Friday, October 29, 2010

Outdoors Friday Odds N' Ends

Given five days to accumulate material from all over the place it's a good time to pass it on as outdoors news-worthy snippets.

Here goes: During the recently concluded early muzzle-loading season at three designated areas, hunters shot 512 deer. Last year that figure was 474 deer, so there was a slight increase.

Broken down, the kill at the Salt Fork Wildlife Area this year was 255 animals and compared to the 271 deer shot there during the 2009 special six-day hunt. The kill was higher this year at Wildcat Hollow with 175 deer being shot and compared to the 159 deer shot there during the 2009 special season.

At Shawnee State Forest, hunters this year killed 82 deer; a big jump from the 44 deer killed there during the 2009 special early season.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife has added the newly opened Great Lakes Outdoors store in Madison Township as a deer check-in station. Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., every day. The store's telephone number is 440-632-9151.

Previous estimates of the nation's hunters appear way off the true mark. A recent study funded by the National Shooting and Sports Foundation and conducted by Southwick Associates shows that 21.8 million Americans hunted at least once during the past five years.

Previous estimates have shown that 14 million Americans hunt each year. However, not every hunter goes afield each year; thus the smaller figure often used as the benchmark for hunter participation.

Also from Southwick: It appears that hunters and anglers continue to buy products they believe will catch more fish or bring home more venison.

Nearly identical figures between 2009 and 2010 show that hunters and anglers have not changed their buying habits regardless of the economy's current sorry state. About 40 percent of the nation's hunters and nearly the same number of anglers told Southwick that their buying habits have not dwindled.

Want to know what are the most likely items to be stolen from a recreational boat?

Perhaps not surprisingly Number One is electronics. That is why BoatUS recommends removing such devices after each boating day. If that is not possible then record ownership information that includes model and serial numbers.

Second are outboard engines. Thieves seem to gravitate to these power supplies. Either remove a small outboard daily and put it in a secure garage or shed or else add a lock for the larger outboard engines, BoatUS says also.

The third most commonly stolen recreational boating items came as something of a surprise. To me, anyway. That being, outdrives. We're talking about a heavy item that has to be unbolted and then lugged to an awaiting vehicle.

BoatUS's recommendation is to remove an outdrive during the winter and "store in a safe location" but also to record the machinery's serial number.

It look as if that wraps up a bunch of loose ends. Until next time.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Half-way through year's best outdoors time

Just give me the same four weeks all year long and I’ll be one very happy camper.

Those weeks are the last two in October and the first two in November. Unfortunately, we are closing in on the half-way mark of this deliciously delightful four-week spell.

Golden is the rule now with the color change of the autumn leaves, sparkling ever so more by red-gilded mornings.

Fuse with that are cider-crisp temperatures and maybe a hint of snow and you have the fixings for a good day of pond sitting for migrating Canada geese and late-leaving wood ducks and locally grown mallards.

When that’s not enough - and it never is - the cool-down of an autumn evening makes for a perfect archery deer-hunting sit.

Such was the case yesterday. The farm pond where I’ve set up seven floating goose decoys and a half-dozen mallard duck decoys was riddled with a monstrously large accompaniment of geese. None of which wanted anything to do with the decoy set-up, however. They all took to the pond’s far side; a touch out of range.

It proved maddening but has happened once or twice already this waterfowl hunting season, unfortunately. And unfortunately as well for Blackberry, my squirt of a black Labrador retriever who likes nothing more than to swim after and then return with a dead goose locked in her muzzle.

Berry did have some work to do, though. She fetched a very impressive-looking drake wood duck which had taken a shine to the mallard decoys. It was a costly mistake for the bird but it was a treat for the dog and a welcome addition for the shooter.

Once the huge flock of geese inevitably left - and bearing no scars from any steel shot - the pond went limp, sheltering no more birds except for one drake mallard that lighted without warning and soon left the same way.

I could have waited for a few more hours but such a posting held no guarantees, especially since the day was warming and carried with it the burden of a blue sky. As the next couple of weeks will no doubt promise, we’ll see fewer and fewer opportunities for such soul-comforting days.

That’s fine as the next two weeks are when the state’s deer thoroughly become unhinged. Particularly the bucks. They’re starting to enter the rut which will climax sometime around Veteran’s Day, November 11, give or take one or two days Ohio biologists say.

However, last evening’s wait held little in the way of expectations. It was pretty warm with temperatures in the low 70s. And the wind was returning, stirring the forest’s litter of newly fallen leaves. Such are hardly good archery deer-hunting conditions.

For two hours I looked out from my fabric ground blind, the viewing extending for maybe 75 yards in front.

No deer came within eye-shot; and just as few animals have so far this season. Maybe it’s because the woods are stuffed with white oak acorns and which are providing fat-rich sustenance for the community’s white-tail deer. Or perhaps this autumn’s generally unseasonably pleasant weather is responsible.

It’s all speculation and I doubt that the deer would offer a reason if they were asked.

So this has been (so far) a slower-than-normal favorite four-week pick of the calendar. Of course, I still have two more weeks to go.

There’s always a chance that things will turn around and Berry will fetch a limit of migrating Canada geese or some love-sick, inattentive buck will come within crossbow range.

That would be nice but it’s not a requirement. At this stage in my life I’m happy just to have the opportunity to watch another autumn sunrise climb aboard a new day.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Strickland, LaTourette get outdoors poles-apart endorsements

In a world of political parallel universes incumbent Democrat Governor Ted Strickland and incumbent U.S. Rep. Steven LaTourette (R-Bainbridge Township) have received endorsements from the opposite poles of sportsmen-related issues.

Both Strickland and LaTourette have the unqualified endorsement of the National Rifle Association. And now each has garnered the likewise enthusiastic support of the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the political action arm of the Humane Society of the United States which is generally regarded as the nation’s most potent and richest anti-hunting, anti-fishing and anti-trapping organization.

That the HSUS’ Legislative Fund is backing Strickland rankles several former Ohio Department of Natural Resources officials, including those who were appointed during Republican administrations. And at least one of these officials - Mike Budzik, retired chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife - has formally endorsed Strickland’s Republican opponent, John Kasich.

Budzik has even cut a recorded telephone message that was recently sent to Ohio sportsmen and which calls for the support of his candidate of choice.

The Humane Society Legislative Fund endorsement stems from Strickland’s backing of an agreement with the HSUS to tighten farm animal care standards in exchange for the group’s withdrawal of a statewide referendum on the issue.

Strickland’s NRA endorsement arrived because of the governor’s long-standing support for Second Amendment rights issues and pro-sportsmen’s positions.

That the HSUS’ political wing is backing Strickland does not surprise Budzik, though it certainly upsets him.

Consequently, Budzik and Kasich say that Ohio’s farmers as well as sportsmen were blind-sided by Strickland’s actions.

“I really think that it speaks clearly to the sportsmen,” Budzik said in a telephone exchange this morning.

“He left sportsmen and the Ohio Farm Bureau out in the cold with this farm issue, and he was wrong in believing that sportsmen weren’t concerned about it. That wasn’t good and someone (on his staff) let him down.”

Budzik said also that he took his share of flack because he wanted to help Kasich, even though the former congressman had a checkered career related to Second Amendment issues while in the House.

“I sat down with him and established a dialogue. He admitted to me that he made ‘some bad moves,’” Budzik said.

However, Budzik did say that Strickland has proven supportive of both Second Amendment rights issues along with those matters dealing with hunting, fishing and the like.

Yet the governor has zigged where and when he should have zagged, Budzik said as well.

“You need to peal away the onion. I’m a little surprised that (Strickland) has allowed the politicizing of the department and removed the civil service protection of assistant chiefs, for example,” Budzik said.

Other local Congressional endorsements announced by the Humane Society Legislative Fund include those for Democrats Dennis Kusinich, Marcia Fudge and Betty Sutton, all incumbents.

In the group’s legislative score card LaTourette received a 62, Fudge a 92, and Kucinich and Sutton each rated a perfect 100.

This blog will be updated if Strickland or LaTourette respond to a request for comment. And this item also will be posted on The News-Herald’s Northern Ohio Local Politics blog.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, October 25, 2010

Perry Village's Jason Warren to protect Wayne County's wildlife

Jason Warren has left the hustle and bustle of Summit County life for Wayne County's much more rural digs.

But his mission remains the same as a state wildlife officer: To protect wild critters, enforce Ohio's fish and game laws and help ensure that sportsmen and sportswomen have ample opportunity to safely enjoy themselves outdoors.

The 2003 Perry High School graduate and 2006 graduate of Hocking College volunteered for the switch from his assignment in Summit County for identical duties in Wayne County, located just a spell down the road but still technically in the Ohio Division of Wildlife's District Three (Northeast Ohio) unit, based in Akron.

Warren - the son of Tom and Julie Warren - said he always enjoyed the sciences and likewise coveted the thought of maybe some day working in the natural resources arena.

While at Hocking College - long known for producing wildlife officers - Warren felt a tug toward law enforcement as well. When he graduated from Hocking College with a degree in wildlife management Warren went hunting for a job in the natural resources field.

Working in the West as a seasonal employee of Ducks Unlimited Warren heeded the call to return to Ohio and apply for a state wildlife officer job.

"I knew that there were several hundred people who took the civil service exam and I was a little surprised to be picked on my first try," Warren said. "I was told that you usually have to apply a couple of times before being accepted. I'm glad that I took that flight back so I could take the test."

After completing the required Ohio Peace Officers training school and the Wildlife Division's extensive orientation program, Warren was assigned to Summit County. There, he served for three years before looking to Wayne County for a change of scenery.

"I wanted to go to a more rural county but stay in Northeast Ohio to," Warren said. "Wayne County seemed like a perfect fit."

Single, Warren says he still also finds time to hunt and fish; pursuits that as a youngster helped to eventually lead him to his chosen profession.

"I grew up fishing for steelhead and I know that I'm going to miss being closer to Lake Erie," Warren said. "But I like being a county wildlife officer. There's more opportunity to catch bad guys."

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, October 22, 2010

Wildlife's trial license-issuing system runs at tortoise pace

If you are looking to buy your Ohio hunting license or deer tag at Gander Mountain's Mentor store you might want to add some extra minutes to your schedule.

The Gander Mountain store is a volunteer participant in a trial demonstration that is utilizing the Ohio Division of Wildlife's new - and expensive - "Wild Ohio Customer Relationship Management System" (WOCRMS) as a means to issue the agency's various hunting and fishing licenses as well as a multitude of other related permits and tags.

This system will go statewide beginning March 1. For now the Wildlife Division is testing the waters, looking at what can be done to tweak the system's programing.

Perhaps one of the most important tweaks the Wildlife Division needs to consider is the time required under WOCRMS to take a buyer's information, encode it and then have the machinery spit out the requested document.

When my wife, Bev, visited the Mentor Gander Mountain store Thursday evening to buy her state waterfowl hunting permit there was little other store traffic. Even so, it took a considerable amount of time for the process to print the required, single document.

Perhaps even more suggestive is that the sales clerk grumbled that three licenses could be issued under the "old" system in the same time it now takes to complete a sale under the "new" WOCRMS system.

And today I heard another Gander Mountain employee grouse on the same subject; noting as well a much greater preference for the previous system.

All of which could very easily prove to be a sore point with prospective license buyers durng the up-coming peak hunting license/deer tag selling period around Thanksgiving.

And a long wait to get a license also may very well frustrate other customers who are actually buying product but who must wait in line as a sales clerk focuses his or her attention on a license sale that offers little in the way of actual profit for the store.

All of which would - or will - prove bad PR for an agency that swears that WOCRMS is a more buyer friendly system.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, October 21, 2010

UPDATED Wildlife officials trying to stay ahead of emerging firearms technology

With the firearms industry in overdrive introducing new models or else tweaking existing firearms to tickle the gun-buying public, it's increasingly becoming difficult for state fish and game agencies to keep abreast of the evolutionary process.

As a result, the Ohio Division of Wildlife has declared one new firearm model built by the Brazilian firm Rossi as not being acceptable for deer hunting while approving another radical-looking model as being acceptable.

Using the platform of its hyper-popular "Judge" .410/.45 Long Colt self-defense revolver, Rossi has created its .410/.45 Long Colt "Circuit Judge" carbine rifle.

The problem with the Circuit Judge however, is that while .410 shotguns firing slugs are legal for use in deer-hunting such instruments cannot hold more than three rounds. And the Circuit Judge's cylinder can hold five rounds and which cannot be "plugged."

That feature is unlike other types of shotguns such as semi-automatics and pump-action models which can be fitted with a plug that reduces the firearm's capacity in order to fulfill Ohio law.

Even so, the Circuit Judge is one interestingly looking piece. It has an 18 1/2 inch barrel, weighs only 4.45 pounds, has fixed rifle-type sights and possesses a high combed butt stock. It retails for $618 and is currently available, according to Rossi USA's web site.

"I saw an article in the NRA magazine this past summer and (then) someone sent in an inquiry regarding their use but the Circuit Judge doesn’t meet our criteria; which states that a firearm’s plug can only be removed if the gun can be dissembled," said Kenneth J. Fitz, the Wildlife Division's acting law enforcement administrator

"The Circuit Judge has a swing-out cylinder that can't take a one-piece plug. If there would be a way to fit the Circuit Judge with a one-piece plug that could only be removed by dissembling the firearm then it could be used with .410 slugs but not with the .45 Long Colt cartridge."

The Rossi product the Wildlife Division has approved, though, is the manufacturer's "Ranch Hand," officially categorized as a handgun by the federal government.

And since the Ranch Hand comes chambered for the straight-walled either .357 magnum, .44 Magnum, or .45 Long Colt calibers (all of which are allowed,) and since the federal government says the firearm is a handgun, the Wildlife Division has approved it use for deer hunting in Ohio, Fitz said.

In looks the four-pound Ranch Hand has a 12-inch barrel of equal length to its magazine tube, sports an over-sized loop lever, a saddle ring along with a gold-bead front sight and an adjustable buckhorn rear sight.

The firearm holds six rounds. Its suggested retail price is $536 and is expected to soon become available.

Interestingly too the Ranch Hand is copied after the weapon used by actor Steve McQueen in the old television Western series "Wanted: Dead or Alive," Fitz said.

“There’s no way that I can see how the Ranch Hand can be fired from the shoulder. I doubt that many people would use it anyway,” Fitz said also.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Intensive crop harvest is eliminating deer hideaways

Many Ohio deer hunters don't pay much attention to crop reports though following the paper trail of what grain is being retrieved from the field is still of vital importance.

Just ask Mike Tonkovich, the Ohio Division of Wildlife's deer management administrator.

The reason Tonkovich is interested in how much corn is being harvested and how much soybeans are still left to be plucked is because these crops help determine how many deer are killed by hunters. Particularly firearms deer hunters.

The more standing corn that remains come the start of Ohio's deer firearms-hunting season - set for Nov. 29 - the many more places a white-tail has to hide in, Tonkovich says.

Give a deer a large chunk of unharvested corn and the animal will virtually disappear from sight. And toward the back end of the gun season a whole mess of hard-pressed deer will find sanctuary in a corn field. Only if they are booted out by a drive or a slow-moving solo hunter will the deer bolt for the hunter-filled woods.

And while the news has proven bad for archery hunters this fall because of the massive crop of white oak acorns, the take on the harvest of corn should encourage gun hunters at the very least.

The most recent weekly crop report issued jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Ohio Department of Agriculture shows that 64 percent of the corn used for grain has been harvested. That's well ahead of the long-term five-year average of 23 percent, which indicates that Ohio's deer herd is experiencing shrinking hiding places.

Also, 80 percent of the state's soybean crop has been picked, compared to 59 percent for the five-year average. And while deer don't hide in soybean fields they do eat the bean pods. Thus, the deer have less agricultural grain to munch on at night.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tough archery deer hunt for writer and father-in-law

Being back in the saddle after several days of guiding my 84-year-old father-in-law is a mixed blessing.

We had a ball; catching a limit of Lake Erie yellow perch and taking in Ohio's waterfowl opener on Saturday. My father-in-law - Bud Shope of Florida but formerly of Mentor - even managed to kill his first-ever Canada goose on his first-ever goose hunt. And it was nice to that my black Labrador retriever managed to fetch both birds.

However, with that being said, the deer proved all too elusive. We spent eight unsuccessful stints in a wooden ground blind affixed to a Geauga County pasture.

For a good read on our efforts catch Tuesday's New-Herald outdoors with a companion piece about prepping a new Horton Summit crossbow just for this very special hunt.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, October 11, 2010

Access denied for steelheaders; but it's only temporary UPDATED

The timing is unfortunate but the work is certainly needed.

Lake Metroparks will temporarily close its 58-acre Helen Hazen Wyman Park while vital paving work is being done at the reserve. This closure is scheduled for Friday, October 15 and Monday, October 18.

Helen Hazen Wyman Park is located off Route 86 (Painesville-Ravenna Road) along the Painesville Township-Concord Township line and is the parks system’s oldest unit, established in 1959.

As many fishermen know, Helen Hazen Wyman Park is a must go-to destination this time of year for steelhead anglers looking to fish the lower portion of Big Creek as well as one of the most high-valued strecthes of the Grand River.

Alternative nearby steelhead fishing sites include Lake Metroparks' 59-acre Beaty Landing at 417 East Walnut Street (Route 84), Painesville; located just west of where the road crosses over the Grand River.

Other steelhead fishing options are Painesville's Recreation Park on Main Street as well as Lake Metroparks' 5-acre Grand River Landing, 800 North St. Clair Street, Fairport Harbor.

This last location saw tremendous usage over the weekend, used by both shore anglers and boat fishermen.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Oh, deer! Motor vehicle-deer accident season

That horrible crunching sound you just heard may be a $3,000 wound to your family Ford - or other fine car.

This is the time of year when deer begin to move about more often. Not surprising then the incidents of deer taking a collision course with a motor vehicle are on the uptick as well.

Most such accidents occur from October through January. That's not an accident of its own, either.

Ohio Division of Wildlife biologists note that male deer - called bucks - are entering the so-called "rut," a time when they are on the prowl for a doe in heat. The rut in Ohio typically peaks right around Veteran's Day, Nov. 11.

Throwing caution to the wind, bucks will often chase does across highways and are just as likely to ignore the sound of a car horn being set off by a panic-stricken driver.

In Ohio last year, the state recorded 25,146 deer-motor vehicle accidents, a 2.3 percent increase over that seen in 2008. From these accidents were a reported 1,004 human injuries along with four fatalities, says the Ohio Insurance Institute.

As for the most hazardous times of the day, the Ohio Highway Patrol, the Wildlife Division and Ohio Insurance Institute reports that between 5 p.m. and 1 a.m. followed by 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. are the most frequent periods when such accidents occur.

And the average repair bill runs in the neighborhood of about $3,000 with accidents that result in personal injury costing even more.

Ohio's top counties for deer-motor vehicle accidents in 2009 were: Richland (721), Stark (655), Hamilton (614), Summit (575), and Lorain (547).

Locally for both The News-Herald and The Morning Journal readership areas, the 2009 deer-motor vehicle accident figures were (with 2008 figures in parentheses): Lake - 278 (258), Geauga - 307 (324), Cuyahoga - 419 (459), Ashtabula - 267 (277), Trumbull - 428 (467), Medina - 371 (370), Huron - 289 (245), Sandusky - 344 (306).

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Case regarding indicted Wildlife Division officials will go into overtime

Any expectations that a quick end is in sight for the case involving the five indicted Ohio Division of Wildlife officials was squashed Tuesday by Brown County prosecutor Jessica A. Little.

Little has taken the legal steps required to try and turn around the decision announced Monday by Brown County Common Please Court Judge Scott T. Gusweiler.

Gusweiler ruled in favor of the defendants, including the Wildlife Division’s chief, David Graham.

“We filed a notice of appeal (Tuesday). We believe that our case has been harmed so badly that we need the appeals court to look at it and possibly reverse the judge’s decision,” Little said.

At issue was the suppression of material collected during an investigation by the Ohio Inspector General. This disputed material relates to the so-called “Garrity Rule” which protects civil servants against self-incrimination while being investigated internally and thus could face such potentially adverse action as losing one’s job.

It is the contention of the defendants that they are protected by the “Garrity Rule,” with Judge Gusweiler agreeing with the defendants.

These defendants include Chief Graham, assistant Wildlife Division chief Randy Miller, Wildlife Division law enforcement administrator James Lehman, Wildlife District 5 (southwest Ohio) director Todd Haines, and the agency’s human resources manager Michelle Ward-Tackett.

But this interpretation of favoring the defendants - and supported by Judge Gusweiler - is at the heart of Little’s objection.

"We need some case law on this because it is a novel issue," Little said.

"Obviously I am disappointed with the decision and disagree with it but I have a process to remedy and that is to take it before the 12th District Court of Appeals.”

As a result, says Little, an answer to this question alone could take several more months for the appeals court to hear the matter and then render its decision.

“I don’t expect a quick decision on this. It’s not on the fast track,” Little said.

“(The judge’s decision) could have gone either way and it’s difficult to make a decision without prior law; it’s hard, but I respectfully disagree and I have a remedy and that is to go to the appeals court,” Little said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Indicted Wildlife Division officials win an important court victory UPDATED

The five indicted Ohio Division of Wildlife officials won an important round in Brown County Common Pleas Court Monday.

There, Judge Scott T. Gusweiler ruled in favor of the five defendants, including the Wildlife Division’s chief, David Graham.

At issue was the suppression of material collected during an investigation by the Ohio Inspector General. This disputed material relates to the so-called “Garrity Rule” which protects civil servants against self-incrimination while being investigated internally and thus could face such potentially adverse action as losing one’s job.

It is the contention of the defendants that they are protected by the “Garrity Rule,” though that opinion is opposed by the Brown County Prosecutor Jessica A. Little.

Judge Gusweiler agrees with the defendants, however, a plus for them but a setback for Little.

These defendants include Chief Graham, assistant Wildlife Division chief Randy Miller, Wildlife Division law enforcement administrator James Lehman, Wildlife District 5 (southwest Ohio) director Todd Haines, and the agency’s human resources manager Michelle Ward-Tackett.

Each of the defendants are charged with two fifth-degree felonies for their involvement in a matter that initially focused on Alan Wright, state wildlife officer assigned to Brown County. Charges against Wright were later dropped though a special prosecutor has said he intends to investigate Wright independently and may present his evidence to a grand jury.

The five administrators were placed on paid administrative leave which has thus far cost the Wildlife Division about $190,000.

Gusweiler further states in his Oct. 4 Judgment Entry that prosecutor Little must “...prepare a full and complete transcript of the grand jury proceedings in these cases and forward same to the Court. The law is clear if these statements were used in the Grand Jury or a witness to the statements, to wit: Ron Nichols testified at grand jury these cases must be dismissed.”

Ron Nichols is with the Ohio Inspector General office.

“This is the whole ball game in the case,” said Mike Shelton, spokesman for the parent Ohio Department of Natural Resources. “It’s certainly a significant movement in the case and if the matter is dismissed then the affected employees will return to work. We don’t have a time frame on that and the ruling doesn’t specify when the prosecutor has to submit that but we hope it will be sooner rather than later.”

Shelton also said he earlier mistakenly had expressed the opinion that if the cases do go to trial and the five defendants are ultimately found guilty they would lose their pension benefits.

Not true, and based upon a thorough review of the Ohio Revised Code, Shelton said.

Brown County Prosecutor Jessica A. Little was not available for comment but is expected to return to her office Wednesday.

A call to one of the defendants’ attorneys has not yet been returned.

In other, related, news Ohio Department of Natural Resources director Shawn D. Logan has stepped in fill a large void as a result of the Wildlife Division officials being placed on paid administrative leave.

Former acting Wildlife Division chief - and also a former assistant chief - Jim Marshall stepped down after staying several months beyond his intended retirement.

That left two assistant chief positions vacant pending the Brown County court matter. These posts are temporally being being filled by 25-year Wildlife Division employee Sue Howard as well as Ray Petering.

Howard is the agency's business administrator while Petering is the Wildlife Division's group administrator for its fisheries section.

They join acting chief John Daugherty, who is the Wildlife Division's district manager for District Two (northwest Ohio).

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Coyotes have a taste for man's best friend

This morning Steve Myers got a first-hand look at the darker side of Ohio's inflated Eastern coyote population.

And it likely came at the expense of at least one of his neighbor's terriers.

After getting into his Ashtabula County deer-hunting tree stand well before daylight, Myers started to settle in for an opportunity to arrow a deer.

However, Myers quickly found that his deer hunting had ended just as it was starting. He heard some yipping and yapping as a couple of small dogs came racing underneath his tree stand. Not far behind was, first, one coyote and then another.

It was predator chasing prey. And from the wailing sound Myers heard coming from a thicket at least one of the terriers appeared to have lost the race.

Not having much of a shot at a running coyote, Myers had little chance to save the little dog. So it would seem that the terrier became a coyote's fast-food breakfast.

"It happens, and in that kind of situation where the dog is outside of the yard it can be attacked. This is a classic example of why we encourage people to keep their small dogs, especially, in a fenced-in yard," said Dan Kramer, wildlife management supervisor for the Ohio Division of Wildlife's District Three (Northeast Ohio) office in Akron.

"We get calls all the time from folks in Lake, Geauga and Cuyahoga counties that they're seeing coyotes. Coyotes are predators and are very much aware of dogs as prey and take the opportunity to pounce when the time is right."

Though statistics regarding coyote attacks on dogs is a little slim elsewhere the best of such research comes out of Chicago. There, Ohio State University researcher Stanley Gehart has conducted extensive research on all aspects of urban-dwelling coyotes. Including attacks on pets, particularly dogs.

What Gehart expresses in the "Cook County, Illinois Coyote Project" study is that attacks on dogs by coyotes is neither unique nor isolated. The research paper documents 70 such attacks on dogs plus another 10 on cats.

Perhaps not unexpectedly the largest number of attacks were addressed to the smallest of dog breeds: Yorkshire terriers in first, Shih Tzus in second and Jack Russel terriers in third.

If a larger breed dog was attacked - like a Labrador or golden retriever - than the odds favored that a pack of coyotes were involved and not just a single animal.

Too, attacks on dogs begin to soar in October and runs through February, after which coyotes begin denning and are thus less inclined to track down free-roaming dogs as a meal.

That doesn't leave canines free of a coyote threat, however, says Kramer.

Should a dog get too close to a coyote den then the canine will be viewed as a threat and subsequently attacked, Kramer says.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, October 4, 2010

Dangerous fishing waters along Texas-Mexico border

A post link from BassFan is enough to send chills up and down any water lover's spine.

The most recent BassFan story links with Fox News on how a 30-year-old American operating a personal watercraft on Falcon Reservoir was gunned down and killed by Mexican pirates. Yes, pirates, just like off the Horn of Africa.

Meanwhile his 29-year-old wife narrowly missed the same fate.

Falcon Reservoirs straddles the Texas-Mexico border between Laredo and McAllen; essentially a very wide spot in the Rio Grande River. It is an enormously popular recreational reservoir and has a prime largemouth bass fisheries.

The Fox News story also says this is the fifth incident involving pirates operating on Falcon Reservoir. These pirates are believed to be members of a Mexican drug cartel and use automatic weapons to make their point.

To see the full post, visit

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Should have stayed in bed for the whole week

Mondays do not get much worse than today did right out of the chute.

It started very early this morning when my older brother Rich and I poured through a woodlot for 90 minutes in search of a doe that I had arrowed the night before.

No luck, and for an archer there is no worse sinking feeling than having lost a deer. Believe me, it hurts - and hurts badly - when an animal cannot be found.

If anyone hunts deer with either a crossbow or vertically held bow for any length of time the losing of a deer is going to happen. But that doesn't diminish the disappointment.

Part of the problem was that the direction the doe took was through some very heavy cover. That, and during the search I spooked a very thick-furred coyote. On opening morning a week or so back I heard a pack of coyotes howling so I know that my deer has become fodder for the beasts.

Things went from very bad to much worse when I used my mechanical sled to cock the bowstring of my aging Horton Hunter crossbow. The sled's cocking string didn't even come up one-half way when the Hunter's right limb literally exploded, sending shards of carbon, plastic and metal flying in all directions.

My right leg has a nasty red welt where some piece or another struck.

I have no idea why the limb would break in such a fashion unless it had become fatigued after 15-plus years of service or maybe developed a crack of some kind.

Now I'll have focus on using my Horton Vision 175 and turn it over to my 84-year-old father-in-law when he comes up from Florida for his first-ever archery deer hunt.

Wish me luck. And my father-in-law, too.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, October 1, 2010

Keepingthe traveling gun owner out of trouble

The Buckeye Firearms Association wants to help ensure that concealed carry permit holders and sportsmen traveling out-of-state are kept from getting into trouble with the law.

The Buckeye Firearms Association is offering the "Travelers Guide to the Firearms Laws of the Fifty States," written by J. Scott Kappas,a Kentucky lawyer and firearms law expert.

At $13.95 (plus $4 for handling and shipping) the book's value would be immeasurable should a gun-owner encounter a legal challenge while transporting a handgun, shotgun, or rifle.

The book features such useful information as a state-by-state summary of gun laws, data on permit requirements, rules regarding self defense, concealed carry, open carry and vehicle carry as well as the legal definition of firearms law terms, and other matters, the Buckeye Firearms Association says.

If the book is brought through the Buckeye Firearms Association part of the proceeds will go toward the group's pro-gun educational sibling, the Buckeye Firearms Foundation.

To buy the book, send a check for $17.95 and payable to the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, Traveler's Firearms Guide, 15 West Winter Street, Delaware, Ohio 43015.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn