Friday, November 19, 2010

On board with gun deer-hunt primer and well-deserved boating honors

Ohio’s annual sportsmen love affair with all things white-tailed deer blazes across the hunting zenith November 29.

That is when the state’s seven-day firearms deer hunting season begins. This season is said to attract more than 400,000 participants. They may shoot more than 130,000 deer, too, representing a good chunk of the annual white-tailed kill.

Leading up to this point are the preliminaries: One of the nation’s longest archery deer-hunting seasons and a special muzzle-loading deer-hunting season on three designated areas.

Add to these hunts is this weekend’s youth-only firearms deer-hunting season. And this season may provide some clues as to how the “adult” hunt will go 10 days from now.

As a reminder to anyone interested in archery hunting Saturday and Sunday, be mindful of a wrinkle the law requires during these two days. All hunters except waterfowlers - and that includes all archery hunters - must visibly wear “a vest, coat, jacket, or coveralls that are either solid hunter orange or camouflage hunter orange” from one-half hour before sunrise to sunset," reads the Ohio Division of Wildlife-supplied hunting and trapping regulations digest.

However, archery deer hunters can stay afield until one-half hour after sunset, also as noted in the state's hunting law digest.

Accompanying the up-coming season is one of the busiest times for sporting goods stores, especially those that are particularly flavored with the selling of hunting gear. Not to mention the sale of hunting licenses and deer tags.

This is the period in which more of these documents are sold than at any other time of the year. And all driven by a multi-million dollar bang for the buck to Ohio’s economy.

The Wildlife Division is at full battle alert, too. The agency is cranking out more than a few press releases on the subject. While these statements may give a glossy view of the firearms deer-hunting season they certainly include valuable pieces of information.

Among them is one that suggests people looking for information about the upcoming youth gun and white-tailed deer hunting seasons, or to report violations of state wildlife laws, can take advantage of extended call center hours from Nov. 20 to Dec. 5.

The 1-800-WILDLIFE (800-945-3543) general hunting information hot-line will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. this Saturday and Sunday in order to accommodate those hunters with questions about the youth-only season.

Staff also will be available prior to and during the regular firearms deer-hunting season. These special call center hours are:

n 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Nov. 26.
n 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Nov. 27 and 28.
n 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Nov. 29 through Dec. 3.
n 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Dec. 4 and 5.
n However, the hot-line will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.

In other outdoors-related news, two area and one former area resident have received high recognition from the nation’s recreational boating industry.

Among those receiving praise from the Marine Retailers Association of America is retiring Sen. George V. Voinich. who received the group’s Legislative Award.

This honor is given to a lawmaker who has worked in some way to advance the recreational boating industry. Voinovich has been a strong supporter of the industry and the Great Lakes as mayor of Cleveland, governor of Ohio and later as a senator,” the group said.

Along with the one presented to Voinicich another honor was awarded to John Sima, owner and president of Sima Marine, a family-owned dealership and marina in Eastlake.

Sima’s parents started Sima Marine in 1952, and his father, Jim, also once served as chairman of the MRAA.

Sima said he was shocked to receive the honor, adding, “this business is our life.”

The organization’s Jerry Marine Journalism Award was presented to former Mentor resident Norm Schultz, who writes Soundings Trade Only’s semiweekly “Dealer Outlook” blog.

Schultz retired to the Tampa, Fla. area a few years ago.

“Receiving the Jerry Martin Journalism Award has very special meaning for me because Jerry and I both came out of Johnson Outboards, and his contributions to MRAA and the industry were truly remarkable,” Schultz said. “He was a generous counselor and a friend to me.”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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