The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

March 3, 2013

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Critters, critters everywhere!

By DALE SUNDERLIN
For the Star Beacon

— More than 98,000 rainbow trout will be released this spring at 63 Ohio public lakes and ponds.

The first release was last Friday at Adams Lake in Adams County, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

Rainbow trout releases will take place through May 3, and the stocking of these public lakes and ponds are excellent opportunities for families to fish together. Fishing for catchable-sized trout is a great way to introduce young people to the outdoors. Rainbow trout are raised at state fish hatcheries and are 10-13 inches before they are released by the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The daily catch limit for inland lakes is five trout.

Some locations will feature special angler events, including youth-only fishing, on the day of the scheduled trout release. Contact the nearest wildlife district office for specific information. Additional information about trout releases is available at www.wildohio.com or by calling 800-WILDLIFE.

Anglers age 16 and older must have an Ohio fishing license to fish state public waters. The 2013-14 fishing license is available now and is valid through Feb. 28, 2014. An annual resident fishing license costs $19. A one-day fishing license costs $11 for residents and non-residents. The one-day license may also be redeemed for credit toward the purchase of an annual fishing license.

Ohio residents born on or before Dec. 31, 1937, may obtain a free fishing license where licenses are sold. Persons age 66 and older who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1938, and have resided in Ohio for the past six months are eligible to purchase the reduced-cost resident senior license for $10.

Sales of fishing licenses along with the Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) program continue to fund the operation of the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s fish hatcheries. No state tax dollars are used for this activity. This is a user-pay, user-benefit program.

The SFR is a partnership between federal and state government, industry and anglers/boaters. When anglers purchase rods, reels, fishing tackle, fish finders and motorboat fuel, they pay an excise tax. The federal government collects these taxes, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers and disburses these funds to state fish and wildlife agencies. These funds are used to acquire habitat, produce and stock fish, conduct research and surveys, provide aquatic education to youth and acquire and develop boat accesses.



Black bears

Biologists estimate a total of 23 individual black bears accounted for 37 confirmed sightings in 14 northeast Ohio counties last year, according to the Division of Wildlife. The number of confirmed sightings is up from 26 in 2011.

“We experienced two or three specific bears that were very active and therefore highly visible to Geauga and Portage county residents,” Scott Peters, wildlife management supervisor for District Three Division of Wildlife, said. “The number of sightings slightly increased in 2012 mostly due to this activity,” noted Peters. Many factors contribute to fluctuating bear movement annually including weather, lack or high availability of food sources, and the presence of other bears.

Sightings were reported beginning in late February and continuing each month through mid-December. The majority of bears were reported May through August, which is the peak of black bear breeding and dispersal of young male bears.

Of the 37 confirmed sightings, 15 were confirmed as conflict or nuisance behavior, such as damage to bird feeders, beehives, and garbage containers, as well as consumption of pet food.

Trumbull County lead northeast Ohio with 10 confirmed sightings, followed by Portage with six (6) and Ashtabula, Geauga and Mahoning counties with five (5) confirmed sightings each.

Confirmed sightings include such details as photographs, tracks, scat, and reports directly from wildlife officials.

The Division of Wildlife began formally keeping records of black bear observations in 1993. Since that time, bears have been confirmed in over half of Ohio’s 88 counties. Most observations occur in northeast and southern Ohio.  

Efforts to monitor the black bear have been supported by the Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species fund, which receives donations from Ohioans through the state income tax checkoff program and by the purchase of cardinal license plates and Wildlife Legacy Stamps. Individuals wanting to donate to the fund can also donate online at www.wlldohio.com.

Additional northeast Ohio counties with confirmed sightings include Columbiana (1), Cuyahoga (2), Jefferson (1), and Summit (1).

The black bear is listed as endangered in Ohio and protected by state law. For more information about Ohio’s wildlife species visit www.wildohio.com.



Coyote. What to do?

This is the breeding season for coyotes so your chance of seeing one now are probably greater than any time during the year. So what should you do? In my opinion go get a gun and shoot the suckers. To me the only good yote is a dead yote. But in the interest of safety here are tips from the Ohio division of Wildlife.

Ohio wildlife biologists are frequently contacted by concerned residents who spot coyotes. Yes, frequently, but this is not cause for alarm. Coyotes are highly adaptable animals that are regularly viewed by humans throughout the state. Here are a few steps to keep in mind when you encounter a coyote in the Buckeye State:

n 1. Understand that coyotes are common throughout Ohio’s 88 counties and are even regularly seen within city limits. Read more about coyotes at www.wildohio.com .

n 2. There are no wolves living in the wild in Ohio.

n 3. 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 before nightfall and cleaning up around the grill.

n 4. Coyotes prey primarily on small mammals such as rabbits and mice. However, interactions with domestic pets do occur sometimes. Keep small dogs and cats inside or leash them when outside.

n 5. Occasionally, an inquisitive coyote will stay put and watch you curiously. Clap your hands and shout; the coyote will likely move on at this point.

n 6. If the coyote visiting your yard does not respond to harassment techniques such as loud noises or 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. For a fee, these 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.



Datebook

n Try It B4 You Buy It. Amboy Rifle Club will be hold a “Try It B4 You Buy It Event on March 23, 2013 from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. at its clubhouse, located at 100 Hawthorne Drive in Conneaut. The cost is $20 per participant and this will get you the following: Each participant will be allowed to shoot 5 rounds from 3 separate caliber handguns, 15 rounds, total. The firing range will be under the supervision of a NRA Certified Range Safety Officer at all times. Snacks and hot food will be available in the kitchen for a nominal fee. No personal firearms will be allowed. Participants must be 21 years old, no exceptions.

The purpose of this event is to give prospective gun owners or gun owners who want another caliber or type of firearm a chance to, “Try it B4 You Buy It”. Each participant will be given the opportunity to shoot 3 separate caliber handguns. This is not a firearm-training course and no personal firearms will be allowed at this event. Women and new shooters are encouraged to attend. For more information contact Dennis Woodard 645-9698 or Teresa Paone at 813-5648 or go to www.amboyrifleclub.com.

n The Amboy Sharp Shooters 4H Club will be holding its annual registration on March 23, 2013 at the Amboy Rifle Club from 9 a.m. till noon. This will be you opportunity to sign up for this year’s 4H Club featuring the discipline’s of Rifle and Archery. For more information call 344-6208 or email amboysharps@gmail.com.

n Lyme Disease Support Group Meeting. Lyme disease...what is it? How do you get it? How do you treat it? How do you prevent it? These questions will be discussed in an open to the public forum on Saturday, March 16, 2013 hosted by Lyme Bites, a Lyme Disease Support Group. This event will be held at Jefferson Health Care’s (Jefferson Geriatric) conference room located 222 East Beech St., Jefferson,. Please park in the back and enter through the Dialysis doors. The meeting is free of charge and open to the public. Medical personnel and support givers are encouraged to attend. Reservations are not required but appreciated. For more information, contact Janine Kirby at 858-2614.

n Jefferson Nazarene, wild game dinner, March 14, 2013. Call 576-6556 for more information.

n ODNR Division of Watercraft is conducting a Boaters Education Class at: Great Lakes Outdoor Supply 14908 North State Ave. (Rt. 608) Middlefield on March 4, 11 and 18, from 6-9 p.m. All 3 classes are mandatory call to register for the class 964-0518. A $5 fee for material will be in place.

Remember, pass it on or it will surely pass on.

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