Most fishermen seek big fish but for Ron Davenport of Fremont, a whopper came to him a 49 -inch, 53-pound white amur to be exact. Right into his backyard.
Davenport lives on aptly named Minnow Creek, a small seasonal drainage that runs through the south side of town and usually runs a foot deep. But it flooded with runoff recently.
I was going to work, Davenport said about his initial sighting. I saw it in the backyard. I saw the fish flopping around. But he was in a rush so did not check it out immediately.
Next day I went out and asked, Is that a fish, or is that a log? he said. Davenport called Fred Snyder, an Ohio Sea Grant agent and biologist, who confirmed it was an amur, also known as a grass carp, an Asian member of the minnow family. They often are used in ponds for vegetation control.
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Trouble is, Snyder said, it is a mystery where this huge fish originated. It is the largest specimen Snyder ever has seen.
Last year I saw one bigger than this one, the Fremonter said, adding that nobody believed him. Everybody laughed. No more.
A tip to Ohio Wildlife Officer Tom Kochert, who patrols Williams County, resulted in the arrests and convictions of two Montpelier residents for illegally taking and checking deer.
Diane Sidle, 44, was charged with using the wrong tag on a buck, checking the deer in late and failure to immediately tag a deer. She was found guilty in Bryan Municipal Court and sentenced to two years probation, was fined $250 and $79 court costs for each charge and forfeited $438 of processed venison.
Monty Whaley, 45, was found guilty of one count of taking one more deer than the limit, two counts of failing to permanently check a deer that he killed and deterring or interfering with a wildlife officer. He was sentenced to two years probation and 180 days jail, which were suspended pending no violations for two years. He was fined $250 and $79 costs each on the three deer counts and $300 plus $79 costs for interfering with a wildlife officer. He also lost his hunting privileges for a year.
The Ohio Division of Wildlife notes that the public can file anonymous tips of suspected wildlife violations on its toll-free hotline, 1-800-POACHER.
Joe Robison, a wildlife biologist at Michigan s Pointe Mouillee State Game Area northeast of Monroe, has been named the 2009 outstanding conservationist by the Michigan chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation.
A 14-year veteran, Robison in the 1990s helped with the restoration of wild turkey in southern Michigan by capturing wild birds and selecting release sites, this while assigned to the Muskegon State Game Area. More recently he has coordinated turkey restoration work in southeast Michigan, said Steve Sharp, senior field representative for the NWTF.
Robison was cited for his inclusive management style and ability to work with others. He is chairman of the statewide citizens waterfowl advisory committee among other activities.
The new air-gun range at the Marksmanship Center at Camp Perry, west of Port Clinton off State Rt. 2, now is open to the public for practice shooting Tuesday evenings.
The 10-meter air-gun range has 80 shooting points and is fully equipped with electronic targets that accommodate air rifle, air pistol or National Match Air Rifle shooting.
The Ottawa County 4-H Shooting Sports Club uses half of the range Tuesday evenings for junior three-position air rifle shooting. School-age junior shooters are welcome to join this group. The rest of the range is open for public air rifle and air pistol shooting by adults beginning tonight, from 5:30 to 8:00 p.m.
Shooters must complete a Civilian Marksmanship Program [CMP] eligibility affidavit and liability waiver on the first visit and attend a short safety briefing. Depending upon staff availability, arrangements can be made to provide instruction to new shooters.
The cost for adults at the Marksmanship Center is $5 per day. Shooters may bring their own air rifles or air pistols, but the arms must be chambered for 177-caliber and produce muzzle velocities of 600 fps or less.
Sporter-class air rifles are available as loaners at the range. Shooters should supply their own pellets or may purchase them at the range. In order to facilitate range staff planning, prospective shooters are requested to email firstname.lastname@example.org stating their intent to shoot on a given night.