Wednesday, September 25, 2013

UPDATED, ADDED NEW MATERIAL: Troubled Lake Erie vessels keep rescuers busy

Whether it's been a bad series of bad luck, Lake Erie perch anglers preparing for one last hook-up with fish or boaters a little too eager and thus failing to properly check their equipment, rescuers recently have been busy off Lake and Ashtabula counties.

In the past week both a good Samaritan and the ever-vigilant Coast Guard have assisted boaters in distress.

Sept. 25 the Coast Guard's Station Fairport Harbor went into action mode and assisted a pair of what the agency politely refers to as “distressed boaters.”

If that weren't enough just one day later the Station Fairport Harbor unit was again called out to perform a rescue.

Then four days later Fairport Harbor's Coast Guard counterparts in Ashtabula also came to the rescue of boaters in need of saving.

Busy, busy, busy.

The first incident happened about three miles north of the mouth of Grand River, which just happens to be about the same location as one of the Central Basin's finest perch-fishing grounds.

Anyway, a little before noon a boater came upon the hapless pair whose vessel was taking on water, the Coast Guard said.

Said boater then used his (or maybe it was a her) marine-band radio to reach the Coast Guard's Buffalo-based search-and-rescue controller who then used an advanced communications system to get a fix on the 32-foot boat.

The Coast Guard redirected one of its Detroit-based hilos that was performing a training mission off Lorain.

Also put into action was Station Fairport's 25-foot response boat and which arrived less than 10 minutes after the good Samaritan had made the initial call.

Staunching the leak so the endangered boat's bilge system could keep up the Coast Guard vessel then towed the craft to the nearby Mentor Lagoons Marina.

"The rescue went very well with good communication among all the people involved," said Petty Officer 2nd Class Eric Riley, the small boat operator of the rescue boat. "It was good to get out on a case where we had to use most of our skill set.”

The one-day-later episode the station received a radio report from a recreational boater that two people were clinging to a partially submerged vessel.

In response, the Coast Guard again sent its response boat out into what had become some pretty choppy seas. Earlier in the morning Lake Erie's texture was silky smooth but by noon its waves had passed the four-foot mark and headed north to up to six feet.

Such wave height was too much for the distressed boat and its two elderly passengers. By the time the Coast Guard crew arrived the pleasure boat was completely submerged.

Worse, the Coast Guard reported that neither of the men were wearing life vests. Pulling the two men aboard the rescue vessel the Coast Guard then proceeded to work on keeping the submerged vessel from becoming an artificial reef.

This the crew managed to do. Back at the Coast Guard station the men – whose names the agency would not release – declined any medical assistance.

On Sept. 29 the Coast Guard unit at Station Ashtabula were on the scene in less than 20 minutes to a radio call that a boat was taking on water about two miles north of Ashtabula Harbor.

By 9:10 a.m. on a bright, pleasant Sunday morning a Coast Guard response boat managed to locate the vessel and its two occupants, hauling aboard the boaters.

The men rescued acted smartly and contacted us immediately upon realizing that they were in trouble," said Petty Officer 2nd Class William Campbell, a Station Ashtabula official..

"They made several smart decisions by contacting us immediately, wearing their life jackets, carrying a waterproof phone and vectoring us in with a visible object upon seeing our boat. They also personally realized an error and mentioned to me that they wish they had a marine band VHF-FM radio aboard their boat to assist in communicating with us easier without dropping a call."

The two men declined medical attention when they were brought back to shore. Their boat was salvaged at about noon, Campbell said as well.

Just one week earlier Eastlake residents and Lake Erie anglers, Fred and Zoe Haas, decided to do some fishing.

At some point in the angling the Haas' heard the trio cry out in distress, their boat taking on water.

Making a long story short, Fred Haas used one of his lines to tie his smaller vessel to the troubled larger one and proceeded to tow it back to the Chagrin River.

Complicating matters were that the line broke once and needed to be retied, the trip back was about a five-mile run and the occupants of the distressed vessel had to keep bailing all the while.

Finally, Zoe Haas said, the linked boats made it back to the dock.

Haas also declined an offer of money to compensate him for his actions or expenses.

Fred broke the link between the boats, and ignored the fishermen's money which they waved to him. He simply turned his boat around, sailed to a tributary of the river, and disappeared,” Zoe Haas said.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

No archery deer hunter is ever says he/she has enough stuff

Not to insult my sister or my wife but the fretting and work of an archery deer hunter supersedes that of them getting the house ready for the up-coming holidays.

We're not talking about lugging down last year's tired displays of Santa Claus, Thomas Kincade's collectors' Christmas village buildings nor endless strings of LED lights and fake evergreen vines.

Nope. Many (Or most) archery deer hunters began their preparation way back in the summer when mosquitoes ruled the forest and last year's miss on a trophy buck is a sore – but fading memory.

Cranked up by mid-August was one of three electronic game feeders followed two weeks later by the second and two weeks after that by the third.

A check of necessary equipment was made, pop-up hub blinds installed in their proper positions, and crossbows examined for zero at the shooting range.

Good thing, too, since one of the two Horton crossbows was shooting one foot high and about the same to starboard at the paper target set at 15 yards.

Some dialing-in was necessary though the first crossbow – a Horton Vision – was fine-tuned by only the third shot.

Not to be forgotten was the placement of trail cameras at each of the three hunting venues; fairly represented by single sites in Lake, Geauga and Ashtabula counties.

Letting the trail cameras “soak” for several days at a time their respective SD cards would be removed and then installed into a digital camera and examined for any deer activity.

Alas, of the three cameras one recorded no deer on the first nor the second inspection while another camera repeatedly was being tripped by a pair of does but mostly after dark and never in the morning.

As for the third trail camera that one showed both good early morning and late afternoon activity at the feeder, the problem being the images appeared to show the same two does and the same two fawns. One of which still possessed the ever-so-slowly-fading fading spots of a young animal.

That fawn deer will be off limits until well into the season and likely its momma as well.

Along the way has been purchased numerous 50-pound sacks of corn with many, many more sacks yet to be bought before the season ends the first Sunday in February.

All of which is just the beginning, of course. Added to the blinds were the required chairs, water bottles, plastic urinals (yep, you read that correctly), the placement of thermometers at each location, second-grade apples added to supplement the corn, mineral blocks strategically placed, the double-checking of pre-sighted objects with a laser range-finder, the purchase of extra Thermacell insect repellent and butane fuel bottles, and a host of other chores intended to get the shooting centers primed and ready.

At home there's been the slow but steady work of fueling the hunting backpack designed to carry the required truck used by me during the archer deer-hunting season.

Stoked so far into the backpack has gone three (yes, three) field-dressing knives, a breast splitter, a must-carry copy of Ohio's current hunting law digest, the latest copy of the NRA's “American Hunter” magazine for reading material, a never-yet-used compass, and a back-up camouflaged face mask.

Yet to be added is that Thermacell mosquito-repelling device though I did toss in a different kind of bug-chasing tool that I bought for a song and a dance a few days back from Bass Pro Shops' Knoxville, Tenn. Store.

Oh, and I still have to rummage through my storage bins for my black-dyed sweatshirt, hat, gloves and what-not along with a signal whistle, an Earth Scent wafer, compact binoculars, one Zip-Lok bag containing a reasonably well-endowed wad of toilet paper, a back-up crossbow cocking rope, and another Zip-Lok bag containing the material required to complete the check-in procedure should I actually happen to kill a deer any time soon.

I'm sure I'll miss something. I always do including once or twice either a quiver of arrows or even the actual crossbow.

Likewise a time or two I've been forced to wear my street shoes or a pair of sneakers because my hunting boots were at home and I didn't have all that much time to hunt after work.

Then again, an archery hunter never can be too careful. There's always that one little piece of “must have” gear that has been gnawing away at your mind and wallet.

Which is why, come to think about it, I have this sudden urge to visit my local Gander Mountain store.

After all, an archery deer hunter can never, ever have enough stuff.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, September 16, 2013

UPDATED: A slice of Lake Erie shoreline now protected forever

With four American bald eagles soaring in the thermals above them, about 100 people were witnesses to the protection of 600 acres of Lake County that includes 9,000 feet of Lake Erie shoreline.

Dedicated today (Sept. 16) was a 200-acre expansion of Lake Metroparks' all-new Lake Erie Bluffs Park, located in Perry Township.

Backed by a 13-party partnership that included local, state and federal governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the project cost $11 million, including $10 million in donations and competitive grants.

Among the outfits concerned enough to lock-up the Bluffs site for now and tomorrow were the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, the Clean Ohio Fund, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Trust for Public Land, the Western Reserve Land Conservancy, the Lake County Soil and Water Conservation District, and, of course, Lake Metroparks.

The thing is, stated the Trust's senior projects manager Dave Vasarhelyi, people need land to connect with. Otherwise, said Vasarhelyi said, “they will loose that appreciation for the land and the stewardship that goes along with it.”

“It's been a great collaboration of so many entities,” also said Frank Polivka, president of the parks system's park board.

Yep, that's the case for sure, said Cameron Davis, senior senior adviser to the administrator of the U.S. EPA.

“The Great Lakes Protection Fund makes it possible for so many entities to come together for projects like this one,” Davis said. “But it doesn't happen by a magic wand.”

Nope, and neither does the physical grunt work in moving from the planning stage to the actual nuts and bolts building and operational stage.

Not only did the parks system spearhead the mundane paperwork stuff the agency's go-to natural resources members were the boots on the ground.

In only a few short weeks a cadre of these employees carved out a 1,700-foot driveway and ample parking lot out of a second- (or maybe third or possibly, forth-) growth forest and weed-choked meadow that featured its share of poison ivy and ticks.

“Yeah, I'm still scratching,” said one smiling Lake Metroparks staff member while another said he thinks he may have encountered a tick bite or two.

Constructed by the agency's natural resources staff was a trail to the pebbly Lake Erie “beach,” a few park benches overlooking the lake, signage as well as a minimal amount of other amenities.

Which suits parks officials just fine.

Lake Erie Bluffs is not going to fall into that category of parks where ballfields, playground equipment and tackiness rules, agency officials say.

Instead, this is going to be a place for a stroll down to a primitive, unimproved lake beach and a to-die-for view of Lake Erie where sunsets will probably be enough to satisfy the most discriminating park visitor, says Paul Palagyi, Lake Metroparks' executive director.

Yet some improvements and tweaking will still come about, Palagyi said as well.

Among the anticipated to-come additions will be a four-season shelter that overlooks the lake along with a nearby 50-foot-tall observation tower, Palaygi said.

“When we're asked what we're going to do here at Lake Erie Bluffs Park our answer is a 'light touch,'” Palagyi said. “We don't need or want a heavy hand here.”

And that light touch will be around for a very long time, opined Richard Cochran, president and CEO of the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.

“Two hundred years from now there will still be a healthy and viable place for our descendents to enjoy,” Cochran said.

Maybe the best summation came from Lake County nurseryman Mark Gilson, whose local life and livelihood are sewn together so seamlessly with Lake Erie and its coast that the fabric has become a one-and-the-same tapestry.

