Some 2,900 acres of formerly mined land in Noble County in southeast Ohio is to be acquired for $1.1 million by the Ohio Division of Wildlife to become the state's newest wildlife area.
The property lies about five miles southeast of Caldwell, O., between I-77 and State Rt. 78 and is mostly rough, hilly, wooded terrain. It is populated with such wildlife species as ruffed grouse, white-tailed deer, wild turkey, gray squirrel, cottontail rabbit, pileated woodpecker, wood thrush, ovenbird, barred owl, and various species of waterfowl.
On completion of the purchase later this year the land will be dedicated as Ailes Run State Wildlife Area. "It will benefit sportsmen and all those who enjoy wildliferelated activities,'' summed Sam Speck, director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the wildlife division's parent agency.
Speck said that the acquisition is supported by local civic organizations and township and county officials as well. The area is being purchased from The Conservation Fund, a Virginia-based nonprofit foundation that assists organizations and agencies in protecting America's land and water resources.
Two conservation organizations, the Ruffed Grouse Society and the National Wild Turkey Federation, are partners with the ODNR in the acquisition. The land once was owned by the B&N Coal Company and was mined in the 1960s. Public hunting, trapping and fishing have been permitted here since 1987.
Fishing report - Good catches of walleye were being reported in the Maumee River through mid-week, and the near-shore areas of western Lake Erie are producing when winds and weather permit.
River temperatures were running 48 to 51 degrees yesterday, with anglers taking mostly male walleye, including some limits of jacks or smaller males. Buttonwood Public Access and Fallen Timbers were the most productive sites, according to rangers at Side Cut Metropark. Wading to Blue Grass Island, a popular site off the metropark, was possible at the present flow.
The best technique appears to be use of floating jigs with a 1/4- ounce worm weight or egg sinker 12 to 18 inches ahead of the jig, according to Gary Lowry at Maumee Valley Bait and Tackle. Use a barrel swivel for a "stopper'' for the weight, and consider upgrading to a 3/8- ounce weight in heavier current, Lowry said.
The shopkeeper, himself an avid fisherman and bass guide, predicted that the effectiveness of these "floaters'' may lead them to become the rig in the next few years on the river, surpassing the familiar leadhead-jig and plastic tail in popularity.
outlinelevel0 Steady weather should keep fishing action at good levels through the weekend.
On the Sandusky River at Fremont, both male and female walleye are around in good numbers, but water levels are fairly low even with recent rains, according to Tina Whitt at Anglers Supply. She added that wildlife officers seem to be writing "lots of tickets'' for anglers who illegally keep snagged or foul-hooked walleye.
A walleye may be kept only if it is hooked inside the mouth.
On the lake, Maumee Bay is producing walleye when weather is decent. One popular area is the shallow water off Little Cedar Point. Fish are averaging 2 to 21/2 pounds, according to Rick Ferguson at Al Szuch Live Bait on Corduroy Road in Jerusalem Township. He added that the nine-to-14-foot zone along the lakeshore roughly from Crane Creek to Davis-Besse, also is producing walleye.
The standard lake technique in early spring is vertical jigging with jigs and minnows.
outlinelevel0 outlinelevel0 Four Toledo-area men have been sentenced after being found guilty in connection with the shooting of trumpeter swans in Ottawa and Lucas counties during the waterfowl seasons in October, the Ohio Division of Wildlife said.
Trumpeter swans, all-white and the largest waterfowl in North America, weigh 20 to 30 pounds with wingspans to seven feet. The state is in process of reintroducing the swans, which are on the state endangered-species list.
Stephen M. Pastor Jr., 31, of Toledo was sentenced in Ottawa County Municipal Court to 180 days jail, with all but five days suspended providing there are no further violations in two years. He was also ordered to pay the wildlife division $1,000 in restitution on the charge of taking a nongame bird, a trumpeter swan, on Oct. 16. He also was ordered to complete a hunter-education course and is prohibited from hunting in Ohio for two years.
Christopher J. Kurek, 35, of Northwood and Mark D. Garman, 35, of Toledo were both found guilty of attempting to take a nongame bird in connection with the Oct. 16 Ottawa County case. Each was sentenced to 180 days jail, all days suspended pending no violations for two years. Each also was fined $500, ordered to complete a hunter-education course and to provide 50 hours of service at a northwest Ohio park. Each also lost Ohio hunting privileges for two years.
Jeffrey P. Schmidt, 37, of Toledo was found guilty in Oregon Municipal Court of taking a nongame bird on Oct. 30 in Lucas County. He was sentenced to 180 days jail, all but five suspended, with no hunting privileges for 2000 and 2001. He was ordered to pay $1,000 restitution to the state, and was fined $175, the latter suspended. He also was ordered to complete a hunter-education course.
"At least one of these individuals called me and personally expressed his sincere apologies for the act he committed,'' stated Terry Sunderhaus, wildlife management supervisor for Ohio Wildlife District 2. "I would also credit several sportsmen who witnessed these violations for doing the right thing and letting wildlife officers know that this happened.''
On the other hand, the lawman said, "there is no way these birds can be mistaken for a legal game bird.'' The closest possibility would be a snow goose, which are only a third the size of a trumpeter at best and rare in this area, he said.
Trumpeters are among a majority of wildlife species that are not hunted in Ohio, Sunderhaus said, and their restoration is paid for via the state income tax checkoff for wildlife, the purchase of wildlife license plates, or contributions to the state's endangered-species fund.
Saturday April Fool's walk, 1 p.m., Secor Metropark, Nature Discovery Center.
Tuesday TARTA Tuesdays nature walk, 3:30 p.m., from new TARTA bus stop at Airport Highway and Wenz Road; ride the TARTA 32H or 32R to Swan Creek Metropark, then take a one-hour nature hike beginning at the new stop at the park; indoor program at the park's Yager Center in case of rain.
April 7 through 9 Training academy for volunteer hunter and trapper-education instructors, Camp Palmer, Fulton County; for details, call Ohio Wildlife District 2, Findlay, 419-424-5000, to register call 1-800-WILDLIFE.