Sunday, June 30, 2013

Gun makers leaving firearms-unfriendly states

Will the last firearms manufacturer leaving New England please turn out the lights and bolt the door behind you?

New Britain, Connecticut-based Stag Arms is poised to abandon its home there with the ultimate destination likely being Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

Though only a 10-year-old firearms manufacturer, Stag Arms is making good on a promise it announced in April. That being, should Connecticut go forward with passing a strict gun-control law that would prohibit its citizens from buying buying the products the company makes then it will move to a place more gun-friendly.

When Connecticut did outlaw the bulk of Stag Arms products the company set its sights on other out-of-state targets.
Such a bull's-eye likely will be Myrtle Beach, though Texas has also wined and dined Stag Arms; each in the hopes its CEO Mark Malkowski will pack his company's bags and move to one of the respective states.

Malkowski most recently met with Myrtle Beach officials and area legislative leaders.

Their sales pitch to Stag Arms included the fact that firearms giant FN is located in South Carolina along with having a skilled workforce already familiar with firearms manufacturing.

Such a workforce is necessary given that Stag Arms manufactures a variety of AR-platform rifles, which features 80-percent of the hardware being made in-house and the remainder being made elsewhere but within the United States.

On its Facebook page dated June 4, Stag Arms noted that it hosted South Carolina Rep. Alan Clemmons who was given a grand tour of the plant along with a “..very long discussion about jobs, firearms freedoms, manufacturing, and the future of the economies in both states.”

If Stag Arms does leave Connecticut – as all but certain it will – that will still leave several other firearms makers left in the state. Among them are some of the most well-known and largest firearms makers not just in the U.S., but the world.

The list of current Connecticut-based firearms companies include Southport-Conn.-based Ruger, North Haven, Conn.-based O.F. Mossberg and Sons, North Haven, Conn.-based Marlin, and West Hartford, Conn.-based Colt's Manufacturing Co.

Each of these companies, however, have also been invited to leave gun-unfriendly Connecticut for a state with a more favorable environment toward firearms ownership, including the kinds of guns recently outlawed by the state for civilians to buy.

That sort of legislative action has prompted a call by gun owners that if firearms manufacturers want to stay in gun-unfriendly states then they'll pay a price via a buyers' boycott.

And such a boycott could hurt Connecticut's economy.

It is estimated that firearms making in Connecticut generates $1.7 billion annually to the state's economy and employs 3,000 workers.

Already gone from Connecticut is PTR Industries, which was based in Bristol, Conn., but is moving to Myrtle Beach; the same location now trying to snag Stag Arms.
PTR is expected to employ about 140 workers, including any relocated employees.

“The rights of the citizens of CT have been trampled upon. The safety of its children is at best questionably improved from the day of the (Newton) tragedy that triggered the events that led us here.
“Finally, due to an improperly drafted bill, manufacturing of modern sporting rifles in the state of CT has been effectively outlawed.

“With a heavy heart but a clear mind, we have been forced to decide that our business can no longer survive in Connecticut – the former Constitution state,” said PTR's vice president of sales John McNamara in a recent company electronic media release.

But Connecticut is not alone in being abandoned as other states ratchet their own gun laws.

Fort Collins, Colorado recently lost gun accessory maker HiViz. The maker of fiber optic gun sights is moving across the boarder to Laramie, Wyoming.

This, in spite of the fact that HiViz does not make any product even remotely being singled out for banning.

Still, the firm said it is leaving Colorado for the much-more gun-friendly state of Wyoming because of the former's recent enactment of restrictive gun laws.

Also set to leave – and making no bones about it either - is Magpul, a manufacturer of high-capacity magazines, which while legal to purchase, own and use in most other states, are no longer legal to buy in Colorado.

Magpul is now making its products elsewhere, though exactly where is unknown with most presumptions centering on somewhere in Texas.

Colorado is even in the crosshairs of some non-resident hunters who have said they will not visit the state this fall because of its recent enactment of several stringent gun-control laws.

Whether all of this is just a trickle of discontent or a watershed moment when the firearms industry weighs more heavily Second Amendment concerns over the hard economic realities associated with moving is something that gun owners and state governments will be following closely.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Could such a Forth Amendment violation like this ever impact U.S. firearms owners?

Here's something out of Canada that will send chills down the spines of U.S. firearms owners and also should send chills down the spine any American who believes the Bill of Rights' Forth amendment against unauthorized search and seizure serves a legitimate purpose against government overreach.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn


Royal Canadian Mounted Police confiscate guns from town residents during flood (VIDEO)

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) announced on Thursday that they confiscated a “substantial amount” of firearms from the homes of evacuees who left their town of High River in Alberta, Canada, due to severe flooding.
“We have seized a large quantity of firearms simply because they were left by residents in their places,” Sgt. Brian Topham told the Calgary Herald.
Topham added that the forced entry into the homes and the seizure of the firearms was both a favor to the residents and a way to ensure the safety of the public during the deluge.
“We just want to make sure that all of those things are in a spot that we control, simply because of what they are,” Topham added.  “People have a significant amount of money invested in firearms … so we put them in a place that we control and that they’re safe,” Topham added.
In addition to taking away residents’s lawfully owned property, about 30 RCMP put down a spike strip and set up a blockade to prevent homeowners from returning to High River to assess the damage wrought by the flood.
Naturally, this situation pissed off a lot of people.
“I find that absolutely incredible that they have the right to go into a person’s belongings out of their home,” resident Brenda Lackey told the Calgary Herald. “When people find out about this there’s going to be untold hell to pay.”
“This is the reason the U.S. has the right to bear arms,” noted resident Charles Timpano at the blockade on Thursday (see video below).
Although the confiscation and the subsequent blockade angered a lot of residents, it’s evidently legal under the law.
Alberta Justice Minister Jonathan Denis, who spoke to CTV News on Friday, said that the RCMP have the right under the Criminal Code to secure property in the event of an emergency.
“The key thing is, it’s storage, it’s not confiscation or seizure,” Denis said. “My only concern is, during the flood there may be vital documents that have been destroyed by the flood and what happens in the event that an individual doesn’t have access to that information to actually obtain their private property when it’s safe to do so.”
In other words, those who do not have paperwork or those who are unable to provide proof of ownership may be out of luck when it comes time to reclaim their firearms.
Though, Denis told CTV News that over the course of the next few weeks he’ll be working diligently with the RCMP to ensure the firearms are returned to their lawful owners as they come home.
What are your thoughts?  Did the RCMP do the right thing?  Or did they cross a line by “storing” residents’s firearms? would like to thank loyal reader Mike I for bringing this story to our attention.
(Cover Photo Credit: Calgary Herald)


Friday, June 28, 2013

UPDATED: Coast Guard saves two off Fairport Harbor

(Updated to reflect new Coast Guard correction on day of incident from Thursday to Wednesday.)
With the boating season's busiest holiday approaching, local, state and federal waterways officials are getting their fair share of practice.

It's a good thing, too, as on Wednesday the U.S. Coat's Station Fairport Harbor rescued two people in danger of drowning from Lake Erie.

The event occurred that afternoon near the Fairport Harbor-West Breakwater Lighthouse.

At about 3 p.m., a crew from Coast Guard Aids-to-Navigation Team (ANT) Buffalo, N.Y., was working at the Fairport West Breakwater Lighthouse when they heard screams for help from people on the pier about 100 yards away, the agency says in a media statement on the matter.

Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Matthew Nalley, Petty Officer 3rd Class James Poole, Seaman Dillon Smith and Seaman Kirk Johnson immediately responded to the emergency.

Upon arrival, they noticed two people in the water struggling to stay afloat,” the release says.

The crew threw a rope into the water for the victims to grab. With the sheer face of the pier extension making recovery unlikely at that location, the crew decided to use the rope to drag the two to a safer location to recover them.”

In its release the Coast Guard says the first person to go into the water told rescuers that he suffered a cramp, preventing him from staying afloat.

His friend jumped in to assist him, but his distress put them both at risk of drowning.

It was at this time that they were noticed by people on the pier, whose screams for help alerted the Coast Guard crew working nearby on the third floor of the lighthouse.

Though this lighthouse is now owned privately the Coast Guard still accesses the iconic structure in order to maintain the agency's aid-to-navigation devices there, including illumination and audio alert equipment.

Both victims refused medical treatment and left under their own power shortly after the rescue.

As is the standard procedure for the Coast Guard, the agency does not disclose the names of people rescued.

The command is very proud of our members for their vigilance and quick response to step in and save others in the midst of performing their duties,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Thomas Beaudoin, executive petty officer of ANT/Buffalo.

Although the Coast Guard always appreciates when members of the public step in to help, it’s important that they don’t place themselves in harm’s way in the process. If you see a swimmer in distress, call for help before rendering aid.”

From today through Sunday the Coast Guard will join with local and state waterways safety agencies in the national “Operation Dry Water,” an annual joint project that targets enforcement of Boating while Under the Influence (BUI) laws.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ohio's dirty little secret: Overall nation's worst beach water quality

Using data supplied by the various states the Natural Resources Defense Council ranks Ohio 30th in beach-water quality, dead last out of the 30 states reviewed.

In its 23rd annual report on bathing beach water quality the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says that last year Ohio reported water quality conditions at 63 coastal beaches.
Of this figure 21 percent reported beach monitoring E. coli samples that exceeded the state’s daily maximum bacterial standard of 235 colonies per 100 milliliter, the Council reports.
And, the NRDC also notes, Ohio's beaches with the highest percent exceedance rates last year were: Camp Perry in Ottawa County (70 percent exceedance), Arcadia Beach in Cuyahoga County (57 percent), Lakeview Beach in Lorain County (52 percent), Bay View West in Erie County (49 percent), Port Clinton (Deep\Lakeview) in Ottawa County (47 percent), Lakeshore Park in Ashtabula County (44 percent), and Wagar Beach in Cuyahoga County (44 percent).
Also, more broadly on a county-wide basis, Lorain County had the highest exceedance rate of the daily maximum standard in 2012 (30 percent) followed by Cuyahoga County (29 percent), Ottawa County (27 percent), Lucas County (22 percent), Erie County (17 percent), Ashtabula County (15 percent), and Lake County (13 percent).
Specifically for Lake County in 2012, the beach at Lake Metroparks' Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park saw 108 samples taken there and which resulted in 17 percent of them exceeding state standards, the highest for any of the three tested beach water sites in the county.
For Headlands Beach State Park-East in Painesville Township the 103 test samples taken there last year resulted in a 13-percent exceedance rate.
At the opposite end of the popular lakefront park the 101 test samples taken there in 2012 saw an exceedence rate of 11 percent, or the lowest for any of the three tested beach water sites in the county.
In terms of the numbers of posted advisories, Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park had 18 of them in 2012.
Meanwhile, Headlands Beach State Park-East had 13 posted advisories while Headlands Beach State Park-West had zero.
“However, (Nowcast) modeling at Mentor Headlands State Park Beach and Fairport Harbor Beach in Lake County was not as protective because it produced a number of false negatives: the model predicted bacterial counts under the state maximum, but bacterial monitoring showed that there were actually exceedances.
“The inaccuracy of (Nowcasting) at Mentor Headlands State Park and Fairport Harbor may have been due to scattered, spotty storms throughout the summer and the use of weather data from Ashtabula and Burke Lakefront Airport.
“In some cases, one of the data locations received rain while neither of the Lake County beaches did,” the NRDC's documentation also reveals.

Nowcast is a type of sampling/testing modeling employed at three Lake Erie-based state parks and also by the Lake County General Health District in an effort to determine the process's accuracy, says the NRDC.
The NRDC also “considers all reported samples individually (without averaging) when calculating the percent exceedance rates in this analysis. This includes duplicate samples and samples taken outside the official beach season, if any.”
In the final run-up to releasing its figures the NRDC strongly urges citizens to work toward better water quality which will result in fewer days in which swimmers confront advisories against dipping their toes into the surf.
"Sewage and contaminated run-off in the water can spoil a family vacation real fast, during a day at the beach into a day at the doctor's office with a sick child," said the  NRDC's senior attorney Joe Devine.
For a complete look at the NRDC's report with listings for all of the examined 30 states as well as a posting of the nation's cleanest and dirtiest beaches visit the group's web site at And then link to its sub-site “Testing the Waters of 2013: A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches.”
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Weekend's annual Operation Dry Water to again focus on drunken boaters

Waterways law enforcement agencies are taking no chances with the up-coming weekend.

So while the weather forecast remains dicey as far as whether or not boaters will have the opportunity to set sail, local, state and federal agencies are still gearing up for their combined annual “Operation Dry Water” project.

The goal of this joint venture is to try and nab boaters operating their vessels while under the influence of alcohol as well as enforcing other boating-related regulations.

And the same legal parameters that dictate how much alcohol can impair a motor vehicle driver applies to captains of pleasure boats as well. That threshold for each being 0.08 in Ohio.

Thus this weekend's waterways law enforcement efforts will include increased patrols, breathalyzer tests, checkpoints as well as boater education efforts, says the Ohio Division of Watercraft.

Of course all of the agencies will have their work cut out for them. Ohio ranks 9th nationally in the number of registered watercraft at 426,000 vessels.

And while the number of boating-related fatalities have declined in recent years – down from the 16 such deaths in 2010 to 11 last year, the goal is always zero, says the Watercraft Division's chief, Roger Norcross.

Not lost either is that a goodly number of boating accidents typically occur in Northeast Ohio, especially those counties which lap at the Lake Erie shoreline.

Last year the Watercraft Division noted that for Lake County there were two boating mishaps involving three vessels though no reported injuries.

Bookmarking Lake County was a different matter, however.

To the east in Ashtabula County for all of 2012 the Watercraft Division took official note of eight boating-related accidents involving 10 vessels that resulted in five injuries.

And to the west in Cuyahoga County during 2012 the Watercraft Division recorded 12 boating-related accidents that involved 14 vessels and resulting in nine injuries.

Far and away the county with the highest number of boating-related accidents in 2012 was Ottawa in the lake's Westrn Basin.

Here the Watercraft Division recorded 26 boating-related accidents involving 33 vessels and resulting in 11 injuries.

Statewide last year the Watercraft Division recorded 161 boating-related accidents involving 199 vessels resulting in 83 injuries and 11 fatalities.

Looking at the issue from another angle these boating-related accidents caused $729,391 worth of vessel damage and $37,335 worth of property damage, Watercraft Division statistics demonstrate.

Not surprisingly then the Watercraft Division aims to ensure a safe boating weekend as well as a safe boating season, says Norcross.

“We are dedicated to keeping boaters safe while on our waterways throughout the state,” Norcross said .

That mission will mean several things for this Friday through Sunday Operation Dry Water project weekend, Norcross says.

Among them will be targeting boaters who appear to be operating a vessel while under the influence. Or drunk, to put it bluntly.

And those boaters who are found to be intoxicated will learn the hard way about how booze and boating do not mix.

Thus the consequences will result in stiff fines, jail time, and maybe the most sobering of all: the loss of boating privileges and the right to register a boat.

“Boating is a safe and enjoyable pastime when people stay alert and follow the rules,” Norcross also said.

The U.S. Coast Guard will similarly play tough if its crew members discover a boater who is, well, drunk.

Not that the Coast Guard is waiting for this year's Operation Dry Water program to begin before it starts enforcing BUI rules.

So far this year the Coast Guard's District 9 – which encompasses all of the Great Lakes – has issued just shy of 40 citations to boaters found to be operating their crafts while under the influence of either alcohol or a controlled substance.

And 16 of these citations were federal in nature, a scary enough proposition given that federal judges can hardly be described as anything less than determined jurists.

“Boating under the influence is just as dangerous as driving a car under the influence, and not just for the driver but for passengers as well,” said Commander David Beck, chief of the Cleveland-based 9th District Coast Guard Enforcement Branch.

Maybe even worse since the combination of consuming alcohol while boating is magnified by the influences of sun, a boat's inherent vibration, wave action and dehydration.

“If you plan to consume alcohol, plan ahead and have a sober operator return you home safely,” Beck says.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

CORRECTED Truncated version: Rare lake sturgeon catch more rare than one might think

A pair of Lake County anglers set out to catch one of Lake Erie's most common fishes but what hung on until the very last moment was one of the lake's most rare specimens.

And the pair not only have cell-phone photographs to prove it, one of the anglers is a minister.
Both of those details should dispel any thoughts that what they have, Rev. Evan Nunnally of Madison Township and Evan Price of Perry Township came across a rare lake sturgeon, officially listed as an endangered species in Ohio.

It was Price who actually fair-hooked the beast, first thinking he had snagged a submerged tree instead of a bottom-dwelling lake sturgeon.

The two anglers were fishing in 44 feet of water when Price hooked into the sturgeon. It was actually the first fish of the day for Price.

Having his fishing reel's drag set light and using 30-pound test braided Fireline, Price took a good 15 minutes to bring the sturgeon to the lake's surface, Nunnally said.

At that point the quick-thinking Nunnally reached for his cell phone and began taking several digital photographs.

It was a good thing, too, as the lake sturgeon wanted no part of being netted anymore than it wanted to be hooked.

“As we got it to the boat I tried to lift it by the line, but the hook straightened out and the fish swam away,” Nunnally said.

With the image of the fish recorded on the cell phone Nunnally and Price went looking for someone to make a positive I.D. That is, only after both men had caught their respective 30-fish daily limit of Lake Erie yellow perch.

Turns out the fish was, in fact, a rare lake sturgeon, perhaps as long as five feet, Nunnally said.

The lake sturgeon was the most commercially important Lake Erie fish species from the late 1800s and into the early 1900s, says Kevin Kayle, manager of the Ohio Division of Wildlife's Fairport Harbor Fisheries Research Station.

Spawning sturgeon were known to have followed their call to duty up Maumee River tributaries as far upstream as Lima.

Likewise the lake sturgeon was common to the Ohio River drainage system with reports of specimens making spawning runs up the Scioto River as far as Columbus. The last known Ohio River-caught lake sturgeon was in 1971, however, a Wildlife Division document says.

“Sturgeon were once so abundant that when they made their spawning migrations into the lake's tributaries people would spear them,” Kayle says.

What's more, often times these fishers would simply gut any spawning-run female they caught, remove the eggs for sale as caviar and then leave the fish's carcass to rot, Kayle says.

Sturgeon also are Lake Erie's most long-lived fish species, capable of aging to as much as 150 years and having the potential of growing to six feet in length.
A few specimens are even known to have grown to eight feet in length, according to data available from the Wildlife Division.

Weights of 50 to 100 pounds were common, too, while the largest-ever recorded lake sturgeon taken in the Ohio waters of Lake Erie weighed 216 pounds and was caught in 1929.

With an egg-depositing cycle of five to seven years for female lake sturgeon it did not take long for the ever-improving commercial fishing industry to over-exploit the increasingly vulnerable lake sturgeon.

Between that exploitation and degraded stream spawning habitat the lake sturgeon's population had no where else to go but down, and down hard.

As for today's lake sturgeon management the Wildlife Division is monitoring what few fish that anglers catch while at the same time observing the on-going rehabilitation efforts in the Upper Great Lakes along with stream habitat improvements being taken in the Detroit and St Clair River systems, Kayle says.

As for the dimensions of Price's catch, there seems to be some disagreement there between the minister and the biologist.

While Nunnally is of the firm conviction the lake sturgeon went five feet, the best estimate that Kayle is willing to make is that the fish was probably about four feet long and weighed between 15 and 20 pounds, and likely was (still is since it made its great escape) 10 to 25 years old.

“So the fish that Mr. Price caught was really something unique,” Kayle said. “They have quite a fishing tale to tell.”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Lake Metroparks seeking donations for care of two bobcat kittens

Lake Metroparks is seeking some bucks in order to help it raise its two orphaned bobcats.

Working through its 501(c)(3) Lake Parks Foundation the parks system would like to raise $10,000 in donations.

The money would go toward several key components in raising the two female bobcat kittens. Among them would be to help defray veterinary costs, food expenses, and a make-over of the quarantine cage being used to rear the kittens with minimal human contact.

Also, some of the hoped-for money is slated for the purchase and installation of a live-feed surveillance camera.
Such a device would allow both agency staff and the public to view and monitor the two bobcats without having any associated human contact.

This last element is essential, the Foundation's sales pitch literature says, because the ultimate goal is to release the animals back into the wild after they mature and can fend for themselves.

Human contact would disrupt that sought-after assignment as the two bobcats would have become too acclimated to humans; always a no-no when raising any animal intended for release back into the wild.

The most immediate concern is reconfiguring the bobcats' large rearing cage. Here, the wild felines will self-learn how to hunt for live prey.

Lake Metroparks was awarded the care of the bobcats by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

The first kitten was found in early May alongside a road in Muskingum County. A dead adult female bobcat was located nearby, almost certainly the kitten's mother.

A second orphaned bobcat was discovered about one week later, this time in Noble County, and by a person out mowing his lawn. The mother could not be located so the Wildlife Division delivered that kitten as well to Lake Metroparks' Kevin P. Clinton Wildlife Center in Kirtland.

Utilizing a local veterinarian with experience in caring for wildlife, the parks system determined the two kittens were healthy, suffering only from some minor malnutrition as well as parasitic issues.

Initially the bobcat kittens were receiving round-the-clock care including hand-feeding every couple of hours.

Currently the two bobcat kittens are being weaned off a special “milk” formula and have begun eating solid food.

They were introduced a number of weeks ago and are getting along just fine, agency staff says.