“Some areas are so important that they have to be protected for everybody for all time,” Gilson said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Birds that migrate shouldn't fly into glass houses

A walk into in a sliding glass door may elicited a “ye-ow” and perhaps something even a little more, shall we say, colorful?

Yet for North America's birds who are now packing their bags for their breeding ground exit to fly to their wintering homes, those same sliding glass doors are real killers.

So much so, in fact, that by the time all of those thrushes, sparrows, larks, robins, hummingbirds, cedar waxwings, woodcocks and other songbirds arrive in time for their Southern version of a mint julep, an estimated 300 million to one billion of them will not arrive.

Those figures tell the story of just how dangerous glass is to birds, something that many humans have a difficult time comprehending.

After all, while a person might explode into a blue tirade when he or she conks his or her head into well-cleaned glass nothing more than a temporary bruise or bump results.

“Without question, collisions of birds into glass is one of the most significant causes of bird mortality worldwide,” said Christine Sheppard, manager of the American Bird Conservancy's Birds Collisions Campaign.

Among the most vulnerable – or perhaps, most glass-accident prone – North American birds species are the wood thrush, the black-and-white warbler, the dark-eyed junco, the white-throated sparrow, the ruby-throated hummingbird, and the American woodcock, Sheppard says.

A major factor in birds dying by striking glass, Sheppard says, is the fact that many bird species migrate at night and through unfamiliar turf.

“Parts of the problem are actually simple to understand,” Sheppard says.

This simplicity, says Sheppard, is really an elementary deduction on the part of humans.

We, as humans (for the most part and usually, anyway), can deduce when a pane of glass lies ahead.
The give-away might be a window's frame or perhaps even a little bit of dirt or smudge on the glass, arresting our attention and thus avoiding a run-in, Sheppard says.

“Birds don't learn these cues so they take any reflection literally or else they try to fly through what they believe is transparent in order to reach something beyond,” she said.

Sheppard says she and others are working on ways to minimize the number of birds attempting to take a detour through a double-pane of Anderson glass.

Her efforts include bird-avoidance testing of various materials in an effort to find something that works for people as well as for the birds.

Nor are manufacturers of glass turning a blind eye to the issue, also says Sheppard, bringing into the equation experts who hardly could be said are bird-brains.

These experts are even poking into the realm of ultra-violet light, aware that while the human eye cannot see into this range, a bird's eye can. Or at least in some fashion.

“One commercially available product with a UV signature is virtually transparent, but only moderately effective,” Sheppard says. “However, this manufacturer – along with others – is working hard to perfect the technology.”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

On the quiet passing of two Lake County giants

Lake County is two giants fewer today and that makes our tight-knit community a much sadder place to be this day.

It is very unlikely that Hugh D. Pallister Jr. and Rudy V. Veselko Sr. ever bumped into each other, let alone were poker-playing buddies.

Yet both men left a valued footprint in the history of Lake County, for rather different reasons.

On second thought, maybe there just happens to be a common thread in an environmental sort of way.

The obituaries of the 100-year-old Pallister is laid out one space away from that of the 92-year-old Veselko in today's News-Herald, these giants passing on two days apart.

Their short obit narratives do neither man justice, however.

Right up front let us pay tribute to the fact that both men were World War II veterans; Pallister as an Army officer and Veselko as a Marine.

Diverging, Pallister was both an accomplished public servant and an ardent supporter of protecting Lake County's open space.

Pallister served for 24 years as a councilman for his adopted hometown of Willoughby. In 1984 the city even bestowed the honor of “Distinguished Citizen of the Year” on Pallister.

For those of us in the arena of conservation, the environment or whatever you want to call it, Pallister was an active participant and leader in the protection of Lake County's natural resources.

The list of environmental agencies, organizations and affiliations centered around Pallister's outdoors world are almost too many to number.

Even so we will name a few, among them being Lake Metroparks, the Burrough's Nature Club, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, and the Western Reserve Land Conservancy.

And whenever I saw Pallister he virtually always was with his muse; wife Gretta.

Together this two-for-one environmental dynamo was a force for good to be reckoned with as they worked to secure for future generations such threatened Lake County properties as Gully Brook in Willoughby-Willoughby Hills.

When that jewel was installed in Lake Metroparks' crown, in some not-so-inconsequential way it was due to the efforts of Hugh and Gretta who saw to it that the stone would be purchased and then polished to its present high luster.

At all times, too, Hugh was of the old school; polite and mannerly almost to a fault.

Kindly to those whom he met, Hugh also was always amply pleasant whenever he answered my telephone calls seeking his or Gretta's thoughts on this or that Lake County environmental matter.

Others believe the same way as well.

Bob Riggin, former Willoughby councilman who served with Pallister for a couple of terms, says he lost both a fellow former public servant and more importantly, a good friend.

“Hugh was a great guy, very conscientious with a real concern for Willoughby as well as being equally well involved with the Chamber of Commerce,” Riggin said.

Riggin said he also worked closely with Pallister on Lake Metroparks matters. That was when Riggin was a park board commissioner and Pallister served on this or that agency advisory committee.

“He did a lot and he accomplished a lot,” said Riggin.

Yes, he did.

Then again, so did Veselko. In his own way, that is.

Veselko was the founder of the now-closed Veselko's Greenhouse in Mentor.

Though I willingly admit that Veselko hardly could be called an associate let alone a friend, I did see his greenhouse business as central Lake County's go-to home vegetable plant and flower bed gardening store.

Then again, so did a lot of other urban backyard farmers, such as my late fishing companion, Dean Palmer of Willoughby Hills.

That I came to learn by reading Veselko's obit that he was one of Lake County's first bedding plant specialist was one of those “uh-huh” movements. While it was a detail unfamiliar to me the fact didn't overwhelm me as being unthinkable.

Veselko knew his stuff about plants

Which helps explain why from late April through May Veselko's Greenhouse was alive with customer activity. We would cruise the shop's isles, depending upon the sunlight filtering through the greenhouse's somewhat dingy glass in order to see what we wanted to purchase.

And as often as not for me that meant experimenting with some of the many varieties of tomato plants Veselko's seemed to stock.

Sure as rain, too, early in each planting season I'd inquire about buying such plant stock as beans or whatever, only to be gruffly rebuked by Veselko that I was too quick to ask for a vegetable that wouldn't be ready for a few more weeks.

Yet every pre-growing season I'd carry to the car my mush-mash of tomato and pepper varieties, knowing that the bank account was a tad slimmer and my behind a smidgen chewed out for asking so very obviously a dumb gardening question.

No matter, as I'd return the following spring to go at it again with Veselko and his hardy veggie plant factory.

And so Lake County has seen the passing of two divergent individuals, each a World War II veteran and both men of high caliber in their own respective and unique way.

Thank you, gentlemen, you helped transform Lake County into a better place by being giants among us.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

UPDATED: Hugely outspent, Colorado recall supporters still see ouster of both anti-gun state senators

(At the end of this blog post appears reactions from both recall supporters, such as the National Rifle Association, and those who were opposed to the effort, among them being the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. Their comments are being reprinted in their entirety as found in a Sept. 11 Internet search.)

In a rebuff for their anti-gun votes, two Colorado state senators have lost their seats in an historic recall vote.

As a result, efforts to build broader legislative support for more strict gun control laws likely has taken a serious hit – as many backers of such measures admitted would happen if just one, let alone, both Colorado state senators fell in Tuesday's recall voting.

Conceding defeat Tuesday evening was Colorado State Sen. John Morse.

Morse is – or was - Colorado's State Senate President.

The latest preliminary figures show Morse losing by a 52-percent to 48-percent margin.

Also removed from her legislative job was Colorado State Sen. Angela Giron who lost by an even larger margin. Preliminary election results show Giron being ousted by a 56-percent to 44-percent margin.

Like Morse, Giron also conceded Tuesday following a steady erosion of her one-time early huge lead.

If the preliminary figures hold up then Morse and Giron will become Colorado's first-ever successfully recalled state legislators.

Both – now, former – state legislators entered the sights of a large cadre of Colorado voters for their work this summer in assembling a package of controversial strict gun-control measures that ultimately became law.

So contentious were these measures – which included a ban on large-capacity ammunition magazines – that at least two firearms-related manufacturers said they will exit the state.

All of which led to Colorado's first-ever recall of state legislators.

And that successful recall petition drive ultimately became a national fight by proxy regarding gun control.

In all, both sides spent about $3.5 million, though of that figure $3 million was donated by recall opponents, reports Reuters News Service.

Among the opponents contributing money was Los Angeles billionaire Eli Broad who donated $250,000.

Meanwhile, long-time anti-gun activist Michael Bloomberg also felt led to contribute to the no-recall side. The billionaire mayor of New York City wrote a personal check for $350,000.

That figure is only slightly less than the $368,000 contributed by the National Rifle Association for its independent efforts in support of the recall.

Others involved with the recall opposition were former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly along with their Americans for Responsible Solutions, an organization that self-describes itself as supporting so-called reasonable gun control measures.

They made the recall a major electronic-based fund-raising and organizational sales pitch. In an August email appeal, Giffords and Kelly said “This is one of the first major tests of our organization, and the stakes could not be higher.”

Many other politic activists as well as members of both major political parties likewise said the recall results would become something of a national litmus test on the Second Amendment.

And even the most vocal opponents of the two recalls have been quoted as saying the loss of just one of the two state senators would be a serious blow to gun control efforts in America.

So it now it seems that these opponents have the loss of both of their heavily funded anti-gun legislators to fret about over the coming days.

Reaction to Colorado's recall vote from pro-gun control groups:

Coalition to Stop Gun Violence -
"Our thoughts on the Colorado recall results: Disappointing? Yes.
"A major setback? No. We are not going to win every battle, but what is different now for our movement is that we can and WILL engage in every battle.
"We are in a protracted struggle to change gun laws and save lives in this country and up against a well-funded lobby with experience in picking vulnerable targets.
"The NRA carefully selected two vulnerable senators and defeated them in recall elections marked by low turnout and voter suppression (no mail-in ballots).
"What is most important is that Colorado's historic new gun laws remain in place. These laws are popular with Colorado residents.
"And listen to the words of John Morse. He has zero regrets about his role in enacting these laws and would do it again. If he is not bowed, why should we be?"

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence -

"By passing legislation to strengthen Brady background checks, Senators Morse and Giron were acting on behalf of the will and well-being of their constituents and standing up for a safer Colorado. 
"Make no mistake, this recall reflects the interests of the corporate gun lobby and a small group of extremists not the citizens of Colorado," - Dan Goss, President of the Brady Campaign to Stop Gun Violence.

