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 www.birdcount.org.

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 www.sierraclub.org/parks 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 www.FishOhio.org.

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 www.outdoorlife.com. 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

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Invisible ink (hunting, fishing license ink disappears)

Hunters and anglers who bought their Ohio sportsmens' licenses early on perhaps ought to check their documents.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife is saying that it switched to new document paper this year but with 12-year-old printers the ink on some licenses has faded into nothingness.

The paper switch was done to ease hunters and anglers into what is to come starting in 2011. That is when the Wildlife Division will assemble a whole new computer-based license-issuing system.

"The bottom line was we had some unforeseen problems with the new paper and the old printers. We have sold well over one million licences and we are replacing those that we are made aware of that have this problem,” said Kory Brown, Wildlife Division spokesman.
“We don’t know how widespread the problem is but it appears they were issued in February and March. I feel bad about it and we’re trying to correct it."

But that correction could prove costly. If the agency is overwhelmed with requests for replacements it may simply say "no." That would force document holders to pay $3 for each type of license, even if the document contains multiple numbers of actual permit types.

At least the Wildlife Division is attempting to right its wrong with a fix for the near term. It has gone with a thinner piece of paper and has recommended changing the thermal setting.

“It’s a temporary solution, and we believe we’ve found a solution for next year and for 2011 when we go to the new system,” Brown said.
“We’ll make it right."

Let us hope so.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn