Southwest Ohio's Brown County has garnered much attention as a go-to destination for big white-tailed bucks.
So, too, it would seem that Brown County also is establishing a reputation for really big cats. Make that cougars. Late last month Brown County Sheriff Dwayne Wenninger received reports of a mountain lion - a.k.a., cougar - stalking the hill country of his jurisdiction.
While mountain lions have long-since abandoned Ohio the indications are that this is a real cougar. But likely, says the sheriff, an escapee from someone's collection and who is living in Mount Orab.
The story goes that the cat was becoming aggressive and that owner was planning on getting rid of the animal. However, the cougar escaped before it could be transferred out of dodge.
When contact by The News-Herald, Ohio Division of Wildlife personnel in southwest Ohio said the cat does not enjoy any state or federal protection. Which means the cougar is fair game, within certain guidelines.
Jack-lighting - the practice of shining a spotlight at night - is illegal, among a few other technical points.
Now as for the poachers, three Tennessee men and three Georgia men were fined and ordered to pay $16,290 in restitution for taking 141 more than the legal limit of smallmouth bass on Lake Erie. The incident happened back in April on Lake Erie.
Ohio Division of Wildlife Lake Erie agent and Lake County resident Brian Keyser was one of the agency's officers involved with the case. His job was to stay in the background and observe with the aid of binoculars the poachers.
off South Bass island, day after day. The offenders cast little jigs. Each time they would return to the dock, fillet their catch, freeze them in electric freezers they had brought and then go back and do it all over again.
"It was amazing," Keyser said.
Then the hook of the law caught up with the poachers. They were ordered to pay the fine and $50 for each bass taken over the daily limit of five bass from the last Saturday in June through April 30. The boys' ill-gotten activity was conducted between April 25 and 30.
To compound their hefty fine the group also had to forfeit two freezers, three trailers and (Gulp!) three bass boats.
Oh, yes, one other thing. Their names were entered into the Wildlife Violator's Compact and will likely lose for three years the right to fish in 33 states, including Ohio.
We are not talking about a bunch of young kids here, either. The youngest was 38 and the oldest was 67.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn