Wednesday, May 29, 2013

2nd UPDATE to include prosecutor's comments: Ohio Supreme Court rules in favor of Brown County Five

In a unanimous decision released today, the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled the so-called “Brown County Five” did, in fact, see their rights regarding self-incrimination violated.

As a result, Brown County prosecutor Jessica A. Little said late this afternoon (May 29) that she intends to dismiss felony charges against the five former Ohio Division of Wildlife officials, each of whom were indicted in Brown County Common Pleas court more than three years ago.

These five Wildlife Division officials had been defendants a lengthy legal battle, claiming they were protected by the federal Garrity Rule.

This U.S. Supreme Court-baked legal claim protects civil servants from offering incriminating testimony during investigations by a political entity.

In this case the five defendants – former Wildlife Division chief David Graham, former assistant chief Randy Miller, former Wildlife Division law enforcement supervisor James Lehman, former agency human resources manager Michelle Ward-Tackett, and former supervisor for the Wildlife Division's District Five (Southwest Ohio) office Todd Haines – contended their Garrity Rule rights were violated by the Ohio Inspector General's office.

Siding with the Brown County Five today were all seven of the state Supreme Court justices.

Their 13-page ruling is listed as Case Number 12-0338 and is provisionally posted as “State v. Graham,” with “Slip Opinion No. 2013-Ohio-2114.”

The justices' opening comments summarizes their collective legal opinion. It says:

Statements made by employees of state agency during an investigation conducted by the Ohio inspector general were coerced and are therefore inadmissible in subsequent criminal proceedings—Garrity v. New Jersey applied.”

Consequently, thus ends a three-year-old ordeal that began as an investigation into alleged illegal activities by former state wildlife officer assigned to Brown County, Allan Wright.

This alleged activity went back to 2006 and centered around Wright allowing a South Carolina wildlife officer to use his Brown County address in order to obtain a much-less expensive Ohio resident hunting license rather than a much-more expensive Ohio non-resident hunting license.

Wright later pleaded guilty to other, federal charges, after it was determined he was covered by the Garrity Rule as the matter related to Ohio law.

Disputing that the upper chain of command was exempt from Garrity was Little.

She doggedly claimed the five Wildlife Division officials were not protected by Garrity when they offered potentially and allegedly incriminating testimony to the Ohio Inspector General.

It was the Ohio Inspector General's office which opined how the five Wildlife Division officials erred by treating Wright's alleged activity administratively rather than criminally.

The matter rose through the court system with each side having claimed victory at one point or another.

When the Brown County Five's attorneys appealed to the Ohio Supreme Court, the matter climbed to its legal pinnacle.

Today's Ohio Supreme Court ruling goes into a detailed summary of the events leading up to its members' decision.

And that decision was a long time in coming and also involved the hiring of separate attorneys by each of the defendants.

Among them was Miller who retained the services of Batavia, Ohio-based attorney John Woliver.

In a telephone interview with Woliver this afternoon (May 29) the attorney was grateful for the supreme's 7-0 decision though he did express frustration over the matter having traveled all the way up the state's legal food chain.

In short, said Woliver, the felony charges Little filed “would have failed” on their own virtually at every step of the way.

Also and vitally, Woliver stressed, no way did any of the five defendants get off on a technicality, that being the Garrity Rule.

“There never should have been any prosecution of these five people who devoted themselves to public service,” Woliver said. “Treating these people as felons was absurd.”

Woliver said also that public workers are often in a unique employment setting whereby following or not following an agency's guidelines or policies might end up as potential criminal activity, as was assumed by the prosecution in this case.

“In this setting, as a public employer operating with public funds, you have an obligation to act in a certain way that follows the Constitution and protects (one's) civil rights,” Woliver said.

Agreeing completely is Lehman's attorney, Mt. Orb, Ohio-based lawyer Michael E. Cassity.

“Sometimes bad things happen to good people and that's the beauty of our legal system; where one court – the (state) Supreme Court – can overrule an appellate court,” Cassity said.

Cassity said as well that even though his client and the other defendants achieved a tremendous legal victory the likelihood now is that some people will still consider them guilty.

In effect, Cassity says, Lehman and the others have seen their reputations sullied and “tarnished,” something that will be difficult to entirely be cleansed.

“I'm glad for my client and for the four other defendants, (but) this never should have happened,” Cassity said. “(Lehman) is a good man. It's unfortunate. These people aren't criminals; far from it.”

And though the Ohio Supreme Court's decision was a victory for his client and the other four defendants, Woliver says it is also a victory for county prosecutors as well as investigators such as the Ohio Inspector General.

The reason, Woliver continued, is because prosecutors can ensure that an investigative processes will not be not “undermined by sloppy” work but rather follow Constitutional principles.

“What's important to remember is that the Ohio Inspector General must follow the law; be aware of and sensitive to the fact that Garrity must be considered applicable,” Woliver said.

However, the supremes do acknowledge that Garrity is not the do-all to end-all when it comes to testimony by public officials, including those in law enforcement.

In effect, both sides got a paddling.

On the one hand, the Court says in its 13-page document:

In reaching this conclusion, we reject the state’s characterization of the OIG as a toothless agency with little or no coercive powers. While it was the ODNR (not the OIG) that compelled appellants’ statements in this case, we reject the notion that the OIG is incapable of compulsion simply because it lacks the ability to arrest or directly discipline employees of other state agencies.”

Then on the other hand the Court says:

Nor do we embrace appellants’ sweeping proposition that every OIG investigation is coercive within the meaning of Garrity.

To be sure, this case has more in common with cases extrapolating from Garrity than it does with Garrity itself.

Other than the express threat contained in the ODNR notice, there is scant evidence establishing that appellants subjectively believed that they were compelled to cooperate with the OIG investigation.
“Appellants did not testify at the hearing, and their claim of disciplinary policy and the general duty to cooperate with OIG investigations under R.C. 121.45.

Unlike the officers in Garrity, appellants were neither threatened by their interrogator nor confronted with a statute mandating removal from office.”

Even so, a ruling was needed and subsequently made by the supremes, that being:

Appellants answered questions after receiving a warning that they could be fired for failing to do so. “Statements extracted under these circumstances cannot be considered voluntary within the meaning of Garrity.

Accordingly, the court of appeals erred by reversing the trial court’s suppression order.

We therefore reverse the judgment of the court of appeals and reinstate the judgment of the trial court.”

Which closes the book on the matter.

Little says she will file papers to dismiss the felony charges against each of the five former Wildlife Division officials, the Brown County prosecutor noting that without the defendants' statements made to the Ohio Inspector General she lacks sufficient evidence to proceed in court.

Even so, Little says she has high praise for the work and role of the Ohio Inspector General's office.

Asked, however, if she believes the Wildlife Division and its parent Ohio Department of Natural Resources have themselves institutionally learned anything through this long process, Little was only slightly shy in responding that an end is near to an oft-times expressed concern by some of the state's hunters and anglers how there is a culture of a “good 'ol boy” attitude within the agencies.

Honestly I can't answer that because I'm not a sportsman, but I think we've had some good, positive changes in the (way) the ODNR's is involved here,” Little said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Why is Lake Metroparks' Granger's POND called that when it's larger than Hidden LAKE?

Trying to sort out what makes a body of water a “reservoir, a “lake,” or a “pond” may require the skills of an attorney who also has a degree in limnology.

Making matters even more confusing for the layperson is “limnology,” which itself is derived from another set of Greek words for “lake” and “knowledge.”

Thus, limnology is the study of inland freshwater entities, be they lakes, reservoirs or ponds.

Which brings us back to Square One, that being, when exactly is a body of freshwater a pond, lake or reservoir?

Unfortunately an easy, cut-and-dried answer is not readily available. It seems to be a matter of who is asking and who is answering.

Ponds – or so goes the thinking of some limnologists - is a body of freshwater of either 5 acres or less, 10 to 12 acres or less, or 20 acres or less, and then often constructed by humans (“Granger's Pond”) or by an animal (a “beaver pond”).

Making matters more confusing, in most New England states - such as Maine - natural lakes are called “ponds.”

And the word “pond” comes from the Old English word “pound,” meaning a confined enclosure, fitting for a body of water of any size, come to think of it, really.

As for what constitutes a “lake,” the very root of that term (or “etymology,” the study of words) comes from Middle English and means, well, a “lake,” but also a “pond” or a “waterway.”

Regarding the distinction of what makes one body of water a reservoir and another a lake is similarly shrouded in ambiguity.

Though many limnologists say that large, man-made reservoirs are lakes and thus also a term used by many political entities, others say “no;” that lakes are natural while reservoirs are contrived waterways contained by some form of constructed artifact: I.E., a dam.

An argument in favor of a reservoir being called a reservoir and not a lake is contained wholly within the word's etymological beginnings. In short, “reservoir” is French in origin and means “storehouse.”

Obviously that is an appropriate definition since reservoirs are by their nature storehouses of water for one reason or another.

All of which begs the question, is it proper to interchangeably use “Pymatuning Lake” for “Pymatuning Reservoir,” or “LaDue Lake” (which hardly anyone ever uses) instead of “LaDue Reservoir” (which virtually everyone uses)?

And why not also say “Punderson Reservoir” instead of “Punderson Lake,” which (again) virtually everyone uses in describing this 100-acre Ice Age kettle lake (oops “pond” if it were in Maine)?

The answer then is to use whatever the locals or owners of the waterways deem appropriate.

Consequently, Lake Metroparks is just as correct in saying “Hidden Lake” for its 9.2-acre constructed body of water in Leroy Township as it is in saying “Granger's Pond” for the agency's 34-acre pond/lake/reservoir found within Mentor's Veteran Park.
Oh, and even though Granger's Pond is nearly four time larger than Hidden Lake.

Toe-may-toe or toe-mah-toe, the choice is the beholder's to use, though just make sure it has lots of fishes.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Outdoor Life attempts to pick best place to hunt trophy deer

In an interesting attempt at being unbiased, Outdoor Life's e-edition magazine has selected Kentucky as the best place for a non-resident hunter to score a record-book buck.

Ohio didn't do too badly, coming in at Number Nine with a leveraged score of 3.0 but compared to Kentucky's total adjusted score of 4.5.

Not everyone agreed with the on-line magazine's use of four criteria, or “metrics:” Trophy Production as based on the number of Boone & Crockett entries over the past three years; Hunter Density (and this is here where Ohio scored very badly, given the state's size and the number of deer hunters); Cost of Outfitted Hunts: and lastly, Hunter Friendliness, or how a state's deer-hunting laws are basically user friendly.

Outdoor Life pans Illinois, a state which restricts deer hunters to possessing shotguns capable of holding no more than three rounds. That rule also applies to Ohio.

Having successfully hunted deer in Kentucky on several occasions I can attest to Kentucky's high standing, though I'm not sure it deserves the Number One position.

Truth is, as careful as Outdoor Life is in trying to eliminate bias the fact remains objectivity will always remain an elusive target. No less so, in fact, than in trying to actually “bag one for the books.”

After all, while two plus two will always equal four, so will three plus one and four plus zero.

Consequently and unintentionally, any effort to eradicate bias by per-selecting criteria/matrix is itself a bias.

Simply put, a prospective hunter will go to great lengths to find where best to shoot a trophy deer.

Besides the four criteria Outdoor Life uses such other factors as types of firearms and archery tackle permitted, cost of travel, ease of finding accommodations, if the state has advisories on CWD, are all important considerations.

Maybe even carrying equal weight with the ones chosen by Outdoor Life.

And one of the criteria Outdoor Life picked – Cost of Outfitted Hunts – is itself of dubious value.

The on-line magazine employed averaging the cost that three in-state outfitters charge for an all-inclusive deer hunt.

A problem with employing this strategy is assessing the number of potential outfitters in any state.

Thus while Texas was judged the state with the highest average outfitted deer hunt ($4,065) it also has a seemingly unlimited number of such operations a hunter can choose from when making a selection.

Such is not the case for Ohio where Outdoor Life says the average outfitted cost for a deer hunt is $2,783.

Still, Outdoor Life must itself get a B-plus score for trying to help hunters in making a decision on where best to kill a book-class buck at as affordable a price the individual believes his finances (and spouse) will allow.

For a look at Outdoor Life's efforts, visit its site at

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, May 24, 2013

Lake Metroparks has paws full caring for two bobcat kittens (complete reworking of original story)

Having received one orphaned female bobcat kitten to raise May 14, Lake Metroparks was awarded custodial care of a second female bobcat kitten Thursday.

This second female kitten arrived from Noble County whereas the first female bobcat kitten came from Muskingum County.

Both counties have some of the state's highest bobcat populations though by no means is the species common anywhere in the state.

It will become the goal of the staff at Lake Metroparks' Kevin P. Clinton Wildlife Center in Kirtland to raise both bobcats so the animals will have the best opportunity to survive on their own in the wild.

Asked by the Ohio Division of Wildlife if it is up to the unique requirements necessary for rearing a member of the solitary bobcat clan, the Center's staff harbored no doubts about its capabilities.

After all, over the past decade the accredited Center has cared for representatives from 46 different wildlife species, including any number of which are either state or federally listed threatened or endangered.
Among the species having received care at the Center have been American bald eagles, river otters and a host of others.

But few species demand the requirements imposed by raising and preparing a bobcat for its eventual return to the wild.

The first kitten was less than one month old when Lake Metroparks took temporary possession of the animal, the bobcat coming from Muskingum County as a confirmed orphaned.

“We got the call from the Ohio Division of Wildlife about the first kitten,” said Tom Adair, Lake Metroparks' Park Services' director “We were told that a couple found the kitten and began to care for it. At the time they didn't realize it was an orphaned bobcat and not just the offspring of a feral house cat.”

When the family understood a few days later this was no ordinary kitty-cat it contacted the Wildlife Division which then confirmed the animal was orphaned and needed long-term care.

A little underweight when the Center took in the first kitten, the staff has since begun the arduous task of caring for the bobcat.

The second bobcat kitten was even younger with the best guess being that animal was no more than three weeks old, Adair said as well.

In this case a Noble County property owner was mowing his lawn when he very nearly ran over the tiny kitten, Adair said.

“The property is very close to a busy highway so it's assumed the kitten's mother was struck by a car,” Adair said. “The Wildlife Division made the determination at that point to rescue the kitten and have us care for it until it can be returned back into the wild.”

When this small wild feline was delivered late in the day on May 23 it was severely dehydrated and weak, Adair said.

Thus the for the first several hours it was touch-and-go as the center's trained staff of professional and volunteer wildlife care specialists began round-the-clock care, Adair said.

Following oral and subcutaneously feedings the kitten responded and began to perk up by the next morning, Adair said.

Since each of the kittens are small and demand constant care, members of the center's staff have been taking the bobcats home.

A big part of the reason for this, says Adair, is because the kittens need to be fed every two hours.

“It's a lot of work,” Adair said.

Yet having a second bobcat to raise likely will help ensure a grater chance of success of raising both animals, says Paul Palagyi, Lake Metroparks' executive director.

“This way the two bobcats will have the opportunity to interact through play the role they'll have once they are released,” Palagyi said. “It will be a great way for them to exercise, learn how to defend themselves through play as well as learn from each other.”

Already the first kitten is demonstrating it's a handful to raise, says Palagyi also.

“It has very, very sharp teeth that can actually bite through the leather gloves our staff members must wear when handling her,” Palagyi said. “The only time it even comes close to being okay to handle is when it's being fed with a bottle, but even then it once bit off the bottle's rubber nipple.”

Up ahead is the chore of helping the animals better take on the demands of life in the wild yet without being dependent or accustomed to human intervention.

“The bobcats will be fed a variety of food depending on the stage of their development,” said Tammy O'Neil, the Wildlife Center's manager. “We will provide live mice and chicks along with supplemental food like cat food, eggs, and bugs.”

In order to better mimic how a bobcat experiences living and eating in the wild, the Center's staff will incorporate real-life cat-hunting strategies, O'Neil says.

“We'll hide the food so the bobcats have to look for it, using their senses,” O'Neil said. “And we won't provide the food at the same time each day. Along with minimizing human contact as much as possible, of course.”

This last element is to force the bobcats to become hunters and not beggars.

Consequently the ultimate objective is to raise the bobcats to be as defensive and aggressive as possible prior to being released back into the wild, O'Neil said.

Adair said too that once it's determined the bobcats are eligible for release – likely some time later this autumn - the Wildlife Division will decide where best to relocate the animals.

“We're in daily contact with the Wildlife Division about the status of the kittens,” Adair said.

Adair said also the Wildlife Division's District Four (Southeast Ohio) will make the final call on where the bobcats will achieve their final freedom.

Lake Metroparks is accepting donations for the care of the male bobcat kitten. Further information is available by contacting Adair at 440- 639-7275 or the Wildlife Center at 440-256-2131.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Black bear sightings on the rise in Northeast Ohio

In Ohio, bears are not just going over the mountains they also are traversing the Lake Erie shoreline.

Not surprising then the number of black bear sightings continue to grow, even in Northeast Ohio.

Perhaps, especially in Northeast Ohio, too.

A recent incident within the past few weeks came from Lake Metroparks. It seems a black bear had visited the home of the parks system's biologist who lives at the agency's 84-acre Lakeshore Reservation in North Perry Village.

On returning home the biologist discovered that his bird feeders were demolished with confirmation the culprit being a bear came from the scat the bruin left behind.

Yet such sightings are far from being rare, certainly they are more common than even just a few years ago.

Last year the Ohio Division of Wildlife recorded a whopping 224 black bear sightings of which 65 were confirmed.

Sighting confirmation comes via some form of documentation such a digital photograph from a trail camera or by an inspection and verification by a Wildlife Division official.

A breakdown of the raw total sightings included reports from 36 counties.

Leading the pack was Portage County with 36 sightings. This figure was followed by the 22 reports from Trumbull County and the 20 reports from Ashtabula County.

Geauga County's black bear sighting tally numbered 17, Lake County registered 10 sightings, and Cuyahoga County was scored with six sightings.

In 2011, the Wildlife Division received a total of 152 sightings from 32 of Ohio's 88 counties. Of the 152 figure, 60 sightings were confirmed.

Among the totals were 22 for Geauga County (the most for any county in the state). 20 for Ashtabula County, nine each for Lake and Trumbull counties, and four for Cuyahoga County.

While it is important to remember the majority of these reports were multiple sightings of bears that spent a lot of time moving about, the figures do strongly suggest that Ohio

is increasingly becoming a place where representatives of the species are at least visiting.

Likely too a goodly number of the bears observed or reported are spill-overs from Pennsylvania, mostly young males looking for a place to set up their own territory.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Lake Metroparks set to get 2nd bobcat kitten today (See new reworked story)

Having received one orphaned bobcat kitten to raise last week Lake Metroparks is anticipating getting a second kitten sometime today, Thursday, May 23.

This kitten will arrive from Noble County whereas the first bobcat kitten came from Muskingum County.

Both counties have some of the state's highest bobcat populations though by no means is the species common anywhere in the state.

It will become the goal of the staff at Lake Metroparks' Kevin P. Clinton Wildlife Center in Kirtland to raise both bobcats so the animal will have the best opportunity to survive on their own in the wild.

Having a second bobcat to raise likely will help ensure a grater chance of success, says Paul Palagyi, Lake Metroparks' executive director.

“This way the two bobcats will have the opportunity to interact through play the role they'll have once they are released,” Palagyi said. “It will be a great way for them to exercise, learn how to defend themselves through play as well as learn from each other.”

However, also says, Palagyi, as yet the agency has no clue regarding the health status of the second bobcat kitten, its age nor even its sex.

“We have our fingers crossed, and hopefully it's not on its last legs,” Palagyi.

Breathing its last hardly defines the health of the first bobcat kitten, though, says Palagyi.

If anything “feisty” is an applicable word to describe the young male bobcat kitten, says Palagyi.

“It has very, very sharp teeth that can actually still bite through the leather gloves our staff members must wear when handling him,” Palagyi said. “The only time it even close to be okay to handle is when it's being fed with a bottle, but even then it once bit off the bottle's rubber nipple.”

Should the second bobcat arrive well enough to be care for the Wildlife Center's staff will go about the chore of helping the animals better take on the demands of life in the wild yet without being dependent or accustomed to human intervention.

This job will entail including minimizing exposure to people as much as possible, providing live rodents when the kittens are old enough to begin learning how to hunt, not providing prey at the same time each day and likewise hiding the food.

This last element is to force the bobcats to become hunters and not beggars, says also Tom Adair, the parks system's park services director.

Lake Metroparks is accepting donations for the care of the male bobcat kitten. Further information is available by contacting Adair at 440- 639-7275 or the Wildlife Center at 440-256-2131.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Always sad when hunting season ends

The lightest of a rose tint colored the eastern sky, fading all too quickly with the daily arrival of the sun's flaming brimstone.

In the woodlot, and straddling the crew-cut stubble of last year's tan-colored corn stalks, lay a secret I'd been trying to unravel for several days.

It also was quiet for the most part, save for a few caw-caw-caws! being shouted by a couple of passing crows. Those, plus the tweeting of a curious field sparrow or two that came to investigate the lone human plopped down on the ATV trail.

Silence ruled, again for the most part. Yet is was, somehow, an understated, dignified quiet.

Now largely outfitted in the green Sunday best, the trees did chatter just a little.

Maybe it was because they finally had the opportunity to stretch their branches after a too-long winter.

More likely though they simply were giddy, knowing they have a long pull until autumn reminds the trees how their lime-colored tuxedos are just rentals.

In another five months these same trees will find themselves once again stripped to their bare skivvies.

All good things must come to an end, of course. That's true of a tree bedecked in life-sustaining foliage and equally true for an Ohio turkey hunter.

I was here, too, when the season began at 6:10 a.m., April 22 and here when the season's last day started at 5:29 a.m., May 19.

Sandwiched between those two start times were a half-dozen or so more early morning rises in an effort to settle down in a woodlot before the turkey woke up.

Maybe that's not a lot by some turkey hunters' standards but when you consider how each of those trips included a full day (or half-day during the second week) then the tally becomes a powerfully large figure.

Yes, I could have just stopped hunting after the first morning. That's when a landowner friend and I tag-teamed on a pair of overly eager jakes.

Just 19 minutes into the season and we were finished, or could have finished were it not for the fact I went about buying a second spring turkey tag.

I know, I have no one to blame but myself for dropping another $24, traveling 41 one-way miles to my turkey-hunting woods and giving it another go.

Yet it wasn't like the 15-pound jake and his 3 ½ beard were disappointments. To the contrary. As former Ohio Division of Wildlife chief Dick Pierce would often remind me: “All turkeys are trophies.”

Amen to that, too, brother.

Nope, I bought the second turkey tag so I could have a good excuse to keep knocking on the door of a favored woodlot, or two, or three, as things turned out.

Turkey hunting is a tonic, and like all tonics the prescription needs to used if one is to benefit from its properties. Oh, and also refilled from time to time.

Don't get me wrong. I like to fish in the spring as much as the next guy. In fact, during the just-concluded spring turkey-hunting season I went fishing eight times for everything from steelhead to crappie to channel catfish. Did right well, too, if you must know.

Thing is – and I enjoy using this riposte in half-jest to needle my angling buddies – fishing is just an excuse between hunting seasons.

Unfair it is but please note I did say the comment has always been given as a gentle poke in the rib cages of my fishing friends.

Anyway, on the last morning of the spring turkey season's last day I was in that woodlot; you know the one I spoke about earlier. It edges that run-down old corn field with its stiff stock of prickly corn stubble.

I chose this particular woodlot because there for the previous three days I'd been watching a flock of nine turkeys. Among them being a mature tom along with a subordinate jake. The rest were hens, including a boss hen, I reckoned.

Each of those times the turkeys gave me the slip.

Finally I believed a pattern to their behavior was uncorked.

Only it wasn't, of course, these being turkeys and all.

Arriving at the corn field even earlier than ever before I then wasted no time in making my to the woodlot. Finding the narrow ATV track I walked to a tree.

Here I anchored myself at the beech's base, the tree set at the peak of a low spot, exactly where I had observed the flock enter the corn field and return following their breakfast.

Using only slightest, sweetest purrs, yelps and clucks I did my best to coax a reaction from I flock I just knew was there, somewhere. To no avail.

After more than 90 minutes of employing this tactic I stood, shook the soreness from my legs and tried to keep from groaning due to back pain. Then I approached the edge of the woodlot where it tucks into the corn field and a strand of trees whose back scrapes the bruise left by a clear-cut.

From this location I spied the small flock cruising through the corn field-south and toward another moldering corn patch.

I was sucker-punched again.

Though my woodlot set-up and location were logically deduced the turkeys (for whatever reason) decided against logic and filtered into the corn field from the woodlot maybe 150 yards further away.

Certainly they would have heard my calling. For sure the low spot was a better funnel. Absolutely my plan was spot-on.

But turkeys are turkeys, and just as I didn't expect the two opening day jakes to come running in moments after the season began I also was not anticipating a small flock of their relations would disobey the same book either.

My turkey-hunting decoys are now stored, my stash of calls and hunting vest put away while the shotgun is cleaned and stacked toward the back of the gun vault.

I mentioned Dick Pierce earlier and I'll mention one more thing he liked to say at the conclusion of the spring turkey-hunting season.

Dick would opine as to how he was always was touched by a little melancholy when the hunting year ceased and months stood in the way of the next one.

Yep, that pretty much sums up my feelings as well.

Here's to Sept. 1 when it starts all over again; the “it” being another hunting year, of course.
Final 2013 spring wild turkey-hunting season results as provided by the Ohio Division of Wildlife:
Ohio’s wild turkey hunters checked 18,391 birds during the 2013 spring hunting season, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
The statewide total is a four-percent increase from that seen in 2012 when hunters harvested 17,646 birds. Note the final county figures combine the youth turkey season and the spring turkey season results.
The Ohio Division of Wildlife also estimates more than 70,000 people hunted turkeys during the spring wild turkey season.

Prior to the start of the spring hunting season, Wildlife Division biologists estimated Ohio's wild turkey population at 180,000 birds.
Here is county-by-county tally of the wild turkeys checked during the 2013 spring turkey hunting season. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for 2013 while the 2012 figurers are in parentheses:
Adams: 418 (420); Allen: 43 (45); Ashland: 236 (237); Ashtabula: 766 (762); Athens: 331 (335); Auglaize: 31 (34); Belmont: 471 (456); Brown: 348 (350); Butler: 197 (184); Carroll: 373 (385); Champaign: 96 (87); Clark: 19 (18); Clermont: 339 (338); Clinton: 58 (60); Columbiana: 425 (410); Coshocton: 530 (492); Crawford: 93 (77); Cuyahoga: 5 (2); Darke: 44 (52); Defiance: 205 (218); Delaware: 104 (126); Erie: 62 (60); Fairfield: 92 (111); Fayette: 11 (6); Franklin: 24 (21); Fulton: 102 (92); Gallia: 360 (289); Geauga: 296 (276); Greene: 23 (20); Guernsey: 541 (495); Hamilton: 111 (119); Hancock: 34 (23); Hardin: 82 (88); Harrison: 479 (450); Henry: 51 (32); Highland: 332 (402); Hocking: 315 (296); Holmes: 266 (259); Huron: 186 (152); Jackson: 311 (291); Jefferson: 426 (365); Knox: 469 (451); Lake: 67 (84); Lawrence: 170 (179); Licking: 363 (380); Logan: 145 (166); Lorain: 149 (177); Lucas: 61 (46); Madison: 5 (1); Mahoning: 236 (238); Marion: 41 (49); Medina: 107 (120); Meigs: 398 (366); Mercer: 16 (20); Miami: 23 (12); Monroe: 486 (417); Montgomery: 14 (20); Morgan: 343 (292); Morrow: 208 (212); Muskingum: 530 (486); Noble: 320 (333); Ottawa: 5 (9); Paulding: 91 (99); Perry: 277 (247); Pickaway: 26 (26); Pike: 264 (280); Portage: 259 (234); Preble: 87 (91); Putnam: 61 (50); Richland: 375 (393); Ross: 328 (333); Sandusky: 25 (13); Scioto: 229 (210); Seneca: 154 (165); Shelby: 64 (42); Stark: 266 (213); Summit: 48 (42); Trumbull: 478 (428); Tuscarawas: 527 (531); Union: 36 (38); Van Wert: 17 (11); Vinton: 324 (263); Warren: 111 (90); Washington: 439 (390); Wayne: 116 (96); Williams: 253 (261); Wood: 30 (19); Wyandot: 114 (88). Totals: 18,391 (17,646).

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ohio embarks on important Lake Erie yellow perch study

A scientific study is underway in an effort to help take some of the guesswork out of managing Lake Erie's yellow perch stocks.

Participating in the endeavor for now are Ohio and Ontario, Lake Erie's two largest fisheries stake-holders. Also cooperating is the U.S. Geological Survey's Lake Erie Biological station in Sandusky.

Ohio's cost for this three-year perch-tagging project is $86,000, almost all of which will come from the federal government's Dingell-Johnson Fund, paid for through excise taxes on fishing tackle.

The state's fisheries biologists say it will become money well spent if the effort results in providing answers to a number of current unknowns regarding Lake Erie and its yellow perch population.

Carey Knight, the Ohio Division of Wildlife fisheries biologist in charge of administering the project in the state, says his crew has outfitted 6,737 yellow perch with Passive Integrated Transponder tags, or “PITs” for short.

Each PIT tag is a tad larger than a grain of rice.

These highly evolved micro-sized scientific devices are read only via a special scanner and are implanted in the tagged fish in a place not utilized by either sport anglers or commercial fishermen, Knight says.

Such placement was an initial concern, especially expressed by the lake's commercial fishermen, said Knight, who works out of the Wildlife Division's Fairport Harbor Fisheries Research Station.

The tags were inserted in the belly between the pelvic fin and the head, sort of in the fish's throat,” Knight said. “They're well out of fillet range and will be all but impossible for the angler to see.”

Knight says also the tags are similar to the ones used by the state to study the lake's walleye stocks.

Online material suggests as well that PIT tags are used worldwide in fisheries research with at least one product being made from FDA-approved surgical plastic.

A four-point interest led Ohio and Ontario to embark on the project. These points include:

* Tracking the movement of the lake's yellow perch.

* Whether the perch return to their nursery waters to spawn or simply move on elsewhere to breed.

* Help determine if the fishes move across the state's perch-management zones as well as whether they travel from Ohio's waters into those under Ontario's jurisdiction and vice-versa.

* Help establish the degree of mortality via sport-caught and commercial-caught activities.

To better understand the dynamics associated with achieving these goals the Wildlife Division went about capturing the fish and then inserting the tags.

Fishes caught, tagged, and released ranged in size from 7 inches to 14 inches. More than 95 percent of these fish likewise were males, the reason being the Wildlife Division visited perch-fishing grounds during the part of the year when males dominate the species' spawning grounds, Kight said.

And though 6,737 fish may appear to be a large number, Lake Erie is obviously so much bigger.

Which helps explain why the Wildlife Division anticipates its staff will “scan” more than one million perch.

Such an operation calls for trained creel survey clerks and others to sweep tag-sensitive wands across fish. Each wand will not just detect the tag but also will record the vital data the agency intends to assemble, Knight says as well.

Obviously we're expecting to scan more commercially caught perch, but our creel clerks will have wands too and they'll be asking sport anglers for their cooperation with this important project,” Knight says.

Knight said also that because both Ohio and Ontario use “the same everything” in the way of equipment. Thus each stake-holder will have the ability to scan fish and collect the data.

Left out of the picture – at least for now – are Pennsylvania, New York and Michigan, each of which is also a Lake Erie fisheries stake-holder.

It wasn't a bias or a flip of the coin that determined which entity would perform the tagging duties, however.

The reason for Ohio and Ontario being selected first is because they manage the lion's share of Lake Erie. That, and also because of limited availability of the equipment, Knight said.

Knight says as well the agency will place posters at various locations frequented by Lake Erie yellow perch anglers as well as include project information on the Wildlife Division's web site at
Follow the link to the Wildlife Division, then to fishing and then to fisheries management.

We want everyone to know about this project and its implications for helping us to better manage Lake Erie's yellow perch,” Knight says.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Sunday, May 19, 2013

How North Korea views U.S. private firearms ownership

Perhaps one of the best things regarding the Internet is access to the world's weird, the whacky and the outrageous.

A frequent pull-off for me on the information superhighway is a daily dose of the Drudge Report.

Often accused and blasted for its unashamedly conservative bent, the Drudge Report is a portal to other Internet sites not nearly so bolted on the right side of life.

Besides linking with the decidedly lefty Huffington Post, Drudge also provides a link with the Korean News, an official mouthpiece for the Korean Central News Agency of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea. Or North Korea for short.

Yep, the official news arm of the very same Hermit Nation that is run by a youthful and not-too-bright third-generation despot.

One of the Korean News' latest postings is its propagandist take on firearms ownership in the United States and how our country's gun culture will help bring the nation to ruin.

It is obvious that North Korea is benefitting from the rants of those Americans seeking to limit firearms ownership in this country, the former incorporating some of the ideas of the latter in a tirade against the private possession of guns.

But don't let the following get you angry. It's good for a chuckle if nothing more than for the organ's inability to even get the respective parties' names right, let alone the correct usage of the Constitution.

Anyway, here we go:
"KCNA on Gun-related Crimes and Future of US
"Pyongyang, May 17 (KCNA) -- Shortly ago, there happened in Florida State a horrible gun-related crime at a time when the U.S. is at a loss what measures should be taken to bring gun-related crimes under control.
"A three-year child killed himself by firing a pistol he took from a bag of his uncle.
"The child was immediately taken to a hospital by his parents but he breathed his last.
"The child's death seems to foretell a tragic fate of the U.S., a hub of violence culture such as gun-related crimes.
"According to information released by the U.S. magazine Foreign Policy, gun-related violence leaves more than 30,000 people dead and over 200,000 wounded in the U.S. every year.
"This means that more than one person falls victim to this violence every two minutes.
"The U.S. administration claims to have taken steps to prevent it but their prospect remains gloomy.
On January 16, the U.S. president made public a proposal for gun control the keynote of which is to ban the use of assault weapons and make an inquiry into all buyers of guns, etc.

However, this proposal has, in fact, been put on the verge of becoming null and void due to the U.S. Gun Association which rakes up a huge amount of money through gun production and sale. It put pressure upon senators from ruling and opposition parties in the run-up to the 2014 mid-term election, showing off purses.
"In the final analysis, the proposal failed to reach U.S. Congress on April 17.
The bottom line of gun-related crimes rife in the U.S. is the law of the jungle and extreme misanthropy, the almighty dollar principle and individualism.
"Hundreds of millions of guns possessed by Americans are charged with misanthropy. Gun report sounded in every crime is reminiscent of a shout 'I can live only when I kill you' often heard from among Americans.
"The U.S.-style "freedom" and "democracy" reduced human beings to brutes and produced Article 2 of the revived Constitution which recognized the right to possession of guns, giving spurs to the sale of guns and horrible gun-related crimes.
"It is a matter of time that the whole of U.S. society will turn into a scene of gunfight.
"Owing to the corrupt ideology and culture prevalent throughout the society, U.S.-style capitalism is bound to meet self-destruction. This is the future of the U.S."

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Easing of ammo shortage may come within next 90 days

Something of a quiet groundswell of opinion is building that suggests an easing in the ammunition shortage may arrive within the next 90 days.

Note, however, the talk is of "easing" and not an end.

A shortage of nearly all handgun calibers and many rifle calibers has plagued shooters for about six months now.

Though widely believed the shortage began in December following the tragedy in Sandy Hook, Mass., in actuality many ammunition manufacturers have watched increasing pressure on their product inventory for as long as 10 years.

Sandy Hook and the subsequent calls for increased gun control laws only aggravated an all ready stressed-out ammunition supply.

Of course, hording by firearms' owners only made a situation much worse.

The needless stock-piling of popular calibers by some gun enthusiasts simply contributed to the shortage, tipping the balance off the scale.

The net result was both a lack of product but also highly inflated prices for whatever was on dealer shelves.

Some sellers took - and continue to take - advantage of the shortage.

At gun shows many attendees encounter sticker shock at the cost of what is out there, too. And that surprise is best seen with .22-caliber rimfire ammunition.

A 500-round box of .22s are costing upwards of $100 to $150. Prior to the shortage a 500-round "brick" of .22s often sold for between $15 and $25.

However, the ammunition scalpers may soon find themselves stuck with over-valued product, much the way the real estate bubble burst a decade ago.

The chatter on many firearms-related chat sites is voicing a repetitive strain on how an easing in ammunition availability may begin by mid- to late July.

Such musings may be more than just wishful thinking as well.

Large-scale sellers of firearms and ammunition likewise say they are being told by distributors that a relaxing in the supply is on the horizon.

All of which should prove good news for shooters looking for quality range time and for sportsmen hoping to zero-in their deer-hunting rifles for this autumn's various seasons.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Four Ohio Wildlife Council members take risk, take stand

Often said to be feckless in discharging its duties, the eight-person Ohio Wildlife Council stood up Wednesday to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Instead of rubber-stamping several last-minute and politically motivated changes to the already-set 2013-2014 Ohio deer-hunting regulations, the council did what few people ever expected: Four of the council member said “no” and three said “yes.”

The four who voted nay were Horace Karr of Meigs County, Charlie Frank of Newark, Paul Mechling of Ashtabula County's Pierpont Township, and Tim Ratliff of Winchester in Brown County.

Voting yea were Karen Linkard of Xenia, Larry Mixon of Columbus, and George Klein of Akron.

Council member Stephen Seliskar of Lake County was not present and consequently did not vote.

Thus while the council's Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse may feel the political wrath of some state lawmakers who demanded things be done their way, the four members showed the legislators the highway.

Which led three of the other council members to do what sportsmen have long regarded they would do, that being, always say “yes” if you want to keep this really cool job.

At issue were several key last-minute changes brought to the table late last week by Wildlife Division chief Scott Zody.

Among the proposals was to first tack on two days of firearms allowance immediately prior to the start of the three-day, statewide muzzle-loading-only deer-hunting season.

As put forth by Zody the prior firearms hunt would run Friday, Jan. 3 and Saturday, Jan. 4, while Sunday, Jan. 5 through Tuesday, Jan. 7 was to be reserved exclusively for those hunters who use primitive weapons such as muzzle-loading rifles.

Had the Council approved Zody's recommendation – and few doubted the council would ever say no to anything - the net result would have resulted in a major mid-course correction to the state's deer-hunting regulations.

Importantly for many sportsmen, Zody's push was made without the usual series of open houses and public hearings designed to solicit the opinions and thoughts of hunters of all stripes.

In a classic case of double-speak, Zody called the piggybacking of a gun hunt with a muzzle-loading hunt a “blended gun/muzzle-loading season.”

The thing is, the additional proposals were launched following political arm-twisting.

Among those politicians flexing their elected muscles was state Sen. Chris Widener, R-Springfield.

Widener is a member of the state Senate's extremely powerful Ways and Means Committee.

And Widener even went so far as to send a letter to Zody, opining on the-then proposed deer-hunting regulation changes. Among Widener's protestations was the elimination of the two-day mid-December firearms deer-hunting season.

As mentioned previously in this blog, somewhere along the illuminated path Zody saw the light. He then followed up by instructing his staff to reexamine the proposed (later approved) refined deer-hunting regulations to see if there is anything we want to adjust.”

And it is Widener who found himself linked closely with the highly divisive proposals.

Of course, when it comes to hardball politics revenge is a dish best served cold. Which stands to reason the four “nay” Ohio Wildlife Council members may very well have sealed their own status as overseers of the Ohio Division of Wildlife's rule-making authority.

Yet if they are keel-hauled for misbehaving and sawing against the grain, at least the four properly and correctly discharged their duties.

Can't ask any more of a non-elected government appointee.

After all this being said, there is still a huge hurdle, maybe two, that must be jumped over.

The original proposed 2013-2014 deer-hunting regulations now move to a bipartisan group of state legislators called JCARR, which approves administratively established rules of all kinds and by all state agencies.

Should JCARR reject the proposals the matter then is required by law to be taken up by the full Ohio House and the Ohio State Senate.

If the Ohio General Assembly rejects the proposals then the entire matter of deer hunting regulations enters uncharted and even deeper politically muddy waters.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

City life hard on bird-parenting, too

Trying to raise youngsters in the concrete jungle of an urban environment is tough enough for human parents.
Now comes word via a university study that avian couples are facing the same dilemma in their efforts to rear their offspring as well.
The study comes from Bosie State University and is being reported by the American Bird Conservancy, a national bird advocacy group that also recounted on such other avian-related research projects as the width and depth of wild bird mortality caused by house cats.
In this latest notation the Conservancy says the Bosie State University focused on the impact of human activity on nesting American kestrels, once commonly called “sparrow hawks,” because of their diminutive size and their equally small prey.
By observing 28 kestrel nesting boxes alongside busy Interstate 84 in Idaho, scientists concluded the birds' suffered “elevated stress hormone” levels, a critical marker that saw many parenting birds “to abandon nests far more frequently.”
These nesting boxes were compared with counterparts placed along much lesser traveled roadways, the study reports, indicating that the rural life helped create much more mellow adult kestrels.
And, of course, a more mellow adult kestrel is a happier and more dedicated parenting kestrel, the summation of the report indicates.
“Birds evolved in an environment that was not dominated by humans,” the Conservancy quotes one the study's co-author-researcher, Julie A. Heath
 “In recent history, human roads and structures have left few areas untouched. We're just now trying to understand the consequences.”
And that understanding is leading to some solutions. Short of ripping up every highway or stop mowing the grass along them so kestrels no longer have ideal hunting habitat.
Instead, civil engineers are being tasked to incorporate designs that help lessen traffic noise, reduce speed limits where applicable, practical and possible.
“Many people think that since they see certain species of birds in urban environments, that they must have adapted to these unnatural surroundings,” said Conservancy president George Fenwick.
“However, this study certainly suggests that at least in some circumstances, the exact opposite is true.”
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Coast Guard rescues three from boat taking on water off Vermillion


Even with Lake Erie's water temperatures only in the mid-50s, boaters are still ever eager to enjoy a day afloat.

Consequences and risks are plenty, as seen today when the Coast Guard rescued three persons from a boat taking on water off Vermillion

The names and hometowns of the rescued are not being released, the Coast Guard .
At about noon today, a Coast Guard personnel with the service's nearby Lorain station received a call that a 19-foot boat carrying three people was taking on water north of Vermillion in Lake Erie.

All three people were wearing life jackets, the Coast Guard reported.
A rescue boat-crew launched from the station "dewatered" the recreational boat and towed it to the Vermillion public boat launch.

At the boat launch, the rescue crew conducted a post-rescue boarding, finding no violations.

The rescue crew determined the vessel was taking on water as a result of a crack in the transom.
There were no reports of injuries or pollution.
“One of the most important things to do before getting back on the water for the first time in spring is to thoroughly inspect your boat inside and out and make sure the boat itself and its equipment are working properly,” said Petty Officer 3rd Class Spencer Braid, officer-of-the-day at Station Lorain.

“By inspecting equipment such as life jackets and cleaning out the bilge pump, you can decrease unnecessary risks while enjoying the natural beauty of the water.”
The Coast Guard wishes to remind boaters that water temperatures in Lake Erie are still cold enough to cause hypothermia.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, May 10, 2013

On second thought: A view of the Wildlife Division's last-minute deer-hunting change

Shortly after writing the last outdoors blog I began to wonder if I was being too harsh regarding the Ohio Division of Wildlife's last-minute proposal to tack on two days of firearms use immediately prior to the statewide muzzle-loading-only deer-hunting season.

Letting my criticism marinate overnight and part of today the conclusion I came up with was this; not a chance.

If anything, I believe I was being too kind in my blog posted late Thursday afternoon. This, following a teleconference with the state's outdoors writers in which the agency's chief announced a radical change to an already radicalized series of revisions to the state's deer-hunting regulations.

The chief, Scott Zody, informed the writers how the agency will submit to an authorizing bipartisan body of legislators a rule change request. This request will seek to set up a two-day, any-weapons deer-hunting season for Jan. 3 and 4; a Friday and a Saturday.

Butting up to this two-day hunt will come the annual statewide muzzle-loading deer-hunting season, only starting on a Sunday and ending on a Tuesday.

Zody is calling the combination a “blended” hunt that fuses the use of shotguns and legal handguns along with muzzle-loading weaponry with the latter group the only legal hunting implements during the next three days.

Coming on the heals of some heavy-duty political pressure by a small cadre of influential state legislators and then likely to be rubber-stamped by a fawning and toothless eight-member Ohio Wildlife Council, the measure is all but certain to become the law of Ohio's deer-hunting landscape.

Yet while the melding of gun hunting immediately prior to the muzzle-loading-only season was – IS – bad enough, something much worse has arrived.

Zody, the Wildlife Division and indeed the Ohio Department of Natural Resources have committed the grievous sin if you will of betrayal.

They have, collectively, sold their administrative souls for the proverbial 30 pieces of silver being dangled by a bullying group of legislators.

Such a betrayal is directed at the state's sportsmen and sportswomen.

Annually the Wildlife Division hosts a series of public open houses in which proposed hunting regulations (and in their season, proposed fishing regulations) are aired.

The stated purposes of such meetings is both to explain the proposals as well as to solicit comments from the agency's constituents.

In trying to have it both ways, Zody told the outdoors journalists how the agency values the input from sportsmen and sportswomen provided via these public gatherings

But then with a nod and a wink Zody moved to dismiss these constituents' views by noting that only about 1,300 people bothered to express themselves during this past winter's open houses.

However, it is no wonder that low turn-outs happen when the expectations of those attending – and those not attending – are low from the get-go.

The reason being is that over the years many Ohio's anglers and hunters have come to view these public open houses as really nothing more than dog and pony shows.

“It doesn't matter. They're going to do what they want to anyway,” passes the lips of more than a few jaded and jilted hunters and anglers.

Thus what Zody, the Wildlife Division, the ODNR have done by not properly vetting this significant rule change is to reenforce the cynical distrust carried within the bosom of some Ohio sportsmen and sportswomen.

Indeed, there are even now people who go so far as to refer to the Wildlife Division as being a rouge agency.

And the Wildlife Division can ill-afford any additional doubts on the part of its constituents.

Not when the public views with distaste the legal accusations and admittance of either alleged or confessed illegal or improper conduct on the part of some agency employees.

Hoping to unshackle the Wildlife Division from such charges, Zody has now only served to harden the temper of the manacle’s steel.

No doubt I will attend next winter's proposed game law hearings, both to cover them for this blog as well as to make my opinions known.

Yet just as assuredly while I know I'll get a story I also will believe - with similar conviction – that my concerns will not amount to a hill of beans anyway.

Clearly, the Ohio Division of Wildlife has betrayed whatever trust it had rebuilt in the hearts and minds of more than a few of the state's sportsmen and sportswomen.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, May 9, 2013

BREAKING NEWS: Wildlife Division yields to politics in merging gun hunting with muzzle-loading season

Bowing to at least some measure of political pressure, the Ohio Division of Wildlife is removing the flint from the state's muzzle-loading deer hunters.

Without even offering an opportunity for public vetting of the proposal, the Wildlife Division is on the fast track to add two days of firearms hunting immediately prior to the three-day statewide muzzle-loading season.

The latter will run Friday, Jan. 3 and Saturday, Jan. 4, while Sunday, Jan. 5 through Tuesday, Jan. 7 will be reserved exclusively for those hunters who use primitive weapons such as muzzle-loading rifles.

The net result is a major mid-course correction to the state's deer-hunting regulations, but taken without the usual series of open houses and public hearings designed to solicit the opinions and thoughts of hunters of all stripes.

Thus, and in effect, the Wildlife Division is saying that what the state's deer hunters think is of less importance than what the politicians say.

Calling the proposed – and all-but-certain – change a “blended gun/muzzle-loading season,” the Wildlife Division chief admitted during the teleconference there was “a little bit of political” pressure to stitch the previous two-day mid-December weekend firearms deer-hunting season to the inseam of the early January muzzle-loading season.

A little? Try a lot.

Among those politicians tightening the screws was state Sen. Chris Widener, R-Springfield.

Widener is a member of the state Senate's extremely powerful Ways and Means Committee, you know, the one that controls the government's purse strings.

And Widener even went so far as to send a letter to Zody, opining on the-then proposed deer-hunting regulation changes. Among Widener's protestations was the elimination of the two-day mid-December firearms deer-hunting season.

Somewhere along the enlightened path Zody saw the light. He then followed up by instructing his staff to reexamine the proposed (later approved) refined deer-hunting regulations to see if there is anything we want to adjust.”

And, low and behold, by golly, the staff found some. Among them were even a salient point or two brought forth by none other than state Sen. Chris Widener.

Did I mention Sen. Widener sits on the state Senate's Ways and Means Committee. I did? Just checking.

Even so, Zody insists he is not “giving first dibs” on the deer to gun hunters during his so-called “blended gun/muzzle-loading season.”

Zody also said – correctly though not very realistically or practically – that nothing precludes hunters from using their muzzle-loaders during the two days that shotgun and pistol deer hunters can be afield.
Which cuts against the grain of why the muzzle-loading season exists in the first place. That being, offering hunters who enjoy using single-shot, front-end-loading, smoke-belching equipment an opportunity to be afield on their own terms.

And – just as importantly – have a reasonable expectation of pursuing deer that have cooled down several weeks after being shot at by hunters carrying firearms that spew out up to three rounds as fast as they can operate a slide-action or squeeze a trigger.

Zody even went so far as to hint how the agency may take a look down the road of vaporizing the muzzle-loading-only January hunt altogether, allowing for the use of any legal firearms tender.

Among his concluding remarks Zody said this tempest in a powder horn may itself come under review next year when folks may say “the chief was an idiot” because his blended gun/muzzle-loading season was indeed a squib round.

I am afraid, Chief, more than a few people have already bestowed that honor upon you.

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

BREAKING NEWS update: Wildlife Division's maybe/maybe not proposed new deer regs

Latest update at 5 p.m., Wednesday, May 8:

In a major mid-course correction to the state's deer-hunting regulations the Ohio Division of Wildlife is now proposing additional hunting opportunities.

Or not, as a media teleconference with the agency's chief to discuss the issue was put on hold five minutes before the voice-only program was to have begun.

The abrupt postponement was launched, a Wildlife Division official said, because agency Chief Scott Zody was called away to a meeting. That meeting appears to have either lasted all afternoon or else resulted in a reevaluation of the proposals themselves.

Thus the sudden stop to the teleconference is raising as many questions as did the issue of the agency's last-minute request to expand deer-hunting opportunities.

These proposals include offering two additional days of gun hunting immediately prior to the state's four-day muzzle-loading-only season, set for Jan. 5 through 7.

Consequently, if the proposals are ever actually brought forth and then approved gun hunters will have the opportunity to take to the field Jan. 3 and 4.

Approval must come from the eight-member Ohio Wildlife Council, which is set to meet later this month. This body already has accepted the agency's a series of deer-hunting regulations that add a two-day antlerless-only, muzzle-loading-only season in October.

Another facet approved by the entire Council was the elimination of the state's two-day mid-December firearms deer-hunting season.

As for the suddenness of presenting the gun season addition, Zody said in a late Wednesday morning email directed to the state's outdoors writers how the agency is “..under a very tight time-line to refile the rule in order to keep the process moving and make the May 20 JCARR agenda so we can file (the final) rule(s), get the regulations to print, and make the necessary changes to the licensing system so we can make the proper permits, etc. available for our customers.”

JCARR is a joint Ohio House and Senate group that approves any administration rules brought about by approved legislative action.

Along with the proposal to run a two-day gun hunt back-to-back with the four-day muzzle-loading hunt, the agency is requesting that licensed hunters in Hocking, Perry, Ross counties be allowed to kill up to four deer, up from the three deer previously approved.

A tele-conference was scheduled with the state's outdoors writers on this subject at 1:30 p.m. but at 1:25 p.m. Wildlife Division spokeswoman, Vicki Ervin, emailed the outdoor writers, saying "Due to unforeseen circumstances, we will need to postpone the call.

"We will let you know as soon as possible when we can reschedule."

A return reply was immediately forwarded, requesting additional details about the postponement.

Ervin responded quickly with: "Hopefully today. The chief was called into a meeting. As soon as I know anything, I will let you know."

However, later this afternoon Wildlife Division spokeswoman Susie Vance sent an email to the state's outdoors communicators, noting:  "Unfortunately, we unable to (re)schedule the call (for) today. As soon as it is rescheduled, I will send out an email notification."

Additional information will be posted on this blog when becomes available.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, May 6, 2013

Nation's sheriffs state Second Amendment position

It appears the nation's sheriffs have waded ever-so-carefully into the murky waters of gun control.

Yet while some pro-Second Amendment supporters might like the sheriffs be more forceful in stating their backing of gun-owner rights, those seeking further restrictions on firearms will be even more disappointed in the lawmens' declaration that backs the Second Amendment.

The views of the National Sheriff's Association regarding this hot-button issue are found linked with the web site of Lake County (Ohio) Sheriff Dan Dunlap at

Here, Sheriff Dunlap explains that his office receives considerable requests for his position on the subject. Thus Dunlap refers inquiries to the position taken by the group representing all of the nation's sheriffs.

I came upon the reference and link while scheduling via on-line an appointment with Dunlap's office to renew my concealed carry permit.

The association's resolution and its talking points read:

WHEREAS, the elected Sheriff is recognized throughout the United States as the chief local law enforcement officer and is directly accountable to the people through the electoral process; and

WHEREAS, all sheriffs take an oath of office to enforce and defend the United States Constitution and state constitution and laws; and

WHEREAS, a primary mission of sheriffs is to ensure public safety; and

WHEREAS, gun safety is vitally important to our nation’s public health and the 3,080 sheriffs of this nation; and

WHEREAS, the cause of violence, including gun violence, must be addressed on many fronts, including improved mental health treatment, media violence, drugs, gangs, breakdown of the family, strengthening laws that prevent or reduce the access of legally prohibited persons to firearms and vigorous enforcement of existing laws; and

WHEREAS, the National Sheriffs’ Association represents the interests of all sheriffs who are sworn to support and defend the United States Constitution; and

WHEREAS, sheriffs strongly support our citizens’ protected right to bear arms under the Second Amendment and the National Sheriffs’ Association does not support any laws that deprive any citizen of the rights provided under the Constitution and Bill of Rights; and

WHEREAS, the doctrine of judicial review grants to the United States Supreme Court and the lower courts the power to determine the constitutionality of any law and sheriffs do not v possess the legal authority to interpret the constitutionality of any law;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the National Sheriffs’ Association supports the rights conferred by the Second Amendment and further recognizes the ultimate authority of the courts in interpreting the scope of those constitutional rights


1. Rule of Law. Our nation's Sheriffs recognize the rule of law in the United States in which the Supreme Court and lower courts are the ultimate authority in determining the constitutionality of any law.

2. Second Amendment. Our nation's Sheriffs support and are sworn to uphold the constitution and the Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment.

3. Comprehensive approach. Gun control alone will not solve the problem of guns and extreme violence. Society needs a thoughtful and comprehensive approach to this many faceted issue.

4. Records Access. Law enforcement must have access to relevant records to determine whether a person is legally prohibited from possession of firearms by major improvements in the National Instant Check System.

5. Mental Health Records. Law Enforcement must have access to mental health records for accurate background checks, for responding to 911 calls and for responding to those who suffer from mental illness.

6. Mental Health Treatment. There must be great expansion of treatment resources for those that experience mental illness. We have an epidemic of untreated mental illness across the country, and there is a strong link between untreated mental illness and the increased risk of committing violent acts.

7. Vigorous Prosecution. The nation's Sheriffs support the vigorous prosecution of those who violate existing gun laws, including enhanced sentences.

8. Gun Safety Incentives. The nation's Sheriffs support enhanced firearms safety efforts including incentives to promote both safe and secure storage and use of firearms.

9. Training. The nation’s Sheriffs enhanced training, best practices policies and procedures and adequate resources for law enforcement, schools and those who operate other public facilities, to address active shooters and other safety threats.

10. Culture of Violence. The nation's Sheriffs recognize the culture of violence on the internet, on television, in movies, and especially violent videogames, have a negative influence on our nation's youth.

11. Schools. The nation's Sheriffs are committed to protecting our children in their neighborhoods and in school facilities.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn