More than 50 endangered Eastern plains garter snakes are to be released Monday at Killdeer Plains State Wildlife Area in Wyandot County in a cooperative restoration project.
The species is found in a zone from western Indiana to New Mexico, and north to central Alberta. The only other known population is an unconnected colony at Killdeer Plains.
The Eastern plains garter, a docile nonvenomous snake, was designated endangered in Ohio in 1974 because of habitat losses. They once lived throughout the prairies of Wyandot and Marion counties but today are found only at 8,600-acre Killdeer Plains area.
In 1998 the wildlife division began a recovery effort for the snakes, which are 15 to 28 inches long and have up to 60 young a year in late summer. Cooperating with the division have been Westerville North High School and the Columbus and Cleveland zoos.
Pregnant snakes were collected in 1999 and 2000 to establish captive breeding colonies in the zoos and learn more about their biology. The Westerville students conducted surveys of wild snakes. The upcoming release is the first in the project, coming from the colony at the Columbus Zoo.
Eastern plains garter snakes are active during the day and usually less aggressive than common Ohio garter snakes. Instead of biting they may expel a foul musk to ward off predators. They usually feed on frogs, salamanders and small rodents.
The 2001 hunts were canceled because of the attacks. Additional security procedures have been instituted this year that will allow the hunts to resume, the Ohio Division of Wildlife said.
Special deer hunts at NASA's Plum Brook Station in Erie County, however, again have been canceled because of security concerns.
Hunters participating in this fall's hunts at Ravenna should be aware that all vehicles entering the area will be searched, the wildlife division said.
The Ravenna hunts are set for Oct. 12, 19 and 26, Nov. 9, 16 and 23, and Dec. 14. On the Oct. 26 and Nov. 23 hunts, half the hunters will be allowed to take a buck or doe, and the other half will be allowed only an antlerless deer. The other hunts all will be antlerless only.
Fishing report - Walleye activity on western Lake Erie has been good, despite three to six-foot waves from northeast winds the last two days.
Action has focused southwest of West Sister Island, about five to seven miles off the mouth of Cooley Canal, and between West Sister and Middle Sister Island, said Rick Ferguson at Al Szuch Live Bait on Corduroy Road. Perch fishing activity has been slow because of the wind and waves, but has been good in calmer conditions around the Toledo Harbor Light.
In other fishing news, Michigan anglers have caught two state-record fish this year.
One is a 1-pound, 15.5-ounce redear sunfish, landed by Richard Alber of Sherwood, Mich., on May 21 at Thompson Lake in St. Joseph County. It replaces a 1-pound, 15-ounce redear taken in 1995 from Coldwater Lake in Branch County.
The other record is a 17.44-pound, 33.1-inch splake, taken on June 7 by Theresa Lee of Rapid River, Mich., in Lake Michigan's Big Bay de Noc in the upper peninsula's Delta County. The former record, 16.25 pounds, was taken in Lake Huron in 1977. A splake is a hybrid between a lake trout and brook trout.
Today - Trap and skeet shooting, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monroe Rod and Gun Club, 6280 Lighthouse Rd., Monroe, Mich., call Jim Warren, 734-243-9774.
Tonight - Trapshoot, 6 p.m., Sandusky County Sportsmen's Club, State Rt. 600 east of Gibsonburg.
Tonight - Public trapshoot, 7 to 10 p.m. Progressive Fishing Association, 8050 Schadel Rd., Whitehouse; call Mike Adcock, 419-897-8446.
Tonight and tomorrow - Public trap and skeet shooting, 6 to 11 p.m., United Conservation and Outdoor Association of Hancock County, Township Road 243 north of U.S. 224, east of Findlay; also, Saturday, Sporting Clays shoot, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; call Don Borkosky, 419-427-4236.
Tomorrow and Monday - Public trapshoot, 6:30 p.m., Wolf Creek Sportsmen's Association, 349 Teachout Rd., north of State Rt. 2, Curtice; call Frank Schaffer, 419-691-2769.
Saturday and Sunday - Hunting, gun, sports and coin show, Erie County Fairgrounds, Columbus Avenue, Sandusky; call 419-684-9396.
Saturday and Sunday - Bowshoots, Sandusky County Bow Benders, County Road 128 south of U.S. 20, west of Fremont; coon shoot at dark Saturday, 30 3-D targets Sunday (registration 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.), call Frank Cantu, 419-547-0472.
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