Harvest up for local, state bowhunters


Al Smith - Guest Columnist



Paul Kurfis, law enforcement supervisor at Wildlife District Two, will be the featured speaker at the Allen County Sportsmen and Farmers Association November meeting. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.on Thursday at the club’s 1001 S. Kemp Road location.

The club also will hold a turkey shoot next Sunday with prizes being turkeys and chickens The first shoot goes off at 12 p.m. Breakfast starts at 10:30 a.m.

For further information please contact Bill Stratton at 419-236-9082.

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Bow hunters have had an opportunity to be in the field and woods the past seven weeks now. Through the first six weeks of the season, the harvest has been up in Limaland and statewide. Part of that may have been the usually warm weather we had in late September and for much of October. Comparing numbers can be a bit confusing since a variety of factors can play a role. For instance, the first six weeks of reports by the Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW)the season this year was released on Nov. 7. Last year, the first six weeks harvest was reported on Nov. 1.

In the nine-county area, 2,118 deer have been checked compared to 1,644 checked in the first six weeks a year ago. This year, 966 antlered and 1,152 antlerless deer have been checked while during the first six-weeks of last year’s season, 601 antlered and 1,043 antlerless deer were checked. Statewide, 17,303 antlered and 20,450 antlerless deer have been checked through the first six weeks this year compared to 11,745 antlered and 17,601 antlerless in the first six weeks of last season.

Looking at numbers locally through the first six weeks, the county breakdown is: Allen 123 antlered, 140 antlerless and total of 263; Auglaize 95 antlered, 125 antlerless and total of 220; Hancock 139 antlered, 126 antlerless and a total of 265; Hardin 109 antlered, 133 antlerless and a total of 242; Logan 205 antlered, 265 antlerless and a total of 470; Mercer 63 antlered, 91 antlerless and a total of 154; Putnam 88 antlered, 99 antlerless and a total of 187; Shelby 94 antlered, 121 antlerless and a total of 215; and Van Wert 50 antlered, 52 antlerless and a total of 110.

Comparing numbers locally through the first six weeks, the county breakdown last year was: Allen 77 antlered, 113 antlerless and total of 190; Auglaize 46 antlered, 95 antlerless and total of 141; Hancock 96 antlered, 114 antlerless and a total of 210; Hardin 62 antlered, 124 antlerless and a total of 186; Logan 128 antlered, 247 antlerless and a total of 375; Mercer 42 antlered, 87 antlerless and a total of 129; Putnam 47 antlered, 99 antlerless and a total of 146; Shelby 65 antlered, 119 antlerless and a total of 184; and Van Wert 38 antlered, 45 antlerless and a total of 83.

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This wildlife violation incident dates back to last winter and is a great example of a poacher out- thinking himself.

On a nasty and snowy night, Auglaize County Wildlife Officer Mark Schemmel remembering a distinct decal on a large truck while he was fueling is patrol vehicle, helped lead to the citing of a pair jacklighters.

On spotlighting enforcement patrol Schemmel filled up in one part of the county before traveling a distance to another part of the county, which was known to be a complaint area. He noted the truck with the unique decal was one of the only vehicles traveling the roads at that hour and in lousy weather conditions.

Later while conducting surveillance for wildlife violations, Schemmel observed the glow from approaching headlights slowly illuminate the road. As the vehicle came into sight, the wildlife saw a large truck stop in the roadway while someone inside shined a bright, hand-held spotlight out into the nearby field. The truck eventually traveled past Schemmel. He then made a law enforcement stop. He recognized the vehicle as the same truck he saw earlier with the unique decal.

The two individuals, who were more than 40 miles from their homes, admitted to spotlighting for deer. Curious why the pair was that far from home, Schemmel asked what brought them that far to spotlight deer. One occupant stated that he saw the officer fueling his vehicle on one side of the county and figured they would be less likely to get caught on the other side of the county.

The two were cited for jacklighting, and were found guilty in the Auglaize County Municipal Court.

Another wildlife violation investigated by a Limaland wildlife officer occurred during the opening day of this year’s early goose season.

Hardin County Wildlife Officer Ryan Kennedy was asked by wildlife investigator Jeremy Payne to check a hunter coming out of the Wetland at Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area. Payne heard several shots as he approached the area and he observed two geese fly into the wetland. Two shots followed and one bird flew away, according to the DOW. About 30 geese flew in and landed around the hunter’s decoys. Soon after landing, two shots rang out and the geese departed. The hunter came out of his hiding location and collected the dead geese and his decoys.

Payne contacted State Wildlife Officer Ryan Kennedy, assigned to Hardin County, to check the hunter when he came out of the wetland. As the hunter left, Investigator Payne went into the area where the hunter was set up and found another dead goose. Upon contacting the hunter, the officers confirmed that he had five geese in his possession and Payne was holding his sixth goose. Officer Kennedy wrote the hunter a citation for harvesting more than his daily bag limit.

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More than 63,000 recreational boats were damaged or destroyed as a result of both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, according to Boat Owners Association of The United States (BoatUS). The nation’s largest advocacy, services and safety group for recreational boaters, estimates the combined dollar damage estimate was $655 million (boats only). These numbers are quite similar to 2012’s Hurricane Sandy, which remains the single-largest industry loss with more than 65,000 boats damaged and more than $650 million in estimated losses.

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Al Smith

Guest Columnist

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at flyfishman7@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at flyfishman7@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL