ODNR looking for hunter input
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ ODNR Division of Wildlife is asking Ohio waterfowl hunters to provide input on the timing of the fall waterfowl hunting season and where they prefer to hunt in Ohio.
The Ohio Wildlife Council will establish season dates and other regulations in mid-August after federal guidelines are established for the upcoming waterfowl season. Biologists are seeking input from Ohio waterfowl hunters through this an online survey so opportunities can be closely matched to the preferences of as many hunters as possible within the constraints of federal guidelines.
The survey is available at wildohio.com until Aug. 1. Hunters will need to have their customer identification number readily available (found on all Ohio hunting and fishing licenses) when they take the survey.
Similar information was solicited from Ohio waterfowl hunters last summer and used to set the 2011–2012 hunting season dates within each zone. This year, hunters are also asked to provide input regarding potential changes to goose hunting season length and bag limits as well as rate last year’s season. The survey only takes a few minutes and I encourage every waterfowl hunter to submit their input on when they prefer the waterfowl season to be open in our area.
• For the second year in a row, more than 100 bobcats have been shown to be living in Ohio’s southeastern counties with the confirmation of 136 sightings by state wildlife officials during 2011, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The reports show an increase from the 106 verified sightings in 2010.
The bobcat is listed as an endangered species in Ohio and is protected by state law. Bobcats once roamed across Ohio during early settlement, but as more people settled within the state, their numbers diminished. By the year 1850, bobcats no longer lived in Ohio. However, a handful of unverified sightings of the bobcat in the 1960s announced the introduction of the return of the Ohio bobcat. Since 1970, there have been 691 bobcat sightings in 38 counties verified by state wildlife biologists.
The majority of wildcat-verified reports for 2011 occurred in Noble County and surrounding counties. The bobcat may be verified with photographs of the animal itself and its tracks; road kill recovery and sightings by Division of Wildlife personnel as well as encounters through incidental trappings, which are followed by the animals being released.
Since bobcats are typically elusive and it is rare for people to see them in the wild, the Division of Wildlife is using technology to clarify estimated populations of bobcats. To help them with their research, biologists use remote cameras and scent stations. Wildlife officials also use GPS radio collars to track the location of bobcats after catching and releasing them.
The efforts to learn more about the locations of bobcats have been supported by the Wildlife Diversity and Endangered Species Fund. Ohioans give donations to this fund through the state income tax check-off program and by purchasing cardinal license plates. People may also make donations toward this cause online at wildohio.com.
• Don’t forget that hunters wanting to participate in Ohio’s fall controlled deer and waterfowl hunts have until July 31 to submit permit applications for a random drawing. These special hunts are held on selected public areas to provide additional hunting opportunities for Ohio’s hunting enthusiasts.
Hunters can apply for the controlled hunts by completing the application process online using the Wild Ohio Customer Center at www.wildohio.com or by calling 800-WILDLIFE (945‑3543) and requesting a mail-in application. There is a non-refundable application fee of $3 per hunt.
More specific information about hunt dates and locations, including opportunities dedicated to youth, women and mobility-impaired hunters, can be found at www.wildohio.com.
• The Ohio Waterfowl Association is proud to announce that they will be hosting the sanctioned state duck calling championship during the annual Waterfowl Boot Camp at the Cardinal Center July 21sand 22. The winner will represent Ohio at the World’s competition this fall in Stuttgart, Arkansas. Look for more detailed information about the Waterfowl Boot Camp in my next column.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!