Monday, Apr 23, 2018
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Heavy roadkill has logical explanation: It s fall

They are not exactly stacked up like cordwood, but unusually high numbers of raccoons and other small mammals have been road-killed in the last 10 days or so, likely for several seasonal reasons.

For one thing the harvest of cornfields is under way, and machinery activity has pushed out marauding raccoons.

They re more active this time of year, seeking food to put on fat for the winter, explained biologist Scott Butterworth about wildlife on the move. Butterworth, wildlife management supervisor for Ohio Wildlife District 2, agreed that a spike in roadkills, especially raccoons, has occurred recently.

A lot of sub-adults are seeking their own territories and dens for winter, he said, citing another cause for extra activity.

The highway toll also has included some skunks, opossums, rabbits and squirrels, not to mention deer. But raccoons, the populations of which remain at fairly high levels in Ohio, make up a high percentage of the small-mammal toll.

General waterfowl seasons in northern Ohio, which opened last weekend, are off to a slow start, waterfowl biologists say.

It s weather-related, I think, said Mark Shieldcastle, head of the state s Crane Creek Wildlife Research Station in Ottawa County. We ve had nothing but full-sun days and a full moon at night.

Shieldcastle added that the moonlit nights should encourage some early migrants, such as wigeon and wood ducks, to leave.

Predicted cold, windy weather in the coming days could improve the waterfowling picture, though. Record numbers of green-winged teal have been rafted on Sandusky Bay, however, and Shieldcastle expects that they will remain in the region, as will hardier big ducks, such as mallards and blacks.

On opening day at Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area in Ottawa County, 44 hunters took 78 ducks, which is somewhat below normal for this draw-only, controlled hunt. But Canada goose hunting has been good overall, the biologist said, noting that the Magee hunts have taken more geese in a week than in all of the 2004 season.

Butterworth said that hunters had fair success with geese at Killdeer Plains State Wildlife Area last weekend. But the duck bag was low, despite fairly good numbers and variety of birds, because of too-mild weather.

At Winous Point Shooting Club on Sandusky Bay, one of the region s premier private waterfowl clubs, opening weekend was decent with a notably improved mix of early-season ducks, according to Roy Kroll, Winous manager.

The mix included wigeon, pintail, blue-winged and green-winged teal, wood ducks, and gadwall. Mallards, he added, were cooperative at first but grew wary by Sunday afternoon and black ducks were scarce.

Greg Yarbrough of Port Clinton and his partner, Jeff Seyka of Milford, Mich., outfished a field of 108 teams from 14 states in winning the 2005 Grand National Walleye Cup championship on Lake Erie at Vermilion.

It was a one-day-take-all event when small-craft wind advisories canceled the last two days of the programmed three-day event.

Yarbrough and Seyka weighed a daily event-limit of five walleyes weighing 35.27 pounds to win two boat-motor-trailer fishing rigs, each valued at $35,000. Their big fish was a 9.42-pounder, taken while trolling in-line weights, Northland holographic spinners and Walleye Unlimited spinner blades tipped with nightcrawlers. They were fishing near the Canadian line.

I buddy-fished with Jeff for the first time last year, said Yarbrough, adding that they hit it off well and a friendship developed. He was my co-angler in the RCL event at Moline, Ill., and afterward I said, he could fish with me any time.

Russell Lamp, who collects stinging insects for use in vaccine manufacturing by the pharmaceutical industry, is offering free removal of nests of yellowjackets, where large numbers are concentrated. Sheds, barns, and haylofts are likely sites for larger, active nests, he added. For details call Lamp at Integrated Pest Control, 419-243-1212.

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