The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 19, 2012

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Surplus trout stocked in Lake Erie

By DALE SUNDERLIN
For the Star Beacon

— The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife has joined forces with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) to implement a pilot project to continue the restoration of native lake trout populations in Lake Erie.

Lake trout are listed as a species of concern in Ohio because the population was greatly reduced by sea lamprey predation, particularly in Lake Erie’s eastern basin. There has been very little lake trout natural reproduction documented in Lake Erie over the last three decades, despite extensive annual stocking by neighboring state agencies in the eastern basin.

During the week of Nov. 5, approximately 120,000 surplus lake trout fingerlings were stocked in Ohio waters of Lake Erie, including the central basin (Fairport Harbor) and western basin (Catawba). These surplus lake trout were raised at the newly renovated Service Allegheny Fish Hatchery in Warren, Pa. Approximately 200,000 lake trout are raised annually at the Service’s hatchery facility for lake trout restoration efforts in Lake Erie’s eastern region.

Lake trout stocked in November have adipose fin clips and a small, coded wire tag implanted in their snouts. Specific lot numbers on the tags allow biologists to recover stocking, growth, survival and migration return information when the fish is recaptured.

To determine stocking success, ODNR Division of Wildlife fish biologists will collect lake trout catch information and fish heads from anglers, commercial fishers and future assessment surveys. Future reef assessment surveys will determine if adult lake trout are homing in to stocking locations to spawn. Restoring lake trout as a key predator in the coldwater regions of Lake Erie will help maintain a healthy, balanced ecosystem.

The Service’s mission is to work with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.



Steady numbers

Ohio’s annual furbearer hunting and trapping seasons began on Nov. 10 for certain species. Good furbearer populations are expected this year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

“Following the mild winter of 2011-2012, most populations of furbearing species are doing very well,” said ODNR Division of Wildlife Biologist Suzie Prange. “We anticipate fur takers will have a good season for most species.”

Fox, raccoon, opossum, skunk and weasel hunting and trapping seasons are open Nov. 10 through Jan. 31, 2013. Mink and muskrat trapping seasons are open Nov. 10 through Feb. 28, 2013. However, raccoon, opossum, skunk, weasel, mink and muskrat trapping seasons will remain open through March 15, 2013, only in Erie, Ottawa and Sandusky counties as well as Lucas County east of the Maumee River.

Coyote hunting and trapping has no closed season with an unrestricted bag limit. Special hunting regulations for coyotes apply during the statewide deer-gun season, Nov. 26-Dec. 2 and Dec. 15-16, and deer-muzzleloader season, Jan. 5-8, 2013.

Beaver and river otter trapping seasons are open Dec. 26 through Feb. 28, 2013, and beaver trapping is open statewide.

For the eighth year, 43 counties will be open for river otter trapping. River otters were reintroduced into Ohio from 1986-1993 and have increased their range in the state. River otters were removed from Ohio’s Endangered Species List in 2002. Full details of open counties as well as checking and permit requirements can be found in the Ohio River Otter Trapping Regulations or at wildohio.com.

There will be no daily bag limits or restrictions on hours for hunting and trapping furbearers, with the exception of river otters. River otter bag limits are dependent on the county where it was trapped.

A fur taker permit is required in addition to a valid Ohio hunting license to hunt or trap furbearing animals, except for coyotes, which may be hunted or trapped year-round without a fur taker permit. A special ODNR Division of Wildlife permit is required to trap beaver and river otter on state public hunting areas.

River otters that are accidentally captured, either in excess of bag limits or in closed counties, must be released unharmed. River otters that cannot be released must be turned over to ODNR Division of Wildlife. Beaver trappers in particular are advised to watch for river otter sign and modify set placements where necessary. The Ohio State Trappers Association and ODNR Division of Wildlife have published a guide on how to recognize river otter sign and use avoidance techniques while trapping for beaver in areas closed to river otter trapping. A copy of the publication can be ordered by calling 800-WILDLIFE.

Ohio is among the nations leading producers of raw furs. Last year, 22,195 fur taker permits were sold in the state. The state currently has 65 licensed fur dealers.

Additional hunting and trapping information is available in the 2012-13 Ohio Hunting Regulations, at www.wildohio.com or by calling 800-WILDLIFE.



Scope mounting 101

With gun season just around the corner, one week away to be exact many of us procrastinators will be out there sighting our shotguns or muzzleloaders in at the last minute. Some of you may even be so far behind that you might go so far as to be just mounting your scope, shame on you. Oops, been there done that, retract that statement. If that be the case here’s a quick Scope Mounting 101 course that might help you get the job done a tad bit quicker and easier so you can then get out there and sight it in and hopefully hit what yer amin’ at.



Do it right

With some of the recent innovations in shotgun and muzzleloader accuracy, a lot of hunters are adding scopes to their hunting implements. Decades ago mounting a scope involved drilling and tapping the gun’s receiver, something best left to a professional gunsmith.

However, today most firearm manufacturers have incorporated some system of mounting a scope into their firearm designs, which means that anyone with a moderate level of skill can install their own scopes. This also means that a lot of people mount scopes incorrectly, leading to poor performance, inaccuracy, and damage to the scope.



Disclaimer

There are thousands of firearms, scopes, rings, and bases available which means there are millions of different combinations that someone can encounter. No article, or book for that matter, can possibly thoroughly cover every situation. The technique described here will describe how to install most scopes onto most firearms.

If you are uncertain or uncomfortable at any point, STOP; take the gun to a skilled gunsmith. In addition, there are potentially other ways to correctly install a scope. The method described here has been found to deliver the best performance, accuracy, and holding power. But by no means is it the definitive way to mount a scope.



Begin at...

Begin by mounting the scope base and rings according to the manufacturer’s directions; however, do not tighten the rings down completely at this point. If installing a scope base, be sure to degrease the screws and holes before applying a blue thread locking compound. Also, if the scope mounting system uses straight slot screws, be sure to use the proper gunsmith screwdriver not a standard screwdriver otherwise you will more than likely strip the slot.



Eye relief

Next ensure that the rings will allow the scope to be mounted with the proper eye relief. Lay the scope in the bottom portion of the rings. Place the top halves of the rings over the scope. Insert the screws only enough to prevent the scope from sliding when raising the firearm; do not over-tighten. Check to see that the scope can be adjusted forward or rearward enough to obtain the correct eye relief. If the rings are interfering with the correct scope placement, move them as needed. Once an acceptable location is found, tighten the scope rings down onto the base.



Align the misaligned

The next step is often omitted by many and can lead to scope damage, inaccuracy, and scope movement from recoil. For this step, a scope ring lapping kit is required. This kit includes a lapping bar matching the diameters of your scope and rings, and some lapping compound. Even high-quality scope rings are often misaligned and not perfectly round.

Lapping the inside of the rings increases the holding surface of the rings and eliminates denting and bending the scope tube, which can distort the crosshairs and cause adjustment problems.

 

Lapping compound

To begin the lapping process, remove the scope and set it aside. Cover the receiver with an old cloth to protect it from the lapping compound. Add the lapping compound to the inside of both halves of the scope rings, ensuring not to get any compound in the screw holes or on the screws. Place the lapping bar on the rings and install the top halves. Tighten the rings just enough to ensuring the lapping bar can still be moved.



Easy does it

Proceed to repeatedly move the bar back and forth. As the lapping process continues the rings will need to be tightened to take up the additional clearance. Periodically remove the bar and clean off the lapping compound to inspect the progress. Continue until 90-95 percent of the rings are making contact.

Determine this by estimating the amount of shiny surface inside the rings. Do not remove so much material that the top and bottom halves touch. Once complete, remove any residual compound with an action cleaner. Now the rings are aligned and any inconsistencies have been removed ensuring the maximum holding surface and minimizing any scope damage when the rings are tightened.



