Warning to boaters: You booze, you lose


By Al Smith - Guest Columnist



The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is offering a stern warning to Ohioans taking to the water this July Fourth holiday weekend: You booze, you lose.

ODNR is joining other law enforcement agencies participating in the national Operation Dry Water (ODW) campaign, which encourages people to avoid the dangers of alcohol and boating.

ODW is a national boating under the influence awareness campaign from the National Safe Boating Council. Boating under the influence (BUI) is the leading cause of injuries and fatalities on the nation’s waterways.

In 2021, law enforcement officers contacted 328,627 boaters and made 638 BUI arrests during the course of the three-day weekend. Keep in mind boating under the influence is illegal in all states.

A tsunami of boaters like never before seen is expected. One of the reasons is that boaters waiting until key holidays to get out on the water due to gas prices is a trend this year.

“Our mission is to ensure that everyone on the water has a safe and enjoyable experience,” says Tim Dunleavy, chair of the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators. “This means that all operators and passengers should choose to boat sober all season long.”

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A number of Lima area bass anglers participated in a pair of Major League Fishing’s Phoenix Bass Fishing League’s (BFL) tornaments last weekend.

While the Buckeye Division was participating in its second tourney of the season, the Michigan Division held its season opener.

Jacob Alltop of Lewistown continued to do well in his year on the BFL tour as he finished 20th in the co-angler category Buckeye Division on the Ohio River out of Tanner’s Creek in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. He caught three bass that weighed 3 pounds, 9 ounces. He is second in the standings with 480 points and is one point behind leader Briann Zolinktas of Beavercreek. Bryan Hofstetter of Lewistown is 25th in the points standings. He finished 53rd in the tourney with one bass that weighed 1 pound, 11 ounces.

Three area veteran bassers finished among the top 40 in the boater category. Dick Shaffer of Rockford was 29th with four bass that weighed 4 pounds, 13 ounces. Bob Logan of Waynesfield was 32nd with two bass that weighed 4 pounds, 10 ounces. Kyle Weisenburger was 39th with three bass that weighed 4 pounds, 3 ounces. In the points standings, Logan is 9th, Weisenburger is 12th and Shaffer is 25th.

In the Michigan Division tourney on Lake St. Clair, Wilson Burton of Findlay had the best finish among Lima area anglers. He placed 41st with a five-bass limit that weighed 17 pounds in the boater category. Former Lima resident Vickie Maisch Rumer was 13th in the co-angler category with a five-bass limit that weighed 16 pounds, 9 ounces.

The next Buckeye Division event will be held July 23 on the Ohio River at Tanner’s Creek in Maysville, Kentucky. The next Michigan Division tourney is slated for July 16 on Lake St. Clair out of Harrison Township.

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People can learn the basics of frog gigging and turtle trapping during an educational workshop from 6-9 p.m. July 13. The workshop will be held at the Oak Harbor Conservation Club, located at 12055 West Toussaint North Road in Oak Harbor.

The workshop is free of charge, but preregistration is required. To register, visit the Wild Ohio Harvest Community Events page at wildohio.gov.

Topics, including net use and turtle trap baits as well as equipment, techniques and locations to go frog gigging, season dates, regulations and preparing game will be covered by experienced professionals from the Division of Wildlife (DOW) and Oak Harbor Conservation Club. Frog gigs will be provided.

Participants are encouraged to wear outdoor clothes (such as waders) and sturdy footwear. Bug spray and sunscreen are recommended. Participants will be given the opportunity to try out their new skills by gigging frogs at the end of the program.

A valid Ohio fishing license is required to gig frogs and trap turtles.

Ohio’s Frog season is open from June 10-April 30, 2023. Green frogs and bullfrogs may be harvested with a daily limit of 15 frogs (singly or in combination). There is no bag limit for turtles with only snapping and softshell turtles may be taken with a minimum straight-line carapace length of 11 inches. The turtle season runs from July 1-Dec. 3, 2022.

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The DOW is asking people to participate in its annual brood survey of wild turkeys during July and August by reporting sightings of the birds.

Used by wildlife biologists to estimate population status, these brood surveys rely on the public to report observations of all turkeys. July and August are key months since that’s when female birds and their young are active. Observations should be submitted on the Wildlife Reporting System webpage at wildohio.gov or on the HuntFish OH mobile app.

Observers of wild turkeys are asked to report the number of gobblers, hens, and young turkeys (poults) seen. They are asked to make sure to record the date and county where the observation occurred. Biologists have annually tracked summer observations of turkeys since 1962.

State wildlife agencies across the wild turkey’s range conduct similar surveys. Information submitted to Ohio’s brood survey help to predict population changes and guide turkey management.

According to the DOW, valid reports submitted by the public in 2021 show a statewide average of 3.1 poults per hen (from 1,143 reports). The 10-year average is 2.6 poults per hen. Results from the 2020 brood survey showed a return to the long-term average after a depression in turkey nest success, and the 2021 brood data was above average. The 2021 improvements in poult numbers were uniform across the state, although because of habitat availability turkey populations are stronger in the eastern and southern portions of the state.

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By Al Smith

Guest Columnist

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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