Ohio waterfowl hunters have the opportunity to provide input on next season’s hunting regulations through an online survey, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Survey topics include the timing of the 2014-2015 waterfowl hunting seasons and hen mallard bag limits. The survey will be available at www.wildohio.com beginning Monday, Jan. 20, and must be completed by Friday, Feb. 14. The survey contains approximately 25 questions and should take less than 10 minutes to complete.
The Ohio Wildlife Council establishes season dates and other regulations in the summer after federal guidelines are provided for the 2014-2015 waterfowl hunting seasons. Input will be used so hunting opportunities can be matched to the preferences of as many hunters as possible within the constraints of federal guidelines.
Similar information was solicited from Ohio waterfowl hunters in 2013 and used to set the 2013-2014 hunting season dates. A full report and a summary of the report are available at wildohio.com on the Waterfowl Hunting Resources page.
Similar to last year, Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp buyers who purchased a hunting license and have provided a valid email address will be emailed an invitation to take the survey in an effort to increase awareness and participation.
Hunters will need their customer identification number to take the survey. The identification number is found on all Ohio hunting and fishing licenses or at wildohio.com. Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp customers who wish to provide an email address to receive future invitations can do so by visiting wildohio.com and clicking the Wild Ohio Customer Center.
• Ohioans who are passionate about wildlife and the state’s natural areas and preserves have a great opportunity to support those programs through the Wildlife Diversity Fund and the Natural Areas and Preserves Tax Checkoff this year.
All of the donations are utilized for preservation efforts of natural areas in the state and protecting endangered wildlife species. With the checkoff money in 2013, the ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves was able to hire seasonal staff to help control more than 35 different invasive species on more than 500 acres in 38 state nature preserves. Additionally, populations of wildlife species such as the Lake Erie watersnake, mountain madtom and osprey, as well as the endangered Rocky Mountain bulrush, all benefitted thanks to the checkoff funding from Ohioans in 2013.
State nature preserves are sanctuaries for rare plants and animals — 40 percent of Ohio’s endangered species and nearly 60 percent of Ohio’s threatened species are protected within Ohio’s system of 136 state nature preserves. Managed by the ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, these facilities benefit directly from Ohioans generously donating to the Natural Areas Tax Checkoff Program.
The Natural Areas Tax Checkoff Program is an excellent way for Ohioans to support nature conservation. The majority of the funding from boots on the ground conservation action comes from the Natural Areas Fund. Additionally, ODNR partnered with a local conservation organization to protect 95 acres of the original Pickaway Plains region in central Ohio, home to the endangered Rocky Mountain bulrush and other rare species. Donations also support facility improvements, ecological research and educational programming.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife does not receive taxpayer dollars to conserve, restore or manage Ohio’s wildlife and habitat. The tax checkoff program is an important way to help the division benefit endangered and threatened wildlife and other species of interest.
Donations made through the Wildlife Diversity Fund tax checkoff help support critical ecological management activities in Ohio, including efforts to remove non-native and invasive species that pose a serious and ever-growing threat to sensitive habitats. Information programs such as field guides are provided free to the public from wildlife checkoff funds.
Ohio taxpayers who are not receiving a refund this year may still contribute by sending a check to: ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves’ Natural Areas Fund or the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s Wildlife Diversity Fund, 2045 Morse Road, Columbus, Ohio 43229.
• Spaces are available for educators, leaders, or conservation clubs who have a sincere interest in taking kids fishing and want to become certified fishing instructors, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife. A free workshop is available Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and will take place at Wildlife District Two Office, 952 Lima Avenue, Findlay, Ohio 45840.
Passport to Fishing is a one-day instructor training program that qualifies individuals to become Division of Wildlife certified fishing instructors. All participants will need to pass a background check before being certified.
Passport to Fishing was developed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and adopted by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation. Workshops teach volunteers the basics of fishing and how to run a four-station fishing program with a fishing event. These instructors then go back to their communities, with a written curriculum and training aids, to teach youngsters and beginning anglers the basics of fishing.
By becoming a certified instructor, attendees will not only be able to help in reconnecting students with the outdoors, but will also have the skills and resources to do it in a more successful way. Resources available include grants, equipment, brochures, and training. To register for the workshop, please call Linda at 419-429-8347 by Jan. 24. For additional class information, visit www.wildohio.com.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!