Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Instant Steelhead Backdoor Access - And A Bargain To Boot!

If you’re a steelhead angler and are on the hunt for that perfect personal fishing hole where you can step out your back door and start casting then a small slice of heaven awaits you in Gates Mills.

The Howard Hanna real estate firm has put on the block a 3,016 square foot, five bedroom home that sits on 5.6 acres of green space bordering the steelhead trout-rich upper Chagrin River.

So removed is this home - which has hardwood floors and wormy chestnut woodwork - that its only access is by a single footbridge spanning the stream.

Yep, you can’t even drive up to the place, though the real estate firm’s bio of the property says that either a beefier car bridge can be built or else an access drive constructed from a nearby public street.

The Colonial-style home - built in 1923 - comes complete with an office, various white goods appliances, propane heat, vinyl siding, porch, basement, 14 rooms, two fireplaces and 2 1/2 bathrooms.

Currently the asking price is $399,000. Property taxes are valued at $4,608 annually and any kids (when they’re not out guiding lodged clients) would attend the nearby Mayfield School District.

For further information paste this web site and watch a video tour of the home and property and pick up some additional information:

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

UPDATED: Rains wash away Opening Day deer hunter success

Drowned out by torrential rains that thoroughly drained much enthusiasm for the chase, Ohio’s approximately 420,000 white-tail hunters experienced a 39-percent decline in Monday’s opening day deer kill.

On Monday Ohio’s blaze orange army shot 23,600 white-tailed deer. Last year the open day figure was 39,071 animals.

Virtually every one of Ohio’s 88 counties posted a decline in the respective opening day deer kills. Thus the opening day preliminary figures show a decrease of 39 percent from last year’s opening day total kill.

Blame the weather, says the state’s deer biologists.

“Last year’s opening day harvest was exceptionally high. Even with ideal weather conditions, I’m sure this year’s harvest would have fallen short of the 2010 season simply because last year was an atypical season,” said Mike Tonkovich, the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s deer management administrator.

Tonkovich noted that the weather conditions on opening day in 2007 were so poor that the harvest was down an unprecedented 51 percent.

Count Don Schonauer of Chardon Township was being one of the successful opening day hunters. The owner of the popular Painesville-based taxidermy shop killed an eight-point that weighed about 225 pounds. He shot the deer at about 8:35 a.m. while hunting in Lake County.

“I went back out today (Tuesday) and I didn’t have one dry piece of clothes on me when I left the woods for lunch,” Schonauer said. “In fact it was worse today than it was Monday, and even my boots were full of water but I’ll be going back out tomorrow (Wednesday).”

Counties reporting the highest numbers of deer checked on Monday included: Coshocton - 1,197, Muskingum - 964, Tuscarawas - 896, Harrison - 882, Guernsey - 816, Knox - 719, Belmont - 629, Carroll -6 20, Holmes - 617, and Licking - 616.

Approximately 420,000 hunters are expected to participate in the statewide deer-gun season. Ohio’s deer population was estimated to be 750,000 prior to the start of the fall hunting seasons.

The white-tailed deer is the most popular game animal in Ohio, frequently pursued by generations of hunters. Ohio ranks 8th nationally in annual hunting-related sales and 10th in the number of jobs associated with the hunting-related industry.

Each year, hunting has an $859 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more.

Ohio’s firearms deer-hunting season remains open through Sunday, (Dec. 4). The statewide two-day “bonus” firearms deer-hunting season is set for Dec. 17 and 18.

Korey Brown, the Wildlife Division's administrator in charge of the license issuing system and deer check-in program - says very few snafus were encountered Monday with the new system.

"It ran smoothly and we didn't get slammed with a lot of complaints," Brown said. "People seem to be navigating the system well so we're pleased."

Also, on Monday the Ohio Division of Wildlife says that only two non-fatal hunting accidents - called "incidents" - were reported.

Here is a county-by-county listing of deer recorded for this year’s firearms season opener with last year’s opening day statistics in parentheses:

Adams – 395 (538); Allen – 67 (144); Ashland – 330 (563); Ashtabula –609 (1,057); Athens – 505 (779); Auglaize – 50 (81); Belmont –629 (971); Brown –244 (479); Butler –31 (136); Carroll –620 (1,042); Champaign – 112 (210); Clark – 43(97); Clermont – 150 (414); Clinton – 61 (129); Columbiana – 485 (833); Coshocton –1,197 (1,923); Crawford – 118 (186); Cuyahoga –4 (5); Darke –3 7 (88); Defiance – 261 (402); Delaware – 120 (233); Erie – 24 (53); Fairfield – 298 (432); Fayette – 21 (37); Franklin – 35 (43); Fulton – 109 (169); Gallia – 465(703); Geauga – 153 (265); Greene –40(88); Guernsey – 816 (1,260); Hamilton – 18 (75); Hancock – 105 (184); Hardin – 104 (191); Harrison – 882 (1,365); Henry – 78 (242); Highland – 299 (552); Hocking – 602(803); Holmes – 617 (1,087); Huron – 284(409); Jackson – 402 (671); Jefferson – 546 (900); Knox – 719 (1,315); Lake – 38 (54); Lawrence – 382 (494); Licking – 616 (1,117); Logan – 162 (316); Lorain – 167 (268); Lucas – 34 (53); Madison – 35 (68); Mahoning – 101 (239); Marion – 66 (132); Medina – 110 (171); Meigs – 499 (733); Mercer – 51 (99); Miami – 22 (53); Monroe – 532 (726); Montgomery – 16(46); Morgan – 458 (769); Morrow – 178 (356); Muskingum – 964 (1,523); Noble – 584 (825); Ottawa – 18 (23); Paulding – 128(247); Perry – 477 (750); Pickaway – 124 (216); Pike – 246 (407); Portage –144 (229); Preble – 46 (64); Putnam – 46 (139); Richland – 434 (750); Ross – 385 (579); Sandusky – 58 (59); Scioto – 278 (402); Seneca – 148 (329); Shelby – 87 (139); Stark – 153 (220); Summit – 22 (44); Trumbull – 315 (554); Tuscarawas –896 (1,494); Union 76 – (128); Van Wert – 45(104); Vinton – 468 (674); Warren – 66 (143); Washington – 503 (979); Wayne – 167 (304); Williams – 299 (485); Wood – 47 (89); Wyandot – 224 (324); TOTAL: 23,600 (39,071)

Fall turkey numbers drop/Hunters await Opening Day deer kill figures

With nearly every Ohio hunter’s attention drawn this week to white-tailed deer largely being over-looked are the results of the just-concluded fall wild turkey-hunting season.

And the figures continue to show slippage in popularity as the numbers of birds killed declines.

Ohio’s fall wild turkey season ended Nov. 27 with hunters bagging 1,375 during the seven-week season. Last year’s tally totaled 1,425 birds.
Ashtabula County again led the state with 67 birds taken, according to the Division of Wildlife.

The 2011 fall turkey season ran from Oct. 8 through Nov. 27 allowing hunters to pursue a wild turkey of either sex using a shotgun, muzzle-loading shotgun, bow or crossbow in 48 counties in the state.

Prior to the start of this fall’s hunting season, Ohio’s estimated wild turkey population was around 180,000. As many as 15,000 people - not counting private landowners hunting on their own land - participated.

The top 10 counties were: Ashtabula-67, Knox-55, Guernsey and Tuscarawas-53, Noble-50, Monroe-45, Coshocton-44, Holmes-42, Licking-40, and Carroll and Richland-39.

Still on the on-deck circle are Monday's Opening Day firearms deer-hunting season figures. These numbers should become available this afternoon.

The following is a list of wild turkeys taken during the 2010 fall turkey season is marked in parentheses: 2011 (2010).

Adams – 35 (29); Ashland – 17 (38); Ashtabula – 67 (77); Athens – 27 (18); Belmont –32 (11); Brown – 26 (28); Carroll – 39 (28); Clermont – 32 (44); Columbiana – 37 (35); Coshocton – 44 (68); Cuyahoga –0 (2); Defiance- 13 (25); Gallia – 36 (34); Geauga – 31 (53); Guernsey – 53 (39); Harrison – 38 (34); Highland – 37 (51); Hocking – 20 (17); Holmes – 42 (29); Jackson – 17 (22); Jefferson – 20 (25); Knox – 55 (62); Lake – 7 (4); Lawrence –21 (16); Licking – 40 (53); Lorain – 29 (15); Mahoning –24 (27); Medina –1 7 (24); Meigs – 15 (33); Monroe – 45 (15); Morgan – 23 (20); Morrow – 11 (13); Muskingum - 36 (32); Noble – 50 (34); Perry – 26 (25); Pike – 21 (10); Portage – 18 (23); Richland – 39 (31); Ross –19 (32); Scioto – 22 (12); Stark – 23 (19); Summit – 3 (8); Trumbull – 31 (60); Tuscarawas – 53 (56); Vinton – 21 (19); Washington – 24 (25); Wayne – 9 (8) and Williams - 27 (22). Preliminary totals – 1,375 (1,425).

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

UPDATED SUNDAY: A Look Ahead At Ohio Deer Gun Week Weather

Weather is an important component in the success of Ohio’s deer hunters, particularly those who hunt during the firearms season.

This year the often-called “Ohio deer gun season” runs Nov. 28 through Dec. 4 with a two-day “bonus” season set for Dec. 17 and 18.

A problem this week has been an ever-changing forecast, mostly not for the better. A general heavy rain has begun and is forcasted to extend into Tuesday with some areas of the state also may see snow. Amounts of two inches or more are anticipated as well.

Here is a look ahead weather-wise of what is forecasted to happen during next week’s Ohio firearms deer-hunting season. It is broken done by Ohio Division of Wildlife district by district.

I’ll be making an exception for Wildlife District Three (Northeast Ohio) simply because that is where I’ll be hunting in Ashtabula County.

Here is the fifth installment:

Wildlife District One (Columbus as base): Nov. 28 - 57 degrees and some rain; Nov. 29 - 51 degrees with rain; Nov. 30 - 42 degrees with rain or snow; Dec. 1 - 47 degrees with periods of sun; Dec. 2 - 42 degrees and partly sunny; Dec. 3- 43 degrees and mostly sunny; Dec. 4 - 48 degrees and p.m. rain.

Wildlife District Two (Findlay as base): Nov. 28 - 48 degrees and mostly cloudy with a shower possible; Nov. 29 - 48 degrees and breezy with rain possible; Nov. 30 - 41 degrees with periods of rain or snow; Dec. 1 - 44 degrees and mix of clouds and sun; Dec.2 - 41 degrees and partly sunny; Dec. 3 - 41 degrees and mostly sunny; Dec. 4 - 42 degrees and snow to rain.

Wildlife District Three (Akron): Nov. 28 - 54 degrees with rain; Nov. 29 - 54 degrees and breezy with rain; Nov. 30 - 41 degrees and cloudy; Dec. 1 - 42 degrees and partly cloudy; Dec. 2 - 39 degrees and snow possible; Dec. 3 -47 degrees and partly sunny; Dec. 4 - 45 and rain. (Rome/Ashtabula County): Nov. 28 - 62 degrees and mostly cloudy with rain possible; Nov. 29 - 53 degrees with decreasing rain; Nov. 30 - 43 degrees and with periods of sun; Dec. 3 - 46 degrees with periods of clouds and sun; Dec. 1 - 47 degrees and partly sunny; Dec. 2 - 44 degrees and sunny; Dec. 4 - 50 degrees and rain.

Wildlife District Four (Athens as base): Nov. 28 - 62 degrees with rain; Nov. 29 - 62 degrees with rain tapering off; Nov. 30 - 45 degrees with rain or snow; Dec. 1 - 46 degrees with periods of sun; Dec. 2 - 46 and partly sunny; Dec. 3 - 43 degrees and sunny; Dec. 4 - 49 degrees and rain.

Wildlife District Five (Xenia as base): Nov. 28 - 54 degrees and with some clouds and rain; Nov. 29 - 49 degrees with rain; Nov. 30 - 42 degrees with rain or snow; Dec. 1 - 43 degrees with periods of sun; Dec, 2 - 41 degrees and partly sunny; Dec. 3 - 42 degrees and sunny; Dec. 4 - 45 degrees with rain.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Monday, November 21, 2011

Kids Take Advantage Of Nice Weather For Youth-Only Deer Gun Season

With spring-like weather to aid them, Ohio’s young firearms deer hunters did well Saturday and Sunday.

For the special two-day, youth-only firearms deer-hunting season on those two days the young guns killed 8,681 animals. The previous year the youth brigade killed 8,445 deer.

Thus the young hunter scored a net gain of two percent.

Under Ohio law qualifying youngsters age 17 and younger could hunt deer with a shotgun, muzzle-loader or archery tackle.

Almost to a boy - or girl - the instrument of choice was a shotgun.

Adults also could hunt during this period but only use archery tackle and also had to follow the rule that required the wearing of blaze orange incorporated into an outer garment.

As for local success, a youthful deer hunter who can claim bragging rights is 13-year-old Kent Weber of Chardon Township who scored a direct hit on an eight-point buck while participating Sunday in the youth-only firearms two-day deer-hunting season. He was hunting on his uncle’s property, also in Chardon Township, when he killed the trophy buck.

Raw statistics snow that in Northeast Ohio during the two-day hunt that youngsters killed (with their respective 2010 season figures in parentheses): Ashtabula - 162 (136), Cuyahoga - 1 (1), Erie - 24 (37), Geauga - 67 (56), Huron - 92 (99), Lake - 7 (9), Lorain - 77 (86), Medina - 56 (43), Sandusky - 25 (33), Trumbull - 97 (100).

Among the notable deer-hunting counties were: Coshocton - 287 (277), Guernsey - 316 (248), Harrison - 227 (233), Knox - 214 (223), Licking - 248 (218), Muskingum - 277 (254), and Tuscarawas - 321 (277).

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Thursday, November 17, 2011

UPDATE 2: Kasich Plays Musical Chairs With ODNR

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has undertaken a seismic shift in power within the Natural Resources Department, playing either a great game of political musical chairs or else Russian Roulette with the agency.

He has brought in as the agency's new director the former director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, Jim Zehringer.

In turn, Zehringer towed along two of his underling associates with him: Andy Ware and Frederick Shrimp.

Zehringer replaces Scott Zody who served as interim Natural Resources Director when former ODNR director David Mustine left to take a position with a quasi-governmental group that is promoting energy development in Ohio.

Now Zody has become the latest chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife, replacing David Lane who has been demoted to assistant chief of that agency and in charge of Wildlife's five district offices.

Zody said the moves were natural fits, even though he becomes the first non-Wildlife Division official to ascend to the chief's post.

Importantly too, Zody says, the repositioning of Lane has nothing to do with his short tenure as the Wildlife Division's chief.

"There's been a little bit of a shake-up here but things are going well," Zody said. "Really, both the Governor and the new Director thought the best role for me would be in Wildlife. I'm looking forward to a more narrowed area of responsibilty and the new challenges."

Tom Rowan - former state wildlife officer assigned to Lake County - remains as the Wildlife Division's assistant chief in charge of law enforcement, fisheries and wildlife.

And Sue Howard - who had been the Wildlife Division's other assistant chief -now becomes the agency's business operations manager, responsible for human affairs, fiscal responsibilities as well as marketing the Wildlife Division. She relinquishes the role of managing the five district offices to Lane.

"We still have a mission to do; support the director and chief and make them proud," Rowan said also.

As for Ware this is not his first stint within the Natural Resources Department. He was once an agency spokesman, became the assistant chief for the Division of Forestry and eventually transferred to the Agricultural Department.

Now he is back in the Natural Resources Department where he will oversee not only Forestry but also the Division of Geological Survey and several other agencies.

Meanwhile, Shrimp will concern himself with the "day-to-day" operations of the Natural Resources Department.

In terms of Zehringer, the sum of his Natural Resources Department's experience includes a stint as a state representative, a livestock raiser and commercial fish hatchery owner.

Also, this change will do nothing to quiet the rumors that the Natural Resources Department will be enrolled within the Agricultural Department along with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

If anything the changes only heighten this possibility, though Zody says that Kasich is now on the hunt to appoint a new Agriculture Department director.

This Blog will be updated as additional information is obtained.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Friday, November 11, 2011

Paperless Licenses Likely In Sportsmens' Future

While most hunters and anglers are still using the services of a licensing vendor to buy their documents the winds of change are beginning to blow.

Research conducted by and has found that 58 percent of those hunters surveyed still purchase their licenses through a retailer, while 61 percent of surveyed anglers bought theirs at a local store as well.

Retailers often count on their role as a sporting license vendor to lead to additional sales of hunting- and fishing-related equipment when consumers visit to buy a permit, the survey polling firm says.

At the same time the Southwick and Associates’ two-survey program say that as many as 24 percent of hunters and 25 percent of surveyed anglers reported purchasing licenses online.

Which hardly surprises Korey Brown, the Ohio Division of Wildlife administrator in charge of Ohio’s all-new Internet-based license-issuing system.

Additionally, more than 17 percent of hunters and just over 14 percent of fishermen bought permits directly through a game agency or government office or through some other source.

“Although paperless licensing is not a stated goal, it is certainly in the conversation,” Brown says.

“The day that we can bridge the communications gap - guaranteeing that law enforcement officers have 100-percent cell phone coverage and/or have the ability to remotely access the central license database, is the day we’ll begin to talk seriously about paperless licensing.”

Brown bases this assumption partially on what has happened to the airline industry. In the span of just the past 10 years the airline industry went from mandatory multi-layered paper-tickets to mandatory paperless e-tickets, Brown said.

“Against this backdrop, paperless hunting and fishing licenses don’t seem all that farfetched,” Brown said.

Indeed it does not, agrees Rob Southwick, President of Southwick and Associates.

“Retail license purchases will probably never die,” Southwick says. “However, the proliferation of high speed internet connectivity, the widespread acceptance of e-commerce, and the incredible increase in smart-phone usage indicate that it’s just a matter of time before Internet purchases eclipse retail purchases as the most popular method of transacting.”

And yet Southwick notes that even though every state game agency in the country now providing regulations, season dates, bag limits and other hunting and fishing information online - as well as the popularity of digital products such as websites, apps, mobile phones and smart tablets - “it is interesting to note that the printed regulations book remains a critical resource to today’s hunter and angler.”

“More than 84 percent of surveyed hunters said they had received or expect to receive the regulations booklet,” said Southwick. “And of that number, a whopping 96 percent said they have read or plan to read the booklet, with more than 54 percent revealing they read it more than once and nearly 24 percent citing they use it as a resource throughout the season.”

On the fishing side, 89 percent of survey respondents said they have read or plan to read the regulations booklet, with more than 54 percent revealing they read it more than once and 17 percent saying they use it as a resource all season, says Southwick.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Huge increase in duplicate hunting/fishing license sales explained

With more than 21,000 duplicate hunting and fishing licenses having thus far been sold the numbers far exceed those of any previous year.

For hunting licenses alone the number of duplicate documents issued jumped nearly 236 percent for the eight-month period of February 15 to October 31 this year when compared to last year for the same time frame.

In all, the number of duplicate hunting licenses issued was 9,915. For the same period in 2010 that number was 3,937.

The number of duplicate fishing licenses likewise climbed; in this case by a factor of 97 percent, reports the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

“So far this year we have issued over 21,000 duplicate licenses and permits; a significant increase over last year,” said Korey Brown, the Wildlife Division’s administrator in charge of the agency’s new license-issuing system.

Brown attributes the large volume increase to two major factors. Those being:

n The switch to plain paper license stock which has resulted in more destroyed license documents.

In this case, hunters and anglers are reminded to protect their license documents, Brown says.

“We believe hunters and anglers will eventually adapt to the new license stock which will lead to a decrease in duplicate license issuances,” Brown said.

n The new WOCRMS is a real-time transaction automation system whereas the old license-issuing system was a “store-and-forward system,” Brown said.

Our network of 900-plus license sales agents are still familiarizing themselves with the new system,” Brown said.

“Next year we plan to implement changes to the software that should reduce the number of duplicate license issuances.”

Yet even with these minor glitches, Brown says, the WOCRMS system “puts the Division of Wildlife in a position to deliver products and services via multiple distribution channels with relative ease.” These “multiple distribution channels” include traditional retail sales outlets (license agents), the Internet, the telephone, and eventually smart-phone applications, or “mobile applications.”

“However, before we implement any change as it relates to the issuance of license and permits, we must ensure adherence to Ohio Administrative Code, which dictates the process by which duplicate licenses and permits are issued,” Brown said.

“The Ohio Division of Wildlife will continually review various sections of (Ohio law) and propose changes designed to improve product and service delivery, and take full advantage of an extremely powerful WOCRMS tool.”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twiter: @Fieldkorn

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dip In Ohio Hunting/Fishing License Sales

Sales of both Ohio hunting and fishing licenses took hits when compared to the same eight-month period one year ago.

This shortfall resulted in a decline of revenue of nearly $1.5 million for the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

For the period Feb. 15 through Oct. 31 this year, the Wildlife Division issued a total of 788,990 fishing documents of all kinds for a total revenue of $13,978,700.

For the same period in 2010 the agency issued 867,065 documents for a revenue stream of $15,228,928.

The greatest drop came in the sale of resident fishing licenses; a drop of 58,233 permits that turned into a loss of nearly $1.11 million.

In all, 651,811 resident annual fishing licenses were sold during the eight-month period in 2010 while 593,578 such documents were issued for the same period this year, reports the Wildlife Division.

Also off were sales of three-day non-resident fishing licenses (off 14.19 percent), annual non-resident fishing licenses (off 4.95 percent), and one-day fishing licenses (off 8.96 percent).

Up, however, were sales of duplicate fishing licenses by a whopping 47.81 percent for an increase of $19,536 in revenue to the agency.

“Between the rains this spring along with high gas prices this summer, license sales were down,” said Susan Howard, one of two Wildlife Division assistant chiefs.

Factor in as well the algae blooms that plagued Lake Erie toward summer’s end and into autumn, said Howard also.

“It was not a good mix for license sales,” she said.

The bottom line is that Lake Erie drives fishing license sales in Ohio. And with that being said, other Great Lakes states also experienced poor weather which seemed to have caused lowered fishing license sales, too.

“That’s what I’m hearing,” Howard said.

Hunting license sales were likewise down, though not by nearly as much. For the period of Feb. 15, 2010 through Oct. 31, 2010, the Wildlife Division sold 192,587 resident hunting licenses.

By comparison, during this same eight-month time frame this year the agency issued 182,844 resident hunting licenses, resulting in a dip of $185,117, says the Wildlife Division.

There are many more categories of hunting licenses and tags than types of fishing licenses and most of the former saw only modest declines. For example, the sale of fall turkey permits dropped by 577 documents for a decline of $13,848 in revenue.

And sales of Ohio’s “duck stamp” similarly declined. Here, for the eight-month recording period in 2010 the Wildlife Division issued 19,058 stamps but sold 18,580 stamps for the same accounting period this year. This drop resulted in a decline of $7,170 in revenue.

Also off - but only slightly - were sales of both the either sex deer tags and the antler-only deer permits.

For the eight-month period in 2010 the Wildlife Division sold 156,308 either-sex deer tags while for the same time frame this year the agency issued 154,417 permits. This drop resulted in a decline of only $45,384 in revenue.

And sales of the antlerless-only tags took a slight hit as well. Here, during the eight-month 2010 accounting period the Wildlife Division sold 89,664 antlerless-only tags, a figure that fell to 87,822 permits this year for the same period. This drop resulted in a loss of only $27,630 in revenue for the agency.

Like it was for the sale of duplicate fishing license the issuance of duplicate hunting licenses soared.

Conversely, in 2010 the Wildlife Division issued 3,937 duplicate hunting licenses of all kinds for the eight-month recording period. That figured rose to 9,915 duplicate permits issued for the same period this year and for a net gain of $27,849, almost wiping out the deficit seen in the decline in sale of antlerless-only tags.

In all, sales of the Wildlife Division’s shopping cart of hunting/trapping-related licenses, stamps, permits and tags dropped by 21,763 documents.

In all, revenues from the sale of all hunting/trapping related licenses, tags, permits and stamps was $13,806,798 for this year’s eight-month recording period. In 2010 that figure was $14,003,207.

As for an explanation as to why a very modest decline in the sale of various hunting licenses was seen, Howard says “it’s still too early to tell.”

“I think with the good weather we’re having now the numbers may pick up a lot,” Howard said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twiter: @Fieldkorn

Monday, November 7, 2011

Ohio's archery deer hunters behind last year's to-date totals

Ohio’s bow hunters recorded an 11 percent drop in the number of animals taken during the first six weeks of the state’s archery deer-hunting season.

The first six-week kill for this year was 45,836 deer during compared to last year’s kill of 51,543, for the same period, reports the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

The archery season started September 24 and will continue through February 5, 2012.
Counties reporting the highest numbers of deer brought to check stations were: Licking - 1,836, Coshocton - 1,522, Tuscarawas - 1,259, Ashtabula - 1,143, Holmes - 1,101, Knox- 1,092, Muskingum - 1,060, Guernsey - 1,045, and Hamilton and Trumbull - 977(tied).

Ohio's deer population was estimated to be 750,000 in early October. Approximately 345,000 bow hunters are expected to participate in the statewide deer-archery hunting season.

Bow hunters harvested a total of 85,012 deer during last year’s four-month Ohio archery season.

Here is a list of deer checked and tagged by hunters during the first six weeks of the current deer-archery hunting season. The number taken during the 2010 season is marked in parentheses:

Adams – 945 (931); Allen – 290 (369); Ashland – 676 (779); Ashtabula – 1,143 (1,248); Athens – 709 (719); Auglaize – 213 (221); Belmont – 488 (670); Brown – 608 (702); Butler – 538 (591); Carroll – 773 (957); Champaign – 442 (455); Clark – 253 (290); Clermont – 939 (1,060); Clinton – 234 (283); Columbiana – 699 (814); Coshocton – 1,522 (1,776); Crawford – 257 (281); Cuyahoga – 303 (320); Darke –264 (247); Defiance – 371 (441); Delaware – 492 (610); Erie – 188 (221); Fairfield – 571 (634); Fayette – 50 (75); Franklin – 291 (289); Fulton – 214 (251); Gallia – 451 (589); Geauga – 748 (786); Greene – 338 (327); Guernsey – 1,045 (1,183); Hamilton – 977 (867); Hancock – 284 (377); Hardin – 273 (322); Harrison – 902 (1,144); Henry – 161 (180); Highland – 666 (754); Hocking – 704 (752); Holmes – 1,101 (1,328); Huron – 523 (502); Jackson – 626 (694); Jefferson – 494 (739); Knox – 1,092 (1,222); Lake – 262 (263); Lawrence – 446 (525); Licking – 1,836 (1,912); Logan – 616 (644); Lorain – 691 (795); Lucas – 237 (205); Madison – 136 (157); Mahoning – 545 (537); Marion – 189 (203); Medina – 584 (617); Meigs – 564 (646); Mercer – 178 (203); Miami – 271 (303); Monroe – 419 (487); Montgomery – 233 (253); Morgan – 443 (520); Morrow –424 (436); Muskingum – 1,060 (1,182); Noble – 530 (640); Ottawa – 133 (143); Paulding – 233 (338); Perry – 494 (524); Pickaway – 204 (230); Pike – 426 (471); Portage – 748 (771); Preble –273 (265); Putnam – 193 (269); Richland – 945 (1,113); Ross –597 (695); Sandusky – 250 (269); Scioto – 512 (541); Seneca – 404 (459); Shelby – 262 (303); Stark – 543 (613); Summit – 515 (543); Trumbull – 977 (1,016); Tuscarawas – 1,259 (1,483); Union –223 (240); Van Wert – 154 (187); Vinton – 496 (583); Warren – 511 (551); Washington – 467 (542); Wayne – 501 (622); Williams – 542 (621); Wood – 180 (261); Wyandot – 272 (362); Total – 45,836 (51,543).

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Ghosts Return To Haunt For Small-Game Opener

You’d be impressed as you watched Millie deeply inhaling the exotic odor of the male ring-necked pheasant.

Her nostrils flared at the scent, enriched by the newfangled odor. The black Labrador retriever also gave some gurgling sounds as she tried to both breath and at the same time trot her way back to me.

The pheasant wasn’t going anywhere. A seven-eighths ounce of number six shot propelled from my 28-guage Remington shotgun ensured that anchorage.

It was opening day of Ohio’s small-game hunting season; the first for Millie, a transplanted Alaskan by way of Washington State. That’s a long way from here to there but I had eagerly sought this day together for months.

And not just because I’d be hunting with a new companion to join Berry (my other black Labrador) but also for the reason that I like to hunt things that wear feathers even more than I do things that wear fur.

Opening Day has always carved out a favored spot in my heart, going back to the late 1950s and into the mid-1960s. That’s when I started out carrying a Daisy air-rifle and later, a borrowed 16-guage double-barreled shotgun.

My partners included my two older brothers, Terry and Rich. We would hitch our hunting wagon to our father and sometimes, our Uncle Val.

Oh, I can’t forget the dogs, either. There were Rusty and Munk and Penny and Moochie and Pepper; beagles all.

Those were the days when rabbits held high esteem and what few pheasant we did find were true wild birds, not the remnants of a bird dog field trial.

No matter nowadays, though. The dogs don’t care and if you really want to know, neither do I. That is, not on Opening Day.

Problem is, however, I’m one of a diminishing crew. Every year there appears to be fewer and fewer small-game hunters out on Opening Day. It seems that is the case, anyway, given how few vehicles were observed pulled off the highway and into places where you’d expect to see a hunter.

So the opener is greeted both with good cheer and a bit of melancholy. Neither Terry nor Rich have taken in a small-game opener since I don’t know when.

And Dad and Uncle Val both passed on more than 30 years ago.

But their ghosts still come each and every small-game season opener. I can see them as blurs moving through the shadows of a woodlot now almost totally barren of leaves.

I can see all of the dogs as well - hounds, pointers and retrievers - accompanying us in the spangled glint of light that reflects off polished, dried corn stalks and mirrored on the surface of beaver ponds.

They are my companion now, these ghosts that hang close and cling to our walk through the fields and forests.

I swear I can hear too the tinkling of the collar bell worn by Suzie, the pointer, or catch the flash of Rebel and Miss Daisy as they help scout out the ragweed patch ahead of Millie and Berry.

They don’t see her, Millie and Berry, that is. And I also snatched a glimpse of Jenny Lynn, the latest of my dogs to enter my personal hunting netherworld.

I guess I could be sad at having so many ghosts around on a day that should be about having fun and enjoying another small-game hunting season opener.

I am not, though. If anything, I am comforted at the thought of being around them, finding peace in the joy of having known giants among men and owning dogs that knew more about running a rabbit or finding a pheasant than I’ll ever be capable of understanding.

Nope, my ghosts are real and I look forward to our annual visit together every first Friday in November.

That others have decided to herald the remarkable incline of the white-tailed deer and the wild turkey more than they have sorrowed over the decline of the ring-necked pheasant is for those hunters to sort out.

As long as I have the heart, the lung power and my wobbly legs and back hold up I’ll be there on Opening Day. Ghosts and all.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twiter: @Fieldkorn

Friday, November 4, 2011

Elk Shot In Geauga County; What's Next From Pennsylvania?

It’s been a coon’s age since the last wild elk had been killed in Ohio.

That changed a bit Wednesday when a Geauga County farmer saw a bull elk in his Parkman Township field.

When given the green light by the Ohio Division of Wildlife that elk are not a protected species here the farmer bagged the bull, adding a few hundred pounds of prime meat to his freezer.

After the animal’s remains are checked out for chronic wasting disease (CWD), that is. That is because elk have been known to be infected with the prion-based brain disorder disease.

Just how the elk came to be in Geauga County is easier to explain than how an elephant got into Grocho Marx’s pajamas.

It seems that the elk is an escapee from an elk-rearing farm in western Pennsylvania.

Wildlife Division officials said that the animal headed west, through Ashtabula County and made its last, fatal, stop in Geauga County.

Exotic ungulates are uncommon in Northeast Ohio though not totally unheard of. Sometimes sika deer are shot by Lake County hunters.

These exotic Asian deer are the remnants or offspring of sikas that escaped from an estate in Leroy Township.

Nor was the elk the only game species that chose to visit Ohio. In most cases where a black bear is seen in Northeast Ohio it is the result of a young male animal that has been booted out by its mother and is looking to set up housekeeping on his own.

Likewise the Geauga Park District notes in its latest “Snow Belted” exhibit at the West Woods Reservation that it is only a matter of time before porcupines migrate west from Pennsylvania and into Northeast Ohio.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twiter: @Fieldkorn

Thursday, November 3, 2011

ODNR Seeks To Set Record Straight Regarding Brown County

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is responding that it harbors no ill will against Brown County Prosecutor Jessica A. Little.

In a two-page final disciplinary report signed Oct. 28 was the statement: “...
This became an issue because of ODNR’s history with Brown County. Brown County is displeased that they were unsuccessful in bringing charges against ODNR employees for a previous issue involving a wildlife officer. Therefore they want to find fault with ODNR when possible. Management in turn is fearful of Brown County and wants to protect themselves from appearing to have done something wrong...”

In her telephone response to a query made by The News-Herald, Little said that she didn’t “appreciate that we’re being accused of a ‘witch hunt against Allan Wright’” and that “There’s no animosity toward the department.”

To which Natural Resources Department spokeswoman Laura Jones replied late Wednesday that the actual two-page letter clearly spells out the belief that Brown County was displeased at not being able to find fault with Wright was his and his union representative’s position and not that of the ODNR.

“Somewhere along the lines there was a misunderstanding,” Jones said.

That misunderstanding likely came with my communication with Little where “who said what” was not so clearly defined.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twiter: @Fieldkorn

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Brown County Prosecutor Takes Issue With ODNR Accusations

Brown County Prosecutor Jessica A. Little bristles at accusations that her office has a “vendetta” against former state wildlife officer Allan Wright or even the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Her reaction follows an October 28 Natural Resources Department Hearing Officer’s Report regarding Wright, who was fired by the agency for alleged departmental rule violations.

In that report the hearing officer - ODNR Human Capital Management Senior Analyst Renee Norris - wrote: “... This became an issue because of ODNR’s history with Brown County. Brown County is displeased that they were unsuccessful in bringing charges against ODNR employees for a previous issue involving a wildlife officer. Therefore they want to find fault with ODNR when possible. Management in turn is fearful of Brown County and wants to protect themselves from appearing to have done something wrong...”

“I don’t appreciate that we’re being accused of a ‘witch hunt’ against Allan Wright,” Little said today; Wednesday. “There’s no animosity toward the department.”

Little said also that Wright is not even a subject of any work being conducted by her office.

In fact, says Little, the special prosecutor that Little named in 2010 is no longer investigating Wright.

“We’re finished with Allan Wright,” Little said. “So there is no need to do anything (more) in Brown County."

That is because Wright has been charged in federal court for alleged violations of U.S. fish and game laws.

As for the case against five current or retired Ohio Division of Wildlife officials, that matter is still before Ohio’s 12th District Court of Appeals. That case has ties to the Wright issue but does not include Wright himself.

Little said also that should she win in the appellate court that the matter against the current and retired Wildlife Division officials would move back to Brown County.

If she is rebuffed by the 12th Court of Appeals than Brown County will evaluate taking the next step.

“It all likelihood this (case) will be appealed to the state supreme court,” Little said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Hearing Report Document On Former ODW Office Allan Wright

On October 25 now former state wildlife officer assigned to Brown County Allan Wright was accorded a pre-disciplinary hearing before officials with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Among the state officials was Patrick Brown, a Natural Resources Department staff officer. It was Brown who conducted the investigation into Wright’s case.

Wright was represented at the hearing by Fraternal Order of Police union representative Joel Barden.

The final disciplinary report was signed Oct. 28 by Natural Resources Department Human Capital Management (HCM) Senior Analyst Renee Norris.

Here is the complete text of that report as provided by the Natural Resources Department.

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

UPDATED Allan Wright fired by ODNR, to appeal decision

Allan Wright - the legally embattled former state wildlife officer assigned to Brown County - has been fired by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

In a one-page letter dated Oct. 28, 2011 interim Natural Resources Director Scott A. Zody wrote:

“As a result of your recent per-disciplinary hearing held on October 25, 2011, you were found guilty of violating the following provisions of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Disciplinary Policy:

* B. Dishonesty - (2) Willfully falsifying... any official document.

* D. Failure of Good Behavior - (4) Misuse of and/or carelessness with state property....

* Commissioned Officers: A. Law Enforcement - (1) Violation of Uniformed Officer’s Code of Conduct.

“Therefore, you are being removed from your Wildlife Officer position with the ODNR-Division of Wildlife effective the date of your receipt of this letter.”

Laura Jones, chief spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Department, said that Wright has filed a grievance related to this latest action.

This action also falls on the legal heels of Wright being first placed on unpaid administrative leave in August, reinstated to paid administrative leave and according to rules governed by the Ohio Revised Code.

However, the Natural Resources Department declined to write any paychecks to Wright.

That matter likewise is being appealed by the Fraternal Order Of Police, the bargaining unit for the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s commissioned officers.

In 2006 Wright allowed a South Carolina wildlife officer to use his Ohio address to obtain a resident Ohio hunting license, among other matters.

A chain reaction of legal issues have since enveloped others within the Ohio Division of Wildlife who either have retired or else remain aboard the agency.

Wright - who is also under indictment for felony and misdemeanor violations of the federal government’s Lacey Act - is slated to stand trial in federal court Feb. 22, 2012.

Wright agree to state complaints that he allowed a South Carolina wildlife officer to use his Ohio address to obtain a resident state hunting license.

He subsequently was given a written reprimand which was eventually expunged.

That set into legal motion charges being brought against five current or retired Ohio Division of Wildlife officials.

The cases involving these officials remains pending before Ohio’s 12th District Court of Appeals.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn