Despite a pair of nice days that featured mild temperatures and dry conditions, the harvest during Ohio’s two-day (April 17-18) youth wild turkey hunt was down locally and statewide.
In the Lima area, the harvest was down in eight of the nine area counties. Only Allen showed an increase in harvest with 11 turkeys being reported compared to 10 a year ago. Hancock had no reported turkeys compared to seven being harvested in 2019.
The total area take was 39 this year compared to 65 registered a year ago. The results for the remaining seven area counties with numbers from 2019 in parenthesis were: Auglaize 2 (4), Hardin 5 (9), Logan 10 (12), Mercer 1 (4), Putnam 6 (11), Shelby 3 (4), Van Wert 1 (4).
Statewide, 1,473 were taken compared to 1,843 during 2019’s youth season.
The regular wild turkey season begins Sunday (April 24) and runs through May 23 in the South zone, of which the Lima area is part. Hunters are reminded that hunting hours from April 24-May 2 are 30 minutes before sunrise until noon. Hunting hours from May 3-23 are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.
The spring hunting season limit is two bearded wild turkeys. Hunters may harvest one bearded turkey per day, and a second permit may be purchased at any time throughout the spring season. A turkey is required to be checked no later than 11:30 p.m. the day of harvest.
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A morning safety inspection and the help of a wading walleye angler helped save a kayaker from possible disaster recently on the Maumee River.
The female kayaker was stopped for a safety inspection by Ohio Department of Resource (ODNR) officer Sgt. Sarah Genzman at Orleans Park on the Perrysburg side of the Maumee River. Genzman would not allow the kayaker on the water because she did not have the proper life jacket on board.
The kayaker believes that inspection may have saved her life.
Hours after the inspection, the kayak capsized as it was anchored in the main channel of the Maumee. A wave from another boat capsized the kayak and dumped the experienced kayaker into 48 degree water. A wading walleye angler was able to grab the woman and bring her to shore. Genzmann, who saw the kayak capsize while patrolling the river, was waiting with blankets when the angler got the kayaker to shore.
“It is our duty to make sure anyone heading out onto the water is safe and prepared,” Genzman said. “If that one inspection made someone grab a life-saving tool like a life jacket, then I’m doing my job. No one should go out on the water without the proper gear to keep them safe.”
Ohioans should remember that water temperatures remain cold even if air temperatures seem warm and pleasant.
ODNR also wants Ohioans to keep in mind that warmer spring weather does not mean warmer water. Paddlers, anglers, hunters and swimmers should take precautions along waterways at this time of year. Cold water will cool down a body 25 times faster than cold air of the same temperature. Total immersion in cold water is very painful, with extremities rapidly becoming numb. Disoriented victims can quickly panic as they lose coordination of their limbs. These combined reactions may cause a quick drowning.
The ODNR reminds people that a properly fitted life jacket will keep a person’s airway out of the water, avoiding the large possibility of triggering an uncontrollable gasping reflex. Heart rate and blood pressure will surge dramatically, increasing the risk for cardiac arrest. The victim may hyperventilate and find it difficult to get air into the lungs.
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We had another productive day of birding a week ago while doing the drive through at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area and Howard Marsh Metropark.
The highlight was seeing more than 100 white pelicans at Ottawa including several flying overhead. There also were bunches of them on the water and the ground.
Watching a bald eagle feeding a pair of eaglets in a nest at Magee Marsh was a cute sight.
It was good to see the return of white egrets and tree swallows. We spotted a few Bonaparte gulls at Metzger. We also saw a yellow legs shorebird as well as killdeer. Red-winged blackbirds, common marsh visitors, were plentiful. We also saw usual Ottawa residents blue herons, trumpeter swans and Canada geese. We also saw a long-eared owl.
On the waterfowl side, it was a good day observing grebes, gadwalls, shovelers, scaup, mallards, common mergansers, ring neck, ruddy ducks, blue wing teals, green wing teal.
One of the more comical birds we saw were coots or mud hens. These are not ducks. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife on Twitter said of coots: “Even if it looks like a duck and acts like a duck, it could still be an American coot. These birds are classified as rails and have several traits that more closely align with chickens than ducks, including their beak, legs and feet.”
Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL