Tag: Ohio Department of Natural Resources

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Ring Necked Pheasant Hunting In Ohio

The Common Pheasant, the most important bird f...

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COLUMBUS, OH – More than 15,000 ring-necked pheasants will be released on 28 public hunting areas across the state this fall as part of a seasonal effort by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife to enhance hunting opportunities for this popular game bird.

Youth-only hunts will be held October 22, 23, 29 and 30 prior to the statewide season, which kicks off on November 4.

Ring-necked pheasants will be released after shooting hours on the evenings of Friday, October 21 and Friday, October 28 in anticipation of the weekends’ small-game season for youth hunters. Hunters age 17 and younger can hunt statewide for rabbit, pheasant and all other legal game in season during two designated weekends, October 22-23 and October 29-30.

Ohio’s small game hunting season begins on November 4, with pheasant releases to take place on the evenings of Friday, November 3 and Thursday, November 10. Hunters should take note that no pheasants will be released on Friday, November 11 in observance of Veteran’s Day. The final release of the fall is scheduled for the evening of Wednesday, November 23 to increase pheasant hunting opportunities during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

Hunting the Ringneck Ridge Area in Sandusky County, for both the youth and regular pheasant hunting seasons, requires a free permit from the Sandusky County Park District. For more information regarding the issuance of these free hunting permits, contact the Sandusky County Park Office at 419-334-4495 or the Sandusky County Park District Ranger Office at 419-637-2900.

Pheasant hunting season opens Friday, November 4 and remains open through January 8, 2012, with a daily bag limit of two rooster (male) birds. Statewide hunting hours are sunrise to sunset.

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

 

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Ohio State Park Boat Lottery Deadline Aug. 31st

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COLUMBUS, OH – Boat owners wishing to rent public boat docks at several popular Ohio State Park lakes have until Wednesday, August 31 to enter lottery drawings used to select renters for available docks. Application forms are now available through the individual park offices.

Lottery drawings will be held in September for boat docks at Alum Creek, Buck Creek, Buckeye Lake, Cleveland Lakefront, Deer Creek, Delaware, Lake Milton, Middle Bass Island, Paint Creek, Rocky Fork and West Branch state parks.

Completed forms may be submitted in person to the respective parks by Wednesday, 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, and may be required to show a photo ID.  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 lottery are entitled to renewal privileges for up to five years.  Renewals may be completed in person or on-line on the Ohio State Parks website, 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 September lotteries, several state parks have seasonal docks available for rent on a first-come first-served basis.  They include A.W. Marion and Buckeye Lake in central Ohio; East Harbor, Grand Lake St. Marys, Indian Lake, Kiser Lake, Lake Loramie, and Mary Jane Thurston in northwest Ohio; Geneva, Guilford Lake, Mosquito Lake, Punderson, and West Branch in northeast Ohio; Burr Oak, Dillon, Salt Fork, and Shawnee in southeast Ohio; and Caesar Creek, Cowan Lake, and Hueston Woods in southwest Ohio

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 Duck Blind Lottery August 20th, 2011

Sunset over Grand Lake St Marys in Ohio

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COLUMBUS, OH – More than 290 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 20.

Interested applicants must appear in person at a participating state park office with proof of a 2011 Ohio hunting license, state wetlands stamp endorsement in the applicant’s name, and a signed 2011 or 2010 federal duck stamp. Applicants under the age of 18 are encouraged to have a parent or legal guardian present to sign the permit contract, and must provide the required license and stamps.

Participating state parks include Portage Lakes and West Branch in northeast Ohio; East Harbor, Indian Lake and Lake Loramie in northwest Ohio; Adams Lake, 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.

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 (exact change) or check only.  Lottery winners have 45 days to construct their blinds and all blinds must be dismantled by March 15, 2012.

Hunters wishing to participate in the lotteries at Delaware or Indian Lake state parks are advised that the nearby Delaware marina, and the Indian Lake park office and commissary no longer sell hunting licenses and duck stamps. Hunters should purchase their license and stamp from another vendor prior to the lotteries.

Waterfowl hunting opportunities are also available through lottery drawings for blinds at the Mercer Wildlife Area on Grand Lake St. Marys, and the Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area adjacent to Mosquito Lake State Park. The drawings will be held at the respective wildlife area offices on August 20. There is no fee for use of the blinds at these areas. Lottery participants must also have a current Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification.

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 wildohio.com online.

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

 

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Lottery for 9 Special Deer Hunts in Ohio

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COLUMBUS, OH – In a continuing effort to protect native plant communities from the increasing population of white tailed deer, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Natural Areas and Preserves has scheduled special archery deer hunts at nine state nature preserves across the state.

Permits for the archery hunts will be awarded by lottery drawings held at the respective nature preserves in September. Hunters must appear in person for the lottery drawings, which is a change in procedure for the annual hunts.  Hunters must purchase tickets for the lotteries immediately prior to the drawings. The tickets are $5 each, and there is a limit of five tickets per person.

Each lottery winner will be assigned a two week block of time to hunt during the statewide archery season. They will receive a special archery hunt permit good for two hunters for the assigned two week period. After the drawings, hunters will be advised of special regulations that apply during the hunts, which have been designated as “doe first,” requiring that each hunter harvest an anterless deer before taking a buck.

Participating nature preserves in central Ohio include Seymour Woods in Delaware County; southeast Ohio preserves include Christmas Rocks and Shallenberger in Fairfield County; southwest Ohio preserves include Culberson Woods in Clinton County and Halls Creek Gorge in Warren County; northwest Ohio preserves include Goll Woods in Fulton County and Lawrence Woods in Hardin County; and northeast Ohio preserves include Springville Marsh and Collier Woods in Seneca County.

“High quality habitats at these preserves have been negatively impacted, and plants such as large flowered trillium have nearly disappeared from many sites because of foraging deer,” said Randy Beinlich, Preserve Manager for the Division of Natural Areas and Preserves. “Not only do these hunts allow Ohio’s hunters to assist us with our land management activities, but it also gives them the chance to see and appreciate some of Ohio’s highest quality areas.”

All Ohio hunting rules and regulations will be followed during the special archery hunts, including bag limits and tagging procedures. Hunters may apply for multiple sites, but must attend the meeting for each hunt in order to enter the drawing. Entry fees may be paid by check, only. Processing fees are not refundable.

Hunt locations and meeting dates are as follows:

Seymour Woods (Delaware County)
Meeting Date:                September 17 @ 10AM
Meeting location:          Alum Creek State Park Office
3615 South Old State Road,  Delaware,  Ohio 45015
Manager Contact:         Greg Seymour – 740-467-2690

Culberson Woods (Clinton County)
Halls Creek Gorge (Warren Coutny)
Meeting Date:                September 10 @ 9AM
Meeting Location:         Cowen Lake State Park Office
1750 Osborn Road,  Wilmington, Ohio 45177
Manager Contact:          Shannon Hoffer  –  937-382-1096

Christmas Rocks (Fairfield County)
Shallenberger (Fairfield County)
Meeting Date:                 September 10 @ 2 PM
Meeting Location:          Stages Pond State Nature Preservce
4792 Hagerty Road,  Ashville, OH 43103
Manager Contact:          Jeff Johnson – 740-380-8919

Goll Woods (Fulton County)
Meeting Date:                  September 9 @ 5PM
Meeting Location:           Goll Woods State Nature Preserve Office
26093 County Road F,  Archbold, Ohio  43502
Manager Contact:           Ryan Schroeder – 419-445-1775

Lawrence Woods (Hardin County)
Meeting Date:                 September 11 @ 1PM
Meeting Location:          Lawrence Woods State Nature Preserve parking area
13278 County Road 190,  Kenton, Ohio,  43226
Manager Contact:          Ryan Schroeder – 419-445-1775

Springville Marsh (Seneca County)
Meeting Date:                 September 16 @ 2PM
Meeting Location:          Springville Marsh State Nature Preserve parking area
Twp Road 24 (Muck Road) 1 mile west of US RT 23
3.5 miles north of Carey
Manager Contact:          Ryan Schroeder – 419-445-1775

Collier Woods (Seneca County)
Meeting Date:                 September 16 @ 5PM
Meeting Location:          Howard Collier State Nature Preserve
1655 W TWP RD 38, Tiffin Ohio,  44883
Manager Contact:          Ryan Schroeder – 419-445-1775

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

 

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Ohio Spring Turkey Season Underway

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COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio hunters harvested a preliminary total of 2,646 bearded wild turkeys on the first day of the spring turkey-hunting season, which is open statewide through May 15, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.

Top counties for wild turkeys killed on Monday were: Guernsey – 94; Adams – 88; Tuscarawas – 85; Muskingum – 81; Coshocton and Knox – 79; Belmont – 73; Washington – 72; Brown – 71; and Ashtabula – 70.

The Division of Wildlife estimates that more than 70,000 people will hunt turkeys during the four-week season. Legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon from April 18 to May 1, 2011. Hunting hours May 2-15 will be a half hour before sunrise to sunset. Ohio’s wild turkey population was estimated at 200,000 prior to the start of the spring season.

A special youth-only hunt for hunters age 17 and younger was held statewide on Saturday and Sunday, April 16-17. Young hunters killed 1,455 birds statewide. Top reporting counties were: Ashtabula – 49; Brown and Tuscarawas – 47; Highland – 46; Licking – 45; Muskingum – 44; Carroll – 42; Jackson – 40; and Adams and Washington – 38.

Only bearded wild turkeys may be taken during the spring hunting season. A hunter is required to check in their turkey by 11 p.m. on the day of harvest. Hunters with the proper permits may take a limit of two bearded gobblers during the four-week season, but not more than one wild turkey per day.

Hunters must still report their turkey harvest, but they are no longer required to take their turkey to a check station for physical inspection. Instead, hunters have three options to complete the new automated game check:

On the Internet at wildohio.com or ohiogamecheck.com
By telephone at 1-877-TAG-ITOH (1-877-824-4864). This option is only available to those who are required to have a turkey permit to hunt turkeys.
At all license agents. A list of these agents can be found at wildohio.com
Game-check transactions will be available online and by telephone seven days a week and during holidays. License agents’ locations will be available for turkey check-in during normal business hours. Please call the license agent for specific hours of operation. All turkeys must be checked in by 11 p.m. the day of kill.

ODNR 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.

EDITORS NOTE – Below is a list of preliminary wild turkey harvest results for the 2011 spring season opening day:

Adams – 88; Allen – 7; Ashland – 24; Ashtabula – 70; Athens – 69; Auglaize – 4; Belmont – 73; Brown – 71; Butler – 30; Carroll – 41; Champaign – 14; Clark – 4; Clermont – 54; Clinton – 9; Columbiana – 56; Coshocton – 79; Crawford – 15; Cuyahoga – 1; Darke – 3; Defiance – 19; Delaware – 20; Erie – 8; Fairfield – 21; Fayette – 0; Franklin – 4; Fulton – 9; Gallia – 64; Geauga – 42; Greene – 6; Guernsey – 94; Hamilton – 30; Hancock – 5; Hardin – 8; Harrison – 67; Henry – 4; Highland – 59; Hocking – 44; Holmes – 30; Huron – 31; Jackson – 43; Jefferson – 62; Knox – 79; Lake – 11; Lawrence – 29; Licking – 67; Logan – 24; Lorain – 15; Lucas – 3; Madison – 0; Mahoning – 24; Marion – 4; Medina – 11; Meigs – 69; Mercer – 3; Miami – 5; Monroe – 55; Montgomery – 1; Morgan – 54; Morrow – 31; Muskingum – 81; Noble – 31; Ottawa – 0; Paulding – 7; Perry – 38; Pickaway – 4; Pike – 46; Portage – 29; Preble – 10; Putnam – 3; Richland – 53; Ross – 58; Sandusky – 3; Scioto – 36; Seneca – 22; Shelby – 6; Stark – 27; Summit – 4; Trumbull – 47; Tuscarawas – 85; Union – 7; Van Wert – 3; Vinton – 33; Warren – 17; Washington – 72; Wayne – 15; Williams – 24; Wood – 4; Wyandot – 14. Total – 2,646.

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Coldwater Boating Safety Tips: Be Prepared

Boat at the Canal

COLUMBUS, OH – The swamping and capsizing of a small boat resulting in occupants being unexpectedly immersed in frigid water poses a serious threat to boaters and anglers getting out on the water this time of year as water temperatures slowly begin to warm.  The best way to survive a cold water immersion and guard against hypothermia and drowning is to properly wear a life jacket and be dressed for cold water temperatures instead of warmer air temperatures, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Watercraft.

A few things anglers and boaters can do to be prepared for outings on the water is to wear an approved life jacket or inflatable vest.  This keeps a person afloat should they fall off a boat or a boat capsizes.  The second tip is to wear protective clothing, such as synthetics, wool or polypropylene that help reduce the loss of body heat when immersed in cold water.  A third safety tip is to ensure that boats are properly loaded with people and gear before launching on the water to reduce the chance of swamping and capsizing.

More cold water and other boating safety tips are available online at www.ohiodnr.com/watercraft.

The Division of Watercraft reports that among 15 fatal boating accidents last year, none of the victims were found to be wearing a life jacket or vest.  In seven of the accidents, life jackets and vest were not aboard the boats as required by state and federal laws.

The ODNR Division of Watercraft administers Ohio’s boating and scenic rivers programs.  The agency oversees watercraft registration and titling operations, provides funding to local communities for education, enforcement and boating access facilities, educates the public and enforces boating laws on Ohio’s waterways.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site atohiodnr.com.

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2011-2012 Ohio Hunting Seasons Approved

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COLUMBUS, OH – Hunting and trapping regulations for 2011-12 seasons were passed by the Ohio Wildlife Council at the April 6 meeting, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

The proposed change to move Fayette County from Deer Zone B to Zone A was approved.  A rule to eliminate the requirement for all packages of deer meat produced during the butchering process to be marked with the tag, seal or certificate number was also passed.  The tag, seal or certificate must be maintained until the entire deer has been consumed, but the package no longer needs to be marked.

Hunters can again buy antlerless deer permits at reduced prices for hunting in an urban zone, participating in a Division of Wildlife-authorized controlled hunt or hunting during the September 24 to November 27 portion of the deer season.  The sale of reduced priced antlerless permits will cease after November 27, so hunters need to commit early to buying and using the extra reduced-cost permits to take full advantage of this opportunity. The deadline for using the antlerless permit will be extended to December 4 for those hunting in Deer Zone C.  Cost of the antlerless deer permit remains $15.

Deer Limits

The maximum number of deer that a hunter may take in Deer Zone A is two.  Prior to November 28, hunters may take up to two deer in Zone A, one of which may be on a $15 antlerless deer permit.  Beginning November 28, hunters may take only one deer in Zone A and antlerless permits may not be used.

The maximum number of deer that a hunter may take in Deer Zone B is four.  Prior to November 28, hunters may take up to four deer in Zone B, two of which may be on $15 antlerless deer permits.  Beginning November 28, hunters may take only two deer in Zone B and antlerless permits may not be used.

The maximum number of deer that a hunter may take in Deer Zone C is six.  Prior to December 5, hunters may take up to six deer in Zone C, three of which may be on $15 antlerless deer permits.  Beginning December 5, hunters may take only three deer in Zone C and antlerless permits may not be used.

Those hunting in urban zones and at Division of Wildlife-authorized controlled hunts will again have a six-deer bag limit, and those deer will not count against the hunter’s zone bag limit.

Either a $15 antlerless deer permit and a valid hunting license or $24 deer permit and a valid hunting license are required to hunt deer in Ohio.  A hunter may take only one antlered deer in Ohio, regardless of zone, hunting method or season.

2011-12 White-tailed Deer Seasons and Dates

  • Archery season  September 24 through February 5, 2012
  • Special area muzzleloader hunts October 17-22
  • Youth deer-gun season  November 19-20
  • Statewide deer-gun season  November 28 through December 4 and December 17-18
  • Statewide muzzleloader season  January 7-10, 2012

During the 2010-2011 season hunters killed a total of 239,260 deer.  Approximately 475,000 people hunt white-tailed deer in Ohio.

Hunting seasons for rabbit, pheasant, quail, squirrel, crow, and wild turkey were approved as proposed.  So were trapping seasons for beaver, mink, muskrat, and river otter, along with the hunting and trapping seasons for beaver, fox, raccoon, skunk, and weasel.

2011-12 Hunting and/or Trapping Seasons and Dates

  • Squirrel  September 1 through January 31, 2012
  • Ruffed grouse – October 8 through January 31, 2012
  • Fall Wild Turkey – October 8 – November 27, in specified counties
  • Youth upland season – October 22-23 and October 29-30
  • Cottontail rabbit  November 4 through February 29, 2012
  • Ring-necked Pheasant November 4 through January 8, 2012
  • Bobwhite Quail – November 4-27, in specified counties
  • Fox, raccoon, skunk, opossum, and weasel – November 10 through January 31, 2012
  • Mink and muskrat  November 10 through February 29, 2012
  • Mink, muskrat, raccoon, skunk, opossum, and weasel (Lake Erie Marsh area)  November 10 through March 15, 2012
  • Beaver – December 26 through February 29, 2012
  • River Otter – December 26 through February 29, 2012
  • Youth Spring Wild Turkey Season – April 21 and 22, 2012
  • Spring Wild Turkey – April 23, 2012 through May 20, 2012
  • Crow (Fri, Sat, Sun only) – June 3, 2011 through March 12, 2012 and June 2, 2012 through March 11, 2013
  • Coyote and woodchuck – No closed season

Rules and season dates for migratory birds including mourning dove, Canada goose, rail, moorhen, snipe, woodcock, and waterfowl hunting will be set in August, in compliance with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service‘s 2011-12 framework.

All hunting and trapping season dates and rules can be found at wildohio.com.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all.  Visit the ODNR Web site atohiodnr.com.

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Recycle your Tree This Year

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COLUMBUS, OH- Before sending your live-cut Christmas tree to the trash, remember that it can find new life after the holidays. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) reminds Ohioans that their trees can be recycled for a variety of uses including mulch, compost and wildlife habitat. “Mulching, chipping or composting Christmas trees after the holidays is a wise alternative to just throwing them in landfills,” said David Hanselmann, chief of the ODNR Division of Recycling & Litter Prevention. “Many Ohio communities are making it easy for residents to recycle cut Christmas trees by offering convenient drop-off locations and curbside pick up.” Many local park districts and communities shred Christmas trees for mulch and compost. Trees can even be transformed into wildlife habitat, providing shelter for some creatures during the winter months. Individuals living in communities without recycling programs might consider chipping and composting their holiday trees. Adding compost to home gardens improves soil quality, stores moisture and reduces weeds. Using Christmas trees to create outdoor brush piles makes ideal homes for wildlife. Trees can also be weighted down and sunk in farm ponds to attract fish and increase habitat. Before disposing of a live-cut Christmas tree, remember to remove all trimmings including tinsel, garland, lights and ornaments. Be sure you have proper permission before discarding your tree on public land, private land or in ponds. Discarding trees without permission could result in a litter violation. Call your local solid waste management district for information on where to recycle live-cut Christmas trees in your area. 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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104,000 Pounds of Venison Donated to the Hungry

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COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio deer hunters have donated more than 104,100 pounds of venison to local food banks so far this deer season, according to Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.

“I am happy to see this program continue to grow each year. Ohio hunters once again have shown their generosity so Ohio’s food pantries will receive the nutritious red meat they so desperately need,” said David M. Graham, chief of the Division of Wildlife.

The 104,100 pounds equals approximately 416,400 meals for needy Ohioans. To date, 2,082 deer have been donated with plenty of deer hunting opportunity left in the 2010-11 season. Last year at this time, 1,910 deer had been donated representing 95,500 pounds of venison.

Last year FHFH collected 116,750 pounds of venison from 2,336 deer through the entire season, which ran from September 2009 to February 7, 2010. Ohio county chapters with the highest numbers of deer donations so far are: Licking-208; Muskingum, Morgan and Perry-189; Coshocton, Tuscarawas, and Knox-160; Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Meigs, Vinton and Washington-137; and Franklin-121.

“We are thrilled that the partnership between FHFH and ODNR has resulted in greater numbers of donated deer – and meals provided – across Ohio again this year. With high unemployment in many areas fueling an even greater need for nutritious food items at food banks and feeding ministries, this growth could not have come at a better time, ” according to Josh Wilson, FHFH national operations director.

Hunters still have a weekend of deer-gun hunting, December 18-19, and eight weeks of archery hunting in Ohio. Archery season remains open until February 6. The statewide muzzleloader deer-hunting season will be held, January 8 – 11, 2011.

The Division of Wildlife collaborated with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry in an effort to assist with the processing costs associated with donating venison to a food bank. So far, a $100,000 subsidy grant was provided in two $50,000 allotments that are to be matched with funds generated or collected by FHFH. The division subsidized this year’s FHFH operation as an additional deer management tool, helping wildlife managers encourage hunters to kill more does.

Venison that is donated to food banks must be processed by a federal, state or locally inspected and insured meat processor that is participating with FHFH. Hunters wishing to donate their deer to a food bank are not required to pay for the processing of the venison as long as the program has funds available to cover the cost. There are currently 71 participating meat processors across the state. A list is provided atwww.fhfh.org.

Currently there are 31 local chapters across the state with a need for more. Anyone interested in becoming a local program coordinator or a participating meat processor should visit the “Local FHFH” page atwww.fhfh.org. The Web page includes a current list of coordinators, program names and the counties they serve.

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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Ice Safety Tips from Ohio DNR

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No Funny Title- Just the Facts.

COLUMBUS, OH – Ohioans are reminded to use extreme caution during winter while venturing onto frozen waterways and to be prepared to handle an emergency should someone fall through the ice, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

As some of the lowest temperatures of the season arrive, some people may be tempted to venture out onto the ice and should be aware of basic safety tips, including being prepared for an emergency. ODNR offers these ice safety tips; additional tips can be found online at www.ohiodnr.com and through various other Internet web resources.

Ice Safety Tips:

  • Always remember that ice-covered water is never completely safe.
  • Anyone new to ice fishing, or interested in learning how to safely ice fish, should seek out a licensed ice-fishing guide. A list of certified guides is available at www.wildohio.com or by calling the ODNR Division of Wildlife, Sandusky office at (419) 625-8062. Ask at local bait shops about known areas of thin or dangerous ice.
  • Always go out with friends, letting others know when you will be on the ice and when you will return. Whenever possible, wrap a mobile phone in a plastic bag and take it with you.
  • Wear a Coast Guard-approved life jacket or float coat. Life vests provide excellent flotation and protection from hypothermia.
  • Use safe alternatives to local streams or lakes for skating or sledding. Check with your local, state or metro park district to see where conditions are suitable for skating. Some state parks, including Delaware State Park in Delaware County and Dillon State Park in Muskingum County, offer free access to designated ice-skating areas.
  • Understand wind chill factors are relative temperature guides. Although a thermometer may read 40 degrees, a wind speed of 20 miles per hour can cause a body to lose heat as if the temperature was actually 18 degrees.
  • Carry two ice picks, screwdrivers or large nails to create leverage for pulling yourself out of the water. They are much more effective than bare hands. Also, carry a whistle or other noisemaker to alert people that you are in distress.
  • Dress in layers and add extra clothing for the head, neck, sides and groin, which are the primary heat-loss areas. Wool and modern synthetics are good fabric choices for clothing; cotton is slow to dry when wet.
  • Keep an extra set of clothes in your car in case you need dry clothing.
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages. In addition to reducing reaction times, alcohol lowers your internal temperature and increases your chance of suffering hypothermia.
  • Never drive a vehicle, snowmobile or all-terrain vehicle onto ice. Leave this to professional guides. This is extremely dangerous and most insurance policies will not cover the vehicles of ice fishermen that have dropped through the ice.

The ODNR Division of Watercraft administers Ohio’s boating programs. The agency oversees watercraft registration and titling operations, provides funding to local communities for education, enforcement and boating access facilities, educates the public, and enforces boating laws on Ohio’s waterways. More information may be found online at www.ohiodnr/com/watercraft or by following the Division of Watercraft on Facebook or Twitter.

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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