A pair of open houses to hear about the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s (DOW) sampling for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) will be held Tuesday (May 17) and Thursday (May 19) in Upper Sandusky and Marion.
The meeting in Upper Sandusky on Tuesday will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the dining hall of the Wyandot County Fairgrounds, located at 10171 Ohio 53. The meeting in Marion on Thursday will be held in the Harding Room of the Marion County Sheriff’s office, located at 100 Executive Drive.
An additional nine wild white-tailed deer (five bucks and four does) tested positive for (CWD) in northern Marion and southern Wyandot counties. Since 2020, 11 wild deer have tested positive for CWD, all in Wyandot and Marion counties. Nine were confirmed in Wyandot County, and two were confirmed in Marion County. The recent testing was performed on hunter-harvested deer during the 2021-22 season in addition to a planned operation in February and March to obtain additional samples.
To increase sampling for CWD, a disease surveillance (DSA) area has been expanded to include all townships in Wyandot, Marion, and Hardin counties. Special regulations and hunting opportunities are in effect in the DSA.
CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer and other similar species, including mule deer, elk, and moose.
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Ohio’s wild turkey harvest continues to decline as fewer turkeys have been checked in this year compared to the same period a year ago and the three-year average (2019-21).
Through last Sunday (May 8), the DOW reported that hunters have checked a total of 9,353 birds during the start of spring hunting season. The total statewide harvest represents 16 days of hunting across most of the state, nine days in the northeast zone (Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, and Trumbull counties), and includes the 1,103 wild turkeys taken during the youth season April 9-10.
That compares 11,779 wild turkeys checked over the same time period during last spring’s hunting season. The three-year average (2019-21) is 13,664 birds using the same dates.
The harvest in the Lima area shows the turkey take continues to be up in two counties (Logan and Van Wert) and down in the seven other area counties. Locally, 327 turkeys have been harvested thus far while the three-year average is 381.
Turkeys checked in locally through 16 days of the season and the three-year average (2019-21) in parentheses were: Allen 49 (58), Auglaize 18 (30), Hancock 23 (28), Hardin 61 (71), Logan 95 (86), Mercer 16 (17), Putnam 20 (44), Shelby 27 (33) Van Wert 18 (14).
Wild turkey harvests have declined since 2001. They were expected to continue declining since only one bearded turkey may be harvested this spring. Also contributing to the decline are lower wild turkey numbers and decreased hunter participation.
The DOW says several factors play a role in fluctuating turkey populations, including weather events, predation and hatch productivity. The wildlife agency is taking conservation measures to reduce the wild turkey harvest while ongoing research looks closely at Ohio’s turkeys.
The spring hunting season limit is one bearded wild turkey. A turkey is required to be checked no later than 11:30 p.m. the day of harvest using the HuntFish OH mobile app, the automated game-check system, by phone at 877-TAG-IT-OH (877-824-4864), or at a participating license agent.
Hunting locally and much of the state is open until May 22. The Northeast zone is open until May 29.
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As thousands of birders participate in the spring migration checking out warblers and other species headed north, there are a variety of reasons to enjoy this hobby. For many it’s seeing the smallish and colorful warblers, hoping to see a “lifer” and adding to a long list they have sighted. For others, it’s just seeing what they can see.
For me, the most enjoyable aspect is seeing how nature acts or reacts in the wild. A few days spent recently with my wife Faith and daughter Kristina at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area (boardwalk), Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area, Howard Marsh Metropark, Pearson Metropark, Meadowbrook Marsh, Catawba Point Preserve, Sheldon Marsh Nature Preserve and Nehls Memorial Nature Preserve yielded some great experiences with nature.
One day, we viewed six pairs of bald eagles with one pair sitting above their nest at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. We saw numerous mature and immature eagles. We also saw a pair of baby great horned owls in a dead tree cavity while one of the parents sat closely in a tree at the refuge.
The most enjoyable and fascinating experience for me occurred along the boardwalk at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area. A green heron was spotted fishing for its lunch among duck weed in a shallow water area. While watching this colorful bird for several minutes, he caught and swallowed at least six fish. It was a delight for the bird as well a those watches it fishing actions.
A little farther down the boardwalk, we saw a solitary sandpiper and almost directly across a this dike area we spotted a brown thrasher. These birds may not be exciting to some, but I found them fascinating.
At Pearson Park, we were fascinated by a pair of Carolina wrens. While the male sang loudly with his melodious song, the female fed her chicks in a nest located in the corner of a roof in the building that houses the window on wildlife.
In the small area of Catawba Point Preserve, we viewed a number of species
Including some warblers and a pair of wood ducks and hooded mergansers.
At Sheldon Marsh, we observed another green heron along with a couple of colorful Baltimore Orioles and the easily recognizable red-headed woodpecker.
And it never ceases to amaze me how small pockets in an area turned into a hotspot for a variety birds. We ran into such incidents at all the sites we visited.
Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL