Although National Hunting and Fishing Day has traditionally been celebrated in September, on the final Saturday of the month, the federal government is moving to declare October as National Hunting and Fishing Month beginning next year. The new agreement will call on recreational fishing, boating and hunting stakeholders to plan and implement projects and activities that promote those activities on public lands and waterways staring in October 2018.
Late last month the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service announced a new memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies, the American Sportfishing Association, the National Marine Manufacturers Association and the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF).
The MOU, which was signed just after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke declared that October will officially be recognized as National Hunting and Fishing Month, was created to develop and expand cooperation among the participating parties for planning and implementing mutually beneficial projects and activities to promote recreational fishing and boating on public lands and waterways.
The objective of the MOU is to promote angler recruitment, retention and reactivation (R3) activities, with the goal of increasing the current 47 million recreational fishing participants in the United States ages 6-plus to 60 million at the end of 60 months, or by 2021. Dubbed “60 in 60” by RBFF, the initiative was launched in April 2016.
“Fishing and boating participation numbers look good right now, but with all of the demographic changes taking place in our country and the rapidly growing use of technology, we’ve all got to up our game,” said Frank Peterson, RBFF president and CEO. “This partnership is a fantastic start to a cooperative effort on the national, regional and local level to ensure fishing and boating participation thrive for years to come, supporting critical state agency wildlife management efforts.”
I agree — and I don’t care what month they pick to promote our favorite outdoor sports. I look forward to sharing news of those efforts 11 months from now.
Meanwhile, eight months ago I dropped off a couple of bags of dwarf sorghum with two farmers as a way of saying thanks for allowing me to hunt their property, and to help boost the local habitat for the pheasants I hunt and other wildlife on those lands. The other day I received photos from one, Jim Stewart, showing the fruits of that effort: rows of milo standing tall and ready to help the birds weather what the experts say may be a frigid winter. Thanks, Jim!
Youth Deer Firearms Weekend
Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 18 and 19, are this fall’s special firearms season for youths who are age 17 or younger when the purchase their youth hunting license and a deer permit, and are accompanied by a non-hunting adult. Participating youths and adults are required to wear blaze orange — as must anyone hunting game other than waterfowl that weekend. That means upland and deer archery hunters must don hunter safety orange attire that Saturday and Sunday as well.
Dam demo delayed
Anglers who fish the Cuyahoga River spillway below the dam at the Station Road Bridge trailhead received a reprieve: the demolition of the dam that was supposed to have happened this year has been delayed until next year at the earliest, and possibly won’t happen until 2019, according to officials at the Ohio EPA.
The demolition of the eight-foot tall, 183-foot-long dam is expected to improve water quality, oxygen levels and river flow, while providing an inviting habitat for fish species not seen upriver in decades, such as walleye, pike, steelhead, white bass and perhaps even sturgeon someday.
By removing the dam, state environmentalists will take a major step toward returning the Cuyahoga to its original riparian ecosystem, flowing from its source in Geauga County to its mouth at Lake Erie, and opening traditional fish spawning grounds that have been blocked by the dam for 100-plus years.
Construction or demolition work can’t proceed before an environmental assessment is completed, the National Park Service finds the dam removal will have no significant impact, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signs off on the project, according to one source, none of which are anticipated to be a problem.
Quail, turkey seasons end; Waterfowl begin
Ohio’s annual fall hunting seasons for bob-white quail, turkey, snipe and woodcock end Sunday, November 26th. Waterfowl hunting season opens for its second split in the North Zone for ducks and geese on November 18 and for geese in the South Zone on November 23.