Thursday, February 28, 2013

Nearly 100,000 trout set to be stocked this spring in Ohio

Of the 98,000 rainbow trout allocated for release this spring at 63 Ohio locations, a pond in Lake County and a natural lake in Geauga County didn’t fare too badly.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife will stock Granger’s Pond, found within Lake Metroparks Veterans Park in Mentor, with 2,000 trout. This stocking is set for March 15.

 Punderson Lake in Geauga County’s Newbury Township will be the recipient of 2,500 trout. This seasonal seeding of fish at the popular Punderson State Park is scheduled for April 13.

All of the trout releases will take place between March 1 and May 3, and the Ohio Division of Wildlife says the stocking of these public lakes and ponds “are excellent opportunities for families to fish together.”

That may even be something of an understatement. Once the stocking truck pulls through Veterans Park or up top Punderson Lake, anglers figuratively come out of the woodwork to catch the fish.

In the case of Punderson, trout are often available through the entire spring while some knowing anglers catching them even throughout the summer and into fall.

All of the stocked fish are presently enjoying the good life at various Wildlife Division fish hatcheries.

When they are released each of the fish will measure between 10 and 13 inches, Wildlife Division officials say.

It is important to remember, of course, the daily limit on trout for inland lakes, which is five fish.

Some locations will feature special angler events, including youth-only fishing, on the day of the scheduled trout release. That stipulation in the past has included the stocking at the 100-acre Punderson Lake.

Contact the nearest wildlife district office for specific information. Additional information about trout releases is available at or by calling 800-WILDLIFE.

Anglers age 16 and older must have an Ohio fishing license to fish state public waters, which includes both Granger’s Pond as well as Punderson Lake.

The 2013-2014 fishing license is available now and is valid through Feb. 28, 2014.

An annual resident fishing license costs $19. A one–day fishing license costs $11 for residents and non-residents. The one-day license may also be redeemed for credit toward the purchase of an annual fishing license.

Ohio residents born on or before Dec. 31, 1937, may obtain a free fishing license where licenses are sold.

Persons age 66 and older who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1938, and have resided in Ohio for the past six months are eligible to purchase the reduced-cost resident senior license for $10.

For a complete list of lakes and ponds to be stocked and when, visit the following Wildlife Division web site:

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Record number of concealed carry permits issued in 2012

A lot of Annies and Andys are getting their guns.

Or at least obtaining their concealed carry gun permits anyway.

Mike DeWine, Ohio's Attorney General - and himself a CCW permit holder - today issued his annual report that says more than 78,000 concealed carry licenses were issued in Ohio in 2012, the largest number since licenses were first issued in 2004.

According to statistics reported to the Attorney General's office, county sheriffs in Ohio issued 64,650 new licenses and 12,160 renewal licenses in 2012, or 78,810 total licenses.

Another 58 temporary CCW permits were issued last year as well, the AG's report says.

The number of new licenses is also the largest in a single year since licenses were first issued in 2004 with 33,864 people carded with the proper documents.

Last year's total CCW permit issuances was 49,828.

"As a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, I am pleased to see more Ohioans than ever before are exercising their rights under Ohio's concealed carry law," DeWine said in his prepared remarks.

 "I look forward to continuing to work with Ohio's county sheriffs to provide information to Ohioans on this law's usage."

But as the number of CCW permits have risen so have the number of CCW permit suspensions as well as revocations.

Last year the state recorded 1,030 CCW permit suspensions, up from the 946 suspensions in 2011 and way up from the 525 suspensions seen in 2004.

As a way of explanation, the AG's reports says this about suspensions:
"Under Ohio Revised Code (ORC) Section 2923.128, sheriffs must immediately suspend a concealedhandgun license upon notification that the licensee has been arrested or charged with certain offenses or if the licensee is the subject of a protection order issued by a court.
"The license may be returned to the holder if he is found not guilty or the charges are dismissed.
"It is important to note that some of these licenses may have been issued in previous years. Sheriffs
are not required to report the details surrounding a suspension."
The outright revocation of CCW permits last year stood at 741, up considerably from the 212 revocations recorded in 2011.

DeWine's comprehensive reports says this officially about revocations:

"Also under ORC 2923.128, sheriffs must permanently revoke the license of any person who no
longer meets the eligibility requirements to carry a concealed handgun.
"There are several reasons that a license may be revoked. The license holder:
" . Moved out of state
"• Died
"• Decided not to hold the license anymore
"• Was convicted of a disqualifying crime
"• Became subject to the law’s restrictions on mentally ill people or people considered drug
or alcohol dependent.
"Sheriffs are not required to report the specific reason for the revocation to the Ohio Peace Officer
Training Commission."
Also, of Ohio's 88 counties, no fewer than 22 of them saw issuance of at least 1,000 permits each. The high card went to Franklin County (Columbus) with 4,712 CCW permits issued.

Next was Lake County, which issued 3,175 CCW permits last year.

The county with the fewest number of CCW permits issued was Noble County with only 62 such cards handed out.

Other Northeast Ohio counties with permits issued were Ashtabula (328); Cuyahoga (2,052); Erie (1,221); Geauga (1,315; Huron (222); Lorain (544); Medina (1,733); Portage (1,296); Stark (1,341); Summit (1,833); and Trumbull (1,482).

Likewise the report lists the states in which Ohio CCW  permit holders enjoy recoprocity where they can carry concealed. The current list includes: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

The Attorney General's Office compiles an annual report as required by law about the number of licenses issued each year. Each sheriff must report concealed handgun license statistics quarterly to the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission within the Ohio Attorney General's Office.

A complete copy of the report is available on the Ohio Attorney General's website

Also, to learn more about Ohio's concealed carry laws, the Attorney General Office suggests visiting 

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Far and near; 2012 Fish Ohio/Master Angler program sees bump

“Fish on” was the battle cry heard in Ohio last year from Lake Erie to the Ohio River, and Pymatuning Reservoir to Grand Lake St. Marys.

And for a long list of successful anglers the effort paid off with a Master Angler award presented by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

It may be difficult to believe but this is the 37th year for the agency’s Ohio Fish Ohio program, of which the Master Angler award is but a branch.

To receive a general Fish Ohio award an angler must catch one qualifying specimen from a list containing 20 species.

A Master Angler award is presented when an angler catches a qualifying specimen from at least four different eligible fish species.

Each person who qualifies for a general Fish Ohio award receives a handsomely decorated hat/fishing vest pin that includes a depiction of a different eligible fish species.

Master Angler award winners are each sent a similar pin but which also is festooned with the “Master Angler” name.

All of these pins have become highly collectable piece with some hard-to-find versions fetching more than $100.

That is an interesting statistic when one also considers how each pin costs only about 52 cents with the entire program costing less than $18,000.

As for specific numbers, last year the Wildlife Division presented 12,642 Fish Ohio awards and 521 Master Angler awards.

By comparison, in 2011 those figures were 11,278 and 490, respectively. In 2010, the Ohio Division of Wildlife presented 10,807 Fish Ohio pins and 480 Master Angler awards.

“Yes, the increase in 2012 was a nice amount, and I was thrilled,” said Vicki Farus, the Wildlife Division’s Fish Ohio program administrator.

Even so, the seemingly growth rate in the numbers of both general Fish Ohio awards and Master Angler awards is still much less than what was seen in the program’s high-water-mark year of 1988.

That year the Wildlife Division presented 37,132 general Fish Ohio honors and 691 Master Angler awards.

Still around, too, is the agency’s so-called Grand Slam program. With this one, a participating angler has three choices: Lake Erie, Inland Lakes, and the Ohio River.

The very decorative pin for these designations is the same and also is shaped like Ohio but does not contain a date.

To be eligible for any one of these distinctions an angler must catch a representative from three recognized species.

For Lake Erie the qualifying species are the walleye, the smallmouth bass, and the rainbow trout/steelhead.

For an Inland Lake designation the recognized species are the largemouth bass, saugeye, and the muskie.

And for the Ohio River the recognized species are the sauger, the hybrid striped bass (wiper), and the flathead catfish.

“We only saw five Grand Slam entries last year, including one Ohio River, two inland and two Lake Erie,” Farus said.

Also, says Farus, this year’s pin logo will be a brown trout, the first-ever for this species. Last year the species was a crappie.

The most frequently reoccurring species on the pins have been the largemouth bass and the walleye, Farus said as well.

As for 2012’s total Fish Ohio entries the figures were: Blue catfish (105); brown trout (11); carp (545); channel catfish (1,195); crappie (1,771); flathead catfish (275); freshwater drum/sheepshead (937); hybrid striped bass/wiper (301); largemouth bass (879); muskie (320); northern pike (104); ranbow trout, including steelhead (359); rock bass (263); sauger (162); saugeye 368); smallmouth bass (280); sunfish, including bluegill (1,673); walleye (1,727); white bass (395); yellow perch (972).

In terms of where what was caught, Lake Erie led the pack with 4,090 entries, including 1,599 walleye; 889 yellow perch, 792 drum/sheepshead, 200 channel catfish, and 134 white bass.

Private ponds scored well, too. Here, 1,211 sunfish/bluegills citations were issued along with 553 for largemouth bass, 504 for crappie, 259 for channel catfish, and - something of a surprise for me - 98 carp.

Not to be left out, the Ohio River didn’t come up empty-handed, not by a long shot. Here, hybrid striped bass led with 217 entries. This was followed by channel catfish with 145, sauger with 125, blue catfish with 79, and flathead catfish with 69.

The Top 10 inland lakes and rivers were: Mosquito Creek Reservoir (232 entries of which 27 were northern pike and a like number for channel catfish, as well as 12 flathead catfish), the Maumee River (203 entries of which 52 were walleye, 47 were white bass, and 12 were flathead catfish); Alum Creek Reservoir (175 entries of which 47 were muskies and 45 were crappies); Buckeye Lake (166 entries of which 51 were saugeye); Indian Lake (163 entries of which 57 were saugeye and 42 were crappie); Hoover Reservoir (142 entries of which 60 were crappies); West Branch Reservoir (136 entries of which 65 were muskies but only 6 were largemouth bass); Pymatuning Reservoir (130 entries of which 81 were crappies but only 9 were walleye and no muskies); Portage Lakes (111 entries of which 51 were sunfish/bluegills); and the Rocky River (109 entries of which 96 were rainbow trout/steelhead).

And for Northeast Ohio steelhead fanatics the remaining Top Gun streams were: Grand River with 44 rainbow trout/steelhead entries, the Chagrin River with 38 entries, and Conneaut Creek with 17 entries.

Here is the list of the area’s 2012 Master Angler winners: Dave E. Adamczewski, Eastlake; David R. Adams, Mentor; Barry Butera, Euclid; Mike D. Christopherson, Thompson Township; Deana M. Davis, Willoughby; Henry J. Demeza, Willoughby; Joe DiDino, Middlefield; Joe Durk, Eastlake; Michael Fedele, Madison; John R. Forro, Mentor; Richard A. Frischkorn, Mentor; Jeffrey L. Frischkorn, Mentor-on-the-Lake; Phillip J. Gregory, Fairport Harbor; Michael L. Harth, Euclid; George A. Hoberney, Willoughby; Joseph L. Hrovat, Thompson Township; Miles C. Iverson; Madison; Jack D. Jackson, Fairport Harbor; Ron Kohut, Willoughby; John E. McMahan, Mentor; Kurt H. Nebe, Madison; Toby W. Nice, Gates Mills Village; John M. Piller, Willowick; Wayne Richie, Eastlake; Alan Roush, Painesville; Rich D. Shimek, Painesville; Dana E. Snyder, Perry; Cal M. Snyder, Perry; Michael T. Spice, Burton; Matthew Tabor, Euclid; Raymond A. Wargo, Willowick; Wayne G. Yoak, Chardon; Dan F. Zall Jr., Wickliffe; Michael A. Zampini, Painesville.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Monday, February 25, 2013

Retirement is just another way of saying the journey’s just begun

Is serving a burger your way in my retirement future?

Good question, and one Bev, my wife, and Tom Cross, a good friend and fellow outdoors writer, want to know.

Me too, in fact.

With plans to retire from The News-Herald on the march to April 1, a decision of what comes next is a very real, practical one for me.

I’ve already nixed becoming a Wal Mart greeter. For the obvious reason that I fail to possess the necessary people skills.

Ditto the suggestion of becoming a tester for jet aircraft ejection seats, as someone outside my immediate family suggested.

What’s left then?

Well, one wag worries my job will involve driving Bev crazy. That could happen if I don’t get myself busy on a project or two.

Other outdoors writer friends I know have successfully navigated the retirement seas: Paul Liikala, Steve Pollick, Art Weber, Guy Denny, Chip Gross, Jim Dudas, just to name a few.

Yep, I want to keep busy; stay active and be involved.

I suspect I’ll continue doing some freelance work. Just not jump in with all sorts of stuff that I’ve done for close to 30 years here. I want to throttle back on those items during retirement.

And I intend to keep alive an outdoors blog one way or the other. The outdoors blog I maintain and anchored here at The News-Herald is the only social media I believe is worth the wordsmith effort.

Perhaps finding some voluntary work to do with Lake Metroparks or the Holden Arboretum. The way I figure it, I’ve covered the former for more than 25 years and than latter for more than 15 years.

All in all, I believe I could contribute to either one of them.

Then too Guy Denny figures he could hook me up with a conservation group. We both got a good laugh, however, when he humorously suggested the Sierra Club.

Ah, I don’t think so. I’m a conservationist but that group is more than a little too “progressive” for my conservative tastes.

Of course I intend to hunt more, fish more. And I won’t have to beg out of invitations to join a friend to do either one, using the excuse I have a deadline due yesterday, a meeting to attend, or a Flipcam to shoot.

Nor will I take a guilt trip Sort of like now when I’m “out in the field” while my peers at the paper are slaving away with their phones ringing, note pads being burned by fast-moving ball-point pens even as the computer system has gone AWOL for no good reason.

Hey, feeling guilty has happened once or twice (maybe even three or four times) during my stint here with The News-Herald.

So where do I go from here?

I’m not sure, actually.

What I do know is I’ve reached a trailhead; one I thought all along was the end of the line.

And yet what I’ve actually come to discover is how this trailhead is really nothing more than just a place to change horses. Time to saddle up and take the road less traveled.

As Peter Pan instructed Wendy on how to find Neverland: “Second star on the right, then straight on ‘til morning.”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Ohio proposes sweeping deer-hunting law changes

In a seismic shift not seen since the state first allowed the taking of multiple deer, the Ohio Division of Wildlife is proposing sweeping changes for the 2013-2014 various deer-hunting seasons.

Among the proposals:

* The establishment of a two-day, muzzle-loader-only, antlerless-only season, tentatively set for Oct. 12-13. (Archery hunters during the season also can take only antlerless deer.)

* Changing the daily time all gun hunters must cease hunting to one-half hour AFTER Sunset. Presently it is sunset

* Eliminate the two-day mid-December, so-called bonus firearms deer-hunting season.

* Eliminate the Urban Deer Hunting zones, including the one incorporating all of Lake and Cuyahoga counties as well as that portion of Geauga County west of Rt 44.

* Restrict the sale of antlerless deer tags to no more than one and which MUST be used prior to the start of the statewide firearms deer-hunting season. (This stipulation includes the former Urban Deer zones).

* Eliminate the current set of deer-hunting zones by moving to a more county-by-county management and permit-required system.

“This represents a lot of changes from we’ve seen the past several years,” said Wildlife Division chief Scott Zody this morning in a phone-in webiner with the state’s outdoors writers.

Zody and a large contingent of agency officials fielded answers to an extensive series of questions during the nearly one-hour-long program.

Agency officials noted the moves are being made a potential step toward the development of even more precise deer management strategies. These strategies may very will - over time - evolve into the unit management approach used in many other states, Wildlife Division officials said.

“That is a few years down the road,” said Mike Tonkovich, the agency’s deer management administrator, who added the current zone-management approach was done more for convenience than for a scientific move.

“There are a lot of positives coming out of these proposals,” Tonkovich said also.

In every respect, Zody, Tonkovich, and the other officials said the object is to better manage the state’s deer herd, especially by reducing the number of fawn-bearing does.

In the case of the early muzzle-loader season, the rationale is based on the fact that less than one percent of the statewide total deer kill occurs during the second weekend in October by archery hunters.

And the vast majority of those animals have been antlerless deer.

Thus such a primitive weapons hunt is intended to increase both the take of antlerless deer, increase gun hunting opportunity but not interfere with the rut, which typically peaks in mid-November, Wildlife Division officials said.

Yet the agency did respond to a posed question that, yes, push-back from some archery hunting interests is anticipated. And which the Wildlife Division is prepared to fend off.

Citing statistics gleaned from previous hunting law proposal open houses, agency officials said 65 percent of responding attendees supported such a season.

“I think the majority (of them) spoke loudly in favor of it,” Zody said.

As for the elimination of the increasingly unpopular two-day, so-called “bonus” December firearms deer-hunting season, the total number of deer taken during this period has shrunk just has hunter participation, Wildlife Division officials said also.

Also, for hunters in the current Urban Deer zones the elimination of these designated areas is a watershed development.

Where previously an Urban Zone deer hunter in Lake, Cuyahoga and the western half of Geauga County need buy only one either-sex tag and multiple antlerless-only tags, those participants will now be able to buy up to three either-sex tags but only ONE antlerless-only tag.

And that tag MUST be used prior to the start of the statewide general firearms deer-hunting season, said Wildlife Division officials.

Zody did acknowledge such a requirement will become more expensive for some former Urban Zone hunters who seek to shoot multiple numbers of antlerless deer. The reason being is that either-sex tags cost $24 while antlerless-only permits cost $15.

However, Zody says, these antlerless-only tags still may be used at any time during any of the special controlled deer hunts such as those conducted at Plumbrook and the Ravenna Arsenal.

The Wildlife Division officials concluded their presentation by saying these are proposals only, and are not the final okay.

That will come after a series of public open houses are done in which citizens can express their thoughts, after which a single statewide meeting is conducted and then a vote taken by the eight-member Ohio Wildlife Council.

The nearest such public open house forum will be conducted from noon to 3 p.m., March 2, at the Wildlife Division’s Fairport Harbor Fisheries Research Station, 1190 High St., Fairport Harbor.

Here is the text of the Wildlife Division’s press release on the proposed 2013-2014 deer-hunting regulations:

An October antlerless-only white-tailed deer muzzleloader hunting season, extended hunting hours and new bag limits were proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council on Wednesday, Feb. 6, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The proposed antlerless-only muzzleloader hunting season would be Oct. 12-13 and scheduled for the second weekend of October in subsequent years. The proposal includes making the October muzzleloader season for antlerless deer only, regardless of the method of take, and eliminating both the bonus gun weekend in December and the early muzzleloader season at three public hunting areas (Salt Fork Wildlife Area, Shawnee State Forest and Wildcat Hollow).

Hunting hours are proposed to be extended 30 minutes past sunset for all deer firearms seasons, including the weeklong deer-gun season, youth season and muzzleloader seasons. This will make the hours the same as archery season.

County bag limits are proposed to replace deer zones. Proposed bag limits will be two, three or four deer, determined by county

 The proposed statewide bag limit is nine deer with additional controlled hunt opportunities, which do not count against the statewide bag limit. The nine deer bag limit is reduced from last season’s 18 deer limit.

t is also proposed that antlerless permits will only be valid until the Sunday before the deer-gun season. Urban deer zones would be eliminated. Hunters may harvest only one buck in Ohio, regardless of the method of take or location.

Proposed deer bag limits, from the following counties combined:

One either-sex permit, one antlerless permit (eight counties): Darke, Erie, Fayette, Hancock, Madison, Ottawa, Sandusky and Wood.

Two either-sex permits, one antlerless permit (23 counties): Auglaize, Butler, Champaign, Clark, Gallia, Harrison, Henry, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Logan, Meigs, Mercer, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Preble, Ross, Shelby, Van Wert and Washington.

Three either-sex permits, one antlerless permit (57 counties): Adams, Allen, Ashland, Ashtabula, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Carroll, Clermont, Clinton, Columbiana, Coshocton, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Defiance, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Fulton, Geauga, Greene, Guernsey, Hamilton, Hardin, Highland, Holmes, Huron, Knox, Lake, Licking, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Paulding, Pickaway, Pike, Portage, Putnam, Richland, Scioto, Seneca, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Union, Vinton, Warren, Wayne, Williams and Wyandot.

Proposed seasons for 2013-2014:

Deer archery: Sept. 28, 2013 - Feb. 2, 2014.

Deer antlerless muzzleloader: Oct. 12-13, 2013.

Youth deer gun: Nov. 16-17, 2013.

Deer gun: Dec. 2-8, 2013.

Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 4-7, 2014.

The start of fall turkey hunting season is proposed to be moved to the Monday following the antlerless deer muzzleloader season. The proposed fall turkey hunting season is Oct. 14 - Dec. 1, 2013.

Butler, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Hamilton, Huron, Seneca and Warren counties are proposed to be added to the existing list of counties open for fall turkey hunting, which would bring the total to 56 counties.

Deer and fall wild turkey permits would go on sale June 1, instead of March 1.

Changes in hunting regulations are proposed by ODNR Division of Wildlife biologists and wildlife management staff. These proposed changes, if approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council, will take effect for the 2013-2014 hunting seasons.

Open houses will be held statewide March 2 for public input on the proposals, and public comments are welcome online at After receiving public input, the Ohio Wildlife Council will vote at its April 17 meeting.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn