Operation Dry Water under way this weekend


Safety always is the utmost concern when on the water. To help ensure safety, make sure you don’t mix alcohol and boating since they are dangerous combination.

That’s why a nationwide campaign has addressed boating under the influence (BUI) during the July 4th weekend since 2009.

Operation Dry Water is an effort to curb drinking and boating by numerous local and state agencies plus the U.S. Coast Guard along with recreational boating safety advocates and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators (NASBLA).

During the three-day weekend, numerous boaters will be contacted as these outreach partners attempt to educate the boating public about the dangers of boating under the influence.

Since the launch of the Operation Dry Water campaign in 2009, officers have made contact with more than 1.5 million boaters during the annual three-day weekend as part of the awareness campaign. In 2019, 736 agencies from every state and territory participated in Operation Dry Water.

“Safe boating is the best boating,” said Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz. “Boating under the influence endangers everyone — you, your family and friends, and other boaters.”

Alcohol use is the leading contributing factor in recreational boater deaths, and a leading factor in recreational boating accidents, according to the U.S Coast Guard’s 2019 boating statistics. In Ohio, nearly one in every four fatal boating-related accidents involves alcohol.

There’s a reason boaters are asked not to drink alcohol. It impairs a boater’s judgment, vision, and reaction time. Alcohol also increases fatigue. Common stressors, such as sun, wind, vibration and motion, can intensify the side effects of alcohol, drugs and some medications.

In Ohio, it is illegal to operate a boat with a blood alcohol content of .08 or higher. The ODNR says persons found to be boating under the influence can expect to incur severe penalties such as being arrested and having their boat impounded.

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Despite 90-degree weather, hunting is on the minds of some outdoor types. Hunters can apply through July 31 for controlled hunts for mourning dove, quail, waterfowl, white-tailed deer, ring- necked pheasant, small game, and trapping. Beaver/otter and furbearer hunting opportunities will be offered online in October.

Hunters must be under 18 at the time of application to apply for youth hunts and also must be under 18 at the time of the hunt to participate in youth hunts.

These opportunities ill take place at six different sites in the Lima area and at 145 sites statewide. A complete list of eligible hunts and locations can be found in the 2020-21 Controlled Hunting Opportunities Booklet. The six area locations are Andreoff Wildlife Area, Mercer Wildlife Area, St. Marys State Fish Hatchery, Indian Lake State Park, Grand Lake St. Marys State Park and Lake Loramie State Park.

There is a non-refundable application fee of $3 per hunt. Because of social distancing requirements, controlled hunt applications will only be accepted online or by phone for the 2020-2021 season. No in-person drawings will be available this year. Hunters are randomly drawn from submitted applications. Successful applicants will be notified and provided additional hunt information by Aug. 10. Successful applicants will receive a permit, rules and hunting area map.

Hunters may apply for the controlled hunts by completing the application process online using Ohio’s wildlife licensing system at wildohio.gov

on the controlled hunts page. Customers without internet access may call 866-703-1928 and apply for hunts by phone. There is an additional $5.50 service fee to apply for the phone option.

New this year, all state parks waterfowl blinds drawings will be coordinated through Ohio’s Wildlife Licensing System. Successful applicants can choose a blind location on Aug. 15. A $50 fee is charged to construct a blind for state park waterfowl hunts. Permittees are responsible for this additional fee.

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When you have to move a major bass fishing tournament with little notice, Lake Erie in Ohio is an excellent alternate choice.

Such was the case as Sandusky has become the launching and weigh-in sight for the FLW’s Toyota Series Northern Division opener, which will be held Thursday through Saturday. The change was necessitated when New York recently announced travel restrictions due to COVID19 and the tourney scheduled on the St. Lawrence River at Massena, New York, had to be moved.

Some pros think largemouth bass may play a bigger role in this event since smallmouth bass basically have spawned. They think smallmouths likely will be in a transition stage while largemouths, which spawned earlier could give a strong bite.

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A longtime brood survey of turkeys continues during July and August as wildlife agencies try to estimate population growth. The survey for turkeys began in 1962. A similar one for ruffed grouse began in 1999.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) is part of these surveys. The brood survey relies on the public to report observations of all wild turkeys and ruffed grouse seen during July and August. Observations can be reported at the wildlife species sighting webpage at wildohio.gov.

Information collected for wild turkeys includes the number of gobblers, hens and young turkeys (poults) observed. Information collected for ruffed grouse include the number of adults and young observed. The date and the county where the observation occurred are recorded for both species.

Information submitted to Ohio’s brood survey helps to predict future population changes and guide wild turkey management in the state and across the nation. In 2019, the public submitted 436 valid reports with a statewide average of 2.3 poults per hen. The 10-year average is 2.6 poults per hen. Biologists began tracking summer observations of wild turkeys in 1962. Ruffed grouse were added to the survey in 1999.

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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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