Art Panfil. Photo from castitforwardfishing.com/about

Casting it forward

By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest running outdoor radio show 

I recently welcomed a guest on my radio show whose efforts I’d like to share with OCJ readers. Lifelong Ohio angler Art Panfil has made it his mission to provide Lake Erie fishing opportunities to those who might not otherwise be able to enjoy a day of fishing on Ohio’s Great Lake. At no cost to them, Panfil welcomes kids, veterans, seniors, and others for a day aboard his charter-sized, fully equipped fishing boat.

“I’ve learned that participating in our great sport offers many rewarding experiences above and beyond the act of catching fish,” Panfil said. “Things like watching the sunrise on the water, seeing a bald eagle fly overhead, spending special time with friends and family, and getting to know your true self are just a few of the impactful events that can truly make a difference in one’s life. If we can make a difference or have a positive influence in a participant’s life by exposing them to the beauty and wonder of our great outdoors, then our mission is a success.”

Panfil started Cast It Forward after losing his father at age 92, a veteran of the Korean War who was active in church and serving the community. 

“There are many reasons why I started Cast It Forward,” he said. “But none more profound than to honor the memory of my father and to emulate the example he set for me. We may not be able to change the world, but we can try to make the part that we’re in a little better for others.”

The Richfield resident worked with Cleveland State University’s legal outreach program to incorporate Cast It Forward and to achieve their status as a 501(c)(3) organization. Panfil is a United States Coast Guard certified and licensed Captain and is Red Cross certified in Adult & Pediatric CPR/First Aid /AED. His boat meets or exceeds all required safety regulations and has passed inspection from both the USCG and The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). 

Fishing trips begin in April and continue through November, all fishing gear and other equipment are provided and there is no cost to those who participate. To learn more, participate, volunteer, or donate, contact Cast It Forward through their website at castitforwardfishing.com.

Fall turkey season begins

Ohio’s hunters have the opportunity to pursue wild turkeys in 70 counties during a six-week season from Saturday, Oct. 8 through Sunday, Nov. 12, when gobblers, hens and poults are legal game. Only one turkey of either sex may be harvested during the entire fall season, and a valid hunting license and fall turkey hunting permit are required. Legal shooting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset, when shotguns using shot, as well as crossbows and longbows, are permitted. Hunting turkeys over bait is prohibited, and turkeys must be checked by 11:30 p.m. on the day the bird is harvested. The ODNR Division of Wildlife advises turkey hunters to wear hunter orange clothing when entering, leaving, or moving through hunting areas to remain visible to others.

Hunters are required to make their own game tag to attach to a turkey. Game tags can be made of any material (cardboard, plastic, paper, etc.) as long as it contains the hunter’s name, date, time, and county of the kill. Go to the Turkey Hunting Resources page at wildohio.gov for more information.

All hunters must report their turkey harvest using the automated game-check system, available online and by phone seven