The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

January 26, 2014

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Wanted: Waterfowl hunters’ feedback

Ohio waterfowl hunters have the opportunity to provide input on next season’s hunting regulations through an online survey, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

Survey topics include the timing of the 2014-15 waterfowl hunting seasons and hen mallard bag limits. The survey is already available at www.wildohio.com and must be completed by Friday, Feb. 14. The survey contains approximately 25 questions and should take less than 10 minutes to complete.

The Ohio Wildlife Council establishes season dates and other regulations in the summer after federal guidelines are provided for the 2014-15 waterfowl hunting seasons. Input will be used so hunting opportunities can be matched to the preferences of as many hunters as possible within the constraints of federal guidelines.

Similar information was solicited from Ohio waterfowl hunters in 2013 and used to set the 2013-14 hunting season dates. A full report and a summary of the report are available at www.wildohio.com on the Waterfowl Hunting Resources page.

Similar to last year, Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp buyers who purchased a hunting license and have provided a valid email address will be emailed an invitation to take the survey in an effort to increase awareness and participation.

Hunters will need their customer identification number to take the survey. The identification number is found on all Ohio hunting and fishing licenses or at www.wildohio.com. Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp customers who wish to provide an email address to receive future invitations can do so by visiting www.wildohio.com and clicking the Wild Ohio Customer Center.

Urban coyotes

Ohio wildlife biologists are frequently contacted by concerned residents who spot coyotes in highly developed areas. This is often not cause for alarm. Coyotes are highly adaptable animals that live in a wide variety of environments thus there is no need to report sightings to wildlife officials unless the animal appears hurt, sick, or habituated. Here are a few steps to keep in mind when you encounter an urban coyote in the Buckeye State.

n Understand coyotes are common throughout Ohio’s 88 counties and are regularly seen within city limits. You can read more about coyotes at www.wildohio.com.

n There are no wolves living in the wild in Ohio.

n If you spot a coyote on your property, make sure to remove all “attractants” to deter the coyote from returning. This includes removing garbage and pet food primarily before nightfall and cleaning up around the grill. Do not feed coyotes directly.

n Coyotes prey primarily on small mammals such as rabbits and rodents. However, interactions with domestic pets do occur sometimes. Keep small dogs and cats inside (especially after nightfall) or leashed when outside. Motion-sensitive lighting tends to be helpful too at keeping wildlife away from your home.

n Occasionally, an inquisitive coyote will stay put and watch you curiously. Make noise. Clap your hands and shout; the coyote will likely move on at this point. If it doesn’t, throw objects like rocks at it to scare it away. A coyote that loses its fear of humans could potentially become a threat.

n If the coyote visiting your yard does not respond to harassment techniques such as loud noises or it is presenting a conflict even after removing attractants from your yard, contact a nuisance trapper. You can locate a trapper on our website at www.wildohio.com. Nuisance trappers use highly regulated techniques to reduce urban wildlife conflicts. Coyote populations in rural areas can be managed through legal hunting and trapping methods.

Consult the yearly “Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations” digest for more information.

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