Friday, September 28, 2012

Corps IDs Four potential invasive species portals in Ohio

In a war the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers says is worth winning, the federal government is looking to push back the tide of aquatic nuisance species that could target the Great Lakes.

Today during a teleconference conducted by the Corps, government officials  pointed out the threats associated with invasive species such as Asian carp, but not necessarily as they relate to the much-talked-about Chicago Area Waterway System.

In all, said government officials during the teleconference, some other 18 potential portals - called pathways - exist by which invasive species may enter the Great Lakes.

Leading the state’s with the most number of potential pathways is Wisconsin with eight while Pennsylvania has none.

Ohio has four at-risk invasive species pathways: the Mosquito Creek Reservoir/Grand River (rated as being low), Little Killbuck Creek (rated as being moderate/medium) the Ohio-Erie Canal as it applies to Long Lake in Akron (moderate/medium), and Grand Lake St. Marys (rated as being low), the government officials said.

Some of these waterways may offer up only seasonal opportunities for invasive species to transfer from one basin to another while others have barriers of one kind or another that could impede transfers.

Not included in the list, however, is the Maumee River, which enters Lake Erie in Ohio but begins in Indiana.

For this watershed the risk factors are high for the transfer of such pests as from the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River drainage and Asian carp from the latter to the former, the officials said.
An investigation led to the government’s study, summarizing the information “for a broad audience” in such a way as to help people evaluate not only what species might arrive but equally important, where.

In all cases, the government officials said also, the Chicago Waterways System still remains the most likely venue for invasive species to move about from one basin to another.

Also, said the conference speakers and participants, many of the Great Lakes potentially impacted states are working on their own studies and possible solution.

To see the Corps’ summary report, visit web site

However, comments can be made only through Oct. 14.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Thursday, September 27, 2012

State fires indicted Wildlife Division supervisor

As one of two recently indicted Ohio Division of Wildlife officers, David Warner is not only facing a court trial but will likely have to update his job resumé too.

Warner had been the field supervisor for the Wildlife Division’s District Five (southwest Ohio), a position he was fired from by the agency Sept. 21 - last Friday.

The firing came in a tersely written notification letter issued by the Wildlife Division. This letter to Warner spelled out the reasons for him being fired, the document citing several serious matters.

“As a result of your pre-disciplinary hearing held September 7, 2012, you were found guilty of violating the following provisions of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Disciplinary Policy,” the notification letter reads.

Continuing with the letter’s narrative, the Natural Resources Department charged that Warner engaged in “Dishonesty” by “willfully falsifying or removing any official document,” along with “Neglect of Duty,” and two items described as being “Failure of Good Behavior.”

The firing comes on the heels of an indictment that was filed in the Brown County Court of Common Pleas and presented by that jurisdiction’s prosecutor Jessica Little.

Warner - along with state wildlife officer Matthew Roberts - were charged in July for theft in office, a fifth degree felony, and tampering with records, a third degree felony.

Warner was also indicted for dereliction of duty, a second degree misdemeanor.

The charges stem from the pair’s alleged activity of hunting while on duty, and for allegedly turning in bogus time slips that supposedly showed they were on duty when they were allegedly hunting with former state wildlife officer Allan Wright, who had been assigned to Brown County.

As part of his plea deal, Wright has agreed to return to Ohio and testify against Warner and Roberts, Little has said.

A fifth degree felony is punishable by a jail term of six to 12 months, a maximum fine of $2,500 or both. A third degree Felony is punishable by a jail term of one to five years, a maximum fine of $10,000 or both. A third degree misdemeanor is punishable by a jail term of not more than 60 days, a maximum fine of $500 or both.

And though Warner has been discharged from the Wildlife Division he still faces the charges brought by Little in the Brown County court system.

In regards to Roberts, he “...has a right to due process, which is where we are right now,” said Bethany McCorkle, the Natural Resources’ interim chief of communications.

“He (Roberts) has had a pre-disciplinary hearing but at this time no decision has been made,” McCorkle electronically informed The News-Herald.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Eastlake man loses fishing guide license but won't face charges

Jud Hawkins, the City of Eastlake’s prosecutor, has decided against charging well-known Lake Erie charter captain and food vendor William Goble with multiple alleged state fish-law violations.