Final steps

A gap should be even on all sides after tightening the rings. The final step starts out with degreasing the screws and the screw holes for the rings. Place some blue thread-locking compound on the screws. Install the scope in the rings as before and obtain the correct eye relief.

Once the proper eye relief has been established, check the scope reticle and ensure that the scope is not canted, make sure it square. Although canting a scope has no effect on accuracy, it does make windage and elevation adjustments more difficult.

Once the scope is in the desired location, tighten the screws in an alternating pattern until they are properly torqued. This ensures that the rings are tightened down evenly and the gaps between the ring halves are even.

Now that you have your scope has been properly installed, it can be bore sighted. The final step is heading to the range and sighting in the firearm. Once all of this is done you can be rest assured that if you miss it’s not the guns fault.

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



Oh, deer!

As of Nov. 14, 2012, the deer harvest stats for Ashtabula County and some surrounding counties are as follows:

Ashtabula — bucks taken 537, doe taken 743, Button bucks 177, 2012, Total 1457

Geauga — bucks taken 221, doe taken 460, Button bucks taken 103, Total, 784

Lake — bucks taken 146, doe taken 227, Button bucks taken 46, Total 419

Trumbull — bucks taken 448, doe taken 562, Button bucks taken 206, Total 1216

 

Buck Fever Night

The Ashtabula County Wildlife Conservation League (ACWCL) in conjunction with Whitetails Unlimited is having their annual Buck Fever Night Banquet on Nov. 23, 2012 at the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds Expo building located in Jefferson. The doors will open and social hour will begin at 4:30 p.m. followed by dinner at approximately 6:30p.m.

Single non-member tickets cost $25.00

Table Captain Package, $250 includes10 Buck Fever Tickets, Entry in Table Captain-Only Gun Drawing, Free WTU Cap, Seats reserved in your name, Recognition as a special WTU guest.

Become a Sponsor. Sponsor Package; Donate $150 in cash or merchandise, and receive our WTU sponsor knife set and decal, two Buck Fever tickets, and entry into a Sponsor-Only Gun Drawing! Please call for merchandise sponsorship opportunity.

Early Bird Drawing — Purchase your Buck Fever tickets by November 15 and be automatically entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $100 in Hunter Raffle Tickets!

Raffles; $100 Hunters Raffle Package, 9 Gun Board Raffle tickets, 30 Bucket Raffle tickets, WTU Gift, WTU 1-Year Membership.

Purchase before November 21 and also receive a Bonus Gun Ticket and a free $50 Hunters Raffle Book (3 gun board raffle tickets 10 bucket raffle tickets). This item must be picked up at event. Buck Fever ticket NOT included!

Life Members, you will enter your life member number upon checkout to apply your discount if applicable. Discount only applies to membership events. Deadline date for ticket purchases is Nov. 21, 2012.

For more information and tickets call, Ron Tusai 563-3384, Dennis Malloy (330) 507-9489 or WTU Headquarters at 800-274-5471 or go online at www.whitetailsunlimited.com.

Support Local Conservation — 50 percent of all net proceeds will go directly back to your local area for conservation-related activities. Proceeds from this event will benefit youth programs in cooperation with Ashtabula County Conservation League.



Datebook

The Lyme Disease Support Group, Lyme Bites, is hosting a lecture on Dec. 8 at 11 a.m. by Dr. J. Joseph, a Lyme disease specialty physician who will be speaking on the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease followed by a question and answer session. Medical personnel and support givers are encouraged to attend.

The lecture will be held at the Jefferson Health Care’s (Jefferson Geriatric) conference room, located at 222 East Beech St., Jefferson,. Please park in the back and enter through the Dialysis doors.

This event is free of charge and open to the public. Reservations are not required but appreciated. For more information, contact Janine Kirby at 858-2614.

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

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