The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

February 4, 2013

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Report highlights fishing’s broad impact

By DALE SUNDERLIN
For the Star Beacon

— Anglers’ expenditures have a significant ipact on the nation’s economy. Recreational fishing is more than just a pleasant getaway for millions of Americans.

As an industry, it provides a living for countless people in businesses ranging from fishing tackle and boating manufacturing to travel and hospitality to publications, magazines and much more.  

As reported in Sportfishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation, a new fishing statistics report produced by the American Sportfishing Association (ASA), the trade association that represents the sportfishing industry, the number of anglers increased 11 percent over the past five years and fishing tackle sales grew more than 16 percent.

When expenditures are multiplied by our nation’s 60 million anglers, their dollars have a significant impact on our nation’s economy.  

Sport fishing in America: An Economic Force for Conservation highlights how recreational fishing not only endures as an activity that permeates all social and economic aspects of Americans’ lives, but also plays a significant role in the country’s most successful fisheries conservation efforts.

“As an industry, we are keenly aware of the impact that sportfishing has on this nation’s economy,” ASA President and CEO Mike Nussman said. “Just by enjoying a day on the water, men, women and children across the United States pump billions of dollars into this country’s economy.”

Nussman further said, “And it’s not just the economy. In many ways, America’s anglers are the nation’s most powerful force for conserving our nation’s fisheries and waters, investing more than $1 billion dollars each year in fisheries management and conservation through taxes on fishing equipment and state fishing license sales.”

According to the new study, America’s nearly 60 million anglers are estimated to spend $46 billion per year on fishing equipment, transportation, lodging and other expenses associated with their sport.

With a total annual economic impact of $115 billion, fishing supports more than 828,000 jobs and generates $35 billion in wages and $15 billion in federal and state taxes. Despite the economic difficulties facing the U.S. economy over the past five years; the total amount spent on sport fishing, which encompasses tackle, travel and other equipment, grew five percent.

A number of reports strongly indicate that fishing is identified by American families as one of the best ways to spend quality time together. According to the National Sporting Goods Association, fishing as a leisure-time activity ranks higher than playing basketball or softball, skateboarding, jogging or hiking.

“Despite the uncertain economic conditions that beset all Americas, or because of it, anglers continue to fish and spend even more time outdoors,” ASA Vice President Gordon Robertson said. “A growing interest in the outdoors helped fuel the growth in angler numbers which we believe will create even more momentum in fishing participation and sales in 2013 and beyond.”

Substantially more than any other groups, anglers support the nation’s conservation efforts through the Sport Fish Restoration and Boating Trust Fund Program. Special taxes on fishing gear and motorboat fuel channel more than $1 billion of anglers’ dollars to state fish and wildlife conservation and recreation programs each year.

ASA’s new analysis is based on data from the 2011 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting and Wildlife-Associated Recreation, conducted every five years on behalf of the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies by the Census Bureau and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Sportfishing in America was compiled for ASA by Southwick Associates, Fernandina Beach, Fla.

Facts about recreational fishing:

There are approximately 60 million anglers in the U.S. of which 46 million are estimated to fish in a given year.

One of every four anglers fishes in saltwater.

Fishing tackle sales grew over 16 percent in the past five years.

Since 2006, angler numbers grew 11 percent.

More Americans fish than play golf (21 million) and tennis (13 million) combined.

If fishing were a company, the amount spent by anglers to support fishing-related retail sales would rank number 51 on the Fortune 500™ list.

Fishing generated more revenue ($48 billion) than Lockheed Martin ($47 billion), Intel ($44 billion), Chrysler ($42 billion) or Google ($38 billion).

The economic activity generated by sport fishing is greater than the economy, measured in Gross State Product, of 17 states.

At more than 46 million anglers, more than twice the number of people fished in 2011 than attended every NFL game combined.



Convicted!

Three individuals from New Albany received prison time, fines and hunting license suspensions for operating an illegal hunting guide service during a two-year investigation, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The men were prosecuted by Assistant Franklin County Prosecutor Heather B. Robinson and sentenced in the Franklin County Court of Common Pleas by Judge Charles A. Schneider on Jan 16.

Scott J. Walsh of New Albany advertised himself as a hunting guide, selling multi-day hunts ranging from $250 to $1,200. He lured people in by claiming to own and/or have permission to hunt on 1,600 acres of prime deer hunting property located in the New Albany area. In reality, Walsh owned no property and only had permission to hunt on 15 acres of land. He provided his clients with photographs of trophy white-tailed deer he himself had poached from the area.

In January 2010, the ODNR Division of Wildlife was contacted by a concerned citizen advising Walsh was engaging in illegal hunting activities. Investigators quickly recognized the name, as the ODNR Division of Wildlife had documented more than 30 complaints from 1990 to 2010 pertaining to Walsh violating Ohio’s wildlife laws.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife launched a two-year investigation and discovered that from the dates of November 2007 through January 2010, Walsh had guided at least 20 hunters from Ohio, Vermont, Texas, Michigan and New Hampshire on properties owned by 40 different families in the New Albany area.

At least nine deer were taken during the two-year period. Walsh assured his clients he had permission to hunt on the various properties. It was later confirmed Walsh did not have permission to hunt and/or guide paying clients on any of the properties and made verbal threats to property owners when confronted. Walsh’s two accomplices who assisted him were his son, Justin Walsh and Steve Clemons.

In February 2010, multiple search warrants were executed on the residences, vehicles and storage units of Scott Walsh and Steve Clemons. Numerous trophy white-tailed deer mounts were seized as well as Scott Walsh’s truck and ATV.

Multiple felony and misdemeanor violations were documented during the investigation and included: discharging a firearm near a premises, improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle, having weapons under disability, hunting without permission, failing to wear hunter orange, no hunting license, no deer permit, possession of drugs and jacklighting.

Anyone observing or suspecting that wildlife violations are occurring may report illegal activity by calling the TIP hotline toll free at 800-POACHER.

Defendants, charges and sentences are:

Scott J. Walsh, 55, of New Albany was convicted of one count of discharging a firearm near a premises (third-degree felony), one count of attempted discharge of a firearm near a premises (fourth-degree felony), one count of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle (fourth-degree felony), one count of wildlife trafficking (third degree misdemeanor) and one count of having weapons under disability (third degree felony). He was sentenced to 15 months in prison, and after the defendant is released from prison, he will be on supervised release for five years. Any violation of supervised release will result in imposition of an additional 30 months in prison. He was ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution and may not possess firearms. His hunting rights were suspended for five years. He was also ordered to forfeit his vehicle and ATV, which were both used in the commission of these crimes. All white-tailed deer mounts were also forfeited.

Justin S. Walsh, 23, of New Albany was convicted of one count of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle (fourth-degree felony) and one count of hunting without permission (third-degree misdemeanor). He was sentenced to 30 days in jail. After the defendant’s release, he will be on supervised release for five years. Any violation of supervised release will result in imposition of 12 months in prison. He was ordered to pay a fine of $2,000 and may not possess firearms; his hunting rights were suspended for a period of five years.

Steven A. Clemons, 48, of New Albany, was convicted of one count of improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle (fourth-degree felony) and one count of hunting without permission (third-degree misdemeanor). He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and after the defendant’s release; he will be on supervised release for five years. Any violation of supervised release will result in imposition of 12 months in prison. He was ordered to pay a fine of $500 and restitution in the amount of $3,000. He may not possess any firearms, and his hunting rights were suspended for a period of five years.



Jimmy’s ‘Bacher’s Beast’

Tuesday, Jan. 8 2013 was a normal day getting ready to head out hunting For Jimmy. He used his Dead Down Wind by ESP soap, suited up, took his cough medicine, sprayed himself down with Primos Silver Scent Eliminator, grabbed his seat and headed out to his spot.



Prelude

An introduction to the story: Jimmy’s dad had shot at the same buck during shotgun season but missed and the Sunday of muzzleloader, Jimmy had a ten minute starring contest from about 12 yards away with this monster when he came eastbound into the field with a doe and a smaller buck. Unfortunately the doe snorted before the big guy got into the field and was out of sight before he could even cock his gun.



Back to the story

Jimmy got to the infamous field and decided to set up higher on it, just inside of the woods, thinking maybe the monster from the day before would come up from the ravine that runs behind the field just inside the wood line. He wanted to make sure he was far enough away to pull off a shot but close enough if they came into the field from the ravine.



Picture perfect

I was a picture perfect day. The sun was shining on his back and he was able to keep his camo fleece orange coat and bids all unzipped. The squirrels were absolutely crazy that day. He had them chasing each other within 10 inches of his feet so he knew his descent spray was working. What a beautiful day!



Checkin’ in

Jimmy text his dad around 11 to let him know he was coming in around noon to get some lunch and he would be back out around 2 for the evening hunt. Around 11:30 he stood up stretching a bit and glanced at his phone for the time.

He remembered looking at his phone and the time was 11:40 and he contemplated walking in but a little voice inside him said, “the sun is bright, my feet aren't too cold yet... I can wait till 12:30,” so he sat back down.



High noon

Not a minute after high noon ,Jimmy heard crashing coming from the woods on the right side of the field, he turned and saw two doe heading west pop out of the thickets coming straight at him. Then the small buck he had seen a few days before appeared, followed by the big guy not even 15 feet behind them, again coming straight at him.

“I’d be a liar if I told you I didn't start shaking,” Jimmy said.

Jimmy wasn’t sure as to why they were running so quickly but he ventured to say someone spooked them considering it was right at lunchtime.



One mistake

Jimmy waited till all four were clearly in the field before he stood up to shoot. When he stood up, all four deer obviously saw him, they turned around and booked it for the thickets again but they made one mistake in doing so.

They turned broadside and headed for the ravine in the back of the field. Jimmy lined the 10-point up in his sights and let his cannon roar, it was about a 30-35-yard shot. Bacher’s Beast took one big step and dropped right there in the field. Jimmy let out with the biggest war hoop he ever shouted in his life, danced a couple fist pumps in the air and finished with a couple of great big, “wahoos!”



Jimmy’s stats

Jimmy Bacher harvested his 10-point Bacher’s Beast buck on Jan. 8, 2013 during the Ohio Muzzleloader season. He was using a Huntsman .50 caliber with a Tasco Pronghorn scope setup, 2 Pyrodex Pellets 50 grain each and Powerbelt HP Copper Clad 245 grain sabots.

He shot his beast of a buck at around 30 to 35 yards and he went no further. His beast had a hanging weight of 177 pounds and was a huge 10 pointer. Jimmy was hunting in Trumbull Township and checked his deer in via the Internet.



Coyote roundup

This year’s Coyote Open was a definite success. Although not as many as in the past years our hunters brought in 8 yotes all total. The biggest being 39.46 pounds and the smallest checked in at 22.14 pounds.

Chris Winger was the winner in the Dog Division and Nick Stropke in the Open Class. Both gentlemen were of the Amish heritage so no pictures of them are allowable.



My call

Well that’s it everyone, the 2012-13 deer season is officially over as of yesterday. I will print one more deer stats after this one and that should be the final total.

Now, we need to go back over the season figure out what we did wrong, what we did right and try and make next year better. I know I’ve got a lot of planning to do, don’t flip a tractor over on your chest and end up in intensive care for five days.

Figure out what went wrong with my food plots and made them grow weed instead of clover and brassicas. Try and figure out what happened to all the deer in my area, poachers I suspect. Move some tree stands, tune my bow, etc., etc., etc.  

But for now, let’s look forward to spring and the impending spring turkey season, oh yeah! One of my favorite times a year. Of course, any kind of hunting season is my favorite time of the year!



Datebook

There a couple of wild-game dinners going on in the area, here’s a list of the ones I know of:

Peoples Church, February 23, 2013. Call 466-2020 for more information.

Jefferson Nazarene, March 14, 2013. Call 576-6556 for more information.



Oh, deer!

As of Jan. 29, the deer-harvest stats for Ashtabula County and some surrounding counties are as follows:

Ashtabula — Bucks taken 1619, does taken 2632, button bucks 709 — Total 4,960.

Geauga — Bucks taken 609, does taken 1163, Button bucks taken 320 — Total 2,092.

Lake — Bucks taken 304 does taken 545, button bucks taken 137 — Total 986.

Trumbull — Bucks taken 1117, does taken 1782, button bucks taken 627 — Total 3,526.

State — Bucks 80,579, does 110,905, button bucks 25,762 — Total 217,246.

Sunderlin is a freelance writer from Geneva. Reach him at djss@roadrunner.com.