Month: August 2010

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PA 2010-2011 Waterfowl Hunting Seasons and Bag Limits

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2010-11 MIGRATORY GAME BIRD SEASONS AND BAG LIMITS SELECTED;
HUNTERS ENCOURAGED TO REPORT BANDED BIRDS;
FEDERAL REGULATIONS POSTED ON GAME COMMISSION WEBSITE;
WATERFOWL HUNTERS CAUTIONED ABOUT EATING MERGANSERS;
GOOSE BLIND DEADLINES FOR CONTROLLED HUNTING AREAS;
WEAR A LIFE JACKET IF HUNTING FROM A BOAT;
2010-11 WATERFOWL SEASONS AND BAG LIMITS

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today announced that the agency has made its selections for the 2010-11 migratory game bird hunting seasons and bag limits.

Annual waterfowl seasons are selected by states from a framework established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  Game Commission selections were made after reviewing last year’s season results, waterfowl survey data, and input gathered from waterfowl hunters and the public.  Final approval from the USFWS is expected by late September.

Roe also noted that the Game Commission again has posted the waterfowl season brochure and maps on its website (www.pgc.state.pa.us).  The agency currently is mass-producing brochures to be distributed to U.S. Post Offices within the next two weeks.

“Many hunters already have purchased their hunting licenses and federal waterfowl stamps in anticipation of the season,” Roe said.  “For their convenience, in addition to being able to pick up the waterfowl brochure and maps at post offices and license issuing agents, hunters can obtain this important information from the Game Commission’s website.”

Kevin Jacobs, Game Commission waterfowl biologist, said the federal frameworks are again allowing for a 60-day duck season, with a six bird daily limit.  The same species restrictions and bag limits that were in place for the 2009-10 season will continue, with the exception of a two-bird daily limit for pintail throughout the 60-day season.

“In reviewing public input, we have heard that hunters would prefer that we not close the duck season in the Northwest Duck Zone during the two-week firearms deer season (Nov. 29-Dec. 11),” Jacobs said. “We have incorporated this request into the season dates for the 2010 duck seasons, which will run from Oct. 9-23, and from Nov. 6-Dec. 30.”

Jacobs also noted that hunters will be able to harvest 25 snow geese daily in both the regular snow goose season (Nov. 6-Feb. 19) and Snow Goose Conservation Hunts, which was extended by one additional week (Feb. 21-April 16). To participate, hunters will need to obtain a free conservation hunt permit and file a mandatory report of harvest/participation in addition to their other required licenses.  Specifics on how to obtain a permit for the Snow Goose Conservation Hunt will be announced later this hunting season.

Once again, young Pennsylvania hunters will be provided with a special day of waterfowl hunting on Saturday, Sept. 18.  The Youth Waterfowl Day will be open to those 12- to 15-years-old who hold a junior hunting license. To participate, a youngster must be accompanied by an adult, who may assist the youth in calling, duck identification and other aspects of the hunt.  During this special day-long hunt, youth can harvest Canada geese, ducks, mergansers, coots and moorhens.  The daily bag limit for youth participating in the Youth Waterfowl Day for is the same as the regular season daily limit in the area being hunted. The only exception is that when September Canada goose daily bag limits exceed the regular season limit for the area being hunted, youth can take the September daily limit.

Also, this agency again will hold a special youth-only waterfowl hunting day at the controlled hunting blinds at both Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area and Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area. The youth day for Middle Creek is Nov. 20, for Pymatuning, Nov. 27. A special drawing of applications submitted by junior license holders will be held immediately before the regular drawing for goose blinds.  Interested youth should use the same application on page 28 of the 2010-11 Digest.  Only one application will be accepted per junior hunter.

In addition to a regular Pennsylvania hunting license, persons 16 and older must have a Federal Migratory Bird and Conservation Stamp, commonly referred to as a “Duck Stamp,” signed in ink across its face. All waterfowl hunters, regardless of age, must have a Pennsylvania Migratory Game Bird License to hunt waterfowl and other migratory birds, including doves, woodcock, coots, moorhens, rails and snipe. All migratory game bird hunters in the United States are required to complete a Harvest Information Program survey when they purchase a state migratory game bird license. The survey information is then forwarded to the USFWS.

“By answering the questions on the survey card, hunters will improve survey efficiency and the quality of information used to track the harvest of migratory birds for management purposes,” Jacobs said.

Hunters must use non-toxic shot while hunting ducks, geese or coots in Pennsylvania. The use of decoys powered or operated by batteries or any other source of electricity is unlawful in Pennsylvania. Also, the use of any sort of artificial substance or product as bait or an attractant is prohibited.

Jacobs noted that, although hunting hours have been extended to one-half hour after sunset for big game (except spring gobbler), as well as small game and furbearers, federal regulations prevail for waterfowl and migratory game birds, so shooting hours for these species will continue to close at sunset.  The only exceptions are during the early September Canada goose season (Sept. 1-25) and the Snow Goose Conservation Season (Feb. 21-April 16), in which the USFWS has permitted states to extend the hunting hours to one-half hour after sunset. Also, during the first part of the dove season (Sept. 1-28), hunting hours are from noon through sunset.

For complete early Canada goose season information, as well as webless migratory game bird seasons, please see News Release #78-10, which the agency issued on July 29.

FEDERAL REGULATIONS POSTED ON GAME COMMISSION WEBSITE

The Pennsylvania Game Commission has posted a synopsis of federal regulations that govern migratory game bird and waterfowl seasons to assist hunters in finding answers to questions.

To review the information, go to the Game Commission’s website (www.pgc.state.pa.us), put your cursor on “Hunt/Trap” in the menu bar at the top of the page, click on “Hunting,” scroll down and click on “Waterfowl Hunting and Conservation,” and then scroll down and click on “Federal Waterfowl Hunting Regulations Synopsis” in the “Waterfowl Hunting Regulations” section.

Additional information can be found on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service website (www.fws.gov/hunting/whatres.html), where a complete version of the federal regulations (50 CFR Part 20) are posted. When state law differs from the federal law, hunters must comply with the more restrictive law.

HUNTERS ENCOURAGED TO REPORT BANDED BIRDS

Waterfowl hunters are encouraged to report banded ducks, geese and doves they harvest online atwww.reportband.gov, or by using the toll-free number (1-800-327-BAND). Hunters will be requested to provide information on where, when and what species of migratory birds were taken, in addition to the band number. This information is crucial to the successful management of migratory birds.

Kevin Jacobs, Game Commission waterfowl biologist, also stressed that reporting leg-bands helps the Game Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service learn more about waterfowl movements, and survival and harvest rates that are critical to population management and setting of hunting regulations. Each year, nearly 380,000 ducks and geese and 30,000 mourning doves are banded across the United States and Canada.

“Information provided by hunters is essential in our efforts to properly manage our migratory game bird populations and harvest opportunities,” Jacobs said. “By reporting the recovery of a leg-band, hunters not only assist in managing the resource, but also have an opportunity to learn interesting facts about the bird they harvested.”

Jacobs noted that the online and toll-free reporting systems have produced big dividends. Under the old reporting system utilized until the late 1990s, about one-third of recovered banded birds were reported by hunters. Now, with the option of using online or toll-free methods, band reporting rates are estimated to have stabilized around 70 percent. This allows more information to be obtained from the program and can reduce costs associated with banding ducks, geese and doves.

WATERFOWL HUNTERS CAUTIONED ABOUT EATING MERGANSERS

To minimize potential health impacts, it’s suggested that hunters don’t eat merganser ducks, especially those harvested in the Lake Erie and northwestern Pennsylvania hunting zones.

Studies conducted over the past two decades on Pennsylvania and New York mergansers, especially common and red-breasted mergansers in the Lake Erie region, have concluded they may have varying levels of contaminants, including PCBs.

Mergansers consume fish and other aquatic organisms that may cause a concentration of contaminants in body tissue. Health officials have issued similar consumption advisories for certain species of fish found in these same waters.

For this reason, hunters are cautioned to not consume any mergansers. Other waterfowl should be skinned and the fat removed before cooking. Stuffing should be discarded after cooking and should not be consumed.

GOOSE BLIND DEADLINES FOR CONTROLLED HUNTING AREAS

Application deadlines are fast approaching for waterfowl hunters interested in being selected for the limited number of goose blinds at the controlled hunting areas at the Pennsylvania Game Commission’s Pymatuning or Middle Creek wildlife management areas during the regular Canada goose season. A goose blind application must be submitted on the form that is found on page 28 of the 2010-11 Pennsylvania Digest of Hunting and Trapping Regulations.

Hunters may apply to only one area per year and may submit only one application, which must include the individual’s 2010-11 nine-digit Customer Identification (CID) Number.

The Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area will accept applications through the mail until Sept. 7, at: PGC Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area, P.O. Box 110, Kleinfeltersville, PA 17039-0110. A public drawing will be held at 10 a.m., Sept. 8.

Applications for the Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area will be accepted through the mail until Sept. 11, at: PGC Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area, 9552 Hartstown Rd., Hartstown, PA 16131. A public drawing will be held at 10 a.m., Sept. 18.

Blinds at Middle Creek and Pymatuning will not be operational during the September season. Shooting days at Middle Creek during the regular season are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  Shooting days at Pymatuning are Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

A separate drawing is held for blinds that accommodate hunters with disabilities. Applicants must submit a current copy of their Disabled Person Permit (to hunt from a vehicle) issued by the Game Commission.

Also, this agency again will hold a special youth-only waterfowl hunting day at the controlled hunting blinds at both Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area and Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area. The youth day for Middle Creek will be Nov. 20, and for Pymatuning it will be Nov. 27. A special drawing of applications submitted by junior license holders will be held immediately before the regular drawing for goose blinds.  Interested youth should use the same application on page 28 of the 2010-11 Digest.  Only one application will be accepted per junior hunter.

Successful applicants will be mailed a hunting reservation entitling them to be accompanied by up to three guests. On hunting days, hunters also may apply, in person, for a chance at any blinds unclaimed by a reservation holder.

Persons who have previously hunted a controlled goose hunting area at the Game Commission’s Pymatuning or Middle Creek wildlife management areas may apply for unclaimed blinds on the morning of the designated shooting day, but only when there exists an absence of applications for the unclaimed blinds from persons who have not previously hunted a controlled goose hunting area.

BY LAND OR BY SEA, WATERFOWLERS URGED TO KEEP SAFETY IN MIND

Waterfowl hunters – whether hunting from shore or from a boat – are urged to keep safety first and foremost in mind, said Keith Snyder, Pennsylvania Game Commission Hunter-Trapper Education Division chief.

“Basic firearm and hunting safety are critical,” Snyder said. “Treat every firearm as if it is loaded and make sure that the muzzle is always pointed in a safe direction.  Never place your finger on the trigger until you are ready to fire. Be aware of any companions’ locations at all times and maintain a safe zone-of-fire.  Waterfowl action can be exciting, but never swing your barrel toward another hunter.

“Make sure firearms are unloaded prior to reaching your hunting location and immediately after you are done hunting. Also, if you are using a boat, remember that state law requires that all firearms be unloaded in any boat propelled by motor or sail, and should be cased with actions open.”

Snyder also noted that, in Pennsylvania, all those using a boat are required to have a properly-fitted personal flotation device (PFD) readily accessible.  For more information on boating laws and regulations, as well as safety tips, please visit the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s website (www.fish.state.pa.us).  Better yet, take an approved boater’s safety course.

Additionally, according to the U.S. Coast Guard, every year several hunters die from drowning and hypothermia.

“When you have a crew of hunters, with decoys and equipment, and dogs, a boat can easily become unbalanced, especially if the wind comes up,” Snyder said, “Not only is it unsafe to overload a boat, exceeding the limits posted on the capacity plate is also illegal.

“Sudden immersion into cold water is one of the leading causes of boating fatalities in the Commonwealth. It places a severe strain on bodily systems that can lead to hypothermia or, worse, cardiac arrest. Survivors of cold-water accidents have reported their breath driven from them on contact with the water.”

Anyone falling into cold water should immediately ensure that their and any companions’ PFDs are intact, and work to find a way to exit the water or right the watercraft.  Cover your mouth and nose – if possible – to prevent inhaling water.

If you can’t get out of the water immediately and the shore is too far, raise your knees and wrap your arms across your chest to help reduce heat loss through the body’s core. Don’t leave your watercraft and attempt to swim to shore.  It’s probably further than you think.  Experts recommend you stay with your boat until help arrives.  If possible, try to climb back into your boat or on top of it.

“Most important,” Snyder suggests, “get into the routine of making the life jacket part of your hunting equipment, and wear it.”

2010-11 WATERFOWL SEASONS AND BAG LIMITS

DUCKS:

Lake Erie Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 25-Jan. 1.

North Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 9-23 and Nov. 11-Jan. 4.

Northwest Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 9-23 and Nov. 6-Dec. 30.

South Zone: Ducks, sea ducks, coots and mergansers, Oct. 9-16 and Nov. 17-Jan. 17.

Total Duck Bag Limits: 6 daily, 12 in possession of any species, except for the following restrictions: daily limit may not include more than 4 mallards including 2 hen mallards, 1 black duck, 2 pintails, 1 mottled duck, 1 fulvous tree duck, 3 wood ducks, 2 redheads, 1 canvasback,  4 scoters and 2 scaup.  Possession limit may not include more than 8 mallards including 4 hens, 2 black ducks, 4 pintails, 2 mottled ducks, 2 fulvous tree ducks, 6 wood ducks, 4 redheads, 2 canvasbacks, 8 scoters and 4 scaup.

Mergansers: 5 daily, 10 in possession (not more than 2 hooded mergansers daily, 4 hooded in possession).

Coots: 15 daily, 30 in possession.

REGULAR CANADA GOOSE SEASON & BAG LIMITS (including WHITE-FRONTED GEESE): All of Pennsylvania will have a regular Canada goose season, however, season lengths and bag limits will vary by area as follows:

Resident Canada Goose Zone (RP)

All of Pennsylvania except for the Southern James Bay Population and the Atlantic Population zone. The season is Oct. 23-30, Nov. 8-27, Dec.18-Feb. 19, with a five goose daily bag limit.

Southern James Bay Population Zone (SJBP)

The area north of I-80 and west of I-79 including in the city of Erie west of Bay Front Parkway to and including the Lake Erie Duck zone (Lake Erie, Presque Isle and the area within 150 yards of Lake Erie Shoreline). The season is Oct. 23-Nov. 27, Dec. 13-Jan. 26, with a three goose daily limit.

Atlantic Population Zone (AP)

The area east of route SR 97 from Maryland State Line to the intersection of SR 194, east of SR 194 to intersection of US Route 30, south of US Route 30 to SR 441, east of SR 441 to SR 743, east of SR 743 to intersection of I-81, east of I-81 to intersection of I-80, south of I-80 to New Jersey state line. The season is Nov. 17-27 and Dec. 21-Jan. 29, with a three goose daily limit.

Exception: The controlled hunting areas at the Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lebanon-Lancaster counties, as well as all of State Game Land 46 (Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area), has a daily bag limit of one, and possession limit of two during the regular Canada goose season.

ATLANTIC BRANT (All Zones)Oct. 9-Dec. 6, 2 daily, 4 in possession.

SNOW GEESE (All Zones):

Regular Season: Nov. 6-Feb. 19, 25 daily, no possession limit.

Conservation Season: Feb. 21-April 16, 25 daily, no possession limit.  To participate,

hunters also will need to obtain free conservation hunt permit and file a mandatory report

of harvest/participation.  Specifics will be announced later this year.

HARLEQUIN DUCKS, and TUNDRA and TRUMPETER SWANS: No open season.


Pymatuning Wildlife Management Area
: shooting days are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, one-half hour before sunrise to 12:30 p.m. Ducks: Oct. 9, 11, 13, 15, 16, 18, 20, 22, 23; Nov. 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27 and 29; and Dec. 1, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 13, 15, 17, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, 27 and 29. Geese: Oct. 23, 25, 27, 29 and 30; Nov. 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 10, 12, 13, 15, 17, 19, 20, 22, 24, 26 and 27; Dec. 13, 15, 17, 18, 20, 22, 24, 27, 29 and 31; and Jan. 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, 12, 14, 15, 19, 21, 22, 24 and 26.

Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area: shooting days are Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Shooting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to 1:30 p.m. Geese and ducks: Nov. 18, 20 (youth-only day), 23, 25 and 27; and Dec. 21, 23, 28, and 30; Jan. 4, 6, 8, 11, 13 and 15. Geese only: Jan. 18, 20, 22, 25, 27 and 29.

YOUTH WATERFOWL HUNTING DAY (Statewide): Saturday, Sept. 18. Open to licensed junior hunters ages 12-15, when properly accompanied, for ducks, mergansers, moorhens and coots, and Canada goose as permitted. Same daily bag limits as regular season.

YOUTH-ONLY DAY AT CONTROLLED HUNTING AREAS: Middle Creek is Nov. 20, and Pymatuning is Nov. 27.

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Raccoon Rabies Vaccination Program Starts Tomorrow

Raccoon
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Columbus, Ohio – The Ohio departments of Health (ODH) and Natural Resources (ODNR), in partnership with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife Services program and local health departments (LHDs) will begin fall oral rabies vaccination (ORV) operations Tuesday, August 24 in 14 northeast and eastern Ohio counties.

“This local, state and federal partnership is an example of our continued efforts to protect and improve the health of all Ohioans,” said ODH Director Alvin D. Jackson, M.D. “You can help us prevent the spread of the raccoon rabies variant by avoiding the baits and working with your veterinarian to vaccinate your pets.”

As in past years, vaccine-bait distribution will take place in all of Ashtabula, Columbiana, Geauga, Jefferson, Lake, Mahoning and Trumbull counties and parts of Belmont, Carroll, Cuyahoga, Harrison, Monroe, Portage, and Summit counties. Baits will be distributed by various methods in each county, including fixed-wing aircraft, helicopter and LHD staff in vehicles.

Residents in the areas to be baited should be aware of low-flying aircraft and should keep children and pets away from the baits.

Rabies is a viral disease that affects mammals and people. It is almost always fatal. Since the mid-1970s, a rabies variant associated with raccoons spread rapidly through the eastern United States. Rabies vaccine baiting operations are intended to create an immune barrier to prevent the spread of raccoon-rabies variant (RRV) into the rest of the state. These regular rabies vaccination efforts began in 1997 and have been successful in suppressing rabies in affected areas and protecting the rest of the state. As of July 30, 2010, two raccoons and one skunk have been confirmed RRV positive from northeastern Ohio, down from four rabid animals (three from Lake County and one from Columbiana County) during 2009.

Weather permitting, baiting will begin Tuesday, August 24 and will cover 3,736 square miles of the state’s northeastern and eastern border. Aerial distribution should be complete within 10 days; ground baiting may continue beyond September 24 depending on weather.

Two types of baits will be used. Airplanes will drop a small plastic sachet, about the size of a ketchup packet, coated in fishmeal. In urban areas, the vaccine will be inside a hard, brown, 2-x-2-inch fishmeal block that will be distributed by vehicles staffed by LHD and other local agency volunteers. Most of the 772,868 baits will be distributed by air, with the use of specially equipped white Beechcraft King Air planes from Dynamic Aviation and a helicopter from the ODNR.

Residents should avoid the baits and keep pets confined during the baiting period. Dogs in particular are attracted to the baits and will occasionally eat them. The baits are not harmful to pets. Please keep the following information in mind:

  • Know what the baits look like. The coated sachet, which will be distributed by aircraft, is about the size of a ketchup packet. It is white and rolled in a brown fishmeal glaze. In urban areas, where baits will be distributed by vehicle, the sachet will be inside a hard, brown fishmeal block, about 2-x-2-inch square.
  • Instruct children to leave the baits alone.
  • Once your area is baited, keep dogs and cats inside or on leashes for up to five days. Most baits disappear within 24 hours; however, it is important raccoons have every opportunity to eat them.
  • Do not attempt to take bait away from your pet; you may be bitten.
  • Anyone handling baits should wear gloves. If baits are found in areas frequented by pets or children, toss them into deeper cover. Damaged baits can be disposed of in the trash.
  • If a person is exposed to the vaccine (red liquid), thoroughly wash any areas of the skin that came into contact with the vaccine with soap and water.
  • If someone has been exposed to the vaccine or has questions about the baiting, call your LHD or ODH’s information line at 1-888-722-4371.

The rabies virus is found in the saliva of affected animals, most often raccoons, skunks and bats, and is spread by a bite or scratch. Bats, raccoons and skunks pose the greatest risk of rabies in Ohio. To protect your family against this still-deadly disease:

  • Avoid contact with wild animals and animals you do not know.
  • Vaccinate your pets against rabies and keep them current on their shots.
  • If bitten, call your doctor. If your pet has contact with a wild animal, call your veterinarian. Rabies exposures should also be reported to your LHD.

Ohio’s partners in the multistate baiting are Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia, in what is known as the Appalachian Ridge ORV program. The seven-state effort will involve distribution of about 5 million baits and cover more than 26,000 square miles. ODH has participated in the program since 1997 and almost 13 million baits have been distributed in Ohio over that time.

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100 Days of Summer: Day 43-Party on the River

Over at the B&O on Saturday Aug. 27th is another Party on the River, featuring Rust Belt Brewing Beer, Kravitz’s Deli’s Corned Beef Sandwiches, Cornhole, and The Guilty Pleasures.  Check them out as we get ready for Canfield Fair!

Also, No One’s taken up my offer to write a guest post yet.


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100 Days of Summer: Day 42-Applaud Columbiana

Opossom in tree
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ODNR AWARDS COLUMBIANA COUNTY PARK DISTRICT A GRANT FROM THE CLEAN OHIO TRAILS FUND FOR TRAIL IMPROVEMENTS

What: Check Presentation to the Columbiana County Park District from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources

When: August 20, 2010
3:00 p.m.

Where: P. L. & W. Train Station
232 South Market Street
Lisbon, OH

Who: Director Sean Logan, Ohio Department of Natural Resources
State Representative Linda Bolon
State Senator Jason Wilson
Local Officials

Why: The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is presenting the Columbiana County Park District a ceremonial check for $120,355 from the Clean Ohio Trails Fund to help cultivate and support recreation in their local community. These funds will be used to construct 1.46 miles of additional trail for the Little Beaver Creek Greenway Trail in Lisbon which is part of the 4-county Great Ohio Lake-to-River Greenway Trail providing valuable recreational outlets for current residents and future generations.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the
ODNR web site at ohiodnr.gov for more information.

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100 Days Of Summer: Day 41- Apply for Ohio State Park Boat Dock

Sunset, Lake Erie, Cleveland, Ohio Style
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Continuing Cheat Week, as I Try To catch up, Here’s another Summer Deadline Fast Approaching:

COLUMBUS, OH – Boat owners wishing to rent public boat docks at several popular Ohio State Park lakes have until Tuesday, August 31 to enter lottery drawings used to select renters for available docks.

Lottery drawings will be held in September for boat docks at Alum Creek, Buck Creek, Cleveland Lakefront, Deer Creek, Delaware, Lake Milton, Paint Creek and Rocky Fork state parks. Application forms are now available through the individual park offices.

Completed forms may be submitted in person by Tuesday, August 31, or sent by certified mail/return receipt. Only one application per boat is permitted, and must be submitted by the boat owner. Lottery applicants must be able to show current proof of boat ownership or lease at the time of entry. Boats titled to dealerships are not eligible.

The drawings are held on or before the third Saturday in September. Applicants need not be present to win, and the winning lottery applicants will be notified by the park. Persons selected by the 2010 lottery are entitled to renewal privileges for up to five years. Renewals may completed in person or on-line at www.ohiostateparks.org.

Contact the individual park offices for specific details on allowable boat sizes, dock amenities and dock rental fees, as well as other application procedures. In addition to the parks conducting the lotteries, several state parks have seasonal docks available for rent on a first-come first-served basis including Buckeye Lake, Dillon, Mosquito Lake, Salt Fork and West Branch.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.gov

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Ohio 2010 Squirrel Hunting Season Begins Sept.1st

A taunting fox squirrel
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COLUMBUS, OH — Ohio’s squirrel season will open on September 1, providing hunters with an opportunity to take as many as six squirrels each day, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.

A long-time tradition for many hunters, Ohio’s squirrel season offers ample hunting opportunities for fox and gray squirrels across the state.  It is a great time to get out in the woods and scout for the upcoming deer and fall wild turkey hunting seasons or take a youth hunting.  Legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset daily.

The season closes January 31. Squirrel season will be closed during the one-week statewide deer gun season, beginning November 29 through December 5; deer gun weekend, December 18 and 19; and during early muzzleloader deer season, October 18-23 at the following areas: Salt Fork State Wildlife Area, Shawnee State Forest and Wildcat Hollow.

The abundance of nut crops is a good indicator of squirrel numbers the following year.  Squirrels have higher survival and reproduction after years with an ample supply of acorns and hickory nuts.  Statewide nut production ratings for fall 2009 were lower than average, especially for oaks in the southeastern portion of the state.  Therefore, the predicted squirrel hunting outlook for the 2010-11 season is below average, particularly for gray squirrels.  However, the early spring green-up and mild temperatures may offset some of the negative effects of poor mast production.

Fox squirrel populations may have fared better than gray squirrels. Primary range for fox squirrel includes the western and northeastern portions of Ohio.  Mast production for most tree species remained above average in these regions in 2009.  Additionally, supplemental food (i.e., corn) may be more available to fox squirrels inhabiting agricultural areas.

Hunters who wish to participate in the new squirrel hunting diary program, designed to track trends in nut crops and squirrel populations across the Buckeye State, should contact the Waterloo Wildlife Research Station 360 East State St., Athens OH 45701, for more information.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com.

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100 Days of Summer: Day 40- Apply for the Duck Blind Lottery

Duck Hunting Shuttle w/ Water Wings
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COLUMBUS, OH – More than 370 permits are available to hunters wishing to hunt ducks and geese from a blind at an Ohio State Park lake this waterfowl hunting season. A lottery drawing for the permits will be held at 17 state parks and two wildlife areas the morning of Saturday, August 21.

Participating state parks include Portage Lakes and West Branch in northeast Ohio; East Harbor, Indian Lake, Kiser Lake and Lake Loramie in northwest Ohio; Buck Creek, Caesar Creek, Cowan Lake, East Fork, Hueston Woods, and Rocky Fork in southwest Ohio; and Alum Creek, A.W. Marion, Buckeye Lake, Deer Creek, and Delaware in central Ohio.

Interested applicants must appear in person at a participating state park office with proof of a 2010 Ohio hunting license, state wetlands stamp endorsement in the applicant’s name, and a signed 2010 or 2009 federal duck stamp. Applicants under the age of 18 are encouraged to have a parent or legal guardian present to sign the permit contract.

Applications will be taken beginning at 7:30 a.m. at most parks, with the lottery drawings at 8 a.m. at the park office, unless otherwise noted in the listing below.

Each hunter can apply for only one duck blind permit and no one can apply or draw for another person. There is a $50 non-refundable permit fee for the state park lottery winners.  Most locations accept cash, checks or credit cards for payment, except for Portage Lakes where payment is by cash or check only.  Lottery winners have 45 days to construct their blinds and all blinds must be dismantled by March 15, 2011.

Waterfowl hunting opportunities are also available through lottery drawings for blinds at Mercer Wildlife Area on Grand Lake St. Marys and Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area, which is adjacent to Mosquito Lake State Park.  The drawings will be held at the respective wildlife area offices on August 21.  There is no fee for use of the blinds at these areas.

Information on waterfowl hunting seasons, locations and restrictions will be discussed by park staff and wildlife officers during the lotteries.  For general information about hunting seasons and regulations, call 1-800-WILDLIFE or visit www.ohiodnr.com/wildlife.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com.

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100 Days of Summer: Day 39-Cheaper Camping at Grand Lake St. Mary's

Grand Lake St. Marys Lighthouse
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COLUMBUS, OH—In an effort to off-set lost revenues of local businesses and individuals, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is offering deep discounts on camping and shelter house rentals at Grand Lake St. Marys State Park.

Campsite fees and shelter house rentals at Grand Lake St. Marys State Park are being discounted by 50 percent. Discounts will be offered until December 31, 2010. For existing reservations, discounts will be applied at the time of arrival.

“Discounting ODNR services may be unprecedented, but the problem at Grand Lake St Marys is also unprecedented. We are taking the steps we can to attract visitors, and these camping and shelter house discounts are one way to help.” said ODNR Director Sean Logan. “Every dollar spent at the state park by each visitor brings benefits that reach far beyond our own marinas and other facilities.

Reservations for Grand Lake St. Marys may be made by calling toll-free (866) OHIOPARKS (644-6727) or on-line at www.ohiostateparks.org. When making a camping reservation, please select the “Grand Lake Special” from the drop-down menu for discounts. No other discounts will apply to this special discount, which is being offered exclusively at Grand Lake St. Marys State Park.

Grand Lake St. Marys State Park offers a variety of overnight and day-use activities including: 176 electric campsites and 28 non-electric sites; full service camp store; bike rentals; miniature golf; basketball and volleyball courts; playground equipment; dog park; and free WiFi.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com.

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100 Days of Summer: Day 38- Picnic at Ohio’s Newest State Park

COLUMBUS, OH – As of August 27, families and groups can enjoy the spacious picnic shelters at Wingfoot Lake State Park near Akron, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).  Reservations for the shelters will be taken beginning August 18 at 7 a.m.

Wingfoot Lake, Ohio’s newest state park, will be open to the public on Friday, August 27, following a public dedication ceremony scheduled for Thursday, August 26. The park is ideally suited to family outings, reunions and outdoor receptions, church and civic club gatherings, scout functions, and other outdoor events.

“Our staff and volunteers have been working hard to get the park ready to welcome visitors,” said John Hunter, Ohio State Parks acting chief. “There has been a great deal of public interest in Wingfoot Lake, and excitement about the shelter houses, in particular.”

Six shelter houses are available by reservation. Each offers picnic tables, grills and electrical hookups, with restrooms and parking nearby. Some also offer fireplaces and have doors that may be closed in inclement weather. Capacities vary from about 50 people to groups of more than 400.

Reservations for the shelter houses can be made through the Ohio State Parks reservation call center at 866-644-6727, or on-line through the Ohio State Parks website at www.ohiostateparks.org. Click on the reservations button on the Wingfoot Lake page for information on fees and features, and to make reservations. Reservations may be made up to one year in advance.

In addition to the picnic shelters, the park will also offer paved walking paths, playgrounds, mini golf and disc golf courses, cornhole, horseshoes, paved basketball and tennis courts, sand volleyball courts, grass courts for badminton and bocce ball, and baseball diamonds.  Shoreline fishing will be permitted on the 444-acre lake, and small boats, including pontoon boats and paddle craft, may be rented.

There are no overnight facilities or camping available. A state wildlife area, which offers fishing and hunting opportunities, is adjacent to the state park.

Wingfoot Lake State Park is located off Waterloo Road at 993 Goodyear Park Boulevard near the community of Suffield in Portage County.

Since the 1940s, Wingfoot Lake park served as a corporate retreat for Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company employees and their families. The State of Ohio acquired the property from Goodyear in 2009 and transferred the recreational facilities to the Ohio State Park system.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com.

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100 Days of Summer: Day 37- Trout Fishing Western PA

Ohiopyle Falls on the Youghiogheny River
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Harrisburg, PA – Anglers fishing the Kinzua and Youghiogheny tailraces should find plenty of trout to keep them busy this fall.  The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) recently released yearling trout (6-9 inches) in the tailraces from their Pleasant Gap State Fish Hatchery. These fish are intermediate in size compared to a typical fingerling, which are stocked at less than the statewide minimum legal size of 7 inches, and to a typical adult trout, which are stocked at approximately 10-11 inches.

“These fish were surplus to the production goals of the Pleasant Gap facility and have been stocked in these tailraces to grow and become available to the anglers fishing these waters,” said Brian Wisner, chief of the PFBC’s Division of Fish Production. “The stockings offer a great opportunity for families to get outside this fall and enjoy the fishing at two very popular waters.”

In Warren County, the PFBC stocked rainbow trout in section 7 of the Allegheny River from the Kinzua Dam downstream to the confluence of Conewango Creek.

In Fayette County, the PFBC stocked brown and rainbow trout in sections 2 and 3 of the Youghiogheny River from the mouth of Casselman River downstream to the mouth of Ramcat Run and from the mouth of Ramcat Run downstream to State Route 0381.

To locate these stream sections and other great fishing destinations, click on the “County Guides” section of the PFBC website at www.fishandboat.com. Each year, trout fingerlings are stocked throughout the Commonwealth as part of the Put-Grow-Take program.  Information on all PFBC fingerling trout stockings is available at the following link: http://fishandboat.com/stock_fingerling.htm

The mission of the Fish and Boat Commission is to protect, conserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s aquatic resources and provide fishing and boating opportunities. For more information about fishing and boating in Pennsylvania, please visit our website atwww.fishandboat.com.

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