Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Ohio's to-date deer kill number slows but still ahead of last year's comparable figure

Going through the Christmas holiday season and as of December 26th, Ohio’s to-date deer kill remains 6,000 animals above its like-2016 figure; 6,281 more deer to be exact.

As of December 26th 2017, the to-date deer kill stood at 163,638 animals. Its December 27th 2016 to-date figure was 157,357 animals.

Interestingly, however, is that though the 2017 to-date total deer kill figure is larger than its 2016 counterpart, the number of antlered deer taken to-date is actually slightly down: 68,887 antlered animals compared to the 2016 to-date tally of 69,459 antlered animals. That’s only a 572 antlered deer difference, though.

Still, the only current member of the Five Thousand-Plus Deer Kill Club is Coshocton County whose to-date deer taken number is 5,756 animals. The comparable 2016 to-date figure for Coshocton County was 5,063 animals.

Also, the December 19th to-date deer kill for Coshocton County was 5,731 animals. Another way of putting it is that during the one-week period between the December 19th and December 26th reporting dates only 25 more deer were recorded as being shot in Coshocton County.

Here are the leading to-date counties in alphabetical order with kills of at least three thousand animals each (with their respective 2016 to-date numbers in parentheses): Ashtabula – 4,532 (4,346); Athens – 3,240 (3,060); Carrroll – 3,418 (3,011); Coshocton – 5,756 (5,063); Guernsey – 4,040 (3,915); Harrison – 3,187 (3,134); Holmes – 3,663 (3,272); Knox – 4,121 (3,978); Licking – 4,319 (4,204); Muskingum – 4,602 (4,315); Richland – 3,129 (2,861); Trumbull – 3,209 (3,239); and Tuscarawas – 4,988 (4,287).

The Bottom Bunch has not changed, however. Those counties with to-date deer kills of no more than 500 animals each in alphabetical order (with their respective 2016 to-date numbers in parentheses) are: Fayette – 318 (284); Madison – 469 (428); Ottawa – 410 (395); Van Wert – 469 (429).

Of Ohio’s 88 counties, 19 have declines in their respective 2017 to-date deer kill numbers when placed alongside their respective 2016 to-date deer kill figures.

Perhaps one of the biggest questions heading into the next to-date reporting period of January 2nd is what impact the on-going bitterly cold weather will have on the figures. Equally of interest will be if the merciless snow squalls that continues to strike Ashtabula, Lake, Geauga and Cuyahoga counties will reduce the deer taken figures in those counties.

For example and using Ashtabula County as one point, the December 19th to-date report listed 4,514 deer as having been taken there. Meanwhile, the current (December 26th) to-date deer kill figure for Ashtabula County is 5,532 animals – that means just 18 more deer were reportedly shot in Ashtabula County between the December 19th and December 26th reporting dates.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, December 21, 2017

"Historic" agreement reached to better protect Lake Erie yellow perch stocks off Lake County

In a protracted and hard-fought campaign that spanned years, yellow perch anglers achieved an historic agreement that will effectively close the placing of commercial trap net gear over a 130-square mile swath of Lake Erie off Lake County.

This agreement – voluntary but still embedded in strong intent – was inked between Lake County sport anglers, the two commercial trap net fishermen who are the most inclined to commercially fish the region, and the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Under the three-year agreement - retro-active to the 2017 commercial fishing season - the trap netters will be prohibited to set gear using these officially accepted dimensions: “The eastern border of this closed zoned (sic) is four nautical miles east of the Fairport Harbor (West Breakwater) lighthouse running due north and south the northern border is eight miles from (the) Fairport Harbor (West Breakwater) lighthouse and runs due east and west, the southern border is the shoreline combined with grids 913’s northern boundary, and the western border is defined by the western boundaries of the commercial grids 713 and 813.”

In practical effect, the new off-limits trap net unit will begin just west of the Chagrin River near Willowick, east to the now defunct Rayon production plant in Perry Township and importantly, north of the prized sport and commercial fishing grounds known locally as the “Hump.”

Previously, the trap netting exclusionary zone was a four-mile arc pivoting from the mouth of the Grand River at Fairport Harbor.

Though the Wildlife Division preferred that the delineation be an arc, backers of the movement said a square is much easier for anglers to understand when using their GPS nits.

Conflicts over use of the Hump – which was roughly divided in half by two of the Wildlife Division’s Lake Erie fisheries management units – arose between commercial and recreational interests. These included access to the area’s stock of adult fish as well as any potential harm that the setting of nets might do on spawning or breeding-staging adult yellow perch.

Ensuring recreational angling access only would exist for the Hump was a primary focus of a local ad hoc committee that worked the political spectrum, lobbied the Wildlife Division and engaged area fishing clubs and individual anglers.

“Everyone will benefit from the commercial fishermen to the sport fishermen to the yellow perch,” said Don Schonauer. “Hopefully the little perch will grow and the bigger ones will spawn.”

Schonauer is widely regarded as the spear point of the angler-driven campaign committee that consisted on-and-off of about 50 individuals. He unveiled the project and the group’s achievement at a December 21st meeting held at River Bend Marina in Fairport Harbor and attended by about 75 to 100 people.

Schonauer said as well that anglers may seen positive results as quickly as next year. However, the document’s full impact very well may take several years to bear fully mature fruit, Schonauer said.

“I want everyone to remember, it was not the netters’ fault; they were doing only what the law allowed,” Schonauer said as well. “But when yellow perch fishing is good that helps everyone in the business. If you don’t have perch than you’re hurting and I should know; I ran a bait store.”

Though while Schonauer may be a gifted Lake Erie angler himself, a small businessman and a presidential-award-winning retired school administrator, he readily admits he’s neither a politician nor a lobbyist. But he is a quick learner and that included tapping into those elected officials who know their way around the hallways and offices of state government.

“As a businessman I do not want to see anyone lose their job but things must be fair and balanced,” said Ohio State Representative Ronald Young. “Clearly that had not been the case here.”

Young, said Schonauer at the public forum, was instrumental in successfully navigating the agreement package through the labyrinth of state government bureaucracy, political indifference, and general government foot-dragging.

“I believe that this agreement is historic; it’s simply never been done before,” Young said.

Then again, Young still carried a big stick as he talked softy to the Kasich Administration and officials with the Wildlife Division. That axe handle comes in the form of his House Bill 356 which would impose some serious and new restrictions on commercial fishing off both Fairport Harbor as well as Sandusky – the bread and butter region for the state’s small commercial fishing fleet.

Should the agreement collapse, said Young, it would take almost nothing to revive his legislative proposal.

“This cycle of closing or restricting one management unit and opening another and then reversing that has to stop,” Young said. “Something ought to be done on a lakewide basis, too.”

Heavily assisting also in the project was local businessman and Lake County Board of County Commissioners President Jerry Cirino who more than one year ago pledged his support to Schonauer.

A hard-nosed negotiator himself, Cirino tramped the halls of state government in Columbus and then stalked the offices of leaders with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources at the agency’s Columbus campus.

Cirino cautioned that as a voluntary agreement its points are “fragile” but that officials with the Wildlife Division and the commercial fishing community came around to a package “that is as good as it can possibly be” for yellow perch anglers.

“Sport anglers were at a terrible and serious disadvantage, and it took a while for the Wildlife Division to recognize this, but it is now aboard with the idea,” said Cirino.

Cirino then added with a wink a moment latter: “We can make yellow perch fishing in Lake County great again.”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Ohio's bonus deer gun season bolsters to-date kill; final harvest estimate revised up

Bolstered by the stunning success of the statewide two-day “bonus” firearms deer-hunting season, Ohio’s to-date deer kill has taken a 6,616 animal leap over its 2016 to-date counterpart.

What’s more, only 20 of Ohio’s 88 counties have recorded to-date (as of December 19th) declines. A few have shown remarkable increases, too. Among them are Ashtabula County which – as of December 19th – had recorded a 208 animal increase over its 2016 to-date numbers. Meanwhile, Carroll County had registered a 408 animal increase, and Holmes County, a 393 animal increase.

Regardless, this year’s two-day bonus season numbers were spell-binding to the point of being awesome, says game biologists with the Ohio Division of Wildlife. These scientists were not expecting an avalanche of counties to exceeded their respective 2016 two-day season numbers.

“Staggering is a good term,” said a stunned Mike Tonkovich, the Wildlife Divisions deer management program administrator. “To the best of my knowledge we’ve never seen anything like it before here in Ohio.”

Thus the unexpected stellar success of the bonus season has solidified the to-date deer kill standing, as of December 19th. In examining the statistics, the details show that one county has a to-date deer kill greater than 5,000 animals – Coshocton with 5,731. Last year Coshocton’s comparable to-date deer kill was 5,042 animals; the only county also to have a then-to-date deer kill exceeding 5,000 animals..

Further, there are six counties with respective kills of 4,000 to 4,999 animals each. These counties (with their 2016 comparable to-date numbers in parentheses) are: Ashtabula 4,514 (4,306); Guernsey – 4,024 (3,892); Knox – 4,108 (3,958); Licking – 4,292 (4,165); Muskingum – 4,584 (4,293); and Tuscarawas – 4,963 (4,260). At this same juncture last year there were four counties with reported to-date deer kills of 4,000 to 4,999 animals.

A notch lower for the 3,000 to 3,999 to-date deer kill, Ohio has six counties also. These counties (with their respective and comparable 2016 to-date numbers) are: Athens – 3,225 (3,038); Carroll – 3,400 (2,992); Harrison – 3,166 (3,121); Holmes – 3,651 (3,258); Richland – 3,119 (2,831); and Trumbull – 3,185 (3,201).

Ohio still has 29 counties with fewer than 1,000 animals killed each to-date. Among these counties are five counties which have yet to top 500 deer killed each. These Bottom Bunch Member counties (with their respective to-date 2016 numbers in parentheses) are: Fayette – 315 (283); Madison – 466 (424); Ottawa – 402 (385); and Van Wert – 466 (426). Note then that like the hunters in the Four Thousand-Plus Club Member counties, the all of the hunters in the Bottom Bunch Club Member counties have enjoyed higher success as well.

It is perhaps telling that though Ohio still has its January 6th through 9th muzzle-loading deer-hunting season and while the archery deer-hunting season extends until February 4th, last year fully 83 percent of the state’s deer had been taken by this point on the calendar.

Projecting out then, Tonkovich says he now believes that Ohio’s deer hunters may end up killing between 187,000 and 190,000 animals when the final arrow is launched February 4th.

- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, December 18, 2017

Ohio's 2017 bonus two-day gun deer-hunting season posts signifcant gains

Ohio’s just-concluded two-day so-called “bonus” firearms deer-hunting season not only bested its 2016 counterpart it left last year’s total in the dust.

And this year’s Saturday-Sunday bonus gun deer season’s kill of 14,115 animals also easily eclipsed the 2015 figure of 9,447 animals. Likewise, that statistic is a couple hundred animals better than the 2016 two-day bonus season take of 9,228 deer.

So impressive are the figures for the 2017 two-day gun deer season held December 16th and 17th, that fully 84 of Ohio’s 88 counties recorded gains in their respective deer kills. Even a county such as Jefferson which has struggled all year with a decline in its reported deer kill posted a modest increase of 29 animals (197 deer this season verses 168 deer during the 2016 two-day bonus gun season).

Looking at some of the other counties and one begins to see just how impressive this past Saturday and Sunday two-day gun deer-hunting season went, too. In Ashland County, hunters killed 342 deer – or 204 more deer than Ashland County hunters shot during the 2016 two-day bonus season.

Meanwhile, Logan County’s two-bonus gun deer season numbers rose from 60 animals in 2016 to 169 animals for the just-concluded season. And that 169 figure is also nearly twice as many animals killed in Logan County during the 2015 two-day bonus gun deer-hunting season (86 deer).

Take a gander at Carroll County, too. Here, the 2017 bonus season saw a kill of 412 animals while in 2016 that figure was less than one-half that figure: 184 animals. And it was still way better than was Carroll County’s 2015 two-day bonus deer kill figure of 211 deer.

Among the most impressive leaps was seen in Ohio’s perennial deer-take leading county of Coshocton which recorded a whopping kill of 512 deer. For the 2016 bonus two-day season that number was just 210 animals. And the 512 deer still readily topped Coshocton’s 2015 bonus season respectable take of 349 deer.

Even the cellar -dwelling counties fared well. In Fayette County, for instance, hunters there took 22 deer this past weekend compared to the 17 animals Fayette County hunters shot during the 2016 two-day bonus gun season.

The three counties which saw declines (with their 2016 figures in parentheses) were Lawrence – 91 (113); Lucas – 12 (27); and Putnam – 34 (45). Summit County recorded identical 2016 and 2017 bonus two-day gun season kills of 41 animals each.

And when looking at the comparisons between the 2017 and 2015 respective two-day bonus gun deer-hunting seasons, it is seen that only five counties were unable to post gains this time around while three counties reflected identical kills.

Just how this all will pan out for the rest of Ohio’s long deer-hunting profile remains to be seen, driven in large measure by the weather but also by how many deer all ready have been taken and thus are no longer part of the pool of available animals.

The state’s archery season runs until February 4th. Meanwhile, the state’s muzzle-loading deer-hunting season is set for January 6th to January 9th. Last year’s muzzle-loading season (which really was held in January of this year. Long story), Ohio’s primitive weapons hunters killed 15,843 deer. The three previous muzzle-loading seasons’ respective deer kills were 12,503 animals, 13,724 animals, and 16, 464 animals.

In any event, here are the county-by-county deer kills for the just concluded two-day bonus firearms deer-hunting season with their respective 2016 figures in parentheses:

Adams: 203 (138); Allen: 61 (60); Ashland: 342 (138); Ashtabula: 483 (422); Athens: 246 (174); Auglaize: 55 (35); Belmont: 264 (226); Brown: 172 (124); Butler: 66 (29); Carroll: 412 (184); Champaign: 75 (39); Clark: 48 (24); Clermont: 152 (85); Clinton: 58 (36); Columbiana: 367 (194); Coshocton: 512 (210); Crawford: 103 (57); Cuyahoga: 4 (3); Darke: 48 (19); Defiance: 152 (118); Delaware: 78 (52); Erie: 53 (44); Fairfield: 132 (89); Fayette: 22 (17); Franklin: 35 (23); Fulton: 60 (56); Gallia: 169 (139); Geauga: 111 (105); Greene: 51 (35); Guernsey: 307 (302); Hamilton: 55 (29); Hancock: 74 (58); Hardin: 110 (53); Harrison: 336 (193); Henry: 55 (41); Highland: 191 (121); Hocking: 199 (153); Holmes: 343 (118); Huron: 236 (162); Jackson: 191 (149); Jefferson: 197 (168); Knox: 382 (146); Lake: 40 (32); Lawrence: 91 (113); Licking: 340 (195); Logan: 169 (60); Lorain: 200 (169); Lucas: 13 (27); Madison: 52 (18); Mahoning: 194 (131); Marion: 79 (43); Medina: 188 (147); Meigs: 200 (188); Mercer: 47 (32); Miami: 54 (26); Monroe: 207 (156); Montgomery: 35 (16); Morgan: 214 (146); Morrow: 124 (70); Muskingum: 368 (256); Noble: 211 (138); Ottawa: 38 (31); Paulding: 113 (64); Perry: 213 (173); Pickaway: 62 (42); Pike: 114 (104); Portage: 201 (136); Preble: 82 (50); Putnam: 34 (45); Richland: 306 (164); Ross: 177 (146); Sandusky: 82 (66); Scioto: 184 (137); Seneca: 176 (100); Shelby: 75 (44); Stark: 287 (153); Summit: 41 (41); Trumbull: 321 (266); Tuscarawas: 497 (260); Union: 64 (28); Van Wert: 49 (24); Vinton: 201 (125); Warren: 66 (42); Washington: 213 (140); Wayne: 195 (92); Williams: 132 (127); Wood: 55 (37); Wyandot: 101 (60). Total: 14,115 (9,228).

- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

First time this season, Ohio's 2017 to-date deer kill creeps ahead of its 2016 counterpart

For the first time in the so-far 10 to-date weekly Ohio Deer kill figures the ones for 2017 have exceeded those for its comparable 2016 to-date numbers.

As of December 5th a total of 145,358 deer have been shot. That number is 1,756 more animals than were taken during the equivalent 2016 to-date (December 6th) figure of 143,602 deer.

In each to-date case, their seven-day firearms deer-hunting season totals are enfolded into the respective figures.

The current to-date tallies include eight of Ohio’s 88 counties with kills of at least three thousand animals, including one with a to-date deer kill of more than five thousand animals. Thee members of the Three Thousand-Plus Club (with their respective 2016 to-date numbers in parentheses) in alphabetical order are: Ashtabula – 3,952 (3,796); Coschocton – 5,130 (4,749); Guernsey – 3,651 (3,535); Holmes – 3,260 (3,095); Knox 3,673 (3,749); Licking – 3,874 (3,875); Muskingum 4,153 (3,978); Tuscarawas – 4,369 (3,914).

Even so, while the total 2017 to-date number is higher than it comparative 2016 to-date rival, 31 of the state’s 88 counties have posted current to-date declines when stacked up against their 2016 counterparts. Another three counties have identical 2016 and 2017 to-date numbers.

The big flashing red light continues to shine above Jefferson County. Its current to-date deer kill is given at 1,427 animals while its 2016 to-date number was 2,114 animals. It is widely believed that Jefferson County’s deer herd suffered extensively from epizootic hemorrhagic disease, or EHD, a fatal viral disease transmitted by the bite of a midge.

Also, a number of Ohio’s urban counties – where generous bag limits allowing for the multiple taking of antlerless animals exist – are showing to-date deer kill declines. This may suggest that such liberal allowances are having an impact on reducing the deer herds in these counties, a long-sought management objective. Among the urban counties that are seeing continued to-date deer kill declines are Cuyahoga, Lake, Lorain, Franklin, Lucas and Summit.

Some urban counties are still seeing to-date deer kill increases, however. Among them are Hamilton, Montgomery, Geauga, and Portage.

Only four counties have current to-date deer kills of fewer than 500 animals each. In alphabetical order (with their respective 2016 to-date numbers in parentheses) are: Fayette County – 289 (257); Madison County – 410 (399); Ottawa County – 335 (328); Van Wert County – 411 (399).

- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Jefferson County's deer kill numbers in free fall while Ohio's to-date figures up slightly

In trolling the 2017 to-date Ohio deer kill figures as of November 28th the tally is ever-so-slightly ahead of where the comparable 2016 to-date figures were back then on November 29th.

In each case the end-of-the-week running numbers included the first two days of their respective firearms deer-hunting season.

So what we have is that as of November 28th this year the Ohio Division of Wildlife has tabulated a kill of 107,113 deer. For the comparative period in 2016 the total stood at 106,969. Thus we see an almost imperceptible increase of only 144 animals. That ain’t much, for sure.

And one county – Jefferson – is in a world of hurt, too, both in terms of its deer population as well as its to-date deer kill.

The current data includes that as of November 28th to-date this season, 46 of Ohio’s 88 counties have deer kills exceeding a minimum of 1,000 animals each. And among this 1,000-plus number, 13 have kills exceeding 2,000 animals each, of which four have kills greater than 3,000 animals each.

These Magnificent Four (with their respective 2015 to-date numbers in parentheses) and in alphabetical order are: Ashtabula County – 3,032 (2,901); Coshocton County – 3,963 (3,557); Muskingum County – 3,081 (2,895); and Tuscarawas County – 3,144 (2,817).

In all – and this may be interesting because the raw to-date overall kill for 2017 is higher than is its comparable 2016 to-date kill maternal twin – is that 49 counties are recording decreases when the two to-date numbers are laid side by side.

Among the most disturbing of these is Jefferson County. Here, the 2017 to-date kill stands at 957 animals. And its comparable 2016 to-date number? Try 1,537 animals, for a huge to-date decline of 580 deer.

This issue is so disconcerting that Ohio Division of Wildlife deer management biologist Clint McCoy says that his agency “will take a long, hard look” at Jefferson County’s deer kill numbers “when we discuss deer-hunting regulations for the 2018-2019 season to see if any adjustments are necessary.”

McCoy says the most obvious issue that impacted Jefferson County’s shrunken deer kill was almost certainly the result of an epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) outbreak that ran rampant throughout much of the county this past summer.

While other Ohio counties saw outbreaks of EHD, McCoy said they were confined to localized areas. That situation was unlike Jefferson County which saw the viral disease spread throughout the county’s 411 square miles, says McCoy.

EHD is a viral disease that infects deer and a number of other ungulates, which contracts it through the “bite” of an infected midge. A deer can begin showing symptoms in as few as seven days. Portions of eastern Kentucky also experienced severe outbreaks of EHD this past summer.

In other matters associated with the to-date figures, four of Ohio’s 88 counties still have not seen to-date deer kills exceeding 300 animals each: Fayette – 192; Madison – 295; Ottawa – 268; and Van Wert – 268.

Perhaps not surprisingly these are the same four counties that also had not topped their respective comparable 2016 to-date three-hundred deer kill figures. Back then the to-date numbers were: Fayette County – 203; Madison County – 296; Ottawa County – 245; Van Wert County – 260.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Grand River $21 million railroad trestle project designed to allow steelhead safe passage

A two-year/$21 million railroad trestle project is not so big or so important that it will stop the seasonal migration of steelhead trout up the Grand River in Lake County.

As part of an agreement with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to replace the 104-year-old Norfolk Southern Railroad trestle spanning the Grand River in Painesville City, the construction company building the 1,400-foot-long, 100-foot tall replacement structure has likewise agreed to crack open a section of the 900-foot-long temporary approach causeway needed by the job’s heavy equipment.

This “gap” in the dike and the addition of several large diameter concrete flow tubing will allow steelhead and other fishes to successfully navigate the stream.

“As per our previous correspondence, Norfolk Southern requested an extension for in water work in the Grand River at Painesville, Ohio. The extension was granted till last Friday, November 17th. 

“Since the beginning of the project, Great Lakes Construction intended to open up the causeway to allow greater flow during the winter and spring months…. Great Lakes Construction excavated and armored an opening in the causeway last week. This work was completed prior to the end of the extension.

“Also as part of this work, additional pipes were installed above the existing pipes as previously discussed with the Corp of Engineers.,” said Howard C. Swanson in a letter to an Army Corps official that was sent “Ohio Outdoor News,” courtesy of Lake Metroparks.

Swanson is the construction company’s assistant chief engineer.

The gap and additional flow pipe saw almost immediate action, too. The heavy rains and Lake Effect snow showers that arrived November 17th through the 19th swelled the Grand River beyond its flood stage. This surge of water by-passing the dike prompted some local residents and steelhead anglers to mistakenly believe that the dike had been breached rather than being a deliberately engineered high-water “safety valve.”

Thus, says Swanson, the gap is “performing as intended (and is) not a blowout.”

Immediately prior to the mid-November storm event, steelhead anglers were taken full advantage of the fish which had been stymied in their upstream migration by the Grand River’s unusually low water.

This fishy traffic jam caused a stack up of trout from the bridge and downstream several hundred yards to underneath the Ohio Route 84 bridge and thence to Lake Metroparks’ 54-acre Beaty Landing Park in Painesville City – and even further.

However, with the gap and additional flowage offered by the piping, at least now the trout will be able to continue their journey to the many and varied steelhead-fishing honey holes located as far as upstream as Ashtabula County Metropark’s 53-acre Harpersfield Covered Bridge Park.

The railroad trestle replacement project should be completed by the end of next year.

- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Despite apparent lag in Ohio's to-date deer kills, expect catch up from on-going gun deer season

Everything is going to change – and radically so – with the next installment of the weekly to-date deer kill.

With the seven-day statewide firearms deer-hunting season underway that has so far seen a very respectable kill, the numbers will no doubt jump and the leader board almost certainly will undergo revision. It’s kind of the way that early returns on election night must be consumed with a grain of salt.

Upheaval is almost assured. Thus we won’t dwell too deeply on the to-date as of November 21st figures.

What we do see is that to-date as of November 21st, 67,291 deer were taken, including 34,930 antlered deer verses 32,361 antlerless deer.

That is correct, more antlered than antlerless deer have been shot, which goes against conventional wisdom that says more does and button bucks are killed than are antlered deer. Which is true but only after the various gun seasons are included. What we see here is the selectivity of archery hunters who often place a premium on deer with antlers.

Again, anticipate a reversal for the next two weekly to-date tallies. This is when the impact of the seven-day firearms deer-hunting season are factored into the numbers.

In any event, for comparison purposes – and once again for emphasis sake, statistics are meaningless unless they can be compared to and against other statistics - the comparable 2016 November 22nd to-date figures showed that 72,483 deer were shot. Enfolded into that total were 38,378 antlered deer and 34,105 antlerless deer (does, button bucks and bucks with short antlers less than three inches long).

As noted, both the number of antlered and antlerless deer shot has fallen to-date this season when compared to the same period in 2016. Ah, but understand that for opening day of this year’s firearms deer-hunting season the number of animals killed was roughly 4,000 critters more; which very possibly could translate into the next to-date 2017 tally catching up to the comparable 2016 to-date tally.

Or not, depending on how the rest of this year’s seven-day gun deer season shakes out.

In a quick run-down of the this year’s to-date – as of November 21st – deer kill we see that 29 of Ohio’s 88 counties are now members of the One Thousand-Plus Club, or those counties which have experienced deer kills exceeding one thousand animals each.

That 29 figure is pretty cool, too, given that the compared 2016 to-date ledger listed just 23 counties in this group.

Based on the data gleaned and distilled from the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s computerized game-check system, the Top Ten Counties (with their comparable 2016 to-date figures in parentheses) are: Coshocton – 2,439 (2,318); Licking -1,948 (2,157); Tuscarawas – 1,882 (1,752); Ashtabula – 1,769 (1,761); Muskingum – 1,713 (1,773); Holmes – 1,576 (1,548); Knox – 1,590 (1,745); Guernsey – 1,533 (1,543); Trumbull – 1,470 (1,645); Richland – 1,307 (1,301).

Only two counties have failed to see November 22nd 2017 to-date kills exceed at least 200 animals. They are Fayette County with 139 deer and Van Wert County with 176 deer.

Once again, importantly and however, the real switcher-o will come with the next two weekly reporting periods.

- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

UPDATED THROUGHOUT Ohio's 2017 gun deer season marred by a fatality

(Immediately below the main blog story are the complete Ohio county-by-county 2017 seven-day firearms deer-hunting season results, and followed by the complete 2017 Ohio fall wild turkey-hunting season results)

A 62-year-old Florida man – and former Ashtabula City resident - was shot and killed November 27th in Ashtabula County during the opening day of Ohio’s seven-day firearms deer-hunting season.

Shot while legally hunting on private land in Ashtabula County’s Monroe Township was Randy Lee Gozzard of St. Petersburg, Florida. The incident – as hunting accidents are called in the vernacular of Ohio’s wildlife agency officials – occurred about 2 p.m. off Horton Road, located just to the west of the Conneaut Creek’s West Branch.

Gozzard was hunting with three other persons. His was the first hunting-incident/accident-related fatality in Ohio since 2014.

A 1973 graduate of Edgewood Senior High School in Ashtabula, Gozzard retired to Florida in 1996 with his wife of 26 years, Judee. Besides his wife, Gozzard is survived by five children, four siblings, a father, and 13 grandchildren.

The Gozzard matter is being conducted via an investigation by the Ohio Division of Wildlife with agency officials stating at press time that they are yet unsure of how the fatal shot was fired or who fired it.

We’ll be trying to recreate the incident scene, figure out where everybody was standing, what happened as well as why it happened,” said Jarod Roof, the law enforcement supervisor for the Wildlife Division’s District Three (Northeast Ohio) office in Akron.

Assisting in the investigation was Pennsylvania Game Commission Wildlife Conservation Officer Lawrence Hergenroeder and his nearly three-year-old Labrador retriever, “Storm.”

Hergenroeder and Storm are one of three Game Commission canine-forensic special investigative teams trained in locating such things as cartridges and shotshells, along with evidence and wildlife detection as well as human tracking, said Commission communications manager Travis Lau.

The Wildlife Division will have such a team established in each of the agency’s five wildlife districts by next summer, agency officials say.

John Windau – media spokesman for the Wildlife Division – said also that his agency follows a strict set of standards and procedures for conducting such investigations.

In addition, our investigators have attended the International Hunter Education Association training academy on handling hunter incidents,” Windau said.

We also work in cooperation with local law enforcement agencies, as well as with other state agencies, including the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation.”

Asked how long it takes to conduct such investigations, Windau said “it varies from case to case, depending on the facts and circumstances.”

Investigations on hunter incidents are given the highest priority,” he said.  

Following the investigation the evidence is then turned over to the county prosecutor for a determination of whether charges, if any, will be filed, Windau said as well.

Ohio law does stipulate that all hunters participating in any firearms deer-hunting season must wear as an outer garment a vest, coat, jacket or coveralls made from solid blaze orange or camouflaged blaze orange material.

The state also recorded four non-fatal hunting-related incidents, a dip from last year's seven such incidents.

As for the number of hunting incidents in Ohio since 2013, these are the statistics provided by the Ohio Division of Wildlife: 2013 – 4 non-fatal and 3 fatal; 2014 – 3 non-fatal and 1 fatal; 2015 – 4 non-fatal and zero fatal; 2016 – 7 non-fatal and zero fatal.

As for the number of hunting licenses sold and deer tags sold for the past two years in Ohio, the details are: For 2016, the number of hunting licenses sold was 388,036 and the number of deer permits sold was 445,166. For 2017, the number of hunting licenses to-date is 345,532 and the number of deer permits sold to-date is 374,011.


With the 2017 gun deer-hunting season now assigned to the files of Ohio’s hunting history, the state experienced a nearly 10 percent increase in the deer kill from that seen in 2016.

A total of 72,814 deer were shot during Ohio’s just-concluded 2017 firearms deer-hunting season compared to the 66,758 animals that were taken during the state’s 2016 firearms deer-hunting season. During Ohio’s 2015 seven-day deer-hunting season, hunters shot 73,392 white-tails.

Also, only 11 of Ohio’s 88 counties failed to increase the number of deer killed in their respective counties during the state’s 2017 gun deer-hunting season when stacked up to their respective 2016 gun deer-hunting season totals: Allen, Belmont, Defiance, Franklin, Fulton, Harrison, Jefferson, Lake, Lucas, Meigs, and Summit.

The 2017 Top Ten leader board (with their respective 2016 total gun deer-hunting season figures in parentheses) were: Coshocton – 2,576 (2,325); Tuscarawas – 2,335 (2,035); Muskingum – 2,328 (2,112); Ashtabula – 2,094 (1,946); Guernsey -2,014 (1,885); Knox – 1,965 (1,942); Licking – 1,789 (1,609); Carroll – 1,733 (1,494); Holmes -1,592 (1,484); Athens – 1,591 (1,377).

Here is the list of all white-tailed deer checked by hunters during the just-concluded week-long 2017 firearms deer-hunting season with their respective 2016 numbers in parentheses - Adams: 1,166 (1,082); Allen: 341 (363); Ashland: 1,363 (1,225); Ashtabula: 2,094 (1,946); Athens: 1,591 (1,377); Auglaize: 334 (268); Belmont: 1,239 (1,360); Brown: 1,029 (823); Butler: 352 (289); Carroll: 1,733 (1,494); Champaign: 431 (356); Clark: 197 (184); Clermont: 744 (542); Clinton: 303 (260); Columbiana: 1,338 (1,307); Coshocton: 2,576 (2,325); Crawford: 615 (569); Cuyahoga: 52 (47); Darke: 305 (259); Defiance: 745 (773); Delaware: 503 (411); Erie: 272 (206); Fairfield: 776 (681); Fayette: 140 (108); Franklin: 156 (157); Fulton: 322 (362); Gallia: 1,318 (1,211); Geauga: 538 (479);

Greene: 229 (203); Guernsey: 2,014 (1,885); Hamilton: 191 (155); Hancock: 529 (454); Hardin: 529 (477); Harrison: 1,530 (1,573); Henry: 371 (345); Highland: 1,076 (948); Hocking: 1,370 (1,288); Holmes: 1,592 (1,484); Huron: 1,148 (1,074); Jackson: 1,230 (1,031); Jefferson: 832 (1,138); Knox: 1,965 (1,942); Lake: 163 (167); Lawrence: 907 (795); Licking: 1,789 (1,609); Logan: 754 (639); Lorain: 702 (683); Lucas: 119 (129); Madison: 186 (158); Mahoning: 649 (594); Marion: 432 (403); Medina: 620 (604); Meigs: 1,323 (1,373); Mercer: 310 (262); Miami: 251 (196); Monroe: 1,334 (1,131); Montgomery: 157 (103); Morgan: 1,459 (1,178); Morrow: 657 (626); Muskingum: 2,328 (2,112); Noble: 1,391 (1,271); Ottawa: 120 (105); Paulding: 446 (425); Perry: 1,278 (1,156); Pickaway: 342 (270); Pike: 761 (753); Portage: 560 (559); Preble: 300 (235); Putnam: 359 (274); Richland: 1,343 (1,228); Ross: 1,230 (1,102); Sandusky: 275 (219); Scioto: 898 (890); Seneca: 868 (835); Shelby: 394 (334); Stark: 881 (798); Summit: 159 (174); Trumbull: 1,250 (1,144); Tuscarawas: 2,335 (2,045); Union: 350 (271); Van Wert: 223 (211); Vinton: 1,234 (1,111); Warren: 313 (236); Washington: 1,572 (1,502); Wayne: 823 (730); Williams: 691 (655); Wood: 342 (286); Wyandot: 757 (716). Total: 72,814 (66,758).


Ohio’s fall turkey hunters did not bring home many birds for their Thanksgiving day dinners. 

Indeed, the decline in the total season kill from the fall 2016 season was precipitous: Try more than one-half. The total kill for the just concluded fall season was 1,053 birds of either sex – a decline of 1,115 turkeys from 2016’s total fall turkey kill of 2,168 birds.

Excluding the 11 counties open for the their first-ever fall wild turkey-hunting seasons, of the remaining 56 counties open to the fall venture only two – Delaware and Morrow – posted gains while two other counties – Hamilton and Williams – posted respective identical fall season kills.

Some of the declines were dramatic as well. Examples included Hocking County which went from a fall kill of 57 turkeys in 2016 to just eight birds for the entire 2017 fall season; Ashtabula County, which droppd from 66 birds in 2016 to 46 birds this past season; Guernsey County which saw its fall turkey kill drop from 79 birds in 2016 to 31 birds this past season; and Monroe County which experienced a tumble of 86 birds in 2016 to just 22 turkeys this time around.

Ohio Division of Wildlife biologists were anticipating a decline. The reason was that in the spring of 2016 there was a massive emergence of 17-year cicadas, which are high in protein and eagerly sought out by adult and growing poult wild turkeys. This factor allowed for both higher than average turkey production and power than usual poult turkey mortality.

What resulted was a huge crop of turkeys for hunters to take advantage of in 2016 and which went missing this year, Wildlife Division officials say.

Not lost either, says these same officials, the number of fall turkey permits being sold continues to slip as well. For many hunters buying a fall turkey tag is an insurance policy that if a bird is encountered during the fall season while the sport is out for something else the bird can then be legally shot, Wildlife Division officials contend.

Here are the total figures for Ohio’s 2017 fall wild turkey-hunting season with their respective 2016 figures in parentheses. Those new counties open for the first time are noted with an asterick.

Adams: 20 (30); Allen* : 4 (0); Ashland: 15 (25); Ashtabula: 46 (66); Athens: 15 (63); Belmont: 23 (47); Brown: 9 (20); Butler: 6 (13); Carroll: 19 (30); Champaign*: 3 (0); Clermont: 15 (28); Columbiana: 22 (31); Coshocton: 54 (94); Crawford*: 3 (0); Cuyahoga: 2 (9); Defiance: 9 (26); Delaware: 11 (10); Fairfield: 6 (24); Fulton*: 6 (0); Franklin: 13 (2); Gallia: 31 (57); Geauga: 16 (32); Guernsey: 31 (79); Hamilton: 11 (11); Hardin*: 3 (0); Harrison: 28 (68); Henry*: 3 (0); Highland: 25 (34); Hocking: 8 (57); Holmes: 26 (74); Huron: 5 (13); Jackson: 18 (50); Jefferson: 19 (39); Knox: 17 (43); Lake: 9 (12); Lawrence: 12 (32); Licking: 30 (54); Logan*: 4 (0); Lorain: 16 (19); Mahoning: 11 (27); Medina: 17 (28); Meigs: 20 (79); Monroe: 22 (86); Morgan: 12 (52); Morrow: 19 (8); Muskingum: 20 (64); Noble: 19 (74); Paulding*: 8 (0); Perry: 19 (62); Pike: 12 (39); Portage: 15 (31); Preble*: 10 (0); Putnam*: 8 (0); Richland: 28 (31); Ross: 13 (25); Scioto: 7 (23); Seneca: 9 (11); Stark: 25 (41); Summit: 13 (16); Trumbull: 28 (42); Tuscarawas: 25 (92); Vinton: 18 (47); Warren: 6 (9); Washington: 18 (54); Wayne: 8 (10); Williams: 25 (25); Wyandot*: 5 (0); Total: 1,053 (2,168). 

- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Friday, November 24, 2017

Government readying long-anticiated program to begin selling off surplus Model 1911 pistols

For shooters who’ve eager relished – and pined for - the release to the public of military surplus Colt Model of 1911 pistols the wait is almost over.

The federal government has begun the laborious process of making available the iconic pistols and which will be sold through the Civilian Marksmanship Program. The new stated sales presentation is set for sometime in next year, 2018.

The CMP – as it’s simply and more commonly referred to – has two outlets, one of which is maintained at Camp Perry near Port Clinton.

As part of a Fiscal 2016 authorization approved by then-president Barrack Obama up to 100,000 Colt 1911s were to be removed from their mothball status to eventually go on sale.

However, the authorization did not include the required bureaucratic red tape nor legislative how-to details necessary to actually dispose of the handguns, a model that first saw use in World I and continued through World War II, the Korean and Vietnam conflicts and beyond. Some specialized military units continue to deploy with the 1911.

Supposedly beginning next year (2018) as well as for 2019 the government will make available through the CMP between eight thousand and ten thousand Model 1911s to the general public for each year.

Othee pending sale details for the pilot project – yes, “pilot” - would insist that the Secretary of the Army send to the Congress an annual report highlighting such matters as to how many pistols were transferred from the military to the CMP, along with details as to wehther any of the weapons have been used in the commission of a crime.

The go-to eyes on this topic is, an on-line daily firearms-related news source which has been tracking the long-awaited disposal of former government-issued 1911 pistols for years. says that the CMP will receive the pistols from storage at an Army camp; inspect the handguns, grade them, and then catalog them a process that says “could take months.”
“Some guns could be incomplete. Others could need significant repairs,” says also on its web site. “This means there (wil be) literally everything from museum pieces on the high-end of the spectrum to stripped receivers on the low end and everything in between.”
Consequently, says, the odds of “finding a mint-in-the-box specimen that has escaped 70-years of Army life without being issued will be slim, but even those guns will have to be checked and certified.”
Officially the CMP remains largely tight-lipped about the entire matter for now – one that will almost certainly draw the attention of far more interested buyers than the number of pistols to be made available for sale.

“We are waiting patiently and quietly to see how the NDAA 2018 turns out. All prescribed steps have been taken by CMP to fulfill the mandated requirements for receipt of the 1911s from the United States Army. CMP is in a constant state of readiness. The CMP has no further information at this time,” said the program’s chief operating officer Mark Johnson on the organization’s web site.
In another CMP web site announcement dated November 22nd, Judith Legerski, the organization’s chairman of its board of directors, stated “Because of the limited number and the exceedingly high demand for the pistol, and the great level of Congressional scrutiny, the Board of Directors will make a decision regarding how sales will be handled. We have no further information at this time.”
Even so, demand almost certainly will far exceed supply. And there will be the usual CMP paperwork that anyone familiar with buying a surplus M1 Garand, carbine or other available weapon from the organization has gone through in acquiring such a firearm.

The expected protocol will likely include the usual CMP requirement of filling out specific paperwork, belonging to a CMP- affiliated club (there are hundreds, if not, thousands, of these associates nationwide) and the fulfillment of marksmanship ability. On that last point having successfully completed a concealed carry handgun class and receiving the appropriate state license will suffice, it is believed.

- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, November 20, 2017

A twofer: Ohio's 2017 youth-only deer season kill plagued by poor weather. Again

Ohio’s youthful deer hunters had to contend with adult-sized nasty weather during their just completed two-day special season.

Not surprisingly, therefore, the kids experienced a decline of nearly one thousand deer taken during the statewide two-day/youth-only deer hunt, November 19th and 20th. These young guns shot 4,958 animals; a drop of 972 deer taken when compared to the 2016 two-day/youth-only season that saw 5,930 animals being shot.

This was also the second consecutive year that the youth-only season was plagued by poor weather that ultimately resulted in a decline in the kill. The 2015 two-day/youth-only season produced a kill of 7,223 deer; a take blessed by much better hunting weather than what youngster faced in 2016 or this year.

For further comparison purposes, the 2014 two-day/youth-only deer season produced a kill of 6,453 animals while the 2013 two-day/youth-only season yielded 6,640 deer for the young guns.

As for the number of youth hunters in Ohio, the state has sold to-date 28,468 youth hunting licenses and 10,406 apprentice youth hunting licenses, says John Windau, Ohio Division of Wildlife media spokesman.

The two-day/youth-only season was open to those persons age 17 and younger at the time of their respective hunting license purchase. Legal firearms included the types of firearms used by their adult counterparts including slug shotguns, muzzle-loaders, certain handguns, rifles firing certain straight-walled cartridges along with legal archery tackle. All youth hunters had to be accompanied by a non-hunting adult.

A county-by-county list of all white-tailed deer checked by youth hunters for the specially designated 2017 two-day/youth-only season (with their respective 2016 figures in parentheses) are: Adams: 106 (139); Allen: 21 (37); Ashland: 72 (111); Ashtabula: 115 (108); Athens: 97 (106); Auglaize: 20 (35); Belmont: 143 (147); Brown: 60 (70); Butler: 21 (19); Carroll: 135 (127); Champaign: 24 (36); Clark: 14 (11); Clermont: 33 (56); Clinton: 25 (25); Columbiana: 93 (117); Coshocton: 225 (222); Crawford: 37 (34); Cuyahoga: 0 (0); Darke: 24 (22); Defiance: 46 (63); Delaware: 17 (26); Erie: 71 (72); Fairfield: 60 (53); Fayette: 9 (18); Franklin: 11 (6); Fulton: 19 (20); Gallia: 76 (114); Geauga: 30 (41); Greene: 13 (21); Guernsey: 155 (197); Hamilton: 10 (18); Hancock: 34 (40); Hardin: 28 (48); Harrison: 119 (116); Henry: 22 (25); Highland: 97 (96); Hocking: 77 (73); Holmes: 125 (145); Huron: 59 (80); Jackson: 88 (108); Jefferson: 63 (98); Knox: 124 (144); Lake: 7 (6); Lawrence: 57 (84); Licking: 130 (138); Logan: 48 (74); Lorain: 39 (62); Lucas: 7 (6); Madison: 17 (21); Mahoning: 35 (38); Marion: 24 (36); Medina: 28 (42); Meigs: 104 (152); Mercer: 16 (32); Miami: 16 (25); Monroe: 84 (112); Montgomery: 5 (4); Morgan: 82 (121); Morrow: 32 (38); Muskingum: 164 (162); Noble: 75 (118); Ottawa: 19 (20); Paulding: 33 (44); Perry: 89 (101); Pickaway: 30 (27); Pike: 59 (85); Portage: 20 (32); Preble: 29 (22); Putnam: 27 (34); Richland: 71 (99); Ross: 138 (128); Sandusky: 9 (29); Scioto: 70 (72); Seneca: 68 (75); Shelby: 29 (47); Stark: 56 (62); Summit: 6 (6); Trumbull: 49 (79); Tuscarawas: 186 (178); Union: 26 (31); Van Wert: 14 (19); Vinton: 67 (87); Warren: 18 (26); Washington: 101 (126); Wayne: 54 (72); Williams: 26 (32); Wood: 25 (30); and Wyandot: 51 (52). Total: 4,958 (5,930).

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Ohio's to-date deer kill still lagging; potential poor weather could threaten youth gun hunt success

Even in the thick of the rut, Ohio’s archery hunters are still lagging behind when laid next to the respective to-date 2016 numbers.

The current to-date deer kill – as of November 7th – stands at 37,861 animals. That figure is up 10,184 deer from the October 31st to-date kill of 27,677 animals, or an increase of about 27 percent.

By comparison – and comparison is the only way that statistics can be assessed as being meaningful – the November 6th 2016 to-date deer kill was 42,268 animals.

Thus the current to-date tally is down 4,407 animals and when it is laid alongside the respective 2017 figure.

Dimming the lamp a bit more as well, Ohio’s November 8th 2016 to-date weekly deer kill count was 33 percent higher than was its previous (November 1st 2016) to-date weekly deer kill count. Which is another way of saying that last year’s to-date deer kill pace was quicker than it is for the (so-far, anyway) 2017 to-date deer kill.

Which is why baseball statistics and deer kill statistics are so much fun for their respective wonks to follow and to digest. But I digress.

In other news regarding the current to-date deer taken numbers, we see five of Ohio’s 88 counties with reported to-date kills of 1,000 or more animals each. They include in alphabetical order (with their respective 2016 to-date numbers in parentheses): Ashtabula County – 1,171 (1,192); Coshocton County – 1,305 (1,371); Licking County – 1,101 (1,324); Trumbull County – 1,040 (1,146); and Tuscarawas County – 1,031 (1,000).

The only current 2017 to-date county not yet in the “One-Thousand Club” that was a member in 2016 is Knox. Knox has seen a serious drop in its respective to-date/year-to-year deer kill, too – 894 animals currently verses 1,067 to-date in 2016, or a decline of 173 deer.

Ohio does have several counties that likely – almost certainly, in fact – will assume a membership in the One Thousand Club. Those candidates with to-date kills of at least 750 animals each (with their respective to-date 2016 figures in parentheses) are: Guernsey County – 766 (773); Holmes County – 972 (991); Knox County – 894 (1,067); Muskingum County – 859 (926); Richland County – 788 (818).

It is perhaps telling to note that every county mentioned so far – with the exception of Tuscarawas County – has seen a decline in their respective 2016 verses 2017 to-date deer kills. They are not alone. Among some of Ohio’s other counties with notable to-date deer kill declines (with their respective 2016 to-date numbers on parentheses) are: Adams – 676 (811); Brown – 466 (543); Carroll – 560 (680); Columbiana – 560 (729); Highland – 483 (618); Hocking – 538 (605); Jefferson – 254 (489); Lorain – 582 (755); Perry – 408 (500); Ross – 504 (645); Scioto – 377 (502); and Williams -382 (485).

In all, only 12 of Ohio’s 88 counties have posted to-date 2017 deer kill gains when compared to their comparable and respective 2016 to-date deer kill numbers. They are: Auglaize County – 220 (198); Butler County – 410 (404); Clinton County – 179 (152); Erie County - 255 (235); Huron County – 478 (465); Montgomery County – 224 (215); Morgan County – 494 (486); Morrow County – 358 (348); Noble County – 452 (427); Ottawa County – 118 (112); Tuscarawas County – 1,031 (1,000); and Union County – 249 (233).

Crawford County has posted identical to-date 2016 and 2017 deer kill numbers – 239.

Lastly, only one of Ohio’s 88 counties has yet to see a 2017 to-date kill that hasn’t crossed over into the three-figure tally. Fayette County’s 2017 to-date deer kill stands at 68 animals. Last year this time Fayette County had achieved the same piece of statistical notoriety only in 2016 its to-date kill number was 81 animals.

Of course, all of these figures will change and perhaps markedly so as Ohio’s two-day youth-only firearms deer hunting season is scheduled for this weekend, November 18th and 19th. The weather will unquestionably determine the deer kill, just as it did in 2016 when rain, cold and wind hit much of the state during the youth-only deer gun season.

Unfortunately, the weather forecast is calling for breezy conditions along with unseasonably cooler than average temperatures as well as a strong chance of rain and then a rain-snot mix followed by a chance of all snow in some locations and for both days. Ugh and double ugh.

- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

UPDATED: Ohio deer hunters picking up pace but EDH mortality thwarts kill in some counties

(Note: Corrected to reflect "EHD," and not "EDH."

With the rut in Ohio now underway the state’s archery deer hunters are beginning to pick up for lost time in the woods.

However, the pace dramatically lags behind in a couple of Ohio’s 88 counties as the midge-transmitted viral malady epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) has taken a deadly and serious toll on the localized deer herds. This reduction in deer numbers is consequently being reflected in the to-date deer kills and almost certainly will carry over into the up-coming firearms deer-hunting season.

The October 31st to-date deer kill total stands at 27,677 animals, including 11,040 antlered deer. Those numbers translate into more than a 30-percent jump in the total deer kill during the one-week reporting period. Along with that jump is a nearly 50-percent gain in the number of antlered deer being shot by archers during the same seven-day period.

For a little review the previous to-date (as of October 24th) deer kill stood at 18,123 animals, including 5,821 antlered deer.

Importantly, though, when placed alongside the comparable 2016 to-date figures we see that the current similar statistics still demonstrate some lag. For the period ending November 1st, 2016, the-then total deer kill was 28,402 animals that included an antlered deer take of 10,761 deer.

However, such differences can only and best be described as minuscule and inconsequential. For now, anyway.

In reviewing the current to-date (again, as of October 31st) numbers we see that several of Ohio’s 88 counties are approaching the four-digit mark. The current Top 10 crop of counties (with their respective to-date 2016 numbers in parentheses) are: Coshocton – 912 (also 912); Ashtabula – 892 (853); Licking – 814 (881); Trumbull (also 814) & (852); Tuscarawas – 737 (648); Holmes – 714 (677); Knox – 618 (688); Muskingum – 600 (566); Richland – 582 (583); Hamilton – 528 (516).

As can be seen, five of the aforementioned Top 10 counties saw increases in their respective 2017 to-date deer kill when compared to their respective 2016 to-date numbers. And one county saw identical figures while a seventh was short by just one deer.

Taken as a whole, 40 of Ohio’s 88 counties posted gains or identical numbers in their 2017 respective deer kills from the previous to-day reporting week, ending October 24th. That 40 figure is substantial, too, given that last week only seven counties had recorded gains from their previous 2017 to-date numbers as of October 17th.

However, the EHD anomaly is impacting to a large extent the deer herd and kill numbers in Jefferson County, located in Northeast Ohio and along the Ohio River. And to a lesser – though still serious - degree, Jefferson’s next-door neighbor, Columbiana County.

To date as of October 31st, Jefferson County recorded a deer kill of just 163 animals. That is a huge drop from its respective 2016 to-date (as of November 1st, 2016) kill of 308 animals; or drop of 145 deer – close to being a 50-percent decline.

In Columbiana County the 2017 to-date deer kill ledger stands at 386 animals. Its comparable 2016 to-date deer kill was 509 animals, though; representing a smaller drop though still a significant decline at around 22 percent.

Scott Peters, wildlife biologist for the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s District Three (Northeast Ohio) office in Akron said that Ohio was not alone in seeing EHD attack a state’s deer herd. Across the Ohio from Jefferson and Columbiana counties, Pennsylvania's sister counties also saw severe EHD -related deer mortality this past summer and autumn, Peters said.

Such depressions in the deer herds in Jefferson and Columbiana counties could prove worrisome for hunters who spent time in their respective woods. Each county is home to multiple numbers of areas open to public hunting. Among them are the 4,167-acre Brush Creek Wildlife Area and the 3,023-acre Fernwood State Forest, both in Jefferson County; and the 2,266-acre Highlandtown Wildlife Area and the 3,848-acre combined Beaver Creek State Park and State Forest – all three in Columbiana County.

For the Bottom Bunch, the current to-date figures are (with their respective 2016 to-date numbers in parentheses) are: Henry County – 97 (103); Pickaway County – 93 (101); Ottawa County – 84 (83); Van Wert County – also 83 (84); Madison County – 72 (89); and Fayette County – 41 (45).

In Northeast Ohio, the current to-date numbers with their respective 2016 to-date numbers in parentheses are: Lake County – 237; Cuyahoga County – 345 (362); Erie County – 194 (167); Geauga County – 374 (415); Lorain County – 448 (562); Media County – 382 (421); Summit County – 397 (433); Portage County – 461 (487).

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

To-date 2017 deer kill off by more than 15 percent

Ohio’s to-date deer kill appears to have suffered at the hands of unseasonably warm and dry weather and maybe an abundant mast crop in some locations that’s kept animals away from game feeders stuffed with corn.

The to-date deer kill count stands at 18,123 animals, including 5,824 antlered animals, almost exclusively, bucks.

By comparison, the close 2016 approximation date of October 25th was a then to-date deer kill of 21,336 animals. Contained within this number were 6,948 antlered animals.

Thus, this deer-hunting season to-date kill is off by more than 15 percent, though a lot of hunting remains ahead for both archery and gun Ohio sportsmen and sportswomen.

Current leaders with their to-date numbers (and 2016 proximate to-date figures in parenthesis) are Ashtabula – 650 (641); Trumbull -620 (682); Coshocton – 579 (666); Licking – 527 (643); Tuscarawas – 488 (474); Holmes – 442 (492); Knox – 406 (515); Richland – 390 (431); Muskingum – 363 (421); Clermont – 341 (364).

For Northeast Ohio, the comparable figures – excluding Ashtabula and Trumbull counties – are Lake – 173 (201); Cuyahoga – 277 (294); Lorain – 317 (445) ; Erie – 127 (also 127); Geauga – 254 (323); Medina – 263 (318); Summit – 291 (326).

Only seven of Ohio’s 88 counties have posted to-date gains when placed alongside their respective 2016 to-date numbers. Besides Ashtabula and Tuscarawas counties, the others are Fayette – 31 (26) (Fayette is also the to-date caboose in the number of deer taken to-date during the 2017-2018 season) ; Henry – 69 (67); Madison – 55 (50); Miami – 129 (127); Union – 113 (105).

And one – Erie County – has identical 2016 and 2017 to-date numbers, 127.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Seven percent of adult Ohioans now leagally licensed to carry concealed

While the issuance of new concealed carry permits fell slightly from the first quarter to the second quarter of this year, the number of legally licensed Ohioans being granted renewals increased during the same period.

Also, it is now estimated that Ohio has more than 627,000 legally licensed concealed carry permit holders, says the Buckeye Firearms Association.

The Association says too that such a figure translates into seven percent of the state’s adult population being licensed to carry a firearm concealed: more than doubling the three percent so accredited 10 years ago.

In scouring the concealed carry permit numbers complied every three months by the Ohio Attorney General, the agency’s pegs the number of new licenses issued during the period of April, May and June at 22,306 with the number of renewals stated as 14,647. During the first quarter period of January, February and March, the corresponding numbers were 24,516 and 13,167, respectively.

However, a further look at 2016’s second quarter concealed carry new and renewal license issuance does show a significant drop when stated against the comparable 2017 second quarter new license category but an increase – again – in renewals. During the second quarter of 2016 the state’s 88 county sheriffs issued a whopping 32,259 new concealed carry licenses and renewed 11,276 such permits.

In total year-end numbers for 2016, Ohio’s 88 county sheriffs issued 117,953 new concealed carry licenses (a new record) and renewed 40,986 concealed carry license.

As for second quarter 2017 concealed carry license leaders, the Top Five counties for issuing NEW licenses were: Franklin – 1,669; Lake – 1,618; Montgomery – 1,113; Butler – 768; Clermont – 717.

At the tail end of the ledger with the issuance of the least number of NEW concealed carry licenses during the second quarter of 2017 the rankings were (in descending order): Fayette and Pike – 40 each; Monroe – 39; Morgan and Putnam 37 each; Meigs – 33; Noble and Paulding – 28 each.

The 2017 second quarter Top Five counties for issuing RENEWAL concealed carry licenses were: Franklin -961; Lake – 752; Montgomery – 694; Clermont – 580; and Hamilton – 494.

Ohio saw 20 of its 88 county sheriff’s issue more 2017 second quarter renewal concealed carry permits than new ones. And while most of these counties were rural a couple of urban exceptions included Lucus – 383 new licenses verses 401 renewals – and Cuyahoga – 215 new licenses and 348 renewals.

Also, Ohio saw four counties where no renewals were indicated by their respective sheriff as being issued during the second quarter of 2017. These counties included Monroe, Gallia Lawrence, and Erie.

Other 2017 second quarter statistics provided by Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine showed that there were 432 concealed carry license suspensions, 85 revocations, 350 denials, 16 so-called “license processes suspended,” and the granting of 12 temporary emergency licenses.

During the 2017 first quarter these figures were – respectively – 352 concealed carry license suspensions, 176 revocations, 520 denials, 33 so-called “license processes suspended,” and the granting of 17 temporary emergency licenses.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Lake Metroparks' aggressive fish stocking program hooks eager anglers

Lake Metroparks has the perfect bait to lure anglers.

The Lake County-based agency has long maintained an aggressive fish stocking policy and this autumn has proven itself to be no exception.

In early October the parks system poured one-thousand pounds of largemouth bass and five-hundred pounds of keeper-size sunfish into four of its ponds and small lakes. All of the bass were at least 12 inches long while the sunfish measured six to eight inches.

If that were not enough, on October 25th Lake Metroparks stocked one-thousand pounds of rainbow trout – these fish averaging between one and one and one-half pounds each – into the parks system’s Granger’s Pond, located within Veteran’s Park in Mentor. At 33 acres Granger’s Pond is Lake County’s largest inland body of water.

And about the same time the agency officially dedicated is 200-foot long fishing pier at its Painesville Township Park; offering Lake Erie anglers a golden opportunity to cast for resident walleye, white bass, rock bass and smallmouth bass along with seasonally migrating steelhead trout.

Broken down the ponds receiving the warm-water species were the aforementioned Granger’s Pond, the 2.5-acre Blair Road Park Pond in Perry Village, the one-half acre pond at the Farmpark in Kirtland, and the 1.5-acre wetlands at the agency’s Concord Woods Park in Concord Township.

Lake Metroparks also has a score of other small, farm pond-type waters that receive stockings at other times of the year.

As for the rainbow trout, Lake Metroparks spent $3.80 per pound – or something on the order of $3,800 – for the fish which came from a private fish hatchery in Castalia, near Sandusky, said Tom Koricansky, the parks system’s natural resources manager.

“That’s about the same number of trout that we’ve been stocking in Granger’s for the past couple of years,” said Koricansky, who added in something of an understatement, “It’s been a popular program.”

Understatement it is, as the following morning more more than two dozen motor vehicles were observed occupying slots in Veteran’s parking lot while their owners and others were busy fishing from the three T-docks that jut into the small lake.

“What’s nice too is that some of the fish will over-winter in Granger’s and will still be available in the spring,” Koricansky said also.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Ohio's Attorney General channels NRA to help with school safety

Announced 2018 Republican gubernatorial contender and current Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine last month announced a school safety educational partnership between his office and the National Rifle Association.

The partnership involved bringing to Ohio the NRA’s National School Shield Assessor Training program. The first of these classes was conducted October 24th and 25th in the Wellston school district.

Attending the two-day conclave, said DeWine, were various school personnel, school resource officers as well as law enforcement officer representing more than 20 Ohio school districts. The NRA’s foundation picked up the entire tab for the progra, including paying for the various participants to attend.

The NRA-led program involves the organization helping to provide security experts who have the ability to help educate not only the educators but also local law enforcement regarding security assessment techniques.

This assembly encompasses everything from what to look for as it relates to current school building security, but also what improvements can be incorporated to make such structure even more safe for students, school staff and school visitors, DeWine said.

“I am proud to partner with the NRA to bring its impressive and helpful National School Shield training to Ohio,” DeWine said. “Keeping our kids safe at school is a too priority at every school.”

Course participants received certification on what was presented during the course study while their respective school districts will also now be eligible to apply for grants to help bolster safety improvements within structures The money will come from the NRA’s foundation and not taxpayer sources, DeWine said.

DeWine said that the initial success of the conclave at Wellston was so obvious that the attorney general wants to take it to other school districts around the state.

Following the February 12, 2012 shooting tragedy at Chardon High School and the one December 14, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, DeWine said his office has made raising awareness regarding the importance of school safety a priority, and that the NRA’s “expertise and resources provided through this program will help to ensure the success of this important work.”

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn