Ohio deer hunters would be allowed to use two-way radios for safety purposes under a proposal by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
Steve Gray, state wildlife chief, said that the proposal is a response to many requests from the hunting ranks, and there is general support for use of such radios for emergencies such as illness, injury or becoming lost.
It would remain illegal to use radios to assist in hunting of deer, which in any case is unethical under fair-chase considerations. Two-radio transmissions, moreover, can be monitored for abuses. Most states around Ohio already allow such use of two-way radios, and Ohio already allows their use for emergencies during other types of hunting.
The proposal is being added to the package of hunting and trapping regulations to be considered by the Ohio Wildlife Council at its April 9 meeting in Columbus.
Gray acknowledged that there always will be scofflaws who abuse any regulations, but he does not think that two-way radios will have any measurable impact on deer harvest.
Speaking of which, the final tally shows that the 2002 all-seasons Ohio deer harvest was a record 204,652, 14 percent above the 1995 record of 179,543. The gun-season harvest was the highest ever for one week at 133,391. Archery season set a record at 48,902, and the primitive-weapons seasons totaled a near-record 21,819.
A record pre-season herd of 575,000 deer, ideal hunting weather, and liberal regulations were behind the record bag, the wildlife division said.
Michigan's all-seasons deer harvest is not yet available, but the state's firearms-deer harvest was 288,000, about 15 percent below the five-year average for that season. It is expected that the final all-seasons bag will fall below the pre-season forecast for 506,000 deer. The gun season usually accounts for about 60 percent of the total and archery 25 percent.
The Pennsylvania all-seasons bag was 517,529, including 165,416 bucks. The state has been increasing its antlerless bag in hopes of establishing a better buck-doe ratio and a herd better balanced to habitat. Hunters there took some 486,000 deer in 2001 and 504,000 in 2000.
The Pennsylvania bag included 69,648 deer taken by archery. Unlike Michigan, Pennsylvania does not permit hunting over bait, a debatable practice that allows Michigan deer archers an obvious advantage.
Fishing report - Walleye have begun their spring spawning runs in both the Maumee and Sandusky rivers, though fishing action indicates that the runs still are in the early stages.
The Maumee River yesterday was a mite high - 583 feet above sea level as measured at the water gauge on the I-475 bridge. Water temperature was 44 degrees, in the prime range, but clarity was just fair.
Wading to Blue Grass Island at Side Cut Metropark was not yet possible, and most fishing action was concentrated below the Maumee-Perrysburg Bridge at such sites as Orleans Park in Perrysburg and the foot of White Street in Maumee. Carolina-rigged floating jigheads and plastic tails in bright colors were working best, though some anglers were using 1/8 to 3/8–ounce jigs and tails with split shot about 18 inches above.
Some limits of four walleye were being taken, but most anglers were going home with just one or two fish, said Andy Ankenbrandt at Maumee Valley Bait and Tackle. “It's the sixth day we've seen fish,” said Ankenbrandt, who added that action should improve as the river settles a little more.
A few crappies were being taken in still waters around the Grand Rapids Dam, said Mary Jeffers at Grand Rapids Marine Supply. She said that current at the dam remains high. Few anglers have been out fishing for northern pike at this point, though the pike should be in, she added.
Walleye are running “pretty good” in the Sandusky River at downtown Fremont, said Bernie Whitt at Anglers Supply there. The river-flow there is settled enough to allow wading.
Today - Program on the power of wind, 4 p.m., White Star Park, red barn, Sandusky County Road 65 just east of State Rt. 300, south of Gibsonburg; to register, call the Sandusky County Park District, 419-334-4495 or 1-888-200-5577.
Friday - Ohio Chapter, Ruffed Grouse Society, 31st annual fund-raising dinner, social hour 5:30 p.m., dinner 7:30 p.m., at Villa Milano, 1630 Schrock Rd., Columbus; call Doug Rellick, 614-471-5982.
Tomorrow and Saturday - Boating-education classes, Friday 6 to 9:30 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Ottawa Hills Schools continuing education; call 419-537-9852.
Tomorrow through Sunday -17th Michigan Deer and Turkey Expo, Lansing Center, downtown, Lansing, Mich.; 2 to 9 p.m. Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; call 1-800-324-3337, or visit www.deerinfo.com.
Saturday - North Branch Boys Fly Fishing Club, annual dinner, Belmont Country Club, social hour 5:30 p.m., dinner 6:30 p.m.; program by Steve Pollick on favorite photos, favorite places; proceeds to benefit the Anglers of the AuSable River and Pere Marquette Watershed Council; call Judy Walle, 419-327-4146 or 419-536-2469.
Saturday - Seminar on cougars in Michigan, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Michigan Wildlife Conservancy, Bengel Wildlife Center, Bath, Mich., near Lansing; call MWC for fee schedule and registration, 517-641-7677.
Saturday - Third annual Shreve Migration Sensation, a celebration of spring bird migration, at Shreve Elementary School, State Rt. 226, Shreve, Ohio, registration opens 7 a.m., first workshop 9 a.m.; sponsored by Shreve Business Association and Friends of Killbuck Marsh; call Bill Fought, 1-800-821-0456, or 330-567-2341.
Saturday - Northwest Ohio Chapter, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, ninth annual fund-raising dinner, 6 p.m., Valleywood Golf Club, 13502 Airport Highway [State Rt. 2], Swanton; call Ron Saam, 419-849-3513.
Sunday - 35th annual Vermilion River Race, eight-mile course for 17 classes of canoes and kayaks, register 9 to 11 a.m., races starting 10:30 a.m., Schoepfle Gardens Park, Birmingham, Ohio, State Rt. 113; sponsored by the Keel-Haulers Canoe Club; call Hank Annable, 440-775-4953, or Rob Hammond, 216-287-8580.
Sunday - Bowshoot, Dundee Sportsmen's Club, 2300 Plank Rd., Dundee, Mich., register 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., 30 3-D targets, call Ted Norris, 734-279-5198; also, Sandusky County Bow Benders, County Road 128 south of U.S. 20, west of Fremont, register 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., 3-D targets, call Frank Cantu, 419-547-0472.
Tuesday and Thursday - Boating-education classes, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Whitmer Career and Technology Center, 5719 Clegg Dr., Room CTC 215; call 419-473-8439.