Ohio Spring Turkey Season Begins April 22

English: Eastern Wild Turkey

English: Eastern Wild Turkey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

COLUMBUS, OH – The start of spring ushers in Ohio’s annual wild turkey hunt, and hunters can enjoy the warmer weather in pursuit of this popular game bird. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), the 2013 Ohio spring hunting season opens Monday, April 22, with the youth wild turkey season opening Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21.

“Ohio has a good population of wild turkeys and offers some great opportunities for a spring hunt,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “The wild turkey is a true conservation success story in Ohio, and we hope to continue to build on our turkey hunting tradition.”

The 2012 hatch should produce more jakes (1-year-old male turkeys) this year and will help offset the poor 2011 hatch. However, the woods may be quieter with fewer 2-year-old toms (male turkeys). These turkeys are generally the most vocal gobblers and readily located by hunters.

Hunters harvested 17,657 wild turkeys during the 2012 youth and spring turkey seasons. The total checked in 2011 was 18,162 wild turkeys.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife anticipates as many as 70,000 licensed hunters, not counting exempt landowners hunting on their own property, will enjoy Ohio’s popular spring wild turkey season before it comes to a close on Sunday, May 19. The spring and youth turkey seasons are open statewide with the exception of Lake La Su An Wildlife Area in Williams County, which requires a special hunting permit.

In a new tagging procedure implemented this year, hunters will need to make their own game tag to attach to a wild turkey. Game tags can be made of any material (cardboard, plastic, paper, etc.) as long as it contains the hunter’s name, date, time and county of the kill. Go to the Turkey Hunting Resources page at wildohio.com for more information on changes to the game check process.

All hunters must report their turkey harvest using the automated game check system. Hunters have three options to complete the game check:

Game-check transactions are available online and by telephone seven days a week and during holidays. Landowners exempt from purchasing a turkey permit, and any other person not required to purchase a turkey permit, cannot use the phone-in option.

Hunters are required to have a hunting license and a spring turkey-hunting permit. The spring season bag limit is two bearded turkeys. Hunters can harvest one bearded turkey per day, and a second spring turkey permit can be purchased at any time throughout the spring turkey season. Turkeys must be checked by 11:30 p.m. the day of harvest.

The youth-only turkey hunt is April 20-21 for those possessing a valid youth hunting license and youth turkey permit. Youth hunters must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, 18 years of age or older.

Legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon from April 22-May 5. Hunting hours from May 6-19 will be a half-hour before sunrise to sunset. Legal hunting hours are one half-hour before sunrise to sunset during the two-day youth season.

Hunters may use shotguns, longbows and crossbows to hunt wild turkeys. It is unlawful to hunt turkeys using bait, live decoys or electronic calling devices, or to shoot a wild turkey while it is in a tree. The ODNR Division of Wildlife advises turkey hunters to wear hunter orange clothing when entering, leaving or moving through hunting areas in order to remain visible to others.

Wild turkey breeding activity is primarily controlled by the increasing amount of daylight. Hens typically start incubating eggs around May 1 in Ohio. Ohio’s current wild turkey population is approximately 180,000.

Ohio’s first modern day wild turkey season opened in 1966 in nine counties, and hunters checked 12 birds. The total number of checked turkeys topped 1,000 for the first time in 1984. Turkey hunting was opened statewide in 2000.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

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Ohio State Oarks Free Camping April 18th

English: Turtlehead Cave in Strouds Run State Park

English: Turtlehead Cave in Strouds Run State Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

COLUMBUS, OH – Pull out the camping gear, grab the makings for s’mores and leave the wallet at home for a night of free camping with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The night of free camping will be available at 54 campgrounds within Ohio State Parks on Thursday, April 18.

“I want to encourage Ohioans to start their weekend early by camping at one of our Ohio State Parks campgrounds for free,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “This is an excellent opportunity for families to explore new parts of Ohio and find out what is available within our state parks system.”

For this promotion, campers can make a free reservation for a stay that includes the Free Camping Day. To make the reservation, people must call the Ohio State Parks Reservation Call Center at866-644-6727. Customers can also reserve online but will pay the standard reservation fee. Walk-ins are also welcome on April 18, but space is limited.

For more information about Ohio State Parks campground availability, reservations and amenities, go to: http://bit.ly/freecamping.

This promotion will not be available at Jackson Lake State Park or Strouds Run State Park, as these are concession-operated campgrounds.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.com.

 

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2013 Walleye Migration Underway on Maumee and Sandusky Rivers

 

Daily bag limit is four walleye until April 30

COLUMBUS, OH – The annual appearance of migrating walleye in the Maumee and Sandusky rivers brings fantastic spring fishing opportunities,

according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

An annual phenomenon in northwest Ohio occurs each spring when a portion of Lake Erie’s walleye population moves up the Maumee and Sandusky rivers to spawn. Although the fish caught represent a small portion of all Lake Erie walleye, the run brings hundreds of thousands of fish within casting distance of eager shore anglers.

Sunset on Lake Erie seen through a fishing net.

Walleye spawning normally occurs in these rivers anytime from mid-March through mid-April, but the peak activity usually occurs the first week of April when the water temperatures range from 40 to 50 degrees. Moderately-high water also increases the number of walleye in the rivers, especially if river temperatures are warmer than lake temperatures.

The best fishing areas in the Maumee River are from Orleans Park in Perrysburg upstream to the end of Jerome Road in Lucas County. Sandusky River anglers will find better success from Brady’s Island to Rodger Young Park in the city of Fremont. Fishing is prohibited upstream from Rodger Young Park to the Ballville Dam.

Anglers are reminded the bag limit for Lake Erie and its tributaries is four walleye until April 30. Anglers are also reminded that there is a year-round 15-inch length limit for walleye on Lake Erie and its tributaries to the first dam or designated landmark. Anglers can see the latest on the walleye biteor review the 2013-2014 Ohio Fishing Regulations at wildohio.com.

Fishermen who are wading also need to ensure they are prepared to experience an unexpected cold water immersion and should consider wearing a flotation device as well as fish with a partner. Though most anglers wade in the rivers while walleye fishing, some choose to fish from boats. ODNR advises boat anglers to always properly wear life jackets, take precautions against overloading their boats and capsizing, be well dressed to avoid the onset of hypothermia and be prepared to handle any emergency. Boats should never be anchored off the stern.

Special regulations are in effect for Maumee and Sandusky river walleye fisheries during March and April. Fishing is only allowed between sunrise and sunset in specified areas, and treble hooks are prohibited. Anglers may only use a single hook that is no larger than 1 inch from shank to point. Only fish that are hooked inside the mouth may legally be taken, and any snagged fish must be immediately released.

The sales of fishing licenses, along with the Sport Fish Restoration (SFR) program, continue to fund ODNR Division of Wildlife fish management operations. No state tax dollars are used for these activities. These are user-pay, user-benefit programs.

The SFR is a partnership between federal and state government, industry and anglers/boaters. When anglers purchase rods, reels, fishing tackle, fish finders and motor boat fuel, they pay an excise tax. The federal government collects these taxes, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service administers and disburses these funds to state fish and wildlife agencies. These funds are used to acquire habitat, produce and stock fish, conduct research and surveys, provide aquatic education and acquire and develop boat accesses.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.com.

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March 30th: Trout Season Begins in 18 Counties in Southeastern Pennsylvania

English: Man holding a rainbow trout (Oncorhyn...

English: Man holding a rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

HARRISBURG, Pa. (March 19)Anglers from 18 southeastern counties are gearing up for the March 30 opening of trout, which marks the unofficial start of the 2013 fishing season.
“The buildup to opening day is just as exciting as the day itself,” said John Arway, executive director of the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC). “Anglers are busy cleaning their gear, stocking up on supplies and hopefully buying a few new rods and reels. And stocking schedules are posted to the Commission’s website, so the last step for anglers is to pick the spots they want to fish that day.”
“I’ll be at Opossum Lake in Cumberland County to celebrate the reopening of the lake, and encourage the public to join us and try their hand at catching some of the rainbow trout we’re stocking there,” he added.
The 18 counties open March 30 include: Adams, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Juniata, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Philadelphia, Schuylkill, and York.
April 13 is the traditional opening day for the rest of the state.
Visit the PFBC’s website to see detailed stocking schedules, which can be easily sorted by county. The schedule shows what waters will be stocked, the date and time, and a meeting place where volunteers can gather to help with the stocking.
“While opening day is one of the biggest fishing days of the year, it’s also one of the biggest social events,” Arway added. “Research shows that when it comes to fishing, anglers like being together with friends and family just as much as they like catching fish.”
The PFBC’s “great white fleet” of stocking trucks has been busy since mid-February replenishing Pennsylvania’s waterways with a fresh supply of brook, brown and rainbow trout. Every year the PFBC stocks about 3.2 million trout in waterways across the state.
More than 850,000 anglers buy a fishing license each year.
For the first time this year, anglers can purchase multi-year fishing licenses, including a resident three-year license for $64.70 or a resident five-year license for $106.70. Resident three-year and five-year trout permits cost $25.70 and $41.70.
A one-year resident fishing license costs $22.70 and a trout-salmon permit is $9.70. A license is required for anyone 16 and older. Licenses can be purchased at sporting goods stores and online at www.fishandboat.com.
Also, a media resources page contains web banners, high resolution photos and radio public service announcements for graphic artists and reporters to use.
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