Wednesday, August 27, 2014

UPDATED 08/28/14: O.F. Mossberg moves to distance itself from Red Jacket Firearms

For the second time in less than 10 months the family owned firearms titan O.F. Mossberg and Sons of North Haven, Conn. found itself in league with a controversial figure.

The latest controversy impacting Mossberg is a now-severed link with Will Hayden, the founder of Red Jacket Firearms of East Baton Rouge, LA.

Hayden was arrested for allegedly repeatedly raping a female minor for more than one year, the victim said by the official complaint as young as 11 years old when the alleged incidents began in March, 2013.

Many people may know Will Hayden as the crusty patriarch of the alternative network Discovery Channel’s “Sons of Guns” reality television show.

As a result of the subsequent allegation and arrest, the Discovery Channel has ceased producing the popular “Sons of Guns” series. It had aired on the Discovery Channel for five years.

Similarly O.F. Mosberg and Sons wasted little time distancing itself from Red Jacket Firearms as well.

Mossberg spokeswoman Linda B. Powell said the firearms maker "... has terminated its agreement with Red Jacket Firearms, effective immediately."

"This statement was posted on our Facebook page this morning (August 28) as well as removing any references from our website," Powell said.
Just as Red Jacket Firearms had moved quickly and far from its association with Hayden. The firm’s web site home page has posted a disclaimer that notes Hayden is no longer associated with Red Jacket Firearms.

“Red Jacket Firearms LLC has initiated and received full legal separation as an entity, from William M. Hayden.

“It is with heavy hearts, we will be continuing to operate and ensure the fulfillment of new customer orders, back orders and to provide support to those affected by these new developments. WE are the Heart and Soul of Red Jacket and we will remain steadfast in our commitment to quality and our customers, for years to come.”

 Yet a red flag involving Hayden may have been raised years ago.

In 2009 the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms claimed the shop could not provide the required paperwork trail for 10 firearms, a serious breach of the rules demanded of all firearms licensees.

In a 2010 agreement with the ATF, Will and his adult daughter Stephanie both said "yes" to surrendering their federal firearms licenses. The shop continues to operate but under someone else’s FFL.

This event did occur before “Sons of Guns” began airing on the Discovery Channel, however.

Also, a search and examination of the Internet site “Complaint List – The Consumer’s Voice,” posts a long series of alleged consumer complaints related to Red Jacket’s customer service.

However, prior to the August 28 parting of ways, a strong link existed between Mossberg and Red Jacket.

The firearms firm and Red Jacket – along with Hayden and its CEO,  Joe Meaux - announced April 23 of this year the signing of a multi-year agreement to sell and promote a so-called Red Jacket-branded line of rifles and shotguns.

Not forgotten either is how earlier this year O.F. Mossberg saw another one of its co-joined firearms emblems come under serious fire.

In that case waterfowl maker – and family elder of A&E’s “Duck Dynasty,” Phil Robertson - was roundly criticized for comments many people said were anti-gay and racially polarizing. The comments first appeared in the up-scale mens' magazine “GQ’s” January 2014 issue.

That incident resulted in A&E suspending Phil Robertson from appearing on the alternative network’s enormously popular program.

A&E later retracted the suspension when the resulting howl raised by Robertson’s and “Duck Dynasty’s” many defenders drowned out those shouted by their collective detractors.

By the time this stew began to boil rapidly, Robertson, a number of his grown sons and the Duck Commander badge had already become entwined within the O.F. Mossberg fold. The firearms firm is currently making and marketing a line of “Duck Commander” brand firearms.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Day the Earth Stood Still: ODW and HSUS agree on something

Normally the Ohio Division of Wildlife and the Humane Society of the United States are not even in the same book let alone on the same page.

And yet the state agency pegged with managing fish and wildlife as a renewable resource and one of the nation’s most aggressive so-called animal rights groups are in accord on one subject anyway.

The Wildlife Division and the Humane Society together agree that it’s a not-too-bright idea to feed urbanized white-tailed deer. Otherwise, the Humane Society and the Wildlife Division say in unison, conflicts and confrontations between humans and deer no doubt will increase.

Both opposing points on the wildlife management compass say that the implication of “wild” in wild animals is just another word for “unpredictable.”

Just how the two polar opposite entities approached a recent “see-I-told-you-so” example is where a diversion of tactics exists, however.

That incident occurred earlier this month in the small Monroe County community of Clarington.

What happened was that a well-meaning clutch of Clarington neighbors began hand-feeding a buck white-tailed deer. So “tame” had this deer become that some people even allowed the buck to eat from their hands.

Yet what sounds like a story of a wild animal becoming something of a domesticated ungulate is really a red-flag of a potentially serious incident.

Concerned with the approach of the breeding season for white-tailed deer, the Wildlife Division took a protective and aggressive approach in dealing with the animal. An officer with the Wildlife Division shot the animal.

That action outraged many of Clarington’s fine folk; people who believed the deer should have been relocated.

However, the Wildlife Division is not retreating, noting that relocating a wild animal along the lines of a high-strung white-tailed deer is neither easy nor free of potential safety issues for it and any capturing personnel.

Besides, says Wildlife Division chief Scott Zody, where does one transplant a deer to in Ohio – especially in deer-rich southeast?

Where, indeed, begs an answer.

“The buck was a free-range deer and at least 1 ½ years old; maybe 2 ½ years old,” said Zody. “This deer was put down for safety reasons; it’s highly abnormal for a free-range deer to act in the manner of this buck.”

Zody said also that since the rut is only several weeks away, the laws of nature says the buck will certainly become more aggressive when its full measure of testosterone “kicks in.”

“Imagine a child coming between that buck and a doe in heat during the rut,” Zody said.

With the icy-cold logic of science behind it the Wildlife Division took the last remaining – and practical – option by dispatching the buck.

“If you were to watch the videos in the story presented on one of the local television news broadcasts you would see the buck ‘playing’ with a man; exhibiting the early signs of sparring behavior,” Zody said. “A month or so from now when those antlers will be shed of their velvet and become sharp, such a scenario would not end well.”

Yes, says the Humane Society’s Ohio State Director/State Affairs Ms. Corey Roscoe, feeding deer in the manner done in Clarington was a pretty bad idea.

Ms. Roscoe says the Humane Society fully understands as well that a ill-considered tame buck in rut is a potentially serious matter that could harm someone.

Now comes the Humane Society’s “but.”

“But a non-lethal approach should have been tried before the rather arbitrary decision to kill the animal was made,” Roscoe said. “There are many ways to live harmoniously with wildlife (which) are able to use the urbanized habitat we share.”

Furthermore, Roscoe calls the Wildlife Division’s decision to dispatch the buck “a slippery slope” where killing a potentially injurious animal is preferable to educating the public about the dangers, risks and harm of feeding critters like the buck.

On that educational point the Wildlife Division also is in agreement, pointing out the folly of trying to tame what Nature never really intended to be tamed.

Now if the good citizens of Clarington and its elected officials would only put the brakes on their emotions and apply common sense, they – and the deer of Monroe County – will be better off.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Black-legged tick threatens to expand Lyme Disease risk in Ohio

Just when you thought it was safe to take a walk in the woods this summer comes another threatening critter that can strike those unaware of the danger.

We're not talking bears, coyotes, rattlesnakes or even velociraptors here. This threatening  bug IS a bug. Or at least what many people think of as bugs.

The teeny-tiny critters at black-legged ticks. Practically non-existent in Ohio only five years ago, the black-legged tick has now become somewhat common and and an equally unwanted commodity.

Nor is it just the "bite" from a tick and the resulting welt that woods-walkers need fear. As small as the black-legged tick (Not a whole lot larger than a poppy seed) is, it is carrying something even tinier and more incidious.

Thing is, the black-legged tick joins its cousin the deer tick in being a significant carrier of Lyme Disease.

Consequently, both The Ohio State University and the Ohio Department of Health are calling the rapidly expanding range of the black-legged tick in Ohio as "an emerging public health issue."

“Ohio had a low incidence of human Lyme disease, which is largely attributed to the absence of the transmitting vector, the blacklegged deer tick, in the state,” said Glen Needham, professor emeritus of entomology in the university’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.

“However, evidence presented in this study suggests that the black-legged deer tick is becoming established in certain areas of Ohio.”

Ticks are not bugs, of course, so anyone thinking of straightening me out on that one can rest easier.  All tick species - including the black-legged tick - are small arachnids that hang out along woodland edges, in woods, tall grass, weeds and underbrush, Needham says.

And like the also-despised mosquitoes, ticks feed on the blood of birds, reptiles and mammals. Mammals are us, too. As such ticks can transmit a variety of diseases; among them being Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.

Trust me since I speak from experience about the impact of dealing with Rocky Mountain spotted feaver. You most difinately do no want take the potent antibiotics needed at arrest this disease let alone Lyme Disease.

I've done so and at the time of going through the treatment I often wondered if the cure was worse than what the antibiotics were working overtime to kill.

As for the protocols of how the Lyme Disease gets from there to here, The Ohio State University explains that the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi is found primarily in the white-footed mouse. A black-legged tick picks up the disease-causing agent from the mice and then the disease culprit travels up the mammalian chain of  command, as it were.

 Oh, and the ticks are especially active in the spring and summer, favoring wooded areas. Not surprisingly then hunters and those persons who process game meat are among the highest at-risk population segments. And more so from September through December, Needham says.

Nor is the threat from the tick - a Modern Day buggy Typhoid Mary if ever there was one - is not something that will go away over time in Ohio. The black-legged tick has established a beachhead and is moving quickly in expanding its range.

“It is important that the public and health professionals become aware of the increased risk for contracting Lyme disease in Ohio, and that preventive measures are taken to limit exposure to ticks when going outdoors,” Needham says.

For further information about ticks and Lyme disease, including tips for prevention, is available at;;; and

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

4x4s, pick-ups favored by sportsmen are popular with thieves, too

Some of the most popular go-anywhere motor vehicles for sportsmen are also some of the favored picks of car thieves, too.

And just in Ohio, either, but nationally, as the non-profit National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has just released its preliminary “Hot Wheels” motor vehicle theft data for 2013.

This information – and supplied by Mitch Wilson of the Columbus-based Ohio Insurance Institute -indicates that the Number One stolen motor vehicle in Ohio last year were 1994 full-size Chevrolet pick-up trucks.

To say that such Chevy pick-up trucks are coveted by hunters (especially) but also by anglers who need a good tow vehicle.

Owners of full-size Ford pick-up trucks ought not to become too smug. In Ohio last year, the Ford’s 2004 full-size pick-up truck ranked as the third most stolen motor vehicle.

Likewise, Ford’s 2002 Explorer was a favored flavor of both sportsmen and thieves. For 2013 this vehicle brand and model year ranked ninth on Ohio’s most-stolen motor vehicle list.  All, in spite of the Explorer having a reputation for being something of a gas-thirsty lush, too.

The Jeep badge didn’t exactly come across as a vehicle that thieves desired to avoid in 2013. Far from it, to be precise, and if you want to really know the low-down on this series of 4x4 vehicles.

Last year in Ohio the 1998 model year for the Jeep Cherokee/Grand Cherokee was Number Four on the list. It is sandwiched between the previously mentioned full-size Ford pick-up truck and the 1996 Buick Century.

Nationally, Wilson says, the rankings are mostly shuffled a bit in a shell game as to the various vehicles’ popularity with car thieves.

Again, nationally in 2013 the third most stolen vehicle - and regardless of model year-  was Chevrolet’s full-size pick-up truck. In all and nationally last year a total of 27,809 Chevy full-size pick-ups were hot-wired, never again to be seen by their lawful owners.

Right behind at Number Four was Ford’s full-size pick-up truck. Nationally last year, thieves drove away 26,494 full-size Ford pick-up trucks.

Dodge’s full-size pick-up trucks get to share some of the snatched vehicle limelight, unfortunately. Last year car thieves made off with 11,347 such models.

I’m not sure if owners of Jeep-branded Cherokee/Grand Cherokee should be glad or embarrassed by this next bit of news. Owners of this up-scale series of Jeeps can take note that in 2013 9,272 such vehicles were stolen, ranking the series as Number Eight nationally in motor vehicles high-jacked by car thieves.

However, more soccer mom Dodge Caravans were stolen nationally than were the status-symbol and countrified, bling-detailed Jeep Cherokees. For the record, nationally last year thieves hustled off with 10,911 Dodge Caravans.

Of course, many hunters and anglers do appreciate the Caravan’s spacious interior which can haul everything from one of Ohio’s acclaimed monster bucks to a boat load of fishing poles, apparatus, and even an outboard engine. So long as the car gets cleaned out in time for the kids’ soccer game, of course.

As for where vehicles are most likely to be purloined Ohio, the score is not even close as last year 2,008 motor vehicles were pilfered from Cleveland streets and driveways. Also, NICB’s Elyria-to-Cleveland Metropolitan Statistical Area is being ranked 52nd nationally in terms of total stolen vehicles in 2013.

A distant second was Akron with 303 such thefts in 2013; and hardly a blip on NCIB’s statistical ranking for stolen vehicles and ranking just 229th.

To close things out, a quick state-by-state review of popularly stolen vehicles clearly demonstrate a demand for pick-ups and SUVs in states typically seen as being rural with a decided bent to appealing to outdoorsy types like hunters and anglers.

View the data for states such as Alaska, Idaho, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Texas, North and South Dakota, and Wyoming all point toward thieves coveting vehicles high on off-road or hunter/angling-hauling capabilities.

Meanwhile, car thieves in such Yuppie states as Rhode Island, California, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, and Hawaii all seem to go for the poodle-carrying models like Honda Accords, Nissan Altimas, Toyota Corollas, and (I’m not making this up, either) Subaru Legacys.

Mercifully even thieves seem to shun the Toyota Prius. This status symbol of the Hollywood elite and the Ralph Nader Greenies thankfully was nowhere to be found.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

$2 million improvements to Painesville Township Park to also aid Lake Erie shore anglers

After more than 100 years of providing outdoors recreational opportunities, Painesville Township Park in Lake County stands to gain from a major makeover.

And that’s good news for shore-bound Lake Erie anglers. The park’s lakefront property had long been a popular go-to destination for steelheaders as well as fishers seeking smallmouth bass, white bass, and even walleye.

Now the 37-acre park – acquired by Painesville Township in 1911with a history that includes a former Ohio governor and a timeline dating to 1807 – will remain under the management of Lake Metroparks for another 25 years while the township’s park board retains property ownership.

A revised lease renewal deal between Lake Metroparks and the Painesville Township Park Board was signed and delivered August 13. The county parks system will continue to look after the park for another quarter century.

Along with that administration commitment the Lake Metroparks system will pour an already budgeted $1.5 million worth of improvements into the park. The county parks system’s township counterpart will kick in $500,000. These latter dollars will come from the state’s local government fund account.

What users of the park will see is a total – and very much needed – refurbishment of 800 linear feet of breakwater, yanking out an ineffective and collapsing steel bulkhead. In its place will go a strategically placed and marine engineered concrete buttresses along the same length.

This substantially improved shoreline protection enhancement will help ensure that further erosion of the park’s lake-facing sloping bluff is arrested, said Paul Palagyi, Lake Metroparks’ Executive Director.

Along with the shoreline reinforcement will come a set of people-friendly stairs down to the shore-lake meridian as well as a handicapped-accessible switch-back trail. This trail will enable those people who utilize mobile vehicles to enjoy the same shoreline access as those people without physical disabilities, Palagyi says.

“Two years ago we had to close off access to the shoreline because the bulkhead was collapsing into the lake and the old pier had become just too unsafe,” Palagyi said, and who added everything should be in place by early 2016.

It is the planned improvement’s second phase that will excite anglers most of all. The plans call for the construction of a 150-foot long, 20-foot wide steel-reinforced pier.

A belt of interlocking steel will hold in the required fill of stone, the whole being finished with a topping that will allow visitors to safely walk the length of the promenade; and give anglers a platform to cast from where they can easily hunt for roaming fish.

Among the targeted fish species being walleye, smallmouth bass white bass, and steelhead trout.

However, the pier will not link directly with the shoreline. Instead, a 50-foot long bridge will span the gap. Yet the bridge serves a practical purpose even more than it does as an esthetically pleasing one, Palagyi says.

“The bridge will allow for water to freely flow underneath and that will help break up the wave action which in turn will help ease the threat of erosion,” Palagyi said.

The angling here can be exceptional, too. Unlike much of the rest of Lake County’s near shore lake bottom which consists of sand, mud and muck, that is not the case off Painesville Township Park.

Rock, stone, pebbly gravel all are found in abundance here. This substrate attracts the smallmouth bass and white bass during the day and the walleye in the evening until well after dark.

As for the steelhead, fishers once determined that the now-dilapidated concrete pier provided an outstanding location for the annual autumn ritual of migrating steelhead trout. The fish would cruise along the shoreline until they homed in on the nearby Grand River. And the pier offered the perfect ambush pincher point.

Taking the anglers’ needs into account even further, Lake plans call for the placement of one fish-attracting structure on either side of the pier and well within casting distance.

Thus the announcement of the new pier and bridge arrives as welcome news to area steelheaders, including Mentor’s Bob Ashley who is requesting an additional angling amenity.

“This is really good news because the fishing is so good there,” Ashley said. “But I hope they add some lighting along the pier or even from the shore and aiming out into the lake.”

The reason for Ashley’s plea is that such lighting striking the lake’s surface at night attracts bait fish which pulls in their predatory nemesis, the walleye.

“I can just picture now the glowing eyes of walleye underneath the light and looking for bait fish,” Ashley said.

For both Lake Metroparks officials and those associated with the Painesville Township Park Board the lease renewal and the planned expenditure of $2 million in enhancements and improvements is a striking example of two sides coming together for the good of the community.

“I see this as an investment for a very important resource,” said Dennis E. Eckart, Lake Metroparks’ park board president. ‘”This is a legacy park, and it’s the sort of project that people will judge us on long after we are gone.”

Agreeing is Bob Sidley, a 10-year township park trustee.

“This is a tremendous partnership and we are really excited about the project,” Sidley said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.