Instead, Hawkins and  Goble came to a mutually acceptable agreement. Rather than moving forward with any misdemeanor charges and a possible felony charge  the Eastlake resident is required to forfeit his Lake Erie fishing guide license, among other things.

Wildlife Division officials agreed with Hawkins’ actions.

Also, Goble’s wife said that he is in the hospital and thus unavailable for comment.

At issue was an alleged misuse of sport-caught fish that were being sold commercially via Goble’s food-related business activities, both Hawkins and the Wildlife Division said.

Yet  because Goble is an older person and in generally poor health, and also because the alleged violations are considered low-level misdemeanors, Hawkins instead worked out the plea arrangement with Goble.

“The investigation got the point where there might have been charges brought but I decided to seek a resolution without the need of any criminal charges,” Hawkins said. “If anyone wants to blame someone, blame me."

Citing that the Ohio Revised Code carries statute of limitations on some of the points found by the Wildlife Division’s investigation, Hawkins gave weight to other, mitigating, factors as well.

That weight included the fact that  Goble is an older person and in generally poor health, and also because the alleged violations are considered  low-level.

However, with that being said, the facts indicated to him was that “Mr. Goble was catching fish recreationally but selling them in his restaurant,” Hawkins said.

“And I think if we had pursued this further we could have successfully brought charges,” Hawkins said.

Terms under the agreement spell out that Goble has to surrender his Ohio sport-fishing guides license and can no longer use sport-caught fish for any  food-related business activity, Hawkins says.

Ohio has a long-standing law against sport-caught fish being sold or used commercially. Exceptions include such Lake Erie species as yellow perch, but only when covered by a Ohio commercial fishing license, which Goble does not have.

Goble’s future actions will, however, be monitored by the Wildlife Division. And any additional fish law violations then charges would be brought, against the Eastlake resident, Hawkins also says.

“I hope he doesn’t because I don’t want to charge the guy,” Hawkins said. “It was not a crime that I wanted to spend a lot of time on. He’s an old guy who led a good life.”

Besides, Hawkins says, “all the state wanted to do was for Mr. Goble to terminate any further activity.”

That’s true, says Gino Barna, the Wildlife Division’s Lake Erie law enforcement unit supervisor.

“Since there were no charges, we do not have a statement,” Barna said. “However, we are satisfied with the prosecutor’s decision on how the case was handled.”

Likewise, calling the Wildlife Division’s investigation very thorough, Hawkins said that the investigators’ conduct spoke well of the agents.

“They did a good job,” Hawkins said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Monday, September 24, 2012

Coast Guard mandates what once was voluntary for commercial fishermen

 What once was voluntary  for Great Lakes commercial fishermen is now mandatory.

To help ensure the safety of commercial fishing vessel operators and crews, the U.S. Coast Guard is now insisting on participation in a checking of safety gear.

The requirement is for  commercial fishing vessels ONLY;  NOT personal sport or licensed sport-fishing charters. Another rule is that the vessel must operate at least three miles from shore.

It is likewise important to note that the dockside examination is free, a U.S. Coast Guard spokesman told The News-Herald.

Here is the test of the Coast Guard's recent press release on the subject:

CFVS exam decal
Once a commercial fishing vessel is found to be in compliance with all applicable regulations, the Coast Guard's Commercial Fishing Vessel Safety Examination decal is required on all vessels operating beyond three nautical miles offshore.

CLEVELAND — The 9th Coast Guard District announces today that a commercial fishing vessel safety exam will be required for all commercial fishing vessels operating beyond three nautical miles offshore.

The dockside exam, which has been administered for more than a decade on a voluntary basis, will be required after Oct. 16 and affects commercial fishing vessels nationwide.

The examination is free of charge and covers regulatory topics including: lifesaving equipment, communications, firefighting and various other operational readiness measures.

Vessels that pass the exam are awarded a decal noting compliance with applicable regulations, which remains valid for up to two years.

Currently, no fines are assessed if discrepancies are noted when a vessel receives a voluntary dockside safety exam.

