Monday, March 14, 2011

On new state record fish, agency merger, horrific pronghorn deaths

Ohio has a new state record white perch, a species inadvertently introduced into Lake Erie through the establishment of the various Great Lakes canal systems.

As for the future of the Ohio Division of Wildlife, that could be answered Tuesday when Gov. John Kacish introduces his proposed budget. Maybe he’ll take the lead of his Colorado counterpart who is proposing merging his state’s wildlife department with its parks department; not an unusual pairing, either.

First things first. Ohio’s newest state record is a 1.72 pound, 14 1/8-inch white perch that has a measured 12 1/4-inch girth.

It was caught Jan. 29 by Terry R. Patton of Galion from Lake Erie. Patton’s white perch supplants the 1.42 pound specimen that was caught by John Nause in May, 1988.
Ohio Division of Wildlife biologists confirmed the catch and it was verified by the Outdoor Writers of Ohio, which maintains Ohio’s state record fish list.

As for the proposed parks/wildlife merger in Colorado, that state’s governor is John Hickenlooper and he is asking that the two come together in something of a political shotgun wedding.

This new super agency would carry the name “Division of Parks, Wildlife and Outdoor Recreation,” in a story provided by an outdoors news web site maintained by J.R. Absher, foremrly with the Columbus-based U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance.

Consolidation would result in the elimination of 25 positions; all through attrition. Other savings would come from a smaller fleet of rolling stock, or vehicles.

Also eliminated would be the two agency’s separate oversight bodies, replaced by a single entity.

Whether Kasich will proposed such a merger Tuesday is anyone’s speculation as the governor and his staff have kept details of the budget under tight lock and key.

In other outdoor news, Outdoor Life magazine’s online edition is reporting a horrific story out of Montana, which has been severely hard-hit this winter with heavy snow storms.

It appears that the snows have become so deep and lasting so long that wildlife is looking for anyplace where the snow is lessened - including along railroad right-of-ways.

That’s where the danger for a large herd of pronghorn antelope came into play. In northeast Montana that state’s Fish, Wildlife and Parks discovered more than 270 dead antelope that either were struck by a train or else literally suffocated when the animals jumped clear, only to be entrapped by the deep snow drifts.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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