Good Things Happening for Ohio Outdoorsmen

Outdoors with Forda Birds—By John Andreoni

I had a little extra time last week to contemplate the grand scheme of things as I sat looking at the walls in the ICU at our local hospital. I expect there are questions after you read the previous sentence, but since this isn’t social media, I can’t respond in real time. I can’t even use one of those emoji things to describe my week. If I could, it would probably be the one that looks like a squiggle of chocolate ice cream and put it next to a clock.  Maybe these blurbs will help clear things up. First, the breathing process calls for good air going into your lungs and bad air going out. That wasn’t working for me. Next, you can have pneumonia without knowing it, which I didn’t know but know now. The medical people in the trenches at all levels dealing with patient care are phenomenal. I probably have spent more time observing them over the last few years than most. Hospital food? Again, I’ve eaten a lot of JTMH food, and when I’m a patient, I don’t even bother to order. I trust what I get will be top drawer. When I stop in for lunch on occasion, the same applies.

Next observation…after the cable went out: I am totally sick and tired of listening to political and religious extremists on both sides. For the record, those conversations won’t be tolerated on my personal turf. And then there is Governor Mike DeWine who announced last week that the ODNR and AEP have reached an agreement securing more than 31,000 acres for conservation and outdoor recreation. This is in addition to 5,700 acres purchased in June, 2018 and 4,200 acres purchased this September. Ultimately, this entire agreement could affect a total of 60,000 acres by 2023. What’s wrong with this picture? You tell me. Dewine gets elected less than a year ago. In May, I listen to his new ODNR Director, Mary Mertz, explain that creating the H2Ohio Fund would ensure safe and clean waters across Ohio threatened by algae blooms and other forms of pollution and contamination. Also, a more present concern was the potential loss of access to AEP lands that were for sale. Capitol money was necessary to protect this land which represented a significant percentage of Ohio’s public access hunting and fishing areas. In July, after some give and take, a $69 billion dollar two-year budget was passed which included most of the requested H2Ohio funds and capital funds for AEP land acquisition. Oh yes, the budget was balanced.

So, DeWine tells people what he plans to do. Then he gets elected. Then, he picks his ODNR director. Then a compromise budget gets passed which includes most of his fund requests. Then, he does what he said he was going to do…all in less than a year. What kind of politics is that? If DeWine would ever want to get back to Washington, he had better learn to lie, cheat, stonewall, and do the two-step. I don’t give two rats about DeWine’s political affiliation, sorry Governor, but it’s refreshing to see the political process play out at our state level the way I think it’s supposed to. I might be a bit naïve, but at least I don’t get sick like I do when I watch this Washington mess unfold. Now that I’ve unleashed my political tirade, let’s drop it down a notch and remind crappie fishermen that stake bed fish attractors will be installed this weekend. That’s good for the bank fishermen since most of the sites are land accessible.

Bow hunters had a decent season opener. The first harvest report of the season showed that 1028 bucks and 2110 does were harvested statewide during the first four days. Locally, Auglaize County produced 3 bucks and 12 does, Mercer produced 2 bucks and 6 does, Allen 8 and 14, and Shelby 5 and 15. The first few days last season had better results although the total deer harvest was lower. I’m sure that warm weather, especially on Monday and Tuesday, didn’t help. Also, the late harvest is probably an issue. If I were a deer and it was 90 degrees, I’d be standing in a bean field enjoying lunch and hoping a breeze would keep the bugs away. I wouldn’t be walking around in the woods. There’s still a long deer season ahead. Projections for 2019-20 call for more deer as a result of the lower harvest last season and the resulting carryover. Time will tell.

I just realized this column was all over the place. I apologize if it makes you feel better. Let me blame it on my brief lack of oxygen earlier in the week. I wasn’t very clear headed at times. I guess that’s why I didn’t watch the Washington Comedy Hour on TV very often. That is a real program, isn’t it?