However, after Oct. 16, a vessel found operating beyond three nautical miles offshore without a valid decal may be subject to enforcement action.

"Fortunately, many commercial fishermen have sought to receive the Coast Guard exams on a voluntary basis," said Lt. Michael Collet, the 9th Coast Guard District's commercial fishing vessel coordinator. 

"Maintaining compliance with these regulations will help improve safety throughout the U.S. fishing community, which statistically, has been one of the most dangerous occupations in the country."

Recently, Coast Guard Headquarters released a letter to the commercial fishing industry to explain the dockside safety exam requirements.

The notification letter and other helpful information are available at

Commercial fishermen in the Great Lakes region should contact a commercial fishing vessel examiner at one of the following Coast Guard units to schedule a complimentary dockside exam:

Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Cleveland
Coast Guard Sector Detroit
Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Toledo, Ohio
Coast Guard Sector Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.
Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Duluth, Minn.
218-720-5286, ext. 109
Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan, Milwaukee
Coast Guard Marine Safety Unit Chicago
Coast Guard Marine Safety Detachment Sturgeon Bay, Wis.          
Coast Guard Sector Field Office Grand Haven, Mich.

The safety  examination requirement is one of several mandates established by the Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2010.  Existing fishing industry vessel safety regulations may be found in 46 CFR, Part 28.

Any questions or concerns can be directed to Lt. Michael Collet, 9th Coast Guard District commercial fishing vessel coordinator, at 216-902-6051 or

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Friday, September 21, 2012

The remarkable life and times of a fast-draw, six-shooting friend

Breathing hard and walking slowly to a dinette set, Ron Paul Duning clutched the end of a chair and then carefully eased his gaunt frame into the support piece of furniture.

With a weak cough, Ron Paul - as virtually everyone uses that handle for him - began his oral personal history.

Ron Paul is working against the clock. He has terminal cancer and every moment has become a struggle to resist the disease.

Ron Paul also wants his friends to remember who he is and the trail he’s hiked over the past 61 years.

What a remarkable journey it’s been, too.

While just about everyone who knows Ron Paul is aware that he’s a master gunsmith, a world-record-holding fast-draw champion, a Marine Corps veteran, and the founder of a local defensive shooting program, likely few are aware of his other life experiences, let alone how he got to this trail head.

Born in 1951 in Richmond, Ind., Ron Paul led an ordinary, quiet life like most every other rural kid.

He will tell you with happy recollection that he grew up on a farm. That’s where his shooting skills were hatched, he says also.

“I started shooting when I was five or six at summer camp,” Ron Paul said during a recent interview at his Willowick residence.

“No one in my family except my cousin was even remotely interested in firearms. I started shooting with him and I found that I liked it.”

Somewhere along his youthful route Ron Paul also became a salesman for an Indiana sporting goods store, the job helping to keep his firearms spark alive.

Following his stint with the Marine Corps during the late 1960s, Ron Paul was hired on  - of all things - as a guide for the owners of a privately owned cave in Kentucky.

“I did that for 12 years,” Ron Paul said.

By 1982 Ron Paul felt the itch again and moved east, setting down his property stakes in southwest Ohio.

There, Ron Paul shifted gears from being a cave guide to a police officer, first with the Madison Township police department (near Dayton, not the one in Lake County), and then with the Greenville police department.

Taking something of a roundabout course in his journeys, Ron Paul also was a supervisor for nine years with a private security firm.

All of which came before his involvement with the-then fledgling cable television business. He started out working as a cable TV technician and ultimately being asked by his superiors to start up the cable company’s local access channel.

“That’s when I moved to Lake County,” said Ron Paul, stopping to catch his breath.
During all of this time of being a vagabond Ron Paul never lost his interest in firearms. If anything, it only grew.

Considering himself to be a life-long “gun tinkerer,” Ron Paul would also spend time dismantling, repairing and then reassembling firearms.

“I’ve always been mechanically inclined,” he said.

Earlier still, Ron Paul discovered his true calling for fast-draw competition shooting.

“Back in 1978 one of my partners in the police force was into fast-draw shooting and he was the one who led me to the sport," Ron Paul said.  "Fast-draw is one of the least-expensive shooting sports to get into, but I also found that it’s one of the most challenging, enough to keep my interest.”

Fast-draw competition proved to be one of Ron Paul’s most-treasured calling cards, too. Over the years he’s held a minimum of 100 fast-draw titles and more than 80 fast-draw records; really, he says, more than he can remember.

“I am proud of all of them,” Ron Paul, said now beginning to tire from the interview. “That’s because they are so difficult to achieve.”

Maybe difficult for others, but not really for Ron Paul. His speed at withdrawing a Western-style six-shooter revolver and letting a wax bullet splat against an electronic-record steel target to a is done faster than an eye blink: 22/100s of a second fast.

“That’s the official fastest time for me,” Ron Paul said. “I have a couple of faster times but they weren’t backed up, being only single times.”

So involved had Ron Paul become in the quickly rising sport of fast-draw competition that he was a driving force behind the creation of the local Buckeye Rangers Club.

This club is comprised of dedicated fast-draw artists who not only hold matches like the annual nationally known North Coast Challenge that is held each September at Gunny’s Hall in Mentor, but also delights in doing public performances.

“The group we have now is pretty much the third generation for the club,” Ron Paul said. “We started the North Coast Championships back in 1993.”

However, being a fast-draw artist with national titles and records under his gun belt didn’t pay the bills. So Ron Paul took up commercial photography, owning a business in Cleveland for several years.

And from that stop-over Ron Paul took another detour, the off-ramp pointing from being a gun tinkerer to a full-fledged gunsmith, this after apprenticing with others employed full-time in the craft.

By 2001 Ron Paul had become the popular and well-know solo gunsmith at Gander Mountain’s Mentor store.

He remained in that position until a few years ago when Gander Mountain closed all of its local store gunsmithing services in exchange for a regional-based operation.

“I was there when the store opened,” Ron Paul said.

It was at that point when Ron Paul undertook a change of venue and added independent firearms businessman to his life list of accomplishments. He set up his work bench and power tools in an industrial building off Lost Nation Road in Willoughby.

Yet Ron Paul never fell out of love with helping other shooters develop their talents or hone their skills.

Even before his services at Gander Mountain were no longer required, Ron Paul made sure that Joe-average shooter properly and safely knew which end of a pistol is up. In 2007 Ron Paul was creating a twice-weekly defensive shooting program.

Meeting at the indoor shooting range owned by Atwell’s Police and Fire Equipment Co. in Painesville, the program’s participants would take aim at targets and conduct real-life defensive shooting drills cooked up by Ron Paul.

On more than a few occasions these drills tested the mettle of the shooters. Employing targets that raced toward the shooter, dimly lit scenarios, or shooting with one’s weak hand, Ron Paul wanted his students to become acclimated to what they potentially might find some dark night at home.

“I was seeing how a lot of people were getting their concealed carry permits but lacked experience in how to use their weapons,” Ron Paul said.

“So I came up with this program as a means to help people become more familiar and comfortable with their handguns, especially in situations where they might have to use them to save their lives.”

And now life-saving for Ron Paul involves trying to lick the terminal cancer that is eating away his body, though not his spirit nor his life-long interest in both shooting and helping others flesh out their own marksmanship skills.

“It’s always a challenge working to become a better shooter,” said Ron Paul as the interview was tucked back into its holster.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Kasich appoints first-ever Lake County resident to important wildlife oversight council

Governor John Kasich has appointed the first-ever Lake County resident to the Ohio Wildlife Council, an important volunteer body that oversees the operations and management of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife.

Confirmed as the newest members of the eight-member Ohio Wildlife Council is Stephen M. Seliskar of Willoughby.
Seliskar is the leader of the Cleveland-based Ernst & Young’s Americas Dispute Services practice.

In this capacity Seliskar is responsible “for the quality and risk management of this practice,” his company bio says.

A certified public accountant, Seliskar has provided his expertise in a wide array of subject matter.
That has included testimony on corporate transparency, automotive, contract matters, intellectual property claims and franchise disputes, his bio continues.

He also lectures and teaches on forensic accounting issues.

The Wildlife Division chief Scott Zody says Seliskar is a sportsman though “I don’t want to speak for him relative to what his favorite hunting and angling pursuits would be.”

“We received confirmation of his selection from Governor Kasich’s office late Tuesday and I contacted Mr. Seliskar (Wednesday) morning,” Zody also said. “Steve has been appointed to fill the unexpired term for Kim Davis, who resigned from the Council earlier this year.”

A registered Republican, Seliskar takes one of the Council’s eight seats reserved for citizens affiliated with that party.

Appointed by the Governor, no more than four members may be of the same political party and two of the council members must represent agriculture. Each term of office is four years, and each member is reimbursed only for actual expenses incurred, such as travel, Zody said.

“His appointment actually gives Northeast Ohio considerable representation, joining George Klein (Cuyahoga County) and Dr. Paul Mechling (Ashtabula County) on the Council,” Zody said also.

Zody said that the primary duty of a Council member is to review and approve administrative rules and regulations proposed by the Wildlife Division, which means that, by law, “they must review and vote on the proposed seasons and bag limits for fish and game each year, plus all of our other administrative rules that may be proposed.”

The Council’s Chair also serves as a member of the Department Recreation and Resources Commission, which is an advisory body to the ODNR Director,” Zody said

 “While not a requirement of the job, we encourage Council members to attend and participate in various Wildlife Division sponsored events and activities, such as Fish Ohio Day and the Diversity Conference, to name just a few.”

Seliskar spoke briefly about his appointment, noting that he’ll be more than willing to sit down for a longer chat.

“I love the outdoors whether its farming, yard work, gardening, hunting or fishing; I just like being out there,” Seliskar did say. “Ohio has so much to offer, and I’m learning about that more and more. I want to take advantage of our fish and wildlife resources and also give back something to the state where I was born.”

And at least one now-retired Wildlife Division is happy to give Seliskar more than just a passing grade. "Steve is a good guy," said Kevin Ramsey, a retired Wildlife Division agent and a dedicated fly angler.

"He and I were on the board of directors together at Rockwell Springs Trout Club for many years. He should do well serving in this position."

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Ohio's archery deer hunters ready to step up to the plate

Ohio’s archery deer hunting-season alarm clock is set to go off at 6:50 a.m., Sept. 29.

That buzzing will awaken some 205,000 men, women and youngsters, each of whom will make their way in the predawn inkwell of night to either a tree stand or else a ground blind.

They will carry either a vertically held bow (longbow, recurve or compound) or else horizontally held archery tackle (crossbow).

Able to enjoy one of the nation’s longest archery deer-hunting seasons - Ohio’s extends to Feb. 3. - these archery hunters stand a good chance of killing an animal.

At least as good as last year, anyway, wildlife officials say.

Last year, the state’s archery deer hunters killed 82,732 animals. That figure represented a three-percent decrease from the 2010-2011 archery deer-hunting season.

In all during the 2011-2012 Ohio archery deer-hunting season, crossbow hunters took 44,979 deer while longbow archers took 37,753 deer. Overall, archers accounted for 38 percent of the 219,748 total deer taken during Ohio’s combined 2011-12 archery, muzzleloader and gun seasons, says the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

“I think that judging from the fact that we’ve seen two consecutive declines in the total harvest, we’ll likely see another dip this year; maybe five to 10 percent,” says Mike Tonkovich, the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s deer-management administrator.

And a few counties - such as Jefferson County - “may see a more dramatic decline,” Tonkovich said.

“Like 10 to 15 percent,” Tonkovich said.

In terms of whether an expectation that Mentor’s new controlled archery-only deer hunt may skewer the bow-kill figures for Lake County, Tonkovich says that any anomaly in the harvest figures will raise a red flag.

“Then I’ll do a little more research and log it accordingly,” Tonkovich says.

“These situations are unique but they are not the same as the controlled hunts at Ravenna Arsenal or Plumbrook. With this issue I’m going to depend on the advice of our district offices.”

Licking County was the state leader in both the vertical bow and crossbow harvests, with 1,447 animals and 1,738 animals killed, respectively.

Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Ashtabula and Guernsey rounded out the top five counties in crossbow harvest. Also, Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Muskingum and Hamilton completed the list of top five counties in vertical bow harvest.

For Northeast Ohio, the 2011-2012 harvests for vertically held bows and the horizontally held crossbows, respectively, with the percentage change from the 2010-2011 archery deer-hunting season in parenthesis) were: Lake County - 169 (minus-3.4 percent) and 385 (plus-18.1 percent); Geauga County - 540 (minus-7.5 percent) and 859 (plus-9.8 percent); Ashtabula County - 712 (minus-8 percent) and 1,191 (plus-6.3 percent); Trumbull County - 523 (minus-8.2 percent) and 1,023 (plus-12.4 percent); Lorain County - 380 (minus-4.5 percent) and 873 (minus-8.9 percent); Huron County - 358 (plus-6.9 percent) and 442 (minus-2.4 percent); Medina County - 369 (minus-2.6 percent) and 738 (plus-0.3 percent); Richland County - 643 (minus-9.3 percent) and 928 (minus-8.1 percent).

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Clearing up Mentor's controlled deer hunt rules

Before an archer can legally send an arrow downrange toward a Mentor deer the bowman must first pass a proficiency test.

And if that archer fails the city’s code-embedded test requirements he’s still got two more bites at the apple.

Also, of the four approved proficiency testing centers only one does not charge a fee. In the case of Great Lakes Outdoor Supply in Madison Township the test fee is waived, as it is for the similar proficiency test required by Lake Metroparks for its controlled archery-only deer hunts.

The other current archery proficiency testing centers are Great Lakes Outdoor Supply’s Middlefield Village store, the Geauga Bow and Outdoors store, also in Middlefield, as well as the Whitetail Mann in Concord Township. Each of these archery-related establishments charge a $10 fee.

Gander Mountain’s Mentor store is not yet a testing site. This is because that business is not set up with an archery range capable of handling 20-yard archery shots, a test perquisite.

In order to qualify, an applicant must launch five arrows, each of which must stay within the Number 4 ring of a National Field Archery Association-certified 40-centimeter paper target placed 20 yards downrange. The minimum passing score is 22 points out of a possible 25 points.

No practice shots are permitted, either, says a Mentor official engaged in the controlled deer-management-hunt program.

“We will allow up to three tries but only one per day,” said Nicholas Mikash, Mentor’s natural resources specialist.

Likewise, says Mikash, an applicant must qualify with the type of archery tackle that is intended to be used during the actual hunt.

Consequently, says Mikash, if an archer desires to switch between a vertically held bow (longbow, recurve or compound bow) and a horizontally held bow (crossbow) that person qualify with each different piece of hunting implement.

Also asked if a crossbow user being tested can fire from a personally supplied shooting bench or from a prone position, Mikash said that Mentor is “not specifying a required position for testing.”

Mentor similarly is allowing non-Mentor residents to apply, and if successfully completing the hunt requirements and proficiency test, to participate in the program.

“If a property owner sees fit to allow someone to hunt but who doesn’t live in the city, we’re not going to say who can or cannot participate,” Mikash said.

Each arrow or crossbow bolt/arrow must include the hunter’s permit number as well.

Yet while Mentor says a permit holder is responsible for informing the city with 24 hours of a kill, the community will not require police inspection of each animal shot as done in Kirtland.

The city does insist, however, that a successful hunter bag and remove the entrails of any deer killed or else have approval from the property owner to bury the remains.

A seemingly odd rule adopted by Mentor and found with the city’s 18-page controlled hunt information packet is the prohibition of the use of any still photography or video-recording of a hunt or a hunt success. This includes the use of a cell phone or tablet-installed camera.

“This was added as a precaution to prevent complications during the City of Mentor’s planned deer management activities that will coincide with archery season,” Mikash
For complete details, application forms, and information about Mentor’s controlled archery-only deer-management hunt, visit the city’s web site on the matter:
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

State confirms that the EDH virus is spreading

Perhaps not surprisingly the state has taken note of the spread of epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD), a virus that commonly affects white-tailed deer.

Only this time EDH was discovered in a Portage County cattle herd, officials with Ohio Department of Agriculture have confirmed.

That being said, the state agricultural department stresses that EHD poses no threat to human health or to the safety of meat consumption.

Making the confirmation was The department’s state-of-the-art  Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Reynoldsburg.

Agency officials note that EDH occurs annually in deer herds in some parts of North America but is less common in cattle.

The disease in cattle may cause fever, lameness, and sore mouths. Most cattle recover within a few days. In deer, however, EHD is typically fatal.

Both cattle and deer contract EHD from gnats or biting flies. The virus cannot be spread from animal to animal or from animal to humans.

The biting insects contract the virus from infected deer or cattle. The winged gnats then pass the disease on to surrounding wild animal or livestock populations.

As has been noted here before, this summer’s drought has forced animals and insects to common watering spots, increasing the spread of EHD.

Officials with the Ohio Division of Wildlife and state animal health officials have confirmed localized outbreaks of EHD in these Ohio counties: Geauga, Ashtabula, Columbiana, Guernsey, Holmes, Paulding, Portage, Preble, Ross, and Summit.

Once freezing temperatures arrive and kills off the gnats the viral disease disappears.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A "must" read for anglers during this election cycle

Here is a really great series of questions addressed to the two major contenders for the office of U.S. President, compiled into a report done by the non-profit KeepAmerica Fishing organization.
For Immediate Release

Mary Jane Williamson, Communications Director, 703-519-9691, x227 /
In response to KeepAmericaFishing™ candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney outline their approach to fisheries conservation and angler access to public waters
Alexandria, VA – September 18, 2012 - On the campaign trail, presidential hopefuls rarely talk about recreational fishing or the use of public lands for recreational activities. Now anglers across the nation can read a side-by-side comparison of how the presidential candidates plan to address fisheries conservation and angler access to public waters at
KeepAmericaFishing™, the American Sportfishing Association’s (ASA) angler advocacy campaign, posed questions to presidential candidates Barack Obama and Mitt Romney regarding management of our nation’s fisheries and access to recreational fishing. Each candidate received the same questions except for one that is specific to his tenure as either President or Governor. The questions address issues that impact our nation’s 60 million anglers, ranging from stopping the spread of harmful invasive species to over-reaching closures of waters to recreational fishing as a management tool.
“We asked these questions to inform and empower anglers to be active advocates for the sportfishing community” said ASA Vice President Gordon Robertson. “Anglers represent a huge voting block that can significantly impact the 2012 presidential election. It is vital to the future of sportfishing that anglers are informed and use their vote as a voice.”
KeepAmericaFishing encourages anglers to review the responses and on Election Day vote for the candidate they believe will best advance the nation and the model of conservation that perpetuates healthy fishery resources and access to those public resources.
Read the questions and candidates’ answers at
About KeepAmericaFishing™
KeepAmericaFishing™ is the American Sportfishing Association’s angler advocacy campaign. KeepAmericaFishing gives America’s 60 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation’s waterways. Through policy, science and conservation, KeepAmericaFishing works to minimize access restrictions, promote clean waters and restore fish populations. For more information or to get involved today, visit

About the American Sportfishing Association
The American Sportfishing Association
(ASA) is the sportfishing industry's trade association, committed to looking out for the interests of the entire sportfishing community. We give the industry a unified voice speaking out when emerging laws and policies could significantly affect sportfishing business or sportfishing itself. We invest in long-term ventures to ensure the industry will remain strong and prosperous as well as safeguard and promote the enduring economic and conservation values of sportfishing in America. ASA also gives America's 60 million anglers a voice in policy decisions that affect their ability to sustainably fish on our nation's waterways through KeepAmericaFishing™, our angler advocacy campaign. America's anglers generate over $45 billion in retail sales with a $125 billion impact on the nation's economy creating employment for over one million people.

This really shouldn't come as a surprise about "Fluffy"

Description: Description: Description: ABC_logo_jpeg_small_color.jpg
Study Finds Free-Roaming Cats Pose Threat from "Serious Public Health Diseases"

Contact: Robert Johns, 202-234-7181 ext.210, Email click here

Description: Cat with American Coot by Debbie Shearwater
Cat with American Coot by Debbie Shearwater
(Washington, D.C., September 18, 2012) A study published in the peer-reviewed public health journal, Zoonoses and Public Health, has found that free-roaming cats pose a threat from “serious public health diseases” to humans, domestic animals, and wildlife.
The paper was authored by R.W. Gerhold of the University of Tennessee’s Center for Wildlife Health, Department of Forestry, Wildlife and Fisheries, and by D.A. Jessup, retired from the California Department of Fish and Game.

Among the key findings of the paper are:
Free roaming cats are an important source of animal-transmitted, serious diseases such as rabies, toxoplasmosis, and plague.
Free roaming cats account for the most cases of human rabies exposure among domestic animals, and are the source for one-third of rabies post-exposure treatments in the United States. Because of inconsistent incident reporting, that number is likely an underestimate of the actual cases of rabies exposure.
Trap, neuter, and release (TNR) programs may lead to increased, un-inoculated populations of cats that can serve as a source of transmittable serious diseases.
The study found that since 1988, rabies has been detected more frequently in cats than in dogs; in 2008, the number of cats detected with rabies was four times higher than dogs. In 2010, rabies cases declined for all domestic animals except cats, which comprised 62 percent of all rabies cases for domestic animals.

“This is a significant study that documents serious wildlife and public health issues associated with 125 million outdoor cats in the United States. Decision-making officials need to start looking at the unintended impacts these animals have on both the environment and human health when they consider arguments to sanction Trap, Neuter, and Return (TNR) cat colonies. These colonies are highly detrimental to cats, wildlife, and people, and only serve to exacerbate the cat overpopulation problem,” said Darin Schroeder, Vice President for Conservation Advocacy at American Bird Conservancy.

According to the study, which cites numerous specific examples of rabies exposures from cats, “…….human exposure to rabies is largely associated with free-roaming cats because of people being more likely to come into contact with cats, [the existence of] large free-roaming cat populations and lack of stringent rabies vaccination programs.”

Importantly, the study also seems to directly contradict notions that TNR programs lead to smaller sizes of cat colonies and that they pose no health risk. Those programs purport to capture all the cats in a colony, neuter and vaccinate them, and return them to a colony that is fed and by volunteers.

“….neutered groups (colonies) increased significantly compared to [sexually] intact groups because of higher immigration and lower emigration. ………sexually intact adult cats immigrated into the neutered groups at a significantly higher rate than [they did to the] sexually intact group. ………immigrating sexually intact females had increased fertility along with increased survivorship of kittens as a population compensation response to neutered individuals.”

The authors report that the data suggest that neutered cat groups act as an attractant of sexually intact free-roaming cats, thus negating the belief that TNR programs lead to decreases in free-roaming cat populations. This attraction and subsequent movement of unneutered and un-inoculated cats into cat colonies “…may severely limit the protection offered by vaccination of TNR processed cats and would not abate the [transmittable disease] threat of rabies in these groups.”

The report also cited the dangers associated with TNR feeding stations in attracting raccoons, skunks, foxes, and other wild animals associated with rabies. The feeding stations not only increase the likelihood of contact between humans and rabies-exposed animals, they also increase the human and wildlife exposure to a potentially fatal parasite, raccoon roundworm, harbored by raccoons that is being seen in ever-increasing parts of the country. The danger to wildlife was illustrated in a 2008 study that found that five Florida panthers were killed as a result of a single such infected cat.

Another significant disease threat cited by the study concerns is a parasite frequently found in water or soil contaminated by cat feces. This parasite is responsible for causing the disease toxoplasmosis. Consequences of contracting this parasitic infection are most serious if you are either pregnant, HIV positive, or are undergoing chemo-therapy treatment, and range from significant to severe to fatal. The report cited a 2011 study that found that 63 percent of the patients with acute toxoplasmosis had become infected through cat feces.

The authors conclude by saying that their study “…highlights the serious public health diseases associated with free-roaming cats and underscores the need for increased public health attention directed towards free-roaming cats.” The fact that rabies exposure in humans is disproportionately associated with free-roaming cats “…should be of paramount concern to health officials because of the high mortality rate of clinical rabies…”
American Bird Conservancy (ABC) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit membership organization whose mission is to conserve native birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. ABC acts by safeguarding the rarest species, conserving and restoring habitats, and reducing threats, while building capacity in the bird conservation movement.