Now the task remains of ensuring the young bobcats will have what it takes to survive on their own, a requirement that has led the parks system to consult with other wildlife care specialists on the best “raise for release” strategies.

Bobcats are listed as a Threatened Species in Ohio. By threatened, a listed species or subspecies survival is not in immediate jeopardy but to which such a danger exists. Another example of a state-listed threatened species is the trumpeter swan.

Threatened is one step down from endangered, a term that implies that a species or subspecies is on the brink of being what's called extirpated from Ohio. Other examples of a state-listed endangered species would be the black bear and the snowshoe hare.

Other classification statuses employed by the Wildlife Division along with an example are Species of Concern (black vulture), Species of Special Interest (common raven), Extirpated (American bison), and Extinct (blue pike).
 Suzie Prange, a Wildlife Division biological researcher, notes that bobcat sightings in Ohio have markedly increased since 2002 with 293 unverified sightings reported in 2011 along with 136 verified sightings.

Bobcats were once common in Ohio but changing land-use practices brought about by the emergence of development, farming and increasing human population led to the disappearance of bobcats in the state more than 150 years ago.

Consequently, the bobcat is a species in the Wildlife Division's reestablishment crosshairs, with the agency going to great lengths to foster the species' continued recovery in the state.

“That the Ohio Division of Wildlife would choose to entrust the care of these orphaned bobcats to us demonstrates its confidence in our Wildlife Center's staff,” said Lake Metroparks' executive director Paul Palagyi

“Such trust only goes to affirm the excellent reputation that is shared by our Wildlife Center and its dedicated and professional staff.”
And while any donation for the bobcat's care is acceptable the Lake Parks Foundation notes that any contribution of $100 or more will include recognition by the Wildlife Center as well as future bobcat updates and reports.

For further information about making a donation, call 440-709-6205.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, June 21, 2013

Farm pond fishing great tonic for Jeff's Self-Pity Day

It was obvious that both oar lock shafts were too small for their respective oar lock sockets.

The ill-fitting devices groaned enough to wake the dead, only this was morning, a time when everything comes alive.

Besides, I don't mind listening to the grinding of metal-on-metal; not when I'm rowing the small aluminum boat on the medium-size Ashtabula County farm pond anyway. The sound that heralds a leisurely day of angling ahead.

You know the kind, a morning without worries, no deadlines, no rush to race to the pond's best of the best bass-fishing spots.

It is just you, the creaky oars, the “wush” of a passing songbird's wings, the plop-plop-plop of a noisy top-water bait and the sound a bass makes when it becomes a submarine-launched ICBM missile.

Even before the first cast was made and the first bass would strike, I knew this day would fulfill its promise. It had too as well, seeing as how the morning was my own-proclaimed “Jeff's Self-Pity Day.”

They come about every so often, even being planned for, as it was it this case today.

You see, by the time you are reading this with your first or second cup of coffee of the day I'll be laid flat out on an operating table with my back – and backside – exposed to a neurosurgeon and an entourage of attending nurses and such.

I'll be going under the knife for the third time in order to try and correct a pinched nerve down in the lumbar region. The surgeon will first have chisel out the titanium rod and screws she installed 2 ½ years ago and then replace them with something that (hopefully) will work.

Maybe the third time is the charm. But the after-affects of the surgery will echo throughout the remainder of the fishing season and then hang around for much of the up-coming waterfowl- and deer-hunting seasons.

So while Jeff's Self-Pity Day is not an actual declared national holiday (though I forgot to see if the U.S. Postal Service recognizes it since it does just about every other holiday) it's my day.

Don't get me wrong. You can take self-pity to a level where it annoys everyone but yourself.

A little bit goes a long way, and even God doesn't like a serious complainer. Just ask Elijah, the Old Testament prophet.

After escaping the Judaic king Ahab and his less-than-pleasurable wife Jezebel, Elijah fled to a cave hollowed out in Mt. Horeb. Here, Elijah pouted, allowing to fester a belief that he alone was the only righteous person still left in all of the kingdom.

Not so fast, the Lord replied in a rebuke, saying: “Yet I will leave 7,000 in Israel, all the knees that have not bowed to Baal and every mouth that has not kissed him”

Oops. I would try and not duplicate Elijah's whining.

So a few hours of rowing the small aluminum boat around the seam of the farm pond was intended more of an elixir than as a several-days funk.

I've done it before, this Jeff's Self-Pity Day, always trying to keep the process at a quick and trimmed simmer without allowing it to boil over into something more serious.

My first stop was an arm of the pond I call the Pavilion, a decent place all around to hunt for feeding largemouth bass.

Vapor was rising from the bronze-colored pond water, lifting up in tortured fingers to cover the dark green of the surrounding woodlot.

It was not the same place that is was one-plus-weeks a month ago and it won't be the same place three months from now.

But that was okay, too. My Jeff's Self-Pity Day was never intended to begin with the end of the spring wild turkey-hunting season and it will most certainly end long before the start of the early goose-hunting season.

I first took up a favored drop-shot rig, a 4-inch Berkley PowerBait worm affixed to the bottom jig and a Mr. Crappie minnow attached to the further-up-the-ladder hook.

Yeah, the system worked and worked twice more before I changed just for change sake.

The next cast employed a new bait-casting reel on an old Berkley Lightening which together flung a ¼ ounce spinnerbait equipped with a willow leaf blade and an undulating hula-tail of white and chartreuse rubber streamers.

That lure fooled a respectable 16-inch bass and proceeded to trick three more bass before I ran out of bay to cast to.

Up next was a leopard-finished top-water bait, small enough to catch the interest of a large sunfish but large enough to still prick the attention of a feeding bass.

Even though few were the bass that were seen busting the chops of shallow-running bluegill fingerlings, I still flicked the top-water bait. Good thing, too, as the steady plop-plop-plop of the lure was more than the bass could tolerate.

By the time I had rowed past Goose Blind Alley the fishing along that stretch of the pond the fishing had spiked. So I didn't spend much time until I had rowed to the Beaver Lodge and slightly beyond. There is an old creek channel underneath the water's surface here and often in early summer the bass will cruise along the break.

They're after small bluegills, which I am told is what a white-and-chartreuse spinnerbait is suppose to represent. I really don't know if that is true or not since I've never asked a hooked bass for its opinion on the matter.

Rather, I've been simply keen on the fact how the spinnerbait has proven itself time again during the 20 years I've fish this pond.

Disappointing was the Goose Tube Pole armature. Funny, too, since it was only three weeks ago when I captured and released a 5-pound bass from this very same spot.

Not this time, however, as two different drop-shot rigs yielded only a bass tiny enough to be food for its grandma who most recently owned the Goose Tube Pole position.

Rowing on I came to the Crappie Log, a fishing spot that's proven itself so often in the past that when I made my approach I let slip the fact that was Jeff's Self-Pity Day.

The Crappie Log is a largely submerged tree that angles out far enough from shore an angler can position himself both fore and aft and cast alongside each rim of the tree.

A spinnerbait would work here though not a topwater, since the Crappie Log is far enough out that such a lure would be out of place.

Clearly the order of the day called for the use of a drop-shot rig with two baits. A good call since the upper soft plastic lure attracted a 14-inch black crappie. Another cast and the bottom jig-and-ringtail plastic worm did the same for a respectable bass.

So-So Bay lived up to its reputation so I didn't spend much time there.

Besides I knew the clock was running out on Jeff's Self-Pity Day. Yep, even I can take only so much of wallowing in despair.

Working past Grapevine Point and rowing to the face of the dam, I leaned into the oars, trying to maintain position against a freshening breeze.

Knowing from past experiences the dam's face would likely produce a fair representation of small bass, but no heavyweights.

Maybe this pond is too predictable and my repository of weaponry unchangeable.

But that would be missing the point of Jeff's Self-Pity Day. I wanted – I needed – some angling comfort food exactly because it was Jeff's Self-Pity Day.

Next time I'll mix things up a bit, stirring the broth of what I'll use and maybe focusing some additional attention on those places that I tend to dismiss. Like So-So Bay, and Yellow Warbler Tree.

At the end of the outing and after the oars were stored underneath the boat, I felt pretty good about myself.

Maybe not so much to completely erase Jeff's Self-Pity Day but enough to get me at least through the drama of the pre-surgical go-over.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cleveland becomes home to second Coast Guard cutter/ice-breaker

The U.S. Coast Guard cutter/ice-breaker Morro Bay has more lives than a feral cat.

After settling in along the East Coast more than decade ago the 662-ton Morro Bay now has snagged a permanent berth in Cleveland, right alongside that of its twin-sister-size cutter/ice-breaker the Neah Bay.

First commissioned in 1981 the Morro Bay was attached at the hip with Baltimore, mostly seeing duty in the Chesapeake Bay.

It did not live a long and fruitful life, however, being decommissioned just 17 years later in 1998.

Then along came 9/11 and the world changed. Enough so, in fact, that the powers-that-be in Washington put the electric paddles on the Morro Bay and kicked-started the vessel back to life and good health.

Just as the Army and Marines wanted more boots on the ground, the Coast Guard wanted additional assests on the water as well.

This time the vessel was assigned further up the Eastern Seaboard in New England, specifically New London, Conn.

However, the Morro Bay never had much opportunity to take on a New England accent.

As fast as you could say “snow squall” the Morro Bay saw itself chugging up the St. Lawrence Seaway to assist in ice-breaking duties on the Great Lakes.

But even the U.S. Government has a heart.

Recognizing the human toll on the vessel's 17-person crew and their family members, all of whom initially thought they could depend on sleeping in the same bed every night rather than being a wandering nomad, the Coast Guard began hunting for a better idea.

That the rather substantial expense of sending a vessel all the way from New England to lakes Erie through Superior the Coast Guard was another mitigating factor in the agency's desire to find a happy home for the Morro Bay.

With these key points driving the Coast Guard, the agency came to the conclusion that for the crew and the bottom line it would be best to dock the Morro Bay in Cleveland.

Cleveland also happens to be the Coat Guard's command post for the agency's Ninth District, an area that encompasses the entire Great Lakes region.

So now the Morro Bay and the Neah Bay become the Coast Guard's two most easterly located ice-breakers for the Great Lakes.

There are no ice-breakers home-ported on Lake Ontario.

Yet even when Lake Erie is ice-free neither the crew of the Morro Bay nor the Neah Bay can sit back and drink pina colodas while waiting for lake-effect condition's to shut down commercial traffic requiring the services of an ice-breaker.

Both vessels have other missions and duties to attend to, the Coast Guard says.

Among them is search-and-rescue operations, response to water pollution, as well as other duties befitting a multitasking vessel and agency.

Oh, as a way on introduction the Morro Bay is named after a small town in southern California along the Pacific coast and which is the only all-weather small boat harbor between Santa Barbara, Calif. And Monterey, Calif.

As for the Neah Bay, it is located on the Makah Indian Reservation in Calallam County, Wash. and across from Canada's British Columbia in the Pacific Northwest.

The Coast Guard maintains a station in each location.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Now for my two cents worth on the Brown County Five case

After a three-year legal battle that began in a rural Ohio county court, the case that became widely known as the “Brown County Five” has reached the legal end of the road.

Along the way participants, jurists and spectators were treated to more legal detours and side trips than a badly programed auto GPS.

The road trip began when a little-known county prosecutor sunk her teeth into the backside of several top Ohio Division of Wildlife officials.

Among them were the agency's chief, assistant chief, law enforcement administrator, the agency's human resources administrator and the supervisor for the Wildlife Division's southwest Ohio.

All of whom saw their felony charges dropped several weeks ago after Ohio's Supreme Court eight justices ruled on a technicality. That being, comments made by the five to the Ohio Inspector General violated their so-called “Garrity Rule” rights, thus making such statements inadmissible at trial.

No statements, no case, was the net result, correctly concluded all of the attorneys.

And so Messieurs David Graham, Randy Miller, James Lehman, and Todd Haines, along with Mademoiselle Michelle Ward-Tackett, now can try to sort out how the heck they're going to pay for three years' worth of legal services on their respective retirement incomes.

It will be tough, for sure, and no doubt they'll still spend more than a few sleepless nights pondering their entire legal journey, their career and their legacy.

Meanwhile, Little can lick her wounds and assess what happened to a case many people said never came close to approaching the level of felony charges.

And so after more than three years working to contain my opinion in order to remain objective as I covered the case, I believe I've earned the right to express my opinion.

Consequently, I sincerely believe Little performed an invaluable service. Her doggedness helped open the shades to the shielded cronyism within the Wildlife Division, especially in southwest Ohio.

At the heart of the matter was a largely sweeping under the rug by officials of a festering problem. That is when Allan Wright, the state wildlife officer assigned to Brown County, strolled into the spotlight after it was revealed he had allowed a South Carolina wildlife officer to use his address in order to obtain a resident Ohio hunting license.

Being ever so mindful and careful here, that's when the snowball started its high-speed race downhill, bowling over the five agency officials in an avalanche of legal maneuvering by both sides.

These supervisors pretty much gave Wright an administrative "tsk-tsk-tsk."

The width, length and depth of anger on the part of many sportsmen and sportswomen regarding this gentle tap on Wright's behind cannot be understated.

Nearly all of the public I've listened too over the past three years (including some of whom do not hunt or fish) were deeply upset over how the wildlife officer was not aggressively disciplined.

They note (correctly) that had they been caught the Wildlife Division would have pounced.

Eventually Wright was convicted in federal court on a separate matter involving violations of the Lacey Act, in itself an issue that outraged sportsmen, though he managed to evade state charges because he too was covered by the Garrity Rule.

So was Little being a "dope" as some people have suggested?

No, her convictions and determination helped ensure that the rule of law is followed irrespective of status.

Yet it would be nice if I could say all is now honky-dory in Ohio Department of Natural Resources land.

Sadly, it is not.

I fear what has now happened is how the ODW has moved from a localized application of cronyism to a more institutionalized form of cronyism.

Such is best illustrated by the recent attempt by ODW chief Scott Zody to circumvent the usual vetting process of game law proposals while at the same time ignoring sound wildlife management principles by accepting (if you will) the cronyism of a few hot-headed legislators.

Just how entrenched is this festering issue and that of assumed entitlement is within the ODW and the parent Ohio Department of Natural Resources as a whole can be seen in other Ohio Inspector General investigations.

There were no fewer than 10 Ohio Inspector General investigations of ODNR employees from 2010 to 2013. Not all of them involved the Wildlife Division, either.

The latest OIG finding was released May 29 and involved an investigation into possible "wrongful conduct" (allegedly covering up stays at Punderson State Park Lodge in Geauga County) by ODNR/ Ohio State Park supervisor Eugene Shrum, for instance.

Another entry involved two ODNR/Ohio State Park rangers stationed at Cleveland Lakefront State Park for misconduct related to the release of a person named in a felony arrest warrant.
Even the ODNR's Division of Forestry has not escaped scrutiny. Another OIG investigation found how Forestry was so inept at disposing of what it considered “contaminated” materiel that the goods were fished out of a dumpster by agency personnel for personal use, by-passing the most basic record-keeping and disposal protocols.

In its defense, the ODNR properly says it has and will act on willful acts of violating department policy and also will continue to “refer all possible criminal violations by employees to the OIG.”

Problem is, such department policy slip-ups, alleged criminal activity and the like should never reach the front door of the OIG.

The first line of action must always remain at the threshold of the ODNR's and the governor's doorsteps.

However, it is clear how the current ODNR director and governor have left the department and its staff out to hang on the line.

The fact the OIG continues to display an active interest in the ODNR demonstrates to me how the director and the governor want credit for when things are humming along but are more than happy to say that the buck stops somewhere else.

It does not, not by a long shot.

So I salute Ms. Little, along with department critics like Troy Conley; all of whom continue to illuminate issues that ODNR officials would just as soon stay in the shadows.

Were they not to have spoken up, stood up, and weathered their own unfavorable criticism one can only speculate how much worse and how much longer the ODNR's cronyism and bumbling bureaucratic ineptness would have gone undetected.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ammunition Shortage of 2013 Update IV

Though still out of whack the ammunition shortage of 2013 continues working to right itself.

The last posting indicated some anecdotal evidence that the ammunition supply stream for some of the most popular rifle and handgun is beginning to see additional flow.

Such a view has not diminished for such pistol calibers as 9mm Luger, .40 Smith & Wesson, .380 Auto, and .45 ACP as well as .223 Remington/5.56mm and .308 Winchester.

Less encouraging is the supply of .22 Rimfire though even here a shooter looking for this cartridge caliber can locate it, but generally only is the person is willing to spend time on the Internet or else put miles on the family car driving from one gun shop to another.

A look at the Internet supplier Ableammo ( shows the company has listed about 19 varieties of 9mm ammo, 20 flavors of .45 AUTO and a fair supply of .223/5.56mm.

Apparently less well endowed with ammunition is Bud's Gun Shop ( whose web site at the time of viewing was not as extensive as was Ableammo.

Even so, Buds Gun Shop's web site does seem to show improvement compared to a previous viewing.

While the electronic shelves of Cheaper Than Dirt's ( look pretty well stocked a study at some of the prices for several popular handgun calibers indicated they were above those encountered at the two previously mentioned web sites.

The same was true when I compared what I saw last Friday at my local Gander Mountain store in regards to the cost of 50-round boxes of 9mm ammunition and .380 ACP ammunition to what I saw on the Cheaper Than Dirt web site.

None of this is be construed as either an endorsement or a caution in patronizing any of the mentioned on-line businesses.

Ammunition availability and cost to the consumer may both be easing but the marketplace remains volatile with demand still largely exceeding demand and with hording still an issue.

All this being said, it remains prudent for prospective ammunition purchasers to shop around, monitor web sites frequently and be prepared to place an order when a good deal comes along.

Just don't go overboard and order what you don't need but which someone else does.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, June 17, 2013

Texas, South Dakota seek to poach Connecticut's gun makers

The drive to lure firearms companies from gun-control-friendly states to gun-friendly states is picking up steam.

Governors from Texas and South Dakota are both expected to make their low-taxes, good-workers, firearms-friendly Southwest and Upper Midwest states' sales pitches next week.

Their targets are the firearms makers in Connecticut, currently unfriendly to firearms ownership, made more so by that state's recent enactment of some of the nation's most draconian gun laws.

That Connecticut Governor Daniel P. Malloy is also said to have made some strident comments regarding firearms, didn't help the state's standing in the eyes of several gun makers located there, either.

Neither did Malloy's pronouncement that it is “disingenuous” to link gun-making with gun-buying as little more than political chutzpah, some Connecticut firearms makers contend.

In jeopardy then is $1.7 billion annually to Connecticut's economy, either directly or indirectly linked to the state's firearms industry.

Among Connecticut's firearms makers that both Texas Gov. Rick Perry and South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard plan to visit independently are O.F. Mossberg and Sons and Colt.

Mossberg has an established presence in Connecticut that traces back to 1919 when the firm was founded by Swedish immigrant Oscar Frederick Mossberg.
It remains the country's oldest family owned firearms manufacturer with O.F. Mossberg's grandson, Alan, the firm's chairman of the board, and his great-grandson, Iver, the company's CEO.

Presently, Mossberg's North Haven, Conn. Firearms plant employs 200 people. And it is said the company already employs another 400 people in Texas.

On its website, Mossberg has a link to the National Rifle Association's Institute for Legislative Action, specifically to a link that includes a pre-written email encouraging visitors to send to their elected officials in Washington.

This email addresses the topic of Congresses' proposed expanded background check bill which failed in the U.S. Senate but which may be revisited yet this year.

Mossberg has waded into the arena of firearms law proposals and ancillary issues before, too.

When the Great Britain-based producers of this nation's largest consumer sports show – the Eastern Sports and Outdoors Show near Harrisburg, Pa. - this past winter moved to ban the display of AR-platform firearms, Mossberg joined a chorus of dissenters and withdrew from the event.

The show did not go on as a result, either.

And at the time Mossberg was blunt about its decision, saying in a Jan. 23 media release:

“Mossberg’s position on the Second Amendment is unwavering and steadfast; therefore, the company will not support any organization or event that prohibits the display or sale of legal firearms.

“We stand united with our loyal customers and supporters in this constitutional right and had only hoped for a different outcome.”

Similarly Mossberg is unhappy with Malloy. The firm's senior vice-president Joe Bartozzi, is oft-times quoted as saying “It would be incredibly unlikely for us to expand in Connecticut.”

And expansion is on the mind of Mossberg, too, as demand for the firm's various sporting rifles and shotguns soar to the point where additional manufacturing capabilities is a growing necessity, the firm says.

The stakes may even be higher for Malloy and Connecticut should either Perry or Daugarrd succeed in wooing Colt to relocate.

Colt is one of the world’s oldest and most prestigious firearms companies, the firm's history dating back 177 years.

At the very least Connecticut would see the loss of 670 well-paying, specialized manufacturing jobs should West Hartford, Conn.-based Colt decide to pack up and move to South Dakota, Texas or some other firearms-friendly state.

Colt as a firearms manufacturer predates the American Civil War, its founder Samuel Colt being awarded a patent for a revolving handgun capable of handling up to six charges in 1836.

Over the next century-plus Colt Firearms developed any number of firearms that have become iconic legends both inside and outside the world of guns.

Such firearms as the Colt .45 Peacemaker revolver and the Colt-built, John M. Browning-designed Model 1911 semi-automatic pistol were game changers in their own right.

Arguably Colt's most famous firearm is the semi-automatic AR-15, a firearm joined at the hip with the M16 rifle, which still exists in various modified forms as the nation's main battle small arms rifle.

Like Mossberg, Colt also has not been shy about expressing its displeasure with what it believes is Connecticut’s currently unfriendly climate for gun makers - and just as importantly for the firm - gun owners.

On Colt's web site is a link to the firm's “Colt in the Media/Colt on the front lines in Connecticut.”

This sub-site of Colt currently hosts links to several videos defending their products and reminding Connecticut's lawmakers of what is at stake job-wise.

Among the videos is one that shows Colt employees descending on Connecticut's capital protesting Malloy's anti-gun legislation.

In a March 18, 2013 opinion column appearing in the Hartford (Conn.) Courant newspaper, Colt's president and CEO Dennis Veilleux additionally said:

“Like every other precision manufacturer in Connecticut, Colt is constantly approached by other states to relocate, but our roots are deep.

“Colt is and always has been an integral part of a state characterized by hard work, perseverance and ingenuity.

“I know, however, that someday soon, I'll again be asked why we should continue to manufacture in a state where the governor would make ownership of our product a felony.

“I will be asked these questions and unlike the past, there will be few good answers.”

Come next week Gov. Rick Perry of Texas and Gov. Dennis Daugaard of South Dakota will be among those persons doing the asking and hoping Veilleux's answer will be “After 177 years it's time for a change of scenery and a change of politicians to ones who actually like us and the products we make.”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Allan Wright denied early release from his probation terms

For now at least defrocked, former Ohio Division of Wildlife officer Allan Wright won't have the opportunity to hunt nor fish any earlier than his original probation requirements stipulated.

On June 14 Wright had sought relief from his probation demands, seeking a release from them by his sentencing officer, Federal Court Judge Michael R. Barrett.

The former state wildlife officer pleaded guilty in 2012 for violating four misdemeanor charges of the federal Lacey Act.

Specifically, Wright was charged with violating the Act “by trafficking in and making false records for illegally harvested white-tail deer,” said the U.S. Justice Department when the former state wildlife was sentenced.

At the time of Wright's sentencing, Judge Barrett said the former 18-year state wildlife officer had placed himself at a “crossroad” in his life.

Barrett then said also Wright had given wildlife law enforcement in the state a “black-eye” and had similarly “violated his oath of office.”

Among that oath's components includes “Article VI, Private Conduct:”

Wildlife officers shall be mindful of the special identification their position has to the public as
upholders of the law.

Laxity of conduct, unwholesome private life, expressing disrespect for the law, or seeking unearned privileges will reflect poorly upon wildlife officers, the Division of Wildlife, and the Department (of Natural Resources).

Wildlife officers must lead the life of decent and honorable persons.

Wildlife officers have no special privileges or benefits, but gain satisfaction and pride in following and furthering an unbroken tradition of safeguarding the wildlife resources of Ohio.

Wildlife officers who reflect upon this tradition shall not degrade it. Rather, they shall so conduct
their private life that the public will regard them as examples of stability, fidelity, and morality.”

In being sentenced July 17, 2012 by Barrett, Wright was ordered he could not buy either a hunting or a fishing license anywhere in the world for five years, or the length of his probation.

Wright also was placed under house arrest for three months, pay $1,000 to Ohio's Turn-in-a-Poacher (TIP) program, pay $25-per-count court costs, cannot engage in the taking of any illegal drug or alcohol and must meet periodically with a probation officer.

Thus and almost one year to the day when Wright made his court-required sentencing appearance, he sought from Barrett release from the remaining four years of his probation terms.

Without making any comment Barrett denied Wright his request, which was also opposed by U.S. Justice Department attorneys.

Wright maintains a job with Lincoln Memorial University, a small, private four-year liberal arts school located in Harrogate, Tenn. There, Wright works in the school's maintenance department.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, June 14, 2013

Ohio's wet, cool June could impact wild turkey production

Hoping the recent unseasonably cool, wet weather will soon break, the state's wild turkey management administrator is looking ahead to a hot hunting season next spring.
Problem is that right now the weather patterns throughout Ohio has stalled, stuck in a cycle that might be chilling out poult survivability, says Mike Reynolds.
Reynolds is paid to fret about such things, administering the Ohio Division of Wildlife's wild turkey management program, a hugely successful project that went from naught to 60 in only a couple of decades.
In wildlife management terms that time span is merely a blink of the eye.
“I've been watching the storms roll across the state over the past week with some trepidation,” Reynolds said. “Heavy rainfall events of an inch or more – especially when accompanied by below average temperatures – can negatively impact poult production.”
While Reynolds says at least some of the accompany temperatures associated with the rains are warmish that detail does break down in some locales.
In Cleveland, and as assembled by the National Weather Service, June's to-date daily temperature is two degrees below the long-term average.
Meanwhile, June's to-date amount of rainfall stands at 3.25 inches, or 1.73 inches above the month's long-term average.
Elsewhere in Ohio similar departures for their respective averages are being noted.
That being said, however, May was a generally average month for precipitation and which saw – again, generally – above average temperatures.
“Turkeys have been around a very long time and they have this ability to persevere,” Reynolds also said. “July and August will be the telling months because that will be when the poults are the most observable.”
In terms of the ups and downs of poult production and how weather plays a factor Reynolds noted that the poults-to-hen ratios was 3:3 in 2008, 2:0 in 2009, 2:3 in 2010; 1:9 in 2011; 2:6 in 2012.
Such figures must, of course, be used as comparison indicators in order to better understand trends.
Even so, the high poult production/survival year in 2008 had a harvest echo that began in 2009 and carried on a couple of more years.
The flip side of that record was the dismal production/survival year of 2011 which resulted in less than stellar hunting for jakes in 2012 and equally poor hunting of two-year-old birds this past spring, said Reynolds.
Fortunately for this year's spring wild turkey hunters the comfortable recruitment of poults in 2012 resulted in a jake kill this spring that constituted 27 percent of the total harvest, Reynolds says.
“That's pretty good,” Reynolds said. “And it also means the 2014 spring hunt should be good, too, because it is the two-year-old toms that do a lot of gobbling.”
Reynolds is looking even further down the road as a matter of fact.
The anticipation is that the next big 17-year locust hatch will arrive in the eastern portion of Ohio in 2016.
These protein-rich cyclic insects are high-valued commodities for growing poults which put on the pounds and helps ensure bird survivability, says Reynolds.
“We should have a good bunch of jakes to hunt in 2017 and another huge harvest of two-year-olds in 2018,” Reynolds said. “Maybe even enough for another record harvest.”
-Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, June 13, 2013

UPDATE: Ammo Shortage, Part III (Where/How to buy ammo)

While not speaking for what's happening elsewhere, the availability of ammunition does appear to have gained strength here in Northeast Ohio.

This morning (Friday, June 14) I visited Gander Mountain's Mentor, Ohio store after catching a whisper that a substantial shipment of ammo was going to be placed on the shelves.

In this neck of the woods, ammunition deliveries to the local Gander Mountain and Dick's Sporting Goods store are made late Thursday with the items placed on shelves for their respective Friday morning openings.

At 9 a.m. the doors were open and in rushed perhaps 25 eager buyers, all of whom made for the store's back where the firearms department is located.

The first things to go were the 525-round bricks of Remington Golden Bullet .22-caliber ammunition. These bricks went for the fair market price of $24.

And the store had no problem supplying whatever a customer needed in the way of .380 ACP, 9mm Luger or .45 Auto.

Some customers walked away with four 50-round boxes of ammunition, mostly Blazer brand though the plain-Jane Remington brand of each caliber were available as well.

In fact, the store had ample supplies of 250-round bricks of .380s and 9mms along with 200-round bricks of .45s. Each brick in each caliber were/are selling for $120.

Also available was a good - though not inexhaustible - supply of .223 Remington ammo along with an increased stock of other rifle ammunition in several popular calibers.

Maybe this is all anecdotal but it does offer a glimmer of light that the dark days of ammunition supply and demand may have begun to recede.

In any event, here's the rest of the original post on the subject, submitted Thursday (June 13) evening:

"Guns and Ammo" magazine's on-line edition has come up with some suggestions on how, where and why to buy ammunition during the current shortage, which, by-the-way, is showing some signs of easing.

And while gun owners have the right to ask such publications as "Guns and Ammo" and such organizations as the National Shooting Sports Foundation and the National Rifle Association what took them so long to offer suggestions, one could say "well, better late than never."

From a personal standpoint I'll go along with scouring gun shows, searching web sites, and making repeated visits to local firearms dealers as decent ways to find ammunition.

While they are not perfect venues these three ammo-buying portals have largely satisfied my needs.

And as for the Big Box Store route, that path to ammo buying has provided mix results.

The G&A item also includes a survey on where readers have gone to buy their ammunition during the current shortage. At the top of the list were Big Box stores (like Cabela's or Bass Pro Shops with 33 percent and closely followed by local gun shops at 30 percent.

On-line sources was a distant third at 17 percent, which is a shame because this can prove a super source for ammunition, particularly for odd-ball cartridges.

The category "Other" saw nearly 11 percent of shoppers using this venue.

For me the biggest surprise were gun shows. Fewer than 11 percent of buyers employed this method.

And bringing up the rear were blogs and forum chat rooms ar less than one percent.

In any event, here are the suggestions as presented by the e-version of "Guns and Ammo" magazine:

"Overwhelming demand for ammunition has taken over the country like a classic 1930s bank run.

"Panic buying is clearly illustrated by long lines, surging prices and “out of stock” signs at nearly every retailer. If the only things left on the shelf at your local gun shop are a couple bottles of Hoppes and a bucket of foam ear plugs, then you’ve felt the wrath of the great ammo shortage of 2013.

"The shortage is affecting the entire spectrum of ammo consumers, including police and sheriffs who are cutting back on routine training drills.

"As reported by Fox News, many departments are rationing their supply for deployment use only. Nobody wants their local police armed with a single round in their pockets like Barney Fife.

"Manufacturers are dealing with the shortage by running their factories 24 hours a day, and still can’t even keep up with the demand for nearly every caliber.

"According to Neal Emery from Hornady, “We are producing as much as we can, much more than last year, which was a lot more than the year before, etc. No one wants to ship more during this time than we do.”

"Many people have even resorted to buying guns based on which caliber of ammo their local gun shop has in stock at a given time. For example, those who can’t find ammo for their 9x19mm pistols are buying guns in 9x18mm or .380 ACP, just so they can have something to shoot. Others who can’t find 22LR are resorting to other available rimfire cartridges like the .17HMR.

"Look no further—if you need ammo, then you came to the right place! Guns & Ammo is here to help you find the ammunition you’re looking for.

"We’re sharing some reliable places to find ammo so you can carry on with your regularly scheduled practice and plinking endeavors. Here’s where you can find ammo right now:

"Big Box Stores
"Cabela’s has maintained a steady supply of common ammo calibers throughout the shortage. They continually update their inventory, both online and in store several times a day.

"The reason why they maintain their inventory is simple: Ammunition manufacturers and distributors prioritize their outgoing supply to the retailers who place large orders, or maintain a sizeable contract. Cabela’s has a long-standing tradition as a major ammunition retailer, and manufacturers want to continue that relationship.

"Gun Shows
"Gun shows are historically one of the best places to find great deals on ammunition, but buyer beware! You need to keep a few things in mind before trying to buy ammo at a gun show.

"First, get there early. Long lines at recent gun shows make Black Friday look like an ordinary fast food drive-thru.

"When you get the chance to buy ammo at a gun show, it’s always best to know who you’re buying from. If you don’t know the seller, make sure you buy what’s being advertised.

"If it’s being sold as factory new, inspect the ammunition to make sure it hasn’t been reloaded, or swapped with another brand or caliber.

"If it’s being sold as reloaded ammunition, check to make sure it has new primers, properly shaped and necked brass, and correct bullet seating. If you’re unsure, ask questions or walk away.

"If you do buy ammunition, record the seller’s booth number and contact information. On the occasion that you’re dissatisfied with your purchase, at least you have a chance of contacting the seller, or reporting their booth number to the director of the gun show.

"While fraudulent ammo sales are not common, they are certainly possible in a market where people will buy anything that’s available.

"Blogs and Online Forums
"If you need to find ammo, you can rely on tips from online blogs and forums, such as the G&A Forums. Our forums welcome a collective wealth of information from thousands of knowledgeable and helpful firearms enthusiasts. With almost 4,500 contributing members in our forums, you’re sure to find information on available ammo.

"Members have shared this type of information, as well as pricing and quality, throughout the current shortage. Once again, buyer beware! Make sure you buy from a trusted source, and of course be careful when giving personal information to anyone on the Internet.

"If you’re interested in a topic that doesn’t already exist, start a new thread and ask a question. G&A Forum members are very receptive, and typically respond quickly to new threads.

"Online-Only Retailers
"Bypass the lines at local gun shops. Pierce Munitions is a privately held manufacturer in Buffalo, N.Y., that produces some of the highest quality ammo on the market. Even better, Pierce sells directly to the consumer at Pierce Outfitters.

"Pierce currently has several rifle and pistol calibers available, including its exclusive new Ted Nugent hunting and personal defense loads. Also, don’t be afraid of its factory reloads. Pierce uses quality components and state-of-the-art loading machines.

"The G&A Online Editors highly recommend Pierce Munitions for its industry leading ballistics, outstanding customer service and fast shipping.

"Training Courses and Shooting Events
"Don’t blame your lack of training on a low supply of ammo. Popular training courses and events are making ammunition available for sale to its participants at reasonable prices.

"Specifically, U.S. Marine Corps veteran Andrew Touhy from the Vuurwapen Blog is now offering carbine courses with rifle ammunition for sale.

"His approach is pioneering a new standard for client accommodations and quality firearms instruction.  He goes so far as to offer rifle rental, lodging reservations and airport pickup options for his shooters.

"Don’t talk yourself out of shooting competitively because you just want to hoard all your ammo for doomsday. Popular shooting events are offering ammunition to its competitors on match day. 

"Hornady recently offered ammunition for sale to competitors at Zombies in the Heartland 2013 in Grand Island, Neb.

"Shooters had the option to exterminate zombies with Hornady’s venerable Zombie Max ammunition. In fact, those who didn’t use Z-Max probably didn’t put the zombies down with one clean shot.

"Read more:"

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn