Area deer hunters fare better in muzzleloader season


By Al Smith - Guest Columnist



Limaland deer hunters and their counterparts across the state fared better during the recent muzzleloader deer season (Jan.5-8) than they did during the same season a year ago.

Local hunters checked in 616 deer compared to 530 taken a year ago on the extra weekend. Statewide, hunters harvested 14,182 deer compared to 13,268 taken during the 2017 season.

The harvest was up in eight local counties while it dropped only in Allen County where 56 deer were check in this year compared to 57 a year ago. The check-in in other Limaland counties counties along with last year’s in parenthesis were: Auglaize 61 (57), Hancock 70 (59), Hardin 115 (101), Logan 140 (127), Mercer 45 (28), Putnam 27 (21), Shelby 70 (60) and Van Wert 32 (20).

Hunter still have an opportunity to take a deer through Feb. 4 when the Ohio archery seasons concludes.

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Junior L. Troyer, 43, of Millersburg was found guilty of poaching a $27,000 trophy buck after pleading no-contest to five charges. They included providing false information while game checking deer, attaching a game check number to a deer other than the deer it was issued to, taking more than one antlered deer in a license year, possessing deer or deer parts without an attached valid deer tag, and attaching an antlerless deer game check number to an antlered deer.

He was found guilty on all charges in Coshocton Municipal Court and Judge Timothy L. France ordered him to pay $150 for each charge and an additional $87 in court costs. The judge also ordered Troyer to pay restitution to the Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) in the amount of $27,904.46.

In addition, Troyer will lose his hunting privileges for one year. He will be entered into the Wildlife Violator’s Compact and most likely will lose hunting rights in 46 other states.

One of the DOW’s K-9 members (K-9 Finn )and his handler State Wildlife Officer Jeremy Carter, assigned to Holmes County, located evidence that was crucial to this case.

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While much of the nation was focused on the government shutdown the past few weeks, key bipartisan legislation addressing harmful algal blooms went to President Donald Trump’s desk for his signature.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Act (HABHRCA) of 2018 before the holiday break. The Senate had previously passed it.

This comes as the time the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently received approval from the State Controlling Board to begin funding nearly $10 million in projects aimed toward helping to keep dredged material out of Lake Erie.

According to an ODNR press release, these projects are part of Ohio’s “Healthy Lake Erie Fund” efforts and will be managed by local officials and sponsors from Toledo, Lorain and Conneaut, the communities where these monies are being invested. These projects represent a portion of Ohio’s dredged material management program developed jointly by the Ohio EPA, ODNR and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers with input from local stakeholders.

Anyone living in a Great Lakes state like Ohio should be well aware of the frequency and devastating impacts of harmful algal blooms. They affect anglers and fisheries as well as businesses including fishing tackle shops, charters, hotels and motels, restaurants, etc.

“Given what we’ve witnessed this year in South Florida, the Great Lakes, and in many other parts of the country, this legislation is crucial in providing federal resources to communities as more local businesses that depend on access to healthy aquatic systems are negatively impacted,” said Kellie Ralston, ASA’s Southeast Fisheries policy director.

In addition to reauthorizing for five years the National Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Program, this bill would:

Authorize NOAA and EPA to declare a “Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) of Significance” to provide federal resources when HABs are determined to have a detrimental impact on a state’s environment, economy, or public health

Expand grant eligibility to include proposals for the intervention and mitigation of harmful algal blooms

Direct NOAA to improve their monitoring of harmful algal blooms and hypoxia.

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By 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

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