No statement yet found by the following gun control groups: Americans for Responsible Solutions, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, People for the American Way/

Reaction from Pro-Second Amendment groups:

Gun Owners of America -

"What a startling upset.  The voters of Colorado have done it!
"Yesterday, Colorado booted two unprincipled, back-stabbing, arrogant legislators from office.
"This was truly a historic effort and the first time in Colorado history that there has ever been a recall election -- let alone a successful one.
"Democrat Senators John Morse and Angela Giron lost their bid to hold onto their seats in districts that heavily favored Democrats.
"(In fact, Giron represented a district where only 23 percent of registered voters are Republicans.)
"In Morse’s race, 51% of voters pulled the recall lever to eject him from office, while 56% of voters sided against Giron.
"The effort to recall Morse and Giron began as a genuine local effort, although the prospects of beating two entrenched Democrats attracted big bucks from out of state.  Anti-gun New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent hundreds of thousands of his own dollars in an attempt to help Morse retain his seat.
"But it didn't work.  And now the handwriting is on the wall for other legislators.
"Morse especially angered constituents earlier this year when he, as the Senate President, helped slam several unconstitutional gun control bills through the legislature and onto Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk -- legislation such as magazine restrictions, bans on private gun sales (without a background check), etc.
"Gun Owners of America stepped into the fray during the spring and summer, and did its part in rallying the troops to get Colorado voters to the polls.
"And so, to the voters of Colorado, we at Gun Owners of America want to thank you all for your efforts to send a powerful message to the rest of the state -- and the rest of the country.
"As stated by the New York Times this morning, the recall has given “moderate lawmakers across the country a warning about the political risks of voting for tougher gun laws.”
"Your activism in Colorado has truly been a model for the rest of us to follow!"

The National Rifle Association - 

"A(n) historic grassroots effort by voters in Colorado’s Senate Districts 11 and 3 has resulted in the recall of Colorado Senate President John Morse (D) and Senator Angela Giron (D).
"The people of Colorado Springs and Pueblo sent a clear message to their elected officials that their primary job is to defend our rights and freedoms and that they are accountable to their constituents – not the dollars or social engineering agendas of anti-gun billionaires.
"Recall proceedings began earlier this year after Sens. Morse and Giron voted for anti-gun legislation that restricted the ability of law-abiding residents to exercise their Second Amendment rights, including their inherent right to self-defense.
"This effort was driven by concerned citizens, who made phone calls, knocked on doors, and worked diligently to turn voters out in this historic effort.
"The National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) is proud to have stood with the men and women in these legislative districts who sent a clear message that their Second Amendment rights are not for sale in Colorado.
"We look forward to working with NRA-PVF “A” rated and endorsed Bernie Herpin (R) from Colorado Springs and NRA-PVF “AQ” rated and endorsed George Rivera (R) from Pueblo in the Colorado State Senate."

National Shooting Sports Foundation -
"When legislators fail to represent the beliefs of their constituents, it is up to the voters to fire them. And this is exactly what happened Tuesday in the Colorado Springs district of John Morse and the Pueblo district of Angela Giron.
"Sens. Morse and Giron chose to forget about their constituents.
"Instead, Sen. Morse led the hasty effort that led to the passage of a series of highly restricted gun control laws that will do nothing to improve public safety but that did reflect the wishes of national anti-gun organizations, including the one led by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Sen. Giron was a key vote in this ill-considered effort.
"On behalf of our members, we congratulate the grassroots effort of the Coloradans who stood up for their Second Amendment rights against a well-financed effort that poured a massive amount of money into the effort to save these seats.
"Congratulations, too, to Bernie Herpin and George Rivera, who now join the Colorado State Senate and whom we are certain will work diligently to represent the will of their constituents, not forgetting all those who worked so hard to put them in office."
No statement yet found from the following pro-Second Amendment groups: United Liberty, National Association for Gun Rights.
This blog posting likely will be updated as additional information and quotes become available. 

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Some downs but mostly ups in to-date sales of Ohio fishing/hunting licenses

This year's up and down temperatures and erratic weather patterns did not appear to have impacted sales of Ohio fishing licenses.

As for hunting license sales, some forms are lagging from what occurred for the same period last year.

To-date sales of the $19 adult resident fishing licenses (which make up the bulk of such tags sold and resulting income) is 637,024 compared to 633,461 for the same period last year.

In all, 648,044 resident fishing licenses were sold in Ohio during 2012.

And while looking at the various other categories of available for-sale fishing licenses only two showed declines, and each of those were of minimal shortfalls involving largely obscure non-resident angling tag categories.

“Except for March where last year we had a huge number of early fishing license sales, each month in 2013 has seen higher sales,” said Andy Burke, the Wildlife Division's go-to expert on agency license sales.

Burt said as well that if any poor weather had kept anglers from fishing on Lake Erie the sales of fishing licenses did not take any corresponding hit.

Ditto in regards to Inland Ohio, in spite of a generally wet and dreary late June and July, Burt says.

“Since then it's been very mild in the way of temperatures with only occasional rain or a thundershower,” Burt said.

Burt says also that while 2011 was a poor weather year for fishing in Ohio, and subsequently for fishing license sales, both 2012 and 2013 have scored very nice gains.

“They're pretty much right at or a little above the five-year mean for fishing license sales,” Burt said.

With the sales of Ohio fishing licenses are now into their seasonal declines their hunting license sale counterparts are (mostly) on the uptick.

Sales of the all-important $19 resident general hunting licenses are so far doing very well, says the statistics provided by Burt.

The to-date sales of these documents as of today (Sept. 9) stood at 93,677. That compares to the identical 2012 to-date period sales of 88,043 documents.

In all last year the Wildlife Division issued 282,350 resident hunting license, the base document which all qualifying Ohio adult hunters and trappers must first possess.

Very good news is being recorded so far with the sale of the $10 youth apprentice hunting licenses, too. So far the to-date sales of these documents is up about 18 percent; an increase from the 2012 to-date issuance of 2,946 licenses to the 2013 to-date issuance of 3,465 licenses.

In all during 2012 the Wildlife Division sold 15,826 apprentice youth hunting licenses.

Up also is the sale of the $15 Wetlands Habitat (state duck) Stamp, required of all resident and non-resident adult duck and goose hunters.

So far the to-date sales of state duck stamps amounts to 12,416. That compares to the similar 2012 to-date figure of 11,419 state duck stamps.

In all during 2012, the Wildlife Division sold 21,435 state duck stamps.

Perhaps sales of these duck stamps are up because of the liberalization of duck- and goose-hunting seasons and bag limits in effect for 2013. Whatever the reason, the Wildlife Division is happy to take the waterfowlers' dollars.

Now comes the downside in regards to hunting document sales.

Off are the to-date sales of both resident and non-resident fall turkey tags, each costing $24.

In looking over the sales of fall turkey tags to Ohio resident the to-date number is 559 and compared to the 2012 to-date figure of 869. That is a drop of nearly 36 percent.

In all during 2012 the Wildlife Division sold 5,190 fall turkey-hunting tags. Obviously there is more than enough wiggle room on the calender before the Oct. 14 start of Ohio's fall turkey-hunting season.

Not to be an alarmist by any stretch, Burt does note that the sale of Ohio deer-hunting tags is off when compared to the same 2012 to-date period.

Broken done and using the figures supplied today (Sept. 9) by the Wildlife Division, resident adult Ohio hunters have thus far bought 15,028 either-sex tags, each costing $24.

During the same 2012 to-date period resident deer hunters bought 17,675 either-sex tags. That's a drop of 16 percent.

Purchases of either-sex deer tags by adult non-residents has likewise slackened; off 26 percent.

In all, during 2012 the Wildlife Division sold 288,980 either-sex tags to resident adult deer hunters and 44,982 either sex tags to non-resident adult deer hunters.

Of course it is still early in the deer license sales ballgame, Burt quickly notes, with the start of the statewide archery deer-hunting season not until Sept. 28.

Sales of the $15 adult antlerless-only tags are down, too, Burt says.

His Wildlife Division-supplied to-date figures indicate that Ohio resident adult deer hunters have purchased 7,015 antlerless only tags while non-resident adult deer hunters have purchased only 829 antlerless-only permits.

The respective 2012 to-date figures were 8,754 and 1,157 antlerless-only tags.

Note that during all of 2012 the Wildlife Division sold 298,880 either-sex tags to Ohio adult resident deer hunters; 44,942 either-sex tags to non-resident adult deer hunters; 86,052 antlerless-only permits to Ohio adult resident deer hunters; and 14,049 antlerless-only permits to non-resident dadult eer hunters.

Perhaps one of the more curious declines is seen in the sales of shooting range permits.

Given the boom in sales of firearms and ammunition one might naturally assume purchasers would be eager to practice on a shooting range somewhere. Yet based on the sales of the Wildlife Division's annual and daily shooting range permits such may not be the case.

So far 9,441 annual shooting range permits have been sold and compared to the same 2012 to-date figure of 9,729. In both cases the cost for such a permit is $24.

The total number of annual shooting range permits for 2012 was 10,720 by-the-way.

Meanwhile, sales of the Wildlife Division's $5 daily range permits are also off.

The 2012 to-date sale of these one-time range permits was 20,083 while this year's to-date figure is 18,992.

In all during 2012 the Wildlife Division sold 38,756 one-day shooting range permits.

“The year-to-date sales of hunting licenses is thus far up, and which is a good thing,” Burt says.

Even so, Burt says he is not ready to draw any conclusions, given the earliness of the hunting season hour.

“I'm expecting sales to greatly increase as the archery deer-hunting season opens and before the early antlerless-only muzzle-loading season Oct. 12 and 13,” Burt said. “And let's wait until Thanksgiving to see if the sales are still below those of last year.”

What may surprise a lot of Ohio sportsmen is the depth and breadth of documents the Wildlife Division sells; and beyond the standard hunting, trapping and fishing permits, of which there exists a rather lengthy tally.

We have, for instance, the sale of duplicate licenses (up 31.2 percent to-date this year, and which is silly since sportsmen can simply photo-copy their documents and put them in a safe place); donations to the Wildlife Fund, the Habitat Fund, and the Diversity and Endangered Fund (up 26.46 percent, up 25.2 percent, and up 20.82 percent, respectively); Legacy Stamp sales (up 25.63 percent); Gift Certificates (down 44,63 percent but based on some really tiny numbers anyway), and no fewer than six categories of Wild Ohio subscription programs.

Okay so the very rock-bottom of the bottommost line is that to-date the Wildlife Division has collected a total of $20,279,252.25.

For the identical to-date 2012 period that figure was $19,937,324.

In all during 2012 the Wildlife Division earned $39,718,741.50.

Consequently, no matter how one slices the pie, Ohio's hunters, anglers and trappers continue to back with their wallets sound fish, game and non-game management and related fish and wildlife law-enforcement programs.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Sunday, September 8, 2013

How a judge makes a case for fishing and hunting

Geauga County's Probate/Juvenile Court Judge Tim Grendell is one of Northeast Ohio's reigning mountain man.

A devoted hunter and eager angler, Grendell might only be out-ranked in the outdoors department by Geauga County Common Pleas Court Judge Dave Fury.

Yet Grendell is upping his reputation for backing the things that help make the outdoors both desirable and tolerable: Hunting and fishing.

To that end Judge Grendell is working with the Geauga Park District in assembling a pair of fishing-related activities along with a special kids' lottery-style hunt during Ohio's statewide youth-only firearms deer-hunting season, set for Nov. 23 and 24.

In Ohio, county probate judges wield considerable behind-the-scenes power with their respective county park systems. For a very simple reason. Probate judges get to appoint - and if they so choose – to reappoint their respective parks system's board of commission members.

Now Judge Grendell is helping to host two so-named “Family Fishing Expo” events.
Each is designed for families with kids ages 8-14: Sept. 14, at Beartown Lakes Reservation in Auburn Township.
The second is scheduled for the next day, Sept. 15, at Swine Creek Reservation in Middefield Township.
Both events are from 9 a.m. to noon, and registration is required at or 440-286-9516, says the parks system.
As explained by Geauga Park District's spokeswoman Sandy Ward, participants engaged with the fishing expo “will enjoy instruction in the basics of fishing equipment, knot typing and fish identification, followed by a morning of fishing with the help of experienced anglers.”
Equipment will be provided or families can bring own.
Additionally, those young people who apply by October 31 and are selected via lottery may also take part in Youth Hunting on Nov. 23 and 24, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at The Rookery, Ward said as well.
Applicants must possess a valid youth hunting license and youth deer permit, have completed the Ohio Division of Wildlife's Hunter Safety course, and be accompanied by a non-hunting adult.
All Wildlife Division rules and regulations apply.
Applications and additional information are available at The West Woods Nature Center, Big Creek Park's Meyer Center, and online at
In his sponsorship of these events, Judge Grendell formed the following special volunteer committee to work with Park District personnel and assist the Court in planning and encouraging participation: Al Schienke, Michelle Reda, Scott Denamen, John Oros and the Court's Constable, John A. Ralph, who will act as chair.
"Geauga County has a rich tradition of fishing and hunting," Grendell said. "It is important that we pass this legacy on to the future generations. I appreciate Geauga Park District's natural resources and want future generations to enjoy these great resources."
Prizes will be offered by Judge Grendell and other event sponsors.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, September 6, 2013

New killer canine virus appears in Ohio

A new threat is stalking the family Fidos of Ohio.

The Ohio Department of Agriculture says it is working with other animal health experts to determine the cause and origin of a series of a potentially fatal gastrointestinal dog disease in the state.

The department is also urging Ohio veterinarians to contact the Ag Department's Division of Animal Health if they suspect any animals in their care are suffering from the same disease, believed possibly to be canine circovirus.

The department’s Division of Animal Health has been taking reports of severe dog illnesses in several parts of the state for the past three weeks, said agency spokeswoman, Erica Hawkins.

So bizarre is this here-to-fore unknown canine viral disease that even scientists are calling it “novel” and “emerging.”

Previously circovirus infections were known to impact swine, not canines. The first case of canines being susceptible to a circoviral disease appeared just last year and in California.

There are medications approved for fighting cicovirus in swine though not canines.

“The classification of this new species provides the first direct evidence of an evolutionary relationship between two distinct virus families that includes genetically diverse viruses with single-stranded DNA circular genomes,” says Columbia (university)Technologies Ventures in a recent scientific paper on the subject.

Affected dogs have exhibited similar symptoms including vomiting, bloody diarrhea, weight loss and lethargy.

Although there are several known causes of these symptoms in dogs, it is generally believed that there is an unknown contributor to the cases, the state's top veterinarian says.

“While we continue to work diligently to identify what is making these dogs sick, we are asking Ohio’s veterinarians to help by contacting our laboratory for consultation if they suspect they are treating a related case,” said State Veterinarian Dr. Tony Forshey.

Veterinarians can help by sharing information on what pet owners should look for and how they can protect their dogs, Forshey said as well.

Importantly, Forshey say, owners of dogs with similar symptoms should contact their veterinarian immediately.

The department likewise recommends that concerned dog owners take standard precautions used to reduce the spread of viral infections. Such pro-active steps include monitoring a pet closely for signs of illness as well as refraining from co-mingling them with other dogs.

“The most important thing dog owners can do is call their veterinarian if they have concerns about the health of their pets,” Forshey said. “Your pet's veterinarian is the best person to help determine if your animal is ill and what steps should be taken to help them recover.”

As far as the disease possibly being canine cirocvirus, part of the Ag Department'son-going investigation confirmed a case of the disease a fecal sample taken from an ill dog.

“This is the first laboratory detection of canine circovirus in Ohio,” Forshey said.

Further work is being done to verify the significance of this finding, Forshey said also.

The limited research available shows that canine circovirus can cause vasculitis and hemorrhaging in infected dogs.

“The laboratory confirmation is important because the virus is newly isolated, however we are not prepared at this time to confirm that canine circovirus is the cause of the dog illnesses,” Forshey said. 

“Because the symptoms being exhibited can also be linked to other known illnesses, additional analysis and information is needed to determine if this virus alone or in co-infection contributes to illness and death in dogs.”

The Ohio Department of Agriculture will continue to investigate the situation and urge veterinarians who believe they are treating dogs with similar symptoms to consult the Division of Animal Health by calling 614-728-6220.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, September 5, 2013

How a community can successfully get a handle on a swollen deer herd

If any community out there is fearful that a proposed controlled archery deer hunt would fail ought to first visit the Holden Arboretum in Northeast Ohio.

Straddling Lake and Geauga counties and spread over two townships, one village and one city, the 3,500-acre Holden Arboretum has for several years conducted a controlled archery deer hunt. All in an effort to get a handle on the four-legged riff-raff.

And it appears the nation's largest (or second largest) arboretum has just gone and done that, too.

All without stirring the pot of hyper-active opposition from either neighbors or Holden's dues-paying members.

By way of full disclosure, my wife and I are both annual Holden members, and I am one of the institution's roughly 65 to 70 permitted archery hunters.

Just how successful the controlled hunts have benefited the Holden Arboretum is seen in the cold, stark statistics kept by the organization's natural resources staff and backed by its small and fully functional police department.

Last year Holden's permitted hunters shot 30 deer, 24 of which were antlerless animals.

The prior hunting season (2011-2012) saw 49 deer shot. The season before that and the figure was 42 and before that, 47 deer.

Thus the permitted hunters have inches ever so close to achieving what the Holden Arboretum and any other deer-plagued outfit or community strives for: A healthy – but stable - white-tail population that is not at war with homeowners, motor vehicle drivers and perplexed community officials.

All three of those elements, by the way, are factored into how the Holden Arboretum monitors the comings and goings of deer on the reserve as well as the status of its plants.

Holden engages a multi-prong strategy to both study deer numbers and the impact the critters have on the arboretum's browse, says the institution's conservation biologist Mike Watson.

Presently, says also Watson, the best scientific projection is that the arboretum has 14 to 15 deer per square mile, down from the high-water mark of 30 deer per square mile as determined in 2006.

Ideally, Watson says, Holden's goal is to see a deer concentration of 10 to 20 deer per square mile.

“So we're about in the middle right now,” Watson said.

Yes, it has taken a number of years to achieve something close to parity in Holden's deer herd size yet the fact remains it is far from being an impossible or unreachable objective.

To assemble such success with minimal muss, fuss and expense, the Holden Arboretum utilizes willing archery hunters.

The Holden Arboretum does not lack for volunteers, each of whom have unique hoops to jump through.

Not only must hunters conform to Holden's set of rules (hunt only within their respective assigned zone, must report all kills, no harm to trees or plants, be courteous toward trespassers, among others) but observe the requirements established as well by Kirtland Hills Village or Kirtland City.

For the former that means registering with the village's police chief, obtaining a special village permit, the requirement that a permitted hunter must shoot at least one doe, and any buck taken must have a minimum of six antler tines.

In Kirtland City's case, any Holden hunter must kill a doe before shooting a buck, a rule enforced by virtue of the fact that all successful deer hunters must physically present their animal to the community's police department.

Oh, yes, Kirtland City likewise requires that each participant must successfully complete an archery proficiency test.

If any permitted Holden hunters believes either the village's or the city's rules are too draconian or unfair, they aren't talking. At least not publicly, anyway.

The reason is simple to understand, as well. The Holden hunters know a good thing when they see – and found – one.

They have exclusively use of a designated area for the entire length of Ohio's archery deer-hunting season, and generally enjoy few or no interruptions or harassment by non-hunters or even from other deer hunters.

In the end, therefore, not only is the Holden Arboretum within shouting distance of getting a long-term handle on its deer herd, but several dozen archery hunters are having a really cool time enjoying a pretty exclusive outdoors experience.

It's the best of both worlds and is something that other institutions, arboretums and communities can emulate and achieve.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Always the best things happens on Opening Day

I could order Millie and Berry to rise in the morning and take up their station alongside the farm pond.

Or I suspect I could bribe them, or maybe coax them, or simply say “let's go, girls. Kennel up.”

They'd go, of course, my eight-year-old Berry as well as my four-year-old Millie.

I could do any of these things and the response would be the same; the two Labrador retrievers would eagerly hop into the back of the SUV and take to the 45-minute ride to the farm pond the way you'd expect any goose-fetching-fool-of-a-dog would act.

With eager anticipation.

But I won't. Not tomorrow morning anyway.

The girls played hard today. They always do when it comes to a waterfowl-hunting outing.

That today marked the opener of Ohio's early Canada goose-only hunting season was more a matter of my interest than a concern for either of the two black Labradors.

It is said that dogs can't mark the passing of time and I suspect that is correct.

Still, Millie and Berry seem to know when a trip to the pond is for fun or when it is a business trip.

Perhaps that is because they understand that what's removed from the gun vault, stuffed into a case is more than just a training dummy.

And when we do get to the farm pond and they hear the lock up of the Franchi semi-auto along with a testing of the goose calls, well, son, Berry and Millie just know this morning is going to be unlike those summer P.T. sessions with the whistle, the harness and the training dummy.

Oh, yeah, they know; my Millie and Berry. They're ready, too. Eager to a fault, if truth be told.

Today was no different, expect that this time Berry was more out of line than was Millie.

Berry needed more corralling, a switch of previous times when the younger Millie would want to play by her own rules.

I guess that was my mistake during all of those training sessions. My focus was on correcting Millie's faults more than being concerned that Berry would be the one to step out of line.

That's unfair, though, the step-out-of-line thing, I mean.

Yeah, Berry needed a tug and a tie to the tethered dog lead but, whoa, how can I be too critical of a senior citizen retriever who jumps out of a boat in order to retrieve a 10-pound goose I had to chase down and then polish off?

Can't, really.

Don't want to forget Millie, either.

She did her part in ensuring that a second goose that hit the water at the same time as the other bird wasn't going anywhere except for the game bag.

So we went three for three in the first few sparks of the season opener. A good finish to a good beginning, if you ask me.

Even when the morning melted in the unseasonable mugginess and nearly all the birds stopped flying the dogs were always a watchful distance from the farm pond's watery hem. They would periodically stop in some silly dog-play game to stand chest-deep in the water; eyeballing the pond in case a goose had somehow slipped in whilst they were not looking.

It was all very tiring. For dog and man.

After nearly six hours of hunting we packed it in and made our way home. Sanctuary, and dinner and a comfortable bed for each of us.

And though tomorrow morning would surely offer another go-round with the geese I won't be ordering, bribing, coaxing, or encouraging Berry or Millie.

They earned their paycheck today. There will be other days and other birds. None of us have anything to prove, least of all Berry and Millie.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn