Friday, February 26, 2010

2009-2010 deer kill (Official and final figures)

The final and official total figure for the 2009-2010 Ohio combined deer hunting seasons show little difference from the preliminary statistic released about three weeks ago.

Final figures show that 261,314 deer were taken by archers, firearms and muzzle-loading hunters. The preliminary figure was 261,255 deer.

It is important to note that preliminary figures are based on county where the deer were checked in and not necessarily where the deer were actually killed. It takes about one month for the Ohio Division of Wildlife to sort through and rearrange the check-in slips before the agency can provide the final - and official - figures.

It is also noteworthy to point out that the 261,314 official figure was a marked increase from the official 2008-2009 record kill of 252,017 deer.

In all, archery hunters officially shot 91,521 deer compared to the 114,281 deer shot during the seven-day gun season. Other official season results were the youth-only hunt (9,270 deer), the two-day bonus deer-gun hunt (20,054 deer), the special three-unit early muzzle-loading hunt (491 deer), and the statewide muzzle-loading season (25,007 deer).

Where the difference between preliminary and final figures are most striking is with the county-by-county statistics. For example, In Lake County an official 852 deer were shot last year while the preliminary figure was 1,289 deer. Same was true in Geauga County with the official 2009-2010 figure at 2,545 deer and the preliminary figure of 2,188 deer.

Officially as well, the final figures for the 2009-2010 seasons (with the official 2008-2009 figures in parentheses) were: Lake County - 852 (901); Ashtabula County - 5,298 (6,448); Geauga County - 2,545 (2,762); Cuyahoga County - 635 (681); Trumbull County - 3,584 (3,976); Lorain County - 2,603 (2,466); Medina County - 2,140 (2,047); Huron County - 2,561 (2,383); Erie County - 1,036 (1,020).

The Top Five counties were: Coshocton - 9,635; Tuscarawas - 9,009; Licking - 8,571; Guernsey - 8,289; and Harrison - 8,043.

Note too that more deer were taken in Coshocton County alone than in Lake, Geauga, Ashtbula and Cuyahoga combined.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Cabel's in antis' cross-hairs (Not for a good reason, either)

The anti-hunting, anti-trapping Defenders of Wildlife have it all wrong. And not just with its position on hunting and trapping, either.

Of late the nation's largest anti group has set its sights on Cabela's, which bills itself as the "World's Foremost Outfitter." For good reason, too.

And the retailer and catalog supplier of all things hunting, fishing, camping and boating is being targeted because Defenders says Cabela's has embarked on so-called wolf-killing competitions in Idaho.

Defenders has gone so far as to seek placing a critical advertisement in Cabela's headquarters hometown of Sidney, Neb. The newspaper squashed that plan though Defenders has gone on to seek donations to take the campaign to other Nebraska news outlets.

Behind Defender's smokescreen, however, is the truth. That being, all Cabela's did last year was provide $150 worth of merchandise to an Idaho-based sportsmens' group that organized and conducted three local predator hunts. None of which resulted in any wolf kills, by the way.

Shows you how far the antis will go to stretch the truth to fit their agenda.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fly guys (Tackle store now open for business)

Kevin, Melissa and Daniel Ball have opened their KMD Tackle store in downtown Painesville.

And while the current stock of steelhead fishing and fly tying supplies is so far limited, the place does have a lot of potential plus an eager family that wants to please. The family even has a notepad where customers can jot down things they'd like to see the shop carry.

Best of all the store does have some fly tying supplies that helps take up the slack left by the unfortunate demise of Grand River Tackle. So on Sunday (the day after KMD opened) my wife, Bev, and me were able to gather up a couple of useful items. Among them was a grizzly neck needed to make some size 18 Griffith gnat dry flies for use this summer on Pennsylvania's Cross Fork and Kettle creeks.

And Kevin said he has a mess of supplies and lures on order but they didn't arrive in time for the store's soft opening.

While the shop cannot sell live minnows it will carry other live bait items that are used by steelhead and other anglers.

The store's address is 263 Liberty Street. Painesville, which is two blocks south of the old hospital and on the east side of the street. It's located in a brick building that once housed a karate school. Ample parking is found on the building's south side.

In other outdoor news, I have 16-page letter to the President and drafted by a number of conservation groups such as the Bass Anglers Sportsmen's Society, Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation, the American Sportfishing Association and several others.

Talk about complex, this document is mind-numbing and I'm not even sure what the "U.S. Recreational Fishing & Boating Coalition Comments on White House Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force Interim Framework for Effective Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning" is suppose to accomplish other than it includes the Great Lakes.

And if common folk are unable to understand such a detailed and complex issue outlined by a technically challenging response how do these groups expect to increase awareness let alone solicit support?

I'm kind of gathering the document relates to the possibility the Obama Administration wants to develop a new and more complex bureaucracy for managing ocean and Great Lakes issues. But I'm not entirely sure since the document is awash in technical and wordy verbiage.

Oh, well. It's more fun to tie flies in the evening than it is to read dry and boring reports...

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, February 19, 2010

Anti-hunting group rates states (And Ohio ain't Number One)

The rabidly - but highly organized - anti-hunting -fishing, -trapping, -flesh-eating, -livestock-growing - Humane Society of the United States has just released its ratings for the 50 states.

And Ohio is close to the bottom, which means it is also near the top in the hearts and minds of hunters, anglers, trappers and farmers.

Not surprisingly the Society's favored states include the Bluest of the Blue: California with 45 out of a possible 50 and followed by New Jersey, 41 out of a possible 50. In third place with a 38 out of a possible 50 were Colorado, Maine and Massachusetts.

At the bottom 0f the HSUS's heap (excuse me, at the TOP of the sportsmens' heap) were Alabama, Hawaii, Missouri and Ohio and each with 17 out of a possible 50.

Lower still were Mississippi and North Dakota with a 13 out of possible 50 and Idaho with a 9 out of a possible 50.

The Society's Public Enemy Number One, if you will, is South Dakota with an 8 out of a possible 50.

The link to the Society's rankings is being made available by the Columbus-based U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance, which does its best to keep close tabs on the doings of such anti-everything groups as the HSUS.

In other topics the Alliance points to in its latest electronic newsletter is that Ohio's First Lady Frances Strickland has returned a box of vegan chocolates sent to her by the really odd-ball People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals.

However, before the Alliance and anyone else gets all excited and starts shouting "Oh-rah," let it be known that Strickland returned the chocolates because acceptance violates her husband's ethics policy and NOT because of any differences with the publicity-seeking PETA.

No point in the Strickland family getting tied up over ethics issues the way former Ohio Gov. Bob Taft got himself into trouble.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hunting more (What bad economy?)

A recent study conducted by Southwick Associates demonstrates that the nation's hunters aren't letting a sour economy keep them out of the fields, forests and marshes.

By a large measure, these hunters said they either hunted about as much as they expected to in 2009 (40 percent) or even more (25 percent).

During the previous year as well, hunting license sales rose by 3.5 percent in the 12states that make up the National Shooting Sports Foundation's Hunting License Sales Index.

Since hunting license sales data normally doesn't materialize in an exact form for 18to 24 months after sales end, it would be difficult to extrapolate the information to a nationwide pattern, Southwick says.

However, should the 3.5 percent figure hold up then it would "represent one of the largest percentage increases in hunting license sales in more than 30 years," said Southwick, a firm that conducts research used by both the angling and hunting industries.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Mentor's bird count flies the coop (No longer Number One)

With the loss of its main engine, Mentor has sputtered and stalled as the top reporting city in the international Great Backyard Bird Count.

Last year Mentor led all cities in the United States and Canada for the number of checklists recorded in the count. This annual census of birds is a joint product of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society. It was held Feb. 12 through 15.

In 2009 Mentor registered 762 checklists, the most of any city anywhere. That high count was largely due to the efforts of now-retired Mentor Schools elementary media specialist, Kevin Schaner. It was Schaner who prodded and poked 5th grade students into participating in the count.

With Schaner’s retirement no other Mentor Schools media specialist took up the flag. As a result, the to-date checklist count from Mentor is a paltry 57, just ahead of Chardon’s checklist count of 45. It also is light year’s behind the current Ohio leader, Cincinnati, with a count of 239 checklists.

The most birds counted thus far in Mentor is the Canada goose with 162 birds noted on 17 checklists. The same number of European starlings was noted as well.

And it would appear that the pair of American bald eagles calling the Mentor Marsh their home was sighted. Two eagles were recorded in Mentor on two checklists.

Painesville actually is ahead of Mentor in the number of checklists with 72, good for the present position in the state at third place. Here, counters have so far have tabulated 4 wild turkeys, 105 ring-billed gulls and 1 fox sparrow.

Willoughby got in the act with 30 species noted on 13 checklists. At least so far. Among the birds counted were 7 wild turkeys, 30 rock pigeons, 100 Canada geese though only 1 European starling.

Chardon’s to-date count registers 6 American bald eagles, 543 Canada geese, 60 American robins, 15 snow buntings and 1 swamp sparrows.

The to-date totals for the entire Bird Count includes 1,687,219 American robins,
487,338 Canada geese, and 5,977 American bald eagles of which 55 were counted in Ohio and 433 in British Columbia by residents there who apparently aren’t watching the Vancouver Winter Olympics.

Birders have until March 1 to report their sightings. Visit for information and to register counts.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Go Fish (And enjoy a lake all to yourself)

Area anglers can sign up to fish Lake Metroparks' Hidden Lake in Leroy Township.

The small lake is aptly named, hidden away behind a cordon of trees. The lake harbors channel catfish, largemouth bass, bluegill-sunfish, yellow perch and crappies.

Under a management plan, anglers can apply for a permit 45 days before prior to the desired date. The inclusive dates the lake will be open to fishing are April 1 to Oct. 31. Fishing is only on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays with hours being 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Permit holders can bring up to three guests. Up to two permits will be issued for each open date.

Note that a request for a new permit will be honored ONLY after the existing permit expires.

A person must have a valid Ohio fishing license, if such is required by state law.

All bass taken must be at least 15 inches with a maximum of 2 bass. No more than 10 bluegill-sunfish, perch, crappies can be taken per person, per day. And all bluegills-sunfish must be at least 6 inches long.

No catfish can be kept.

Permit holders and their guests must arrive using only one vehicle. Shore fishing only is allowed and boats cannot be used.

For further details, visit Lake Metroparks' web site at

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, February 8, 2010

Huge deer harvest (Not so much here, though)

Preliminary figures released by the Ohio Division of Wildlife shows that Ohio’s deer hunters did far better than expected.

And better than what the state’s estimated 500,000 deer hunters bagged during the 2008-2009 season.

For the 2009-2010 combined deer hunting seasons, a preliminary 261,255 deer were shot. That is a 5.13-percent increase over the total 2008-2009 deer season take of 248,515 animals.

Wildlife Division officials also hoped for something of a decline in the 2009-2010 combined deer hunting seasons. It was expected at first that hunters would kill about 225,000 to 250,000 deer.

Locally, the number of deer taken was generally down. In normally deer-rich Ashtabula County, hunters shot a preliminary 5,119 deer, a deep drop from the 5,829 animals shot there in 2008-2009.

Geauga County registered a decline as well and based upon preliminary data. Here, hunters shot a preliminary 2,188 deer. During the 2008-2009 season that figure was 2,558 animals.

Lake County saw a preliminary 1,289 animals shot during the recently concluded 2009-2010 season, a statistically insignificant increase from the 1,272 animals taken during the 2008-2009 season.

Cuyahoga County did register a small drop as well: 836 deer preliminarily reported for the 2009-2010 season and compared to the 885 deer taken during the 2008-2009 season.

Lorain County saw a preliminary take of 2,789 deer and compared to the 2,372 animals taken there during the 2008-2009 season. The figures for Medina County were 2,277 and 2043, respectively. Huron County recorded a preliminary 2,582 deer for the 2009-2010 season and 2,436 deer for the 2008-2009 season.

A good number of counties in southeast Ohio did preliminarily post gains, however. This is Ohio’s Deer Central and a place where state wildlife biologists want to cut more deeply into the white-tail population. Counties like Athens, Guernsey and Vinton recorded gains. The same is true for such southwest Ohio counties as Adams, Butler and Highland.

Preliminary figures are based upon where deer are checked in rather than actual county of kill though they do reflect general harvest trends. The Ohio Division of Wildlife anticipates that final, official figures will be available later this month.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

New steelhead tackle store (More toys!)

With the recent and sad demise of Grand River Tackle in Fairport Harbor, local steelheaders were out a focal-point for fly fishing supplies.

But at last month's North Coast Fly Fishers' Fly Tying Conclave it was learned that Kevin and Melissa Ball would soon open their own tackle shop that caters to fly anglers and other fishers.

The Balls have announced that their store will begin business Feb. 20. It will be set at 263 Liberty Street, Painesville. That's two blocks south of the former Painesville hospital and is located in a building that once housed a butcher shop and then later a karate school.

Besides having the much-in-demand fly fishing fly tying materials, the KMD shop also will have spinning tackle and other gear.

Thus the shop will help fill a void that was promising to make fly tying and fly fishing life more difficult for area steelheaders.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, February 5, 2010

Weekend wrap up (A little bit of this and that)

The Ohio Division of Wildlife is recommending to the eight-member Ohio Wildlife Council (a group of really old geezers, some of whom have held their positions since the last Ice Age, but I digress) that 16 inland waterways install a 15-inch minimum length limit on walleye, saugeye and saugers. Among them are popularly fished Pleasant Hill Reservoir, Atwood Lake, West Branch Reservoir, Seenca Lake, Piedmont Lake,and Tappan Reservoir.

The request is intended to "improve the age and size structure" of the walleye, saugeye and sauger populations found in each of the 16 waterways, the Wildlife Division says.

If approved by the Wildlife Council the limit change will go into effect starting March 1, 2011.

Also of interest is that the season on snapping turtles would be closed from May 1 to June 30, which is the species' breeding season.

Meanwhile the daily bag limit on bullfrogs and green frogs would increase to 15 and no possession limit. I know that some folk out there will be positively breathless about this announcement.

In other news, the federal government's Interior and Agriculture departments have joined forces to create the Wildlife and Hunting Heritage Conservation Council. This will become an advisory group that replaces the existing and smaller Sporting Conservation Council. The new group will include representatives from the archery, hunting and shooting sports industries as well as members from the nation's major hunting organizations.

It will work on supporting hunting- and shooting-related issues, wildlife conservation and other related matters.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Same old, same old (Few changes to 2010 deer regs)

Ohio's hunters likely will see only a few changes to the 2010-2011 deer hunting regulations.

Less than one week before the conclusion of Ohio's archery deer-hunting season the Ohio Division of Wildlife released its proposals for the 2010-2011 season. These proposals were presented Wednesday to the eight-member Ohio Wildlife Council which decides on such matters.

Among the changes that impact Northeast Ohio is the proposal to allow the sale of $15antlerless-only tags without first purchasing a $24 either-sex tag. But why on earth someone would want to do that is beyond me. It would be just such a hunter's bad luck to have a spike, 4-point, 8-point or 12-point buck walk by and all he has is a "doe" tag.

At least, however, the Ohio Division of Wildlife wants to allow people who hunt in the various urban deer zones or on a special controlled hunt area to buy antlerless-only deer tags after Nov. 28. As its stood this year I was out of luck when I arrowed a doe just before Christmas in Lake County but couldn't buy another doe tag so I was done for the year.

Also up for a likely change is to allow small-game hunters the opportunity to hunt during the two-day bonus deer season Dec. 18 and 19. That is, so long as the participant wears blaze orange clothing. That's the rule for small-game hunters during the muzzle-loading season and state officials want to extend the allowance during the two-day bonus season.

Being proposed as well is moving eight northwest Ohio counties from the restrictive Deer Zone A to the more liberal Deer Zone B. That will increase from 2 to 4 the number of deer a hunter can shoot in Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Lucas, Paulding, Van Wert and Williams counties.

The proposed deer-hunting season dates are: Sept. 25 through Feb. 6 for the archery seson including crossbows; Oct. 18 to 23 for the three special primitive weapons hunt areas; Nov. 20 and 21 for the youth-only firearms hunt; Nov. 29 through Dec. 5 for the general firearms deer-hunting season; Dec. 18 and 19 for the bonus two-day deer gun season; and Jan. 8 to 11 for the state-wide muzzle-loading deer-hunting season.

By the way, he Wildlife Division believes that when the final count is tallied after the close Sunday of the archery-hunting season that the state's approximately 475,000deer hunters will have killed between 257,000 and 260,000 deer, and potentially a new record.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Ohio fishing law digest (Lots of red ink)

Pick up the new 2010-2011 Ohio fishing law digest and you'll see that the document is awash in red ink.

That's not to suggest that the document (which costs 5 cents to produce)is a money loser.

Nope, what the digest shows in red, bold type are the many changes to this year's fishing laws and programs. Among them is a red-colored notation that beginning this year, Fish Ohio applications will be accepted ONLY via the Internet, using the Ohio Division of Wildlife's Web site. Gone are the days when paper applications were accepted.

Other law digest highlights include a detailed section on inland site-specific regulations that relate to the keeping of crappies, both in terms of daily bag limits and minimum size limits.

Of chief interest is the red-printed information detailing that for Lake Erie walleye and yellow perch regulations, the daily bag limits for each won't be announced until May 1. Until then, the 2009 regulations will apply.

Lastly the digest's red-letter edition reminds anglers that beginning in 2011 the Wildlife Division will undertake its expansive (and expensive) Web-based license-issuing system.

It's a lot of ground to cover and anglers ought to obtain a copy just so they can familiarize themselves with the many changes to the fishing laws this season.

Oh, yes, don't forget; a new Ohio fishing license (and costing $19, not $24 as previsously stated. My bad.) is required beginning March 1.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, February 1, 2010

That's a whopper deer (Record ment to be broken)

Southwest Ohio continues to demonstrate that it doesn't take a backseat to its southeast Ohio county counterparts when it comes to quality deer hunting.

This past Saturday an 18-point non-typical buck shot Nov. 30 with a muzzle-loader by Brian Stephens on private property in Highland County was officially scored.

Scoring is either a dark art or a black science - something that I doubt I'll ever understand. Even so, the rack was impressive and scored 232 5/8 by the Buckeye Big Bucks Club. This beat the previous non-typical buck ever taken in Ohio with a muzzle-loader. That rack scored 225 with the animal having been taken in 2004.

The left main beam of Stephens' deer measured 35 1/8 while the right beam measured 34 1/8 inches.

"Southwest Ohio has a reputation for producing world-class bucks not only in Ohio but the nation. That includes Adams, Highland, Warren, Brown, have been the producers of quality bucks. I think it's a combination of good habitat, good food sources and an environment that allows bucks to grow old. I also think that the good limestone-based soils help provide the right nutrients that allow for good antler growth," said Tom Cross, executive director for the Adams County Travel and Visitors Bureau.
"We've been on fire down here for some time now. We're just now getting the recognition."

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn