Many people understood that participating in outdoor activities was a great way to cope with COVID-19. Statistics in certain areas back that up.
Sales of fishing and hunting licenses increased as did white-tailed deer and wild turkey hunting permits. Sales of Ohio wetland habitat stamps, needed to hunt waterfowl, also increased.
Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) numbers tell the story.
Fishing license sales jumped 8% percent in 2020 compared to 2019. Approximately 65,600 people went fishing in 2020 who did not have a license the prior year. The rise in hunting licensee sales was not as large, but it was a solid 5%. White-tailed deer hunting permits rose 4%, wild turkey hunting permits 6%, and wetland habitat stamps sales went up 7%.
The DOW said as of mid-February, more than 63,000 people had downloaded the wildlife agency’s HuntFish OH mobile app. The app is a convenient to purchase a license, view the current regulations and find wildlife area maps.
Discussions are being held to finalize a location and design for a public fish cleaning station at Lake Erie. The hope is to have it completed and fully functional facility by the end of summer. This station is a cooperative effort between the DOW and the city of Port Clinton. The station, which is envisioned to host eight people at a time, is a short drive from fishing access areas in the western basin of Lake Erie. It will have industrial grade grinders for disposing of fish waste, good parking and ready access from Ohio 2.
The wildlife agency also said in Lake Erie, fisheries biologists continue to collaborate with fellow Great Lakes researchers to track fish movements using the Great Lakes Acoustic Telemetry Observation System (GLATOS; glatos.glos.us).
DOW staff implant walleye, grass carp, lake trout, lake sturgeon and small-mouth bass with acoustic tags that are detected on receivers deployed throughout Lake Erie, the remaining Great Lakes and connected tributaries. Results from the associated research projects inform fisheries management throughout the basin.
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Ohioans interested in wildlife conservation may submit comments online through next Sunday (March 14) about current hunting and fishing regulation proposals. A list of proposals can be found at wildohio.gov.
Key white-tail deer proposals include allowing antlerless white-tailed deer to be taken from all public hunting areas from Sept. 25, 2021-Feb. 6, 2022 provided that a hunter takes only one antlerless deer from these lands per license year. A second proposal would expand deer management permits to all 88 Ohio counties from Sept. 25-Nov. 28 and allow hunters to use the deer management permit up to the county bag limit.
For wild turkey hunters, a proposal calls for a limit of one bearded wild turkey during the 2022 spring hunting season on public hunting lands. The statewide limit this spring remains two bearded birds.
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Stockings for Ohio’s put-and-take rainbow trout fishing will begin next Friday. Five bodies of water in the Lima area will receive stockings of 10-13-inch trout.
Rainbow trout are raised at Ohio’s state fish hatcheries and are released by the DOW. Trout releases will take place across Ohio until May. A complete list of dates is available at wildohio.gov.
All fish will be stocked during the week listed for each location and will be available by the Friday of that week. Some locations feature a special event on the day of the scheduled release, including youth-only fishing. Information about the trout releases, including any updates to the schedule because of weather, stocking locations and event information, is available at wildohio.gov or by calling 800-945-3543.
The five area bodies of water and week for stocking include: Davis Lake in Auglaize County, April 9; Lima Lake, April 16; Van Wert Reservoir 2, April 16; Tawawa Lake in Shelby County, April 30 and Giertz Lake in Hancock County, May 1.
The daily catch limit for inland lakes is five trout per angler with no minimum size limit.
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The Lake Erie Marine Trades Association (LEMTA) is moving ahead with plans for the 17th annual Progressive Insurance Catawba Island Boat & Yacht Show from April 30 to May 2.
An all-outdoor event is planned with most boats displayed in the water. Accessory exhibits, marinas, services and boating information displays are positioned around the rim of the marina basin located at the Catawba Island Club. It’s also the only time each year the public has access to CIC.
COVID-19 has forced the cancellation of every in-person Ohio boat show since last January.
“Outdoor in-water shows have continued to be held in the warmer southern states without problems, all observing applicable safety protocols. So, we’re excited to bring our boaters a big in-person show once again,” Michelle Burke, LEMTA president, said.
For continuing information, visit: catawabaislandboatshow.com.
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The Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) annual Camp Perry Open indoor air gun match, which traditionally has been held in January, will be held May 21-23 in Port Clinton.
The 15th open will boast a new schedule, including a smallbore rifle match (featuring modern scoring technology) and an educational pistol clinic. A rifle clinic, led by current NCAA athletes, and a pistol clinic, headed by retired Army Marksmanship Unit member and CMP pistol program coordinator Jim Henderson, will be held in Camp Perry’s Hough Auditorium.
To register for the Camp Perry Open or to learn more, visit thecmp.org/cmp-matches/camp-perry-open/.
Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL