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