The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

July 29, 2013

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Public invited to hear changes

By DALE SUNDERLIN
For the Star Beacon

— The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) will seek public comments regarding fishing, hunting and trapping rule changes on Saturday, Aug. 10, from 12-3 p.m. at seven locations around the state.

Input concerning proposed changes to the Ohio Wildlife Council from the July 17 meeting will be accepted.

Among proposed rule changes are decreasing the statewide yellow perch limit to 30, adding or removing boat engine limitations on several lakes and clarifying hunting and trapping language.

These events are open to the public. Anyone interested in providing input and participating in Ohio’s professional wildlife management process is welcome. ODNR Division of Wildlife staff will be available to answer questions and receive comments.

People who are not able to attend an open house at one of the seven locations can provide input online. Comments are accepted through Aug. 10 at www.wildohio.com. Click on “open house comments” to submit a response.

Public input gathered at these open houses and through the online form will be considered during the formulation of regulations. For more information or directions to the open houses, visit wildohio.com or call 1-800-945-3543.

Open house location information for Aug. 10:

A statewide hearing on proposed rules will be held on Thursday, Sept. 19, at 9 a.m. at the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s District One office. This hearing is open to the public, and comments on the proposed rules will be accepted.

After considering public input, the Ohio Wildlife Council will vote on the proposed rules during it’s meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 16. Council meetings are open to the public. Individuals who want to provide comments to the council must pre-register at least two days prior to the meeting by calling (614) 265-6304.

All comments are required to be three minutes or less. Emailed or written comments will not be presented at this meeting, but will continue to be an important mechanism for input in regularly scheduled wildlife open houses.



Lottery under way

Hunters interested in hunting Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area on the opening day of teal season are encouraged to enter a lottery, according to the Division of Wildlife. Deadline for submitting a lottery entry is Aug. 5.

Both adults and youth can apply for the adult morning hunts. Only youth (17 and younger) can apply for the youth afternoon hunts. Zones will be assigned in the order they are drawn. Successful applicants will receive a permit and special instructions in the mail. Permits are not transferable. Successful applicants may bring up to two guests to hunt with them. Both teal and Canada Geese may be hunted.

To apply, applicants must submit a 4 x 6 inch postcard listing their name, address, and phone number. Only one postcard per applicant is allowed and no duplicates may be submitted. Postcards should be sent to: ODNR Division of Wildlife District Two, 952 Lima Avenue, Findlay, Ohio 45840. Postcards need to be labeled at the top for the particular hunt in which the hunter is applying (Adult Teal; Youth Teal).

Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area is located in Sandusky County off State Route 6, between Fremont and Sandusky.



Bird seasons

The Ohio Wildlife Council approved the state’s 2013-2014 early migratory game bird hunting seasons at its scheduled meeting on Wednesday, July 17, according to the ODNR. Sept. 1 kicks off the state’s bird hunting seasons for mourning dove, Canada goose, rail, moorhen and snipe.

New this year, bag limits for Canada geese and teal have increased, and possession limits after the second day of hunting have increased for all migratory game bird species.

Ohio’s dove season is Sept. 1-Oct. 21 and Dec. 15-Jan. 2, 2014, with a daily limit of 15 birds and a possession limit of 45 birds after the second day.

Controlled dove hunts will be offered at Fallsville, Rush Run, Spring Valley, Indian Creek and Bott state wildlife areas. Bott Wildlife Area will hold its drawings at the Indian Creek Headquarters. These controlled hunts will take place on Sunday, Sept. 1, and Monday, Sept. 2; hunting hours will be noon to sunset. Controlled dove hunts will also be offered at St. Marys Fish Hatchery on Sept. 1-2, 7, 14 and 21. Youths 17-years-old and younger will be given priority on Sept. 1-2.

Opening-day drawings for all of these hunts will take place at noon on Saturday, Aug. 24, at the respective public area headquarters. Drawings for the other hunts will be held the day of the hunt at noon. Maps and details are available at wildohio.com. Questions about these hunts should be directed to the Division of Wildlife’s District Five office at (937) 372-9261.

Canada geese may be hunted statewide Sept. 1-15 during the special early season, with a daily limit of five birds and possession limit of 15 birds after the second day. The Mercer Canada Goose Zone will be open during the early Canada goose season.

The early teal hunting season is Sept. 7-22 with a daily bag limit of six birds and possession limit of 18 after the second day.

Sora rails, Virginia rails and moorhens can be hunted Sept.1-Nov. 9 with a daily limit of 25 rails and 15 moorhens. Hunting season for snipe is Sept. 1-Nov. 25 and Dec. 15-Jan. 4, 2014, with a daily bag limit of eight. The woodcock hunting season is Oct. 12-Nov. 25 with a daily bag limit of three.

Waterfowl hunters must have a valid hunting license in addition to a state wetlands habitat stamp endorsement, a federal duck stamp and a Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification. Hunters must obtain a new HIP certification each year. Licenses, permits and stamps are available online at the Wild Ohio Customer Center. Federal duck stamps are available at duckstamp.com.

A state wetlands habitat stamp endorsement and a federal duck stamp are not required to hunt doves, rails, moorhens, snipe and woodcock. Only nontoxic shot may be used to hunt waterfowl, rails, moorhens and snipe.

Hunting hours are sunrise to sunset. The only exceptions will be on wildlife areas that have specially posted hunting times for doves.

The 2013-14 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations and the 2013 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons brochure can be found online at wildohio.com. The 2013 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons brochure will be available by late August at license outlets, ODNR Division of Wildlife district offices or by calling 800-WILDLIFE.



Boater Freedom Act

On July 10, 2013, Governor John R. Kasich signed into law House Bill 29, known as the “Boater Freedom Act,” which establishes criteria for watercraft safety inspections on Ohio’s waters. This legislation should decrease the number of safety inspections that recreational boaters experience on Lake Erie and all of Ohio’s waterways.

ODNR director James Zehringer attended the signing, which took place at the Governor’s Fish Ohio Day in Port Clinton. Zehringer praised the legislative efforts to craft a bill that defines when state and local law enforcement officers may board recreational watercraft for the purpose of conducting vessel safety inspections.

“ODNR’s primary focus remains the safety of Ohio’s boaters, and the safety inspection program has proven to be a valuable tool,” Zehringer said. “This legislation will provide a positive step toward Ohio boaters being able to enjoy their time even more on Ohio’s lakes and rivers.”

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Rex Damschroder, which went into effect with the Governor’s signature, establishes that a state or local law enforcement officer will no longer have the authority to stop or board a vessel to conduct a safety inspection unless the owner or operator voluntarily requests such an inspection; there is reasonable suspicion the vessel, its equipment or its operator is in violation of watercraft or local law; or the boat is being inspected as part of an authorized checkpoint.

The bill additionally exempts charter boat captains and others holding certain U.S. Coast Guard credentials and endorsements from completing Ohio’s boater education course. When testifying in support of the bill, ODNR Division of Watercraft Chief Rodger Norcross said those individuals are already educated in boater safety through the process of obtaining their license.

House Bill 29 only directs the activities of state and local law enforcement agencies; it does not change the policies, procedures or other activities of the U.S. Coast Guard, Border Patrol, Department of Homeland Security or other federal agencies.

For a fourth consecutive year in 2012, Ohio ranked among the top 10 states nationally with a record 435,310 registered watercraft, according to the ODNR Division of Watercraft. The ODNR Division of Watercraft Division and its 89 commissioned law enforcement officers are responsible for enforcing state boating rules on all state waterways, providing education programs and investigating boating-related accidents. An estimated 3 million Ohioans enjoy recreational boating in the state annually. For more information on Ohio’s boating programs and boating rules, go to www.watercraft.ohiodnr.gov.



Record carp certified

A new Ohio record carp taken by bowfishing has been certified by the Outdoor Writers of Ohio State Record Fish Committee.

The new state record carp, weighing 53.65 pounds, was caught by Patrick Johnson of Toledo in the Sandusky County portion of Lake Erie’s waters. Johnson arrowed the carp June 9, 2013, using a fish point tethered with 200-pound test Fast Flight line. Johnson’s record carp is 45 inches long and 32-1⁄4 inches in girth.  

His catch replaces the previous state bowfishing record carp that was arrowed in Sandusky Bay by Rich Cady on May 28, 2008, weighing 47.65 pounds and measuring 38 inches long. Ohio’s record fish are determined on the basis of weight only.

Ohio’s state record fish are certified by the Outdoor Writers of Ohio State Record Fish Committee with assistance from fisheries biologists with the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Biologists from the Ohio Division of Wildlife District 2 office in Findlay confirmed the identification of Johnson’s catch.

For more information on Ohio’s state record fish program, contact Fred Snyder, Chairman, OWO State Record Fish Committee, 754 Co. Rd. 126, Fremont, 43420, phone (419) 332-0777, email fnsnyder@gmail.com, www.outdoorwritersofohio.org.



Datebook

Orwell Gun Club will be sponsoring a “Women’s Beginning Firearms Clinic.”

The date is Saturday August 24, 2013 from 9:30 a.m.till 2 p.m. They are located at 8089 Higley Road, Orwell.

Preregistration is required, ages 14 to 18 must be accompanied by an adult. Beginning instruction for handgun, rifle and shotgun will be the agenda. Call 272-5583 or email jwabbit13@gmail.com. Please leave your name; phone number and number of attendees and someone will get back to, you.

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

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