerk crankbaits.

Stream fishermen are concentrating on the Grand River area below Harpersfield dam in Ashtabula County.

Unfortunately, on the best days the dam is over-crowded with up to 25 anglers spread out along the structure's face. That's way too many fishermen for my tastes.

Another problem is that you can walk downstream to the high shale bank and fish but that area's been taken over by some really poor sports.

Mentor's Bob Ashley has fished there and been hemmed in by pushy fishermen who let their floats and lines drift aimlessly through everyone else's water space.

They're obviously newbees, too, since they've been observed fishing with their spinning reels turned upside down.

It was a lot more fun steelheading 10 and 20 years ago when there were fewer trout but far fewer anglers fishing for them.

My plans call for a second ice fishing outing on Thursday for bluegills.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Boat show navigates troubled seas

On Wednesday the Cleveland Boat Show at Cleveland's I-X Center played host to a mostly seasoned, old-timers crowd, though the aisles were pretty clear of foot traffic; typical for a mid-week afternoon matinee.

That gave me ample elbow room to look at the many boat packages - many of which were steal deals of outstanding value.

Whether it is an aluminum model for near shore angling or a more powerful 'glass version for blue-water walleye fishing, there are good prices to be had.

The problem with purchases is, says Boat Show officials, that the banks aren't letting loose on credit so that people can actually buy the recreational boat of their choice.

Pity, too, since, the only way the economy will recover and grow is if people have access to credit and feel comfortable in spending money.

Other Boat Show thoughts include that the event is smaller by about 25 percent this year with a really compacted Angler's Alley.

I also think that the $8 parking fee charged by the city is pretty high as is the $2 for a coat check.

At least the talk on Lake Erie walleye dynamics by Ohio Division of Wildlife fisheries biologist Travis Hartman was worth the 45-minute sit.

And in all fairness to the dealers displaying their wares, the general impression is that attendance is as good as could be expected for an economy that just can't seem to recover.

When economic conditions improve, I predict, then expect a watershed of people wanting to upgrade their boat or jump into the water with their first-ever boat purchase.

Question is, just how long it's going to be before we begin to see a turn-around in that economy.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

A listening walk (revised)

From time to time I take what I call a "listening walk."

As much as anything it is an excuse to be outdoors for a casual jaunt.

Tuesday's listening walk was a trip to the Club, a hunting-fishing-shooting parcel in Ashtabula County that me and about 500 other people are members.

On this afternoon I was the club's sole visitor, due in no small measure to the heavy slug of snow on the ground.

With my two Labardor retrievers as companions, we walked from the dog training clubhouse west to the 100-yard shooting range and back and then to the gate and back: A distance of about one mile.

Jenny Lynn and Berry often ran out of the track plowed Sunday which left a narrow guage of cleared snow.

The dogs often ran off to the sides, becoming buried up to their chest or even back in the fallen snow.

I looked for signs of deer or other wild critters, though I found none.

Not that I was surprised by the lack of hoof print activity.

It's been a tough January.

So far this has been the ninth snowiest January on record with 10 days yet to go. A total of 25.5 inches of snow has fallen this month and measured at Cleveland Hokins International Airport.

Clearly, this is the time of year that tests the mettle of wild life. It seperates those animals that will likely survive and those that will die.

It becomes the suvival of the fittest, leaving the genes of the strongest to prevail and continue the species.

Conditions likely will only get worse, too. The warm-up today will be quickly followed by a period of intense cold. That weather condition will lay down a heavy covering of crust on the deep snow.

It's tough enough for animals to plow through several inches of snow. Add a couple inches of hard crust and the chore becomes one of desperation.

Turkeys will struggle to scratch for food, state biologist Damon Greer says, and so will deer.

Even predators stand to lose. If the rabbits, mice and the like cannot get out, then hawks, fox and coyotes will go hungry. That is why we're seeing more daylight sightings of fox and coyotes while hawks are spending time hanging out around bird feeders.

All of which is a concept that is a hard nut for humans to accept, we being bent to want to help all creatures great and small. So we toss out bird seed or corn for the rascals and try to pamper them with cover and places to rest.

But nature in general and winter in particular are cruel masters on wildlife. There is only one retirement plan for deer, song birds and the like and that is death. There is no such thing as wildlife dying of old age in the field or forest.

These things I have seen on my various listening walks and where either piles of bird feathers or clumps of rabbit fur lie and where a fox, coyote or hawk prevailed.

None of happened on this listening walk, however. All I had was the gay sight of snow blowing across the Club's open fields and covering the trenches made by the snow plow.

But I know that at some other listening walk I'll run across the signs of the survivors or those critters that spent the winter huddled asleep in some burrow.

There's a lot to be said for taking a listening walk as it brings to mind the mortality of the woods and of ourselves.

Monday, January 19, 2009

No Obama Express for me

Please excuse me if I don’t jump aboard the Obama Express on its way to the coronation; er, inaugural.

As a sportsman - particularly as a firearms owner - the ascension of Barak Obama is a train wreck of values and constitutional rights.

Obama speaks a mean game of inclusiveness and trying to pull all the country’s parts together.

During the campaign he said he would back the Second Amendment and in other interviews he noted his support for traditional outdoors sports like hunting and angling.

Then, just after the election, we learned just how unworthy those words were.

Almost immediately Obama’s transition team announced anti-Second Amendment rights initiatives.

Among them was a return to failed ban on semi-automatic firearms. In fact, his people support even greater restrictions than the 1994 ban, possibly to include semi-automatic hunting rifles and even shotguns.

Maybe even pump-action firearms, too.

That is worry enough, of course.

But then came his slate of administration appointees.

Obama’s chief of staff is Chicago political veteran Rahm Emanuel. He served in the Clinton Administration and was a leader back then on firearms control issues.

Far more dangerous for Second Amendment rights is Obama’s pick for Attorney General, Eric Holder.

This guy should make any firearms owner wince in fear.

Holder not only backs some of the most restrictive federal gun control measures he even filed a “friend of the court” brief before the U.S. Supreme Court in which he said the Second Amendment was the states’ corporate right to establish militias and not an individual’s right to own a firearm for protection.

We all know which side the Supreme Court fell on that one, though I can’t help but wonder how Holder will defend this right in future cases or what he’ll advocate as the attorney general.

Yet even Obama’s picks are going to impact hunters and anglers.

He has selected Cass Sunstein to head the federal Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

But this Harvard law professor has repeatedly backed an anti-hunting agenda.

In fact, the professor is a radical, who has even spoken of “eliminating” the eating of meat.

Further, he is on record of advocating the outlawing of sport hunting saying “I suggest, if there isn’t a purpose other than sport and fun. That should be against the law. It’s time now.”

A step further - and as noted by the nonprofit Center for Consumer Freedom - Sunstein believes, has publicly stated through his writings that animals have the right to bring lawsuits, supported by consel with guardian-like obligations; read, animal rights groups.

And his pick of Lisa P. Jackson to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is a further sign of erosion of backing sportsmen.

While Jackson has said she’ll let science overrule politics, as head of the New Jersey Environmental Protection Agency she banned the hunting of black bears in that state.

This, in spite of that state’s biologists saying such hunting was necessary for control purposes and would hardly harm the bear population there.

It’s not as if we sportsmen and gun owners are feable and without numbers.

The recently held firearms industry trade show, or SHOT Show, attracted a record 1,425 members of the media and posted a 3-percent gain in attendence from the last time it was held in Orlando, Fla.

And in Ohio last year, gains were posted in both the sales of general hunting licenses as well as a huge increase in the number of antlerless-only deer tags.

Too, gun shows are reporting record attendance even as the most recent ones advertising they were the last before Obama becomes president.

Many gun owners are very fearful of an intrusive Obama Administration, filled with appointees with their radical anti-Second Amendment, anti-hunting agendas.

Our foes are gathering and the next four years at least won’t be easy. We’ll need to stay focused, polite but determined.

The future of sport hunting and firearms ownership is at stake here, both of which are too important to let an articulate but offensive politician to succeed.

By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, January 15, 2009

That's a lot of venison and fishing stuff

I went this morning to pick up my deer at Trumbull Locker Plant, located about three miles north of Hartsgrove Square in Ashtabula County.

This is where I typically have my deer processed.

To illustrate just how much hunters are utilizing the antlerless deer tags this year, the butcher shop's owner said Trumbull Locker has so far processed more than 1,600 animals.

He also expects another 50 or so deer to come in before the season closes Feb. 1.

Last year the shop was busy, but not this busy. Last deer season Trumbull Locker processed around 1,100 deer.

A lot of hunters have taken advantage of the opportunity to take additional deer this season.

While on the way to the butcher shop I swung by Harpersfield dam to see if the Grand River was frozen and if there were any steelhead anglers.

The river was entirely frozen above the dam but open water ran from the dam's base and downstream to at least the bend.

Didn't see any anglers but did take note of one vehicle in the east parking lot; an indicator that a fisherman was likely working downstream.

I suspect that even with the anticipated sub-zero and near-zero temperatures that some open water will exist on the river downstream from the dam, providing limited steelhead fishing.

And good friend Bob Ashley of Mentor caught four steelhead and two walleye Thursday while fishing the hot water discharge slip of FirstEnergy's East 72nd St. power plant. He used pink-colored jigs with maggots for the trout and used Rapala Husky Jerk crankbaits for the walleye. Best colors: either perch or clown.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Good white stuff for cross-country skiing

Lake Metroparks' chief of Recreation Services Brian Fowler says that the agency had its best day ever on Sunday for cross-country ski rentals.

This rental business is at the agency's Chapin Forest Reservation off Hobart Road in Kirtland and saw 463 rentals. The previous best for the Ski Lodge was 411 rentals.

Lake Metroparks also saw heavy cross-country use at its Girdled Road Reservation in Concord Township and HUGE use of all its sledding hills.

After having knee surgery 2 1/2 years ago and back surgery one year ago I am just at the cusp of whether I can don my cross-country skis and again hit the trails at Chapin Forest.

Cross-country skiing is a lot more work than down-hill skiing so I'll have to take it easy.

Maybe I'll just take the two Labradors for a walk at Veteran's Park.

Better yet, next week I'll focus on doing some ice fishing after all this cold freezes my favorite farm pond.

Saturday I'm planning on a fly tying marathon.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Cold weather deer

Last Friday was ending up cold and snowy so I figured it might be my last opportunity to archery hunt for deer.

The property owner where I hunt plows the main driveway but the access road to where I normally park isn't cleared, and the way the snow was forecasted to build up I figured it was now or never.

The thing was, the deer had not been visiting my bait stand during regular business hours.

Rather, they were making their withdrawls of corn at night or during the day when I wasn't hunting.

Not this night as a nice-size button buck strolled in right at sunset with 30 minutes of legal shooting light still left.

My view was horizontal and seen through a slit zipped open in the doorway of the fabric ground blind. The animal had glanced over in my direction once before beginning to feed.

An arrow launched from my Horton crossbow passed through the animal, almost always a fatal shot with quick results.

But the snow was falling so fast that i was afraid I'd lose the trail if I waited too long.

In fact, even after just 15 minutes the trail was being filled in by the falling snow. I figured I needed toget a jump on tracking the deer and couldn't wait too long before taking up the search.

Fortunately the button buck hadn't gone more than 20 yards.

After field dressing the animal I had less than a 100-yard drag back to my small SUV.

The point of the story says that late season archery hunting can be very productive if one is dressed properly and is patient. Deer can get accustomed to a ground blind (it took about one month in my case) and will settle back in to a routine after the various gun seasons have ended.

Ground blinds are a whole lot more comfortable than sitting 15 feet up in a tree ladder.

Now my freezer is filled with venison from three small deer and I've helped reduce the deer herd in an Urban Deer Zone.

Hopefully I'll still be able to get out and see if that 10-point buck will make an appearance since I have left my one either-sex tag.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Straight arrow students

Wickliffe Middle students again will be participating in the National Archery in the Schools Archery archery tournament, set for March 6 in Columbus.

The school has been a participant in the program for three years, and though the participants have not scored near the top they are an energetic group that take their sport seriously.

Heading up the program is Michelle Reda, the school's art teacher.

Each student pracices once a week from 3 to 5 p.m. in the school's gymnasium.

In the actual competition, the students will fire 15 arrows at targets set at 10 meters and 15 arrows at targets set at 15 meters.

So far this year the Ohio Division of Wildlife reports that more than 700 students have signed up for the tournament; up from last year's total tournament figure of 659students.

In all, the archery program attracts about 20,000 student participants.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Big changes in Ohio hunting laws

Deer hunters who have permission to hunt in any of the state's Urban Deer zones likely will see the elimination of bag limits next years.

And the statewide muzzle-loading season will be shifted back into January and include two weekend dates.

Meanwhile, their grouse-hunting counterparts will see a reduction in both the bag limit and the season length.

That is, if both proposals are passed by the eight-member Ohio Wildlife Council.

The council heard the Ohio Division of Wildlife's proposals January 7 with the remainder of the proposals for deer hunting to be presented Feb. 4.

For now, the Wildlife Division is seeking an abolishment of bag limits for deer hunters in all of the state's Urban Deer Hunt zones as well as at authorized controlled hunts.

The proposed muzzle-loading season is Jan. 9 to 12.

Ohio's grouse hunting season may be shaved by an entire month, ending Jan. 31 instead of the last day in February and a bag limit cut from three birds a day to two birds a day.

If that weren't enough, the Wildlife Division also is recommending that for the last two weeks of the statewide 2010 four-week-long spring wild turkey hunting season, hunters will be allowed afield until sunset instead of ending at noon.

Are walleye anglers at a health risk?

An unsavory invasive species has shown up in Lake Huron and threatens to spill over into the other four Great Lakes.

The Asian tapeworm is the 186th invasive species to establish a beachhead in the Great Lakes and will provide a worrisome concern to those who eat raw fish, commonly called sushi.

It was first discovered by a Canadian researcher who found it in walleye; an at-risk species.

While some fish tapeworm species are native to the Great Lakes, the Asian tapeworm is particularly odious, reports from a Michigan newspaper say.

Scientists are saying it is "one of the world's most pernicious invaders."

The Asian tapeworm can grow to one-foot in length in larger fish and is know to cause weight loss, anemia and mortality in young fish, the Canadian researcher says.

The tapeworm is known also to crawl out of the mouths and gills of dead fish.

While it remains unknown whether humans can act an Asian tapeworm host, scientists say that people must thoroughly cook their catch before eating it to ensure protection.

"We see tapeworms in our fish but we're not really trained to look at them at an individual species level. Many of our walleye already have native tapeworms, but I don't know anyone who eats raw walleye," said Kevin Kayle, manager of the Ohio Division of Wildlife's Fairport Harbor Fisheries Research Station.

"I don't know to what extent these tapeworms will take off in Lake Erie since there already are native competitors."

Kayle also said that the huge volume of walleye born and raised in Lake Erie probably will keep the risk of an Asian tapeworm explosion to a minimum.

The National Center for Environmental Assessment has identified 30 potential invasive species that pose a "medium or high risk" of reaching the Great Lakes, another recent wire story says.

Norm Schultz update

Many area boaters and Cleveland Boat Show attendees fondly remember Norm Schultz, fomerly of Mentor.
Norm and his wife, Kay, retired several months ago to live the good life of salt-water fishing around Florida's Tampa Bay.
Up until then Norm was the head of the Lake erie Marine Trades Association which produced the Cleveland Indoor Boat Show as well as the Cedar Point On-water Boat Show.
Norm also was a long time member of the Lake County yacht club scene, a smiling sort of guy who was always saying "hello" to his fellow boaters.
Norm says he's working on improving his grooper fishing skills and has been ripping the kingfish. He also wants to do better with redfish and snook.
The thing is, you can still keep tabs on Norm as he remains bound to the recreational boating industry.
Norm runs an industry-related blog that is full of good information.
The blog can be accessed at //

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Scared gun owners

It should not come as a surprise but a recent survey says that by a huge margin sportsmen and gun owners say it will become more difficult to buy a firearm under the incoming Barrack Obama Administration.

The survey was conducted by the Southwick Associates firm which says that 80 percent of the respondents believe that it will become more difficult to buy a firearm.

Another 16 percent said they expect few, if any, changes while just 1 percent believe it will become easier to purchase a handgun, rifle or shotgun.

The latest industry news from the National Shooting Sports Foundation only reinforces how serious a threat that gun owners and hunter precieve the in-coming Obama Administration to be, too.

For the month of December, the FBI's National Instant Criminal background Check System recorded a 24-percent increase over the December, 2007 figures.

This follows a 42 percent increase for November.

Final year-end NICS checks show that 12.7 million background checks were made last year - a 14 percent increase over 2007, the shooting industry group says.

So huge is the demand for these background checks that the federal form used to record information and which a prospective buyer must complete is in short supply.

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s Trout Club frequently has interesting speakers for its monthly dinner meetings. A pair coming up addresses that topic.

On Jan. 21 the club will host Pennsylvania fly fishing guide and outdoors writer Karl Weixlmann on the subject of “Lake Erie Surf Zone Steelheading.”

A couple of weeks later on Feb. 4 the club will host renowned fly angler, fly tier, author and artist dave Whitlock on “Fly Fishing the Ozarks - The Four Seasons River.”

In each case the cost of the catered dinner and lecture is $35 per person and the functions both begin at 6 p.m.

For details and reservations, call the museum at (216) 231-4600, ext. 3278.

Fly tying Expo

I’ll be doing my best Saturday to avoid any post-holiday blues.

That avoidance will actually be pretty easy with warm and cuddly thoughts of spring and steelhead fishing.

Saturday will see the 7th Annual Northern Ohio Fly Tying Expo. This is the little show that does things very well.

It is set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Lakeland Community College’s Building “Y” in Kirtland.

The admission is $10 for those age 18 and older.

Whatever the cost this is a value-added fly-fishing, fly-tying event.

My wife, Bev, and I particularly enjoy strolling the exhibition hall and looking at all of the various fly tiers in action.

Both of us have picked up great tips and learned to tie new fly patterns.

The fact that we can spend some money for fly tying supplies and the like is another plus.

In fact, we’re delaying a trip to Cabela’s Wheeling, WV store just so we can attend the expo.

If there’s anything negative to say about the expo I’m not sure what it can be. The North Coast Fly Fishers really does an outstanding job of lining up vendors, instructors and speakers who touch on a wide variety of related subjects.

I’m especially interested in sitting in on the 11 a.m. “Steelhead Flies- a Canadian Perspective” presentation and the 12:30 p.m. “Fly Fishing for Smallmouth Bass” presentation.

Late-season deer

It ain’t over yet and since the Fat Lady won’t sing until after Feb. 1, you’ll still find me archery deer hunting.

The most significant change to my tactics will be the use of a ground blind instead of using a tree ladder stand.

Blinds are safer and more comfortable, though it seems the deer are taking their good old time getting used to the contraption.

However, I am not sure whether the deer are blind-shy or what. Up until the blind was placed I had seen lots of deer from the tree stand. Since it went up, I have not seen a single animal.

The same goes for John Grantham of Lake Metroparks. John has switched to a ground blind after spedning the fall in a tree stand. His results are zero deer seen, too.

I do continue to use corn as the lure, though; the deer eating between 100 and 150 pounds of the grain per week.

Fortunately, the price of corn has dropped by more than 30 percent.
The greatest challenge facing the late season archery deer hunter is enduring the cold and sometimes boredom.

It is noteworthy to keep in mind that only 15 percent of all deer killed by archery tackle are shot after the start of the various gun and muzzle-loading hunting seasons.

So, yes, there are fewer deer and they are all the more wise after months of archery and gun hunting.

But late season deer can be vulnerable and I’ve found on more than one occasion that late-season hunting is a great way to top off the freezer with venison.

Remember too that the antlerless-only deer tags can still be used in Urban Deer Zones, which in Northeast Ohio includes Lake County and Cuyahoga counties as well as Geauga County west of Rt. 44.