Eagle-eyed observers are asked to be on the lookout this week for bald eagles or golden eagles because the annual mid-winter bald eagle survey is under way.
The survey actually runs through Jan. 15 in Ohio. But wildlife biologists are asking that sightings be reported to the state s Crane Creek Wildlife Research Station in Ottawa County, 419-898-0960, especially through this Friday.
The survey is conducted each January as part of an effort to census wintering eagle populations in North America. In 2002 the Ohio survey recorded 304 bald eagles, including 167 mature birds [white heads and tails] and 137 immatures, which may vary from brown to mottled brown and white.
The survey also includes aerial and ground counts by Ohio Division of Wildlife teams.
“Eagles become more active with nest building and courting activities this time of year and since there is no foliage on trees the birds are easier to spot,” said Mark Shieldcastle, head biologist at Crane Creek.
Observers are cautioned not to approach any nests, for human interference is a violation of state and federal law and may cause birds to abandon a nest site.
Most eagles are found along the Lake Erie shore zone or along river corridors and larger inland bodies of water. Last year eagles were noted in 45 counties during the survey, and later 105 eaglets were fledged from 59 nests statewide. Active nests currently are known in 32 counties.
Golden eagles are primarily a western species and are rare in Ohio. But some have been confirmed overwintering here in recent years.
Black powder record - Ohio hunters bagged a record 24,981 deer during the Dec. 27-30 muzzleloader or “black powder” season, according to preliminary totals compiled by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
The total kill is 13 per cent higher than a year ago, and some 2,000 deer higher than the prior record of 22,847 taken in the statewide season in 2001, said Mike Reynolds, a division deer biologist.
Top counties in the state included Tuscarawas, 926 deer taken; Washington, 934; Harrison, 852; Athens, 835, and Licking 790.
Since deer seasons opened in October, more than 182,000 deer have been taken from a herd estimated pre-season at 681,000. The bag also includes more than 36,000 deer taken during the first six weeks of archery hunting, which continues through Jan. 31, more than 5,200 deer taken in the first statewide, two-day youth season in November, and more than 116,000 deer taken during the week-long shotgun season in early December.
An all-seasons record of 204,602 deer was set in 2002, when a three-deer limit was allowed in southeastern hill country. The limit there this year was two deer. Final totals will be made following conclusion of archery season, but 2003 will rank second only to the 2002 seasons in terms of deer harvested, the division said..
Following are the county-by-county totals for Wildlife District 2, which covers northwest Ohio, with 2002 numbers in parentheses:
Allen 94 (106); Defiance 79 (62); Erie 67 (49); Fulton 14 (18); Hancock 73 (42); Hardin 53 (60); Henry 21 (21); Huron 267 (134); Lucas 88 (69); Ottawa 29 (14); Paulding 110 (82); Putnam 94 (76); Sandusky 58 (60); Seneca 117 (76); Van Wert 41 (38); Williams 90 (62); Wood 47 (57), and Wyandot 117 (88).
In other deer news, a massive 38-point nontypical buck taken in Iowa in September may exceed even the now-famous Ohio Beatty buck as the largest ever taken by a hunter.
Fifteen-year-old Tony Lovstuen took the monster buck near his Albia, Iowa, home during a special youth muzzleloader season. It has been officially scored at 319-4/8, exceeding the 304-6/8 of the 39-pointer taken in 2000 by bowhunter Mike Beatty in Green County in southwest Ohio. Both sets of antlers still must be verified by a Boone and Crockett panel, which is to convene this spring.
A full story on the Lovstuen buck appears in the January issue of North American Whitetail magazine. The only two larger sets of antlers on record were from whitetails found dead and not taken by hunters.
Today through Thursday -Public trap, skeet, 5-Stand Sporting Clays, and indoor pistol shooting, 2 to 9 p.m., Toledo Trap & Skeet Club, 3150 State Rt. 295, Berkey. Call the club, 419-829-5101.
Tonight - Tuesday-night hunter archery league, 7 p.m., Mudjaw Bowmen, 6240 Benore Rd.; also, Tomorrow, Wednesday-night hunter archery league, 7 p.m. Call Mike Dutkiewicz, 419-729-4241.
Tonight - Public trapshoot, 6 to 10 p.m., Dundee Sportsmen s Club, 2300 Plank Rd., Dundee, Mich., repeats Thursday 9 a.m. to noon and Sunday noon to 6 p.m.; also, call the club 734-529-3581.
Tonight - Public trap and skeet shooting, 6 to 11 p.m., Camp Perry Shooting Club, Camp Perry, State Rt. 2 west of Port Clinton. Call the club, 419-635-2682.
Tomorrow - Public trapshoot, 6 p.m., Elmore Conservation Club, Portage River Road South, just west of State Rt. 590, call Richard Gremling, 419-729-9518.
Tomorrow - Ohio Wildlife Council, 7 p.m., Wildlife District 1, conference room, 1500 Dublin Rd., Columbus; call 1-800-WILDLIFE.
Tomorrow - Program on ducks with red heads, 3:30 p.m., Side Cut Metropark, Siegert Lake Area; also, full moon walk, 7:30 p.m., Oak Openings Preserve Metropark, Mallard Lake Area, groups register at 419-535-3057 extension 101.
Tomorrow through Sunday - Silverdome Boat Show, Silverdome, Pontiac, Mich.; visit www.ShowSpan.com, or call 1-800-328-6550.