Friday, November 30, 2012

Chester Township boys develop web site for hunters/anglers

Dean and David Giarrizzo are working to merge the aged outdoors sports of hunting and fishing with the new wave of social media.

Dean, 23, and of Chester Township, and David, 25, formerly of Chester Township but now living in Nashville, have electronically built what they call their “tag-n-brag” web site.

This multipurpose site is designed as a two-way conduit so that hunters and anglers can exchange their outdoors adventures and questions with others, including those businesses that cater to hunting and fishing, says Dean.

“We launched the web site last December, but it’s taken us a while to develop it,” Dean said. “What we want is to be the ‘go-to’ place where sportsmen can get information, tips, weather reports as well as post photos and even videos of our contributors’ trophies and fishing/hunting trips.”

Vital, says Dean, is that from the very beginning the page and its links were not designed solely for those hunters who shoot a record-book white-tail anymore than it is for an angler to file a clip of a once-in-a-lifetime catch.

“We want to encourage everyone to know that every fish they catch and everything they shoot is cool and can be posted,” Dean said. “That’s why we built the web site the way we did.”

The pair also is cooking the idea of filing an electronic monthly e-newsletter, selecting an random a responding hunter or angler for an in-depth interview.

“That interview won’t be the person who shot the biggest buck or catch the biggest walleye, either,” Dean says. “We want to showcase the average sportsmen and involve whole families and kids, too.”

What’s more, says Dean also, is that everyone who submits a photograph for the web site is automatically entered into a contest for an $100 Bass Pro Shops’ gift card.

“That’s any photo,” Dean says. “We even have a handful of photos from guys who went on safari to Africa.”

Dean said also that he and his brother received a great deal of support and aid from their father and uncle, each of whom is a hunter and an angler in his own right.

“Our father and uncle got us out into the woods at an early age and that’s when we got hooked on hunting and fishing,” Dean said.

Capitalizing on the rapid acceleration of both electronic devices and the Internet’s social media portals, Dean and David have developed an “app” related to their website activities.

This app will be free to download onto various kinds of electronic gizmos, Dean says.

“Everybody is moving toward mobile (communications) though hunters and anglers are a little more slow about doing it,” Dean said. “But someday everyone is going to have a smartphone or similar device, and we want to begin building a huge audience.”

As for the bottom line, profit margin, Dean says it is the brothers’ goal to attract advertisers.

“If we can build on attracting hunters and fishermen then we should be able to attract advertisers,” Dean said.

Oh, and also launch an outdoors clothing line with the “tag-n-brag” monicker embellished on the garments.

“Hopefully that will happen in another month or two,” Dean said. “People that we’ve talked to like our ‘tag-n-brag’ name and title.”

Eventually the brothers want to move their project forward enough so that it will evolve to include an Internet-based outdoors show, Dean says.

“Yes, that’s what we’d like to do,” he said.

To view the Giarrizzo brothers’ Internet-launched web site, visit

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

From the Outdoors' X-Files: Is there a black panther in Guernsey County?

Next time someone tells Steve Myers that Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster and E.T. are all alive, well and residing in Ohio the Ashtabula County man will nod his head “yes.”

Or at least "maybe."

Myers spent the opener of Ohio’s firearms deer-hunting season checking out the hills, valleys and ravines of northwest Guernsey County. On the Sunday before the opener Myers was talking with the owner of an adjoining piece of property.

As Myers put it, the elderly man asked if the deer hunter had come across a black panther, as if such encounters are commonplace in southeast Ohio.

Not wanting to embarrass or insult the elderly gentleman - after all, Myers intended to use a portion of opening day hunting the man’s property - he graciously said “no” without rolling his eyes.

However, Myers became a believer while on a Sunday stroll he came upon - you guessed it - a black panther.

“I wasn’t but maybe 40 yards from it,” Myers said. “The animal was didn’t pay any attention to me, it was hunting.”

Myers described the animal as perhaps weighing around 50 or more pounds, deep-rich black and lean.

“It was very healthy-looking,” Myers said.

Yet while the probability of a black panther roaming the aged hills of southeast Ohio is remote, it is still possible.

Especially since similar reports of a black panther have made their rounds elsewhere in the region.

“I have not heard of anything in Guernsey County but we have taken reports of a black panther in Washington County and another one in Belmont County,” said Tom Donnelly, acting supervisor for the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s District Four (southeast Ohio) Office in Athens.

While Donnelly says he’s not doubting that a large, silky-black panther really exists in his neck of the woods, there just isn’t any hard evidence to confirm such sightings

Particularly  in this day and age when hunters use trail cameras with almost reckless abandon, says Donnelly, who also once served as the state wildlife officer assigned Ashtabula County.

“You can hardly walk in the woods anymore without having your picture taken by a trail camera,” Donnelly said.

What the agency will do, Donnelly says, is log Myer’s sighting along with the ones from Washington and Belmont counties.

Some speculation runs that such an animal may be either an escapee from a private owner’s animal compound or perhaps deliberately released as Ohio begins a new chapter on regulating the possession of exotic wildlife.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twiter: @Fieldkorn

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Warner gets reduced charges in exchange for testimony against former Wildlife bosses

David Warner, the legally embattled former field supervisor for the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s District Five (southwest Ohio) office, has dodged two serious felony bullets.

In exchange, Warner pleaded no contest to two misdemeanors. He likewise agreed to make restitution to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife for wages he did not earn.

Warner also agreed to other terms spelled out by Brown County Prosecutor Jessica Little.

Among them: To provide what-is-called truthful testimony in the felony cases involving former Wildlife Division chief David Graham and the former supervisor for the agency’s District Five office, Todd Haines.

The plea agreement was arranged Wednesday in Brown County Common Pleas Court and before its judge, Judge Scott T. Gusweiler.

Warner - and former state wildlife officer Matthew Roberts - were both indicted in July for theft in office, a fifth degree felony, and tampering with records, a third degree felony. Warner also was charged with dereliction of duty, a Third Degree misdemeanor.

The Wildlife Division fired Warner Sept. 21 while Roberts was discharged seven days later, Sept. 28.

Each of 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.

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.

Also, a third degree misdemeanor is punishable by a jail term of not more than 60 days, a maximum fine of $500 or both.

By accepting the terms of the plea agreement, Warner, at least, will avoid these serious potential punishments.

Instead, Warner agreed to plead no contest to obstruction of official business, as well as unauthorized use of property.

While both are misdemeanors punishable by fines, jail time, or both, it is probable that Warner will face neither, says Little.

Little says that it is her recommendation that Warner serve community control, though a pre-sentencing evaluation must first occur.

However, there are two conditions that Warner must complete, says Little.

“He must make restitution to the DNR,” Little said. “And he also must testify truthfully on the matters against David Graham and Todd Haines.”

Graham is the former Wildlife Division chief and Haines is the former supervisor of the agency’s District Five office.

Both were indicted along with other agency officials back in April, 2010 for their alleged role in a matter involving former state wildlife officer Allan Wright.

In that situation, Graham, Haines and the other indicted top Wildlife Division officials are alleged to have improperly disciplined Wright for allowing a South Carolina wildlife officer to use the former’s home address in order to obtain an Ohio resident hunting license.

State charges were eventually dropped against Wright who in January pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor charges in the federal court system for violating the Lacey Act, an important wildlife law enforcement tool of the federal government.

Graham, Haines and the other current or former still-indicted Wildlife Division officials have appealed their situation on a technical legal point before the Ohio State Supreme Court. The court has yet to rule on their appeal.

As for Little, she says she is looking forward “to getting some of these cases resolved.”

“I feel satisfied with the (Warner) results and I also feel satisfied to have his truthful testimony in the case of the conduct of his superiors,” Little said.

Another hearing for Warner before the Brown County Common Pleas Court system is scheduled for 12:30 p.m., Jan. 16.

In regards to Roberts, his next court date is set for Feb. 19. In October, Roberts rejected a reduced sentence.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Will Ohio's adult deer hunters do as well their youthful counterparts?

If on Monday the state’s adult deer hunters can take as good an aim as their children then Ohio’s deer herd better take cover.

During the Nov. 17 and 18 statewide youth-only firearms deer-hunting season, the participating young guns checked in 9,178 deer. This kill represents a 5.7 percent increase from 2011 when 8,681 white-tail deer were logged in as being harvested.

What’s more, the youth hunter deer kill total is the highest since 2009 when 9,269 animals were shot.

Youth hunters have checked in at least 8,300 deer every year since 2005, says the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

And these young hunters are safer than their adult counterparts as well.

As to why Ohio’s young hunters (and they could not be more than 17 years old) did so well a number of factors came into play, says Allen Lea, wildlife biologist with the Wildlife Division’s District Three (Northeast Ohio) Office in Akron.

“The weather was nice and so the kids didn’t want to quit and go home early,” Lea said.

That’s good for reason Number One. As for reason Number Two, Lea says the fact that 90 percent of the state’s standing crop is now harvested, reducing the once elephant eye-high stalks to just stubble.

“That certainly plays into the harvest because there are now fewer places for the deer to hide,” Lea said.

Lea says also that in spite of an excellent first-split archery season deer harvest and the exceptional youth gun season take, there is no need for adult gun hunters to fret they won’t see any animals come Monday.

“Obviously, whenever you increase the harvest in one category you can impact the harvest in another category, but if the weather is nice I would not be at all surprised that next week’s gun harvest is also up,” Lea said. “The fact remains that we still have a healthy deer herd.”

When it comes to being safe, Ohio’s youthful deer hunters stood head and shoulders above their adult counterparts, says Matt Ortman, the Wildlife Division’s hunter education coordinator.
Ortman says that no hunting accidents - called “incidents” in the parlance of wildlife law enforcement - were record during the youth-only gun deer season.

That’s not the case for the general firearms deer-hunting season, however.

Typically the state sees nine hunting incidents with one or two of them being fatalities, Ortman says.

In select Northeast Ohio counties during the youth-only season, the two-day kill (with their respective 2011 figures in parentheses) was: Ashtabula County - 166 (162), Cuyahoga County - 1 (1); Erie County - 24 (24); Geauga County - 65 (67); Huron County - 136 (92); Lake County - 19 (7); Lorain County - 63 (77); Medina County - 74 (56); Sandusky County - 27 (25); Trumbull County - 109 (97).

OHIO, GOOD; WISCONSIN, BETTER - If Ohio’s firearms deer-hunting season harvest figures are impressive - 137,016 animals registered last year - just look what Wisconsin’s deer hunters did during that state’s first two days of its still on-going nine-day firearms deer-hunting season.
Wisconsin deer hunters killed a reported 134,772 animals.

Yep, almost identical what it took Ohio’s gun deer hunters to do during the state’s regular seven-day firearms season plus the so-called two-day “bonus” weekend firearms season.

Wisconsin’s first two-day kill was up 19 percent from that observed last year, that state’s Natural Resources Department says.

“Deer hunting in Wisconsin is a fall, family tradition cherished by over 600,000 hunters,” said Tom
Hauge, director of wildlife management for the Wisconsin Natural Resources Department.

“These preliminary numbers are just a small part of the event we know as ‘opening weekend.’ I suspect for every deer reported there are 10 great deer camp stories out there.”

Last year, in all, Wisconsin’s firearms deer hunters shot 257,511 animals while the state’s archery deer hunters killed another 90,200 deer.

Wisconsin typically ranks second in the nation in the number of white-tail deer killed every hunting season, only behind Texas which sees an average of around 583,000 animals harvested annually.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Monday, November 19, 2012

UPDATED with harvest figures: Bev bags her buck; no bones about it

RAVENNA ARSENAL - The buck stopped there for Bev, not more than 75 yards from her stand and not more than 25 yards from where the 7-point deer was first shot.

Visibly shaking and a tinge bewildered, Bev stood over her buck for a long moment, clearly uncertain that, yes, she had done it her way.

A little background and backup, if you don’t mind.

Bev, my wife, had been urged to enter the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s annual lottery to participate in the Ravenna Arsenal women’s deer hunt.

The odds of being selected for this hunt are way better than for the general Ravenna gun hunt. Try one-in-four odds for the women’s hunt and compared to the one-in-53 odds for the general drawing in which men can apply.

In all, 352 women applied this year to participate with 90 applicants being selected; among them being, Bev.

Though a female who is lucky enough to earn a draw can take a male as her partner, rank does have its privileges. For starters, as the primary hunter - or huntress in this case - Bev could shoot any deer, including a buck.

I was limited to shooting an antlerless deer only, as were all of the other participating males.

We all met in the wee hours of last Saturday morning at the Ohio National Guard’s sprawling 21,683-acre installation hard-pressed to the north shore of West Branch Reservoir in Portage County.

A sea of orange waved inside the massive building used for the required pre-hunt orientation. This meeting was just one leg of a process that included many other stops.

Every vehicle, every hunter, was required to pass through a well-oiled security operation that included an inspection of our firearms (no muzzle-loaders, no handguns, no archery tackle, no trees stands, not ground blinds, among other “nos.”)

As for the meting, that was to go over the hunt’s rules, regulations, protocols as well as to receive our exclusive unit assignments.

Bev’s and mine pre-selected area was Unit 42-A and which covered about 150 acres, one of the reserve’s larger hunting blocks. Other units are carved out in smaller chunks, down to 40 acres or so.

The assembled crowd was attentive to the addresses presented by a pair of officials.

Not surprising was that the hunters and huntresses were behaving themselves in the eyes of the camp’s Fort Ohio Environmental Supervisor, Tim Morgan.

Earlier in the week Morgan had responded to a telephone inquiry about the women’s hunt, to which he enthusiastically gave two thumbs up.

“Women are more relaxed hunters than are the men and we se far fewer problems with this hunt than with some of the other hunts and we never seem to encounter anyone becoming lost,” Morgan said.

“They are more cautious, aren’t as aggressive and are more careful in what they do. The women’s hunt is a lot less stressful for me.”

As it is for the battalion of volunteer “hunt escorts.”

These individuals spend their Saturdays checking vehicles for contraband (“You’d be surprised what we find,” said one inspector), directing traffic, registering the hunters, along with conducting a multitude of other behind-the-scenes chores.

Perhaps the most visible hunt escorts, however, are the ones assigned to each of the hunt unit’s designated parking areas.

These guys - and we didn’t see any female parking lot hunt escorts - help the assigned hunt pair best pick where to set up operations for the approximately eight- to nine-hour hunt.

Fortuitous for Bev and me was that our hunt escort field marshal was Ray Gorby.

“My suggestion,” said Gorby after we had exchanged parking lot pleasantries, “would be to walk down the road to the bottom of the hill where there’s an old trail on the left.”

The other option, said Gorby, was to walk about one-half that distance down the hill and opposite a large yawn in a high fence across an access road.

It is here, Gorby said, that deer often exit our unit and enter the one opposite.

“Just look for the well-worn deer paths,” Gorby said.

This Bev and I did, plunging through a heavy screen of detested multiflora rose patches. On the other side of the thorn-encrusted barrier was an multiflora rose-free alcove that stood on the lip of a hill.

“Good enough,” I quietly mouthed an affirmative response to Bev.

Each of us were quipped with a folding camp chair, a backpack crammed with an assorted stash of hunting essentials.

At that point Bev and I plopped ourselves down for however long it would take. Which didn’t take all that much time, actually.

An hour or so after beginning we were done. Make that, Bev was done.

A single Lightfield sabot round fired from a 16-gauge rifled-barreled Ithaca Model 37 Deerslayer was all that was required.

Transfixed by what she had just accomplished all by her lonesome, Bev’s mind had begun to reel in the requirements that go along with killing a deer. And that included field dressing the buck herself.

Bev was even determined to drag the animal out solo, too, employing a borrowed plastic toboggan my older brother, Rich, had picked up at a garage sale. Can’t asked for a better deer drag.

Once the field-dressing chore was completed Bev’s heart rate had retreated to some level of normalcy.

 We decided at that point to continue with the  hunt, hoping that a doe would saunter by for my shotgun’s sake.

However, every now and then Bev would look at the buck and toboggan, an act that elicited me to ensure her that the buck was thoroughly dead and was down for the count.

When the end of the hunt arrived no more deer had crossed our paths, Bev’s 7-point buck being the only unlucky-for-it animal to show up.

On the short drag back the access road Bev was rather quiet. No doubt she was processing everything that had presented itself, soaking up every detailed morsel of sight and sound.

Then again, I suspect her thoughts carried even further down the road, that being, what to do with the set of antlers.

As for my thoughts, I couldn’t get past the mental image of a neck roast bubbling away in a crockpot.
Oh, and one more thing: Savoring a really serious case of pride.

As for how the troupe of arsenal hunters did overall, a total of 244 permitted public and military hunters shot 55 deer.

Another 26 deer - all antlerless - were killed by the program's 103 volunteer hunt escorts, each of whom were allowed to participate in the hunt.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Friday, November 16, 2012

India textbook: Meat-eaters bad people, commit sex crimes

India textbook says meat-eaters lie and commit sex crimes

Cover of the textbook It is not known which schools have bought the book for their students
Meat-eaters "easily cheat, lie, forget promises and commit sex crimes", according to a controversial school textbook available in India.

New Healthway, a book on hygiene and health aimed at 11 and 12 year-olds, is printed by one of India's leading publishers.

Academics have urged the government to exercise greater control.

But the authorities say schools should monitor content as they are responsible for the choice of textbooks.

"This is poisonous for children," Janaki Rajan of the Faculty of Education at Jamia Millia University in Delhi told the BBC.

"The government has the power to take action, but they are washing their hands of it," she said.

It is not known which Indian schools have bought the book for their students, but correspondents say what is worrying is that such a book is available to students.

"The strongest argument that meat is not essential food is the fact that the Creator of this Universe did not include meat in the original diet for Adam and Eve. He gave them fruits, nuts and vegetables," reads a chapter entitled Do We Need Flesh Food?

The chapter details the "benefits" of a vegetarian diet and goes on to list "some of the characteristics" found among non-vegetarians.

"They easily cheat, tell lies, forget promises, they are dishonest and tell bad words, steal, fight and turn to violence and commit sex crimes," it says.

The chapter, full of factual inaccuracies, refers to Eskimos (Inuit) as "lazy, sluggish and short-lived", because they live on "a diet largely of meat".

It adds: "The Arabs who helped in constructing the Suez Canal lived on wheat and dates and were superior to the beef-fed Englishmen engaged in the same work."

The publishers, S Chand, did not respond to the BBC's requests for a comment.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Ohio's hunters, anglers hurry to beat seasonal changes

A thick cream-colored mist ascended from off the farm pond’s surface, steamed by the 20-degree air.

Not surprisingly a rime of ice crystals etched the muzzles of Ben, my oldest brother’s Labrador retriever, and my two retrievers, Berry and Millie.

Having entered the farm pond the dogs’ watery residue had chilled to form the crystals. At least their shaking was due more to the fact that they were hunting rather than having just taken a doggie skinny dip.

Positioned in the blind, Terry, my oldest brother, and I also queried one another on how much longer we believe it will be before the pond freezes over.

“Hope it doesn’t until after gun season so we can still hunt some geese,” Terry said.

That very well may not be the case. The long-range forecast for the period Nov. 25 to Dec. 2 - Ohio’s firearms deer-hunting season - is a decidedly cold and snowy one.

Daytime highs may only creep up into the low to mid-30s while nighttime lows then are currently projected to fall to around the 20-degree mark.

Plus snow showers. There are always snow showers around these parts come deer gun season.

Which pushed a sense of urgency on Terry and me to capitalize on the pond’s still-open waters. It’s not going to last.

Neither will the open waters of Lake Erie be around much loner. Which helps explain why some yellow perch anglers are still going out for that one last good bite.

The same is true for the area’s steelheaders. They are hoping to stretch as much as they can out of the Grand River, Chagrin River as well as tiny Arcola and Euclid creeks before they each become locked in ice.

All of these anglers are looking over the shoulders, though, knowing that winter’s icy grip will soon compel them to abandon their respective pleasurable pursuits.

So once the last round of Thanksgiving Day turkey leftovers are eaten, Black Friday’s shopping excursions are completed, and the end to Ohio’s seven-day firearms deer-hunting season is concluded the outdoors world largely goes into a run-sleep mode.

To be sure there are short bursts of activity. The state’s two-day so-called bonus deer gun season in mid-December, January’s short-lived muzzle-loading deer-hunting season, and perhaps a field hunt for geese or a big-water shoot for ducks will provide outdoors opportunities.

Of course, Ohio’s archers still have more than two months to shoot a deer. At least for those bowmen who don’t mind spending frigid evenings and chilly mornings tethered by a safety harness many feet above the earth.

Yet those activities are for the diehards; the hunters who will apply duct tape to the soles of their boots to keep them from leaking. That sort of thing.

The same for the truly serious angler; the lone steelheader who puts up with rafts of flow ice on the Grand River or the night-time walleye angler who needs the power of a four-wheel-drive truck to get his boat trailer up or down the launch ramp.

These are the men and women who simply cannot give up. At least not until nature calls for a show of the cards.

Certainly there will be folks who simply switch gears. These are the people who are now engaged in leafing through the pages of Cabela’s all-new ice-fishing catalog.

That, or else they are exploring the Internet in the hopes of finding a still-available late winter Texas deer hunt or a Florida wild pig hunt.

Even so, here at nearly the half-way point in the year’s autumn hunting and fishing seasons, the end is in sight.

Then again, the thoughts of how to make next season’s activities all the more productive, all that more enjoyable, are burning ever-so brightly.

You see, while the tides for the hunter and the angler may rise and fall with each passing season the ship still sails on to some port out beyond the horizon.

 - Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

PETA seeks hunting mag sales restrictions from country's largest airport news outlet

Taking a successful cue from an incident in Great Britain, the rabidly anti-hunting People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals is gunning to put a partial muzzle at least on the First Amendment.

What PETA has requestied of Joseph DiDomizio, President and CEO of East Rutherford, New Jersey-based Hudson News, is “ direct the company’s outlets to keep hunting magazines out of the view and reach of children by displaying them as they would adult magazines, such as Playboy and Penthouse, and refusing to sell them to minors under 18.”

According to Wikipedia, the Hudson News Group is “ East Rutherford, New Jersey, based retailer which operates a chain of newsstands, bookstores, fast food restaurants, and other retail stores chiefly at airports and train stations in the United States. The company’s holdings includes Hudson News, the world’s largest operator of airport newsstands.”

Another Internet site says that the Hudson Group maintains through its entirely owned Hudson News some 600 news stands at various outlets and that the firm is owned by the Swiss travel-related company, Dufry AG.

In its electronic request - made available to the media even before some Hudson News officials had the opportunity to see it - PETA charges that “hunting can cause target animals to starve during winter, disrupt their migration patterns, and result in wounds that cause animals to die slowly in agony.”

Further, says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman, the letter “also explains the dangers of desensitizing young people to the suffering of others.”

“Many of the school shooters who have opened fire on their classmates have also previously hunted animals,” she said.

Hudson News declined any immediate comment until it has had time to review PETA’s request, a company official said.

This story may be updated if further comment is forthcoming, including a request of PETA that seeks to know if the group intends to expand its request to other print media distribution companies.

Here is the complete text of Reiman’s e-mail to DiDomizio, and which likewise references the Chardon, Ohio shooting tragedy:

Dear Mr. DiDomizio,

“On behalf of PETA and our more than 3 million members and supporters, I am writing to ask you to keep hunting magazines sold at your stores out of the reach and view of minors by displaying them alongside adult publications such as Playboy and Penthouse.

“We also urge you to refuse to sell these magazines to anyone under 18 years of age.

“Hunting magazines present killing as fun and exciting and encourage violent behavior in young people.

“These publications recklessly promote killing without explaining the devastating consequences.

“The stress that hunted animals suffer from being pursued compromises their natural feeding habits, making it hard for them to store the fat and energy that they need to survive the winter.

“Hunting also disrupts migration and hibernation patterns. For animals like wolves, who mate for life and live in close-knit family units, hunting can devastate not only entire families but entire communities.

 “And many animals who are shot with a bullet or an arrow flee injured—only to die slow, agonizing deaths from blood loss, shock, starvation, gangrene, or attacks by predators.

“Like other forms of casual or thrill violence, hunting spawns a dangerous desensitization to the suffering of others.

“According to published reports, many of the young people who have opened fire on their schoolmates—including 16-year-old Andrew Golden who, along with an accomplice, killed five people at Westside Middle School in Jonesboro, Ark., and 17-year-old T.J. Lane, who killed three people at Chardon High School in Cleveland earlier this year, had first expressed their bloodlust by hunting animals.

“Not every hunter will kill a human, of course, but in this era of escalating violence, it is irresponsible and downright dangerous to allow kids access to magazines that promote killing for ‘fun.’

“Your British counterpart, W.H. Smith, has already implemented an age restriction on the sale of hunting magazines, and we urge you to follow suit.

“Please protect animals and impressionable children by keeping hunting magazines out of young people’s reach and sight—just as you would with pornography.

“Thank you. I look forward to your reply.”

Tracy Reiman
Executive Vice President (PETA)

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Monday, November 5, 2012

State stocks Lake Erie with surplus steelhead, lake trout

No one ever turned down a bonus, especially if it involves rewarding Lake Erie with additional steelhead trout.

And as a bonus to the bonus, the Ohio Division of Wildlife also will stock Lake Erie with surplus lake trout, too.

It’s been a very long time since Ohio planted this species into Lake Erie, agency officials say.

In all, the Wildlife Division will stock 124,673 steelhead into Lake Erie, says Kevin Kayle, administrator of the agency’s Fairport Harbor Fisheries Research Station and overseer of the state’s steelhead program.

“Because they are surplus fish we wanted to move them around a bit and get them into the lake as quickly as possible,” Kayle said.

Thus the state will stock Geneva State Park Marina with 60,202 steelhead with another 31,564 fish destined for the Ashtabula Harbor boat ramp, also on Lake Erie.

The remaining fish will be released at the Avon Lake boat ramp, says Kayle.

“We didn’t want to stock all of the fish in one place and we looked at expanding into other areas,” he said. “We expect that the fish will imprint into either the harbor or a nearby river.”

Also, since these fish are smaller than what the Wildlife Division typically stocks - about 4 inches versus about 7 inches for all other steelhead that are stocked - “we would expect them to continue to grow through the winter and become smolts in the spring,” Kayle said.

“We anticipate that the fish hang out around the harbors, feeding on small shiners and other such size fare,” Kayle said.

Kayle says the state also will stock surplus lake trout, the releases scheduled for today through Wednesday.

In all, the Wildlife Division will stock about 120,000 fish, all of which will range from 3 to 4 inches and each coming from the federal cold-water fish hatchery along the Allegheny River near Warren, Pa.

“This is the first time in decades that we’ve stocked lake trout into either the Central or Western basins, and because they are surplus fish we will be trying new strategies, which are spelled out in our lake trout rehabilitation plan,” Kayle says.

In terms of numbers, 40,000 lake trout will go into Lake Erie at the Fairport Harbor boat launch while another 80,000 are scheduled for release at the Miller boat dock on Catawba Island near Port Clinton.

“The reason that we are stocking lake trout into the Western Basin is the hope that they will imprint on the near shore reefs where they could come back to spawn in the fall,” Kayle said.

All of the lake trout have their adipose fin clipped as well as a coded wire tag implanted in their snout.

“So when they are caught by anglers we’ll have good scientific data about survival, growth and other key biological signatures,” Kayle said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Okay, so maybe this blog post is far removed from a typical hook-and-bullet model. Then again, perhaps not, even if it is a reposting of something that i did form The News-Herald's local political blog.

Anyway, here it is:

Come Wednesday we’ll either have kept the current president or else we will have chosen a new one.

It’s really that simple.

And the only ones who’ll have the right to feel a funk will be Mr. Obama and his family or else Mr. Romney and his family.

The rest of us – or about one-half the electorate, anyway – can express disappointment but it ought not to grow beyond that altitude. And that feeling ought to live for only a moment, too.

What we will know is that in Cleveland the sun will rise at 7:06 a.m. and set at 5:14 P.M.

Beyond that, what is genuinely important rests elsewhere.

Come Wednesday an elated young couple somewhere will hear the blessed news that within several months they will become first-time parents. Maybe even after they’ve been told that for some biological reason they’d never be able to conceive or sire a child.

That’s what happened with my wife, Bev, and me. And to our friends, Tommy and Esther as well.

Then again, come Wednesday, a man or a woman will meet with his or her physician and be given the mind- and soul-numbing news that the cancer is terminal; inoperable or untreatable.

He – or she – will walk out the doctor’s office, sit in a car, and let it sink in that this Christmas will be his or her last.

Just like the happy couple, this person has earned the right to possess and express the sort of emotion that even Mr. Obama or Mr. Romney are not entitled to own.

As for the rest of us, Wednesday will come like any other ordinary day.

I will take some time shortly before rising and listen for Bev to hum a refrain from a hymn she has committed to memory.

Then I will roll out of bed, shave and try to put on my clothes, bushwhacked by my two Labrador retrievers, Berry and Millie. They will worm their way onto my lap, slowing the dressing process.

I will stroke their soft, coal-black coats and then send them on their way.
After dressing I will sit in my recliner, prepared (more or less) to do my devotions.

By then Bev will have finished getting ready for her own job as the Mentor School’s receptionist.

She’ll plant a kiss, maybe only to the top of my nearly bald head, and recite – as she always does – “have a wonderful day,” knowing that perhaps the day’s newsroom pace will almost certainly exclude anything wonderful.

A couple of hours later I’ll repeat my own ritual in kind. I will call her at the Mentor School’s board office and offer in as best-as-I-can imitation of a stressed-out teenager “Is there school today?” to which Bev will respond: “Yes, and you better hurry or you’ll be late.”

Of course the exchange is lame and we each know the others lines by heart. 

It matters not, certainly not in the grand scheme of our 40-plus years together.

As for Election Day, I will have gone through a CAT Scan and an X-ray or two before conferring with my urologist.

We’ll look at the data, studying to see if the 70 or so radioactive titanium pellets are doing their job properly in killing off the two cancerous tumors that were found back in May and residing in my prostate.

I’ll think on these things come Wednesday morning when the news shows and the political pundits are all in overdrive, engrossed with what they 
consider of earth-shattering significance.

Tell that to the happy couple. Tell that to the cancer patient just given his or her death notice.

Tell me come Wednesday, too.

Better yet, ask my five grandchildren on Wednesday if the selection of the president is more important than hamming it up in front of the computer camera as we Skype our “hellos,” electronically bridging in a nanosecond the 250-mile gap between us.

My best guess is that Grace, Hope, Nehemiah, Elijah, and Humility will have a much different take. And it won’t include the name of either Mr. Obama or Mr. Romney.

Yes, of course, I reposted my share of pro-Romney Facebook chants and dug sarcastic claws into those who championed Mr. Obama.

Truth be told, they were supplied only half in seriousness. Probably less; again, if truth be told.

So to my liberal friends whom I did my best to skewer – David and Steve, Laura and Donna, Mary Jo and even my own flesh-and-blood nephew, Michael -  sorry if you took me so seriously.

But I rather enjoyed playing the part of prankster Puck, who, in Shakespeare’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream,” said; “Lord, what fools these mortals be.” (If you want to be specific as to chapter and verse, Puck’s words are found in Act 3, scene 2.)

No, give me the opportunity to lie in bed and watch my wife sleep the sleep of a newborn, the chance to chat with my grandchildren, have one of my oh-so-many physicians generate a medical thumbs-up, or be greeted with a “good job” electronic message from a boss.

For that matter, a Wednesday sky of honking Canada geese, a woodlot ground blind from which I can observe a rut-crazed buck, or to hear the notes of a boss hen wild turkey giving the pre-sunrise instructions to her troupe would be fine, too.

Fact is, when it comes right down to it who wins on Tuesday doesn’t even make the list as to what is truly important come Wednesday.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Thursday, November 1, 2012

From pumpkin shoots to pheasant stockings, what Hurricane Sandy has - and has not - impacted

Hurricane Sandy’s winds may have passed but the storm’s footprint is still stamped all over the state.

That includes in Northeast Ohio.

Here, at least two local sportsmen’s clubs were forced to cancel planned events because their grounds remain too soggy.

And another Ashtabula County-based sportsman’s club says that while its shooting ranges are swampy they remain usable. At least for the moment and as long as any additional heavy rains don’t add to the misery.

Of chief concern for Ohio’s small-game hunters is the status of the state’s ring-necked pheasant stocking for tomorrow’s - Friday, Nov. 2 - season opener.

That’s still a “go” at all pre-selected locations, says Vicki Mountz, the Wildlife Division’s administrative assistant.

Also open and available are all of the Wildlife Division’s archery and firearms shooting ranges with the exception for the one at the Killbuck Wildlife Area. This unit’s range is closed due to routine maintenance, however, and not because of Hurricane Sandy.

As for state-owned marinas and boat launches along Lake Erie, the Edgewater Marina at Cleveland Lakefront State Park is open though the docks are filled with debris and are thus unsafe. The marina operator is shuttling boat dock renters to their vessels.

No other Lake Erie-based state-owned boat launch or marina is closed though caution is urged since debris likely has accumulated at all locations.

Also, no other known interior state-owned marina or boat launch is closed.

Regarding the storm’s fingers digging into area activities, that has happened, says various local sportsmen’s groups.

The Geneva Township-based ORCO Sportsmen Club says it has cancelled this weekend’s Forth Annual Pumpkin and Zombie Target Shoot. This popular event grew so large that ORCO separated the two activities, the Zombie Target Shoot scheduled for Saturday and the Pumpkin Shoot for Sunday.

Likewise, the Saybrook Township-based Ashtabula Road and Gun Club was forced to scrub a scheduled field trail this past weekend. The fields and grounds probably will take a week without rain before they can become usable again, a Rod and Gun Club field trial official said.

For members of Hartsgrove Township-based Crooked Creek Conservation Club they can still use their extensive pistol bays, as well as the 100, 200, and 300 yard rifle ranges but the ground is saturated and mushy, a club board member said.

On a much brighter note the hurricane ushered in a large contingent of bird species, mostly shore and sea birds. Some of the species are even seldom seen here, too, says John Pogacnik, Lake Metroparks’ biologist and an avid birder.

“This has been an unbelievable few days that we may not see again for years,” Pogacnik said. “It will still be interesting over the next few days as misplaced birds wander a bit. Maybe something really good will show up yet.”

Here are some of the highlights over the last few days and as noted by Pogacnik:

* Brant - “Over 300 brant reported by a couple observers on Sunday. I had close to 300 on Tuesday and Jim (McCormac) and I had over 200 yesterday.”

* Scoters - “I saw 1,500 on Saturday. Another observer had 1,200 in Cleveland that same day.  Easily a new Ohio record. There are still a lot around.”

* Eiders - “I had three common eiders on Monday including one male. Several observers had possible birds on Saturday. It is an extremely rare bird in Ohio with less than five records (two records are from Fairport Harbor).”

* “Red phalarope - “Unusual sea-going shorebird, one at Conneaut Harbor.”

* Gulls - “There have been reports of a few uncommon gulls including Sabine’s gull (rare, an ocean-going gull), little gull (uncommon gull), Frranklin’s gull (an uncommon gull), Black-headed gull (rare gull), black-legged kittiwake (uncommon gull).”

* Jaegers - “Jaegers are an uncommon ocean-going seabird that occurs occasionally on Lake Erie. I had four pomarine jaeger sightings on Tuesday.”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

State cripples special handicapped hunts, critics say

Organizations looking to set up special hunts for disabled veterans and other handicapped persons are finding that the state has installed speed bumps designed to more thoroughly regulate and monitor such events.

And the agency behind the maneuver – the Ohio Division of Wildlife –  says one of the reasons for the increased scrutiny and paperwork are complaints from non-special hunt bystanders; in other words, licensed hunters.

Maybe not the main reason, but a reason nevertheless, the Wildlife Division says.

It seems that in at least some cases hunters are objecting to giving special dispensation to disabled veterans and other handicapped individuals by allowing them use firearms in the hunting of white-tailed deer but outside of the state’s established firearms deer-hunting seasons.

Most of the hunts so far requested for a special exemption have been for private property.

Among those sportsmen who both have helped organize special handicapped hunts and likewise puzzled by the negative reaction to them is Troy Conley.

Conley is a southwest outdoors activist who closely monitors Wildlife Division affairs. He also helps organize hunts for disabled persons, utilizing willing private property owners.

“This isn’t the first time I’ve been told that the agency has and is making decisions because of getting complaints from sportsmen in Ohio,” Conley says.

“Working with some guys down here on the issue of bringing dog field trials back to southwest Ohio we been told one of the reasons they did what they did with the field trials was because of these same types of complaints.”

Saying he is upset that the Wildlife Division is yielding to complaints from other hunters, Conley rhetorically wonders whether if he were to “rally enough troops will they make major changes to the squirrel season?” because he is chiefly an archery deer hunter.

“I hunt from a tree stand and these two activities can be in conflict with each other. This is just an example of what they seem to be doing,” Conley said.

What has brought the matter to a head, says Conley, has been his and others’ efforts to conduct a handicapped persons-only deer gun hunt in Adams County.

Yet because of the rigmarole of observing the requirements needed to host such a hunt, the best – if not, only – solution was to conduct an archery hunt for the handicapped individuals, Conley says.

For its part the Wildlife Division says that over the past few years, requests for special hunts or special seasons have increased.

“What started out as a couple of handicapped or youth hunts has now grown to requests for a couple of dozen each year,” says Scott Zody, the Wildlife Division chief.

Zody says these requests have ranged from NWTF Wheelin’ Sportsmen deer and turkey hunts for adults to special youth gun hunts to special youth pheasant/small game hunts.

“Part of the problem we were running into was some applicants submitting requests just prior to the date of the event – in one specific instance, a pheasant hunt in Erie County that the applicant wanted to hold on the weekend of deer gun season caused considerable concern,” also says Zody.

In order to “bring clarity and consistency to the process” rules were adopted that not only established special seasons for these types of activities, the new parameters build a time line for applications to be submitted in a timely manner and directs the applications to one location: i.e., the Wildlife Division chief, says Zody.

 “We also needed to provide consistent guidance to applicants on license/permit requirements, and specify that such events could not be held on public wildlife areas to prevent user conflict with other outdoor enthusiasts ; i.e., holding a special youth gun hunt in October/November and disrupting archery hunters or small game hunters.”

As far as complaints from other hunters go, Zody says he believes there were some, “but the main reason for adopting the rule was to bring some structure to the process before it grew too big to keep organized.”

“We are being flexible this year, recognizing that it is a new rule and we may not have gotten the word out to everyone before they started planning/organizing their hunts,” Zody says.

Further, says Zody, “Mr. Conley is no exception – the hunt he helps organize was scheduled for early October, and I told him that if the property owner(s) they were working with could not make accommodations for this year’s hunt, since the dates were already set, we would work with them on an exception – they chose to change to an archery hunt and avoid any conflicts.”

Even so, says Conley, he can’t help but wonder if the Wildlife Division ever asks a hunt dissenter if they have ever been involved with any of these events.

“ If they did ask this question I’d be willing to bet the answers would be ‘no,’” Conley said. “I think if these folks were encouraged to take part in one of these events it would change their opinion.”

Ultimately, says Zody, he wants to keep “an open mind for changes and adjustments to the rule heading into the next round of Open Houses and rule making.”

Thus, sportsmen who wish to contribute to the discussion should contact the Wildlife Division with their thoughts and concerns, Zody says.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn