The opportunity to hunt all legal game in season on Sundays in Ohio is a step closer with the recent passage of a bill by the House side of the Ohio General Assembly.
Known as House Bill 493 and sponsored by State Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green), the bill would lift remaining restrictions on Sunday hunting. The bill now is being considered by the Senate Agriculture Committee. It passed the House, 91-2.
Latta introduced the bill both to increase hunting opportunity in a society he contends is ever more hard-pressed for leisure time, and to streamline somewhat confusing, piecemeal Sunday regulations in place now.
For instance, it is legal to hunt waterfowl and other migratory gamebirds on Sundays in season, as well as coyotes, groundhogs, and foxes statewide on both public and private land.
It also is legal to hunt other game, such as deer, on Sunday on public land and on private land - but only with severe restrictions. The latter require that a hunter must own 20 or more acres on which to hunt, or must obtain permission to hunt on private land of 100 or more acres that is registered with the state hunter-access program. The process has been cumbersome - to say the least.
Latta carefully has shepherded the bill through the General Assembly labyrinth to its current spot in the Senate. It is important for hunters to call their state senators and encourage them to move on the bill, inasmuch as the OGA could recess by April, said the U.S. Sportsmen's Alliance. The Alliance is a Columbus-based advocacy organization.
The Alliance can provide your senator's name, should you not know it, by calling toll-free, 1-800-282-0253. Or visit the Alliance's Legislative Action Center at the Alliance website www.ussportsmen.org
Topics on the schedule include the new Lower Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge; a fishing forecast; Asian carp and other exotic fish in the lake; and a perspective on lake levels.
For other details call the Monroe County Cooperative Extension Service in Monroe, Mich., 734-240-3170. Ask for Ned Birkey, natural resources agent.
Anglers are cautioned, however, that any walleye not hooked in the mouth is considered to be foul-hooked, or snagged. It is illegal to keep foul-hooked walleye, an act which leaves an angler open to arrest.
The Maumee was wadable yesterday at 5801/2 feet, measured at the I-475 bridge, with water temperature in the ideal range at 44 degrees. Some anglers were taking two to four hours to limit out, said Gary Lowry at Maumee Valley Bait and Tackle, but some fish up to 11 pounds were being weighed at the shop.
Water clarity was improving at five inches. Recommended jig sizes were 1/4 to 3/8 -ounce in white or chartreuse, with plastic tails in varying colors, from white and chartreuse to orange and metal-flake variants.
On the Sandusky River at Fremont, most fishing action was around the Miles Newton Bridge at the upstream end of downtown, said Bernie Whitt at Anglers Supply there. “They were moving heavy in here this morning,” Whitt said of the run yesterday. Good numbers of female fish were being seen, a solid sign that the run is well under way, although still days from peaking.
Whitt said that some anglers boasted taking a limit of four fish in just six casts. But he warned that a lot of fishermen were getting tickets for keeping snagged [foul-hooked] fish.
Saturday - Toledo Naturalists' Association, field trip for Lake Erie shoreline birding, 8 a.m., meet Matt Anderson, leader, at Maumee Bay State Park campground parking lot.
Saturday - Program on winter birds, woodcarving, nature art on stained glass, Native American culture, and birds of prey, 1 to 4 p.m., Van Buren State Park, nature center, State Rt. 613 east of I-75, north of Findlay; call Ron Bowerman, 419-299-3807.
Saturday - Eagle watch, 1 to 4 p.m., meet at Sandusky County Park District office, Countryside Drive off U.S. 20 bypass east of Fremont; repeats Wednesday, March 27, 1 to 4 p.m., registration required both dates; also, Saturday, bluebird workshop, 1 to 3:30 p.m., White Star Park maintenance shop, off State Rt. 300 south of Gibsonburg, registration required; call the park district, 419-334-4495 or 1-888-200-5577.
Saturday - Eighth annual dinner, Northwest Ohio Chapter, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, 6 p.m., D.C. Ranch, State Rt. 25 south of U.S. 23/I-475, Perrysburg; for tickets and details, call Tom Schuster, 419-861-2024.
Saturday - Second annual dinner, Henry County Chapter, National Wild Turkey Federation, Napoleon VFW Hall, 1008 North Perry St., Napoleon; doors open 5:30 p.m.; call Mike Ricker, 419-438-1538, or Brock Matthews, 419-533-3778.
Saturday - Annual dinner, North Branch Boys Fly Fishing Club, at Belmont Country Club, 29601 Bates Rd., Perrysburg; social hour 5:30 p.m., dinner 7 p.m.; program by Steve Pollick on banding peregrine falcons and fishing for arctic char in Greenland; call Jerry Szelagowski, 419-837-5325.
Saturday - Waterfowl watch, 10 a.m. to noon, meet at day lodge, Mary Jane Thurston State Park, State Rt. 65 west of Grand Rapids; also, waterfowl watch at Van Buren State Park, 1 to 4 p.m., meet at nature center, State Rt. 613 east of I-75, north of Findlay; for either watch call 419-832-7662.
Saturday - Deer management workshop, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Alpena Holiday Inn, Alpena, Mich. call Ogemaw County Extension Office, 989-345-0692.
Saturday and Sunday - Gun show, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Sandusky County Fairgrounds, Fremont; sponsored by Sandusky County Hawkeyes Muzzle Loading Club; call Ed Smith, 419-334-2079.
Sunday - Turkey shoot, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Ottawa Lake Sportsmen's Club, Old U.S. 223, Ottawa Lake, Mich., call Dave Price, 734-856-1804.
Sunday - Ohio Nuisance Wildlife Control Operators Association, quarterly meeting, open to public, noon to 5 p.m., 577 Foundation, 557 East Front St., Perrysburg; call Chris Roper, 419-466-7140 or 419-727-3176.
Sunday - Bowshoots: Sandusky County Bow Benders, register 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., County Road 128 south of U.S. 20, west of Fremont, call Frank Cantu, 419-547-0472; also, Mudjaw Bowmen, register 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., 6240 Benore Rd., 30 3-D targets, call Mike Duytkiewicz, 419-729-4241; also, Dundee Sportsmen's Club, register 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 2300 Plank Rd., Dundee, Mich., 30 3-D targets, call Henry Funchion, 734-243-9143.
Steve Pollick is The Blade's outdoor writer. E-mail him at email@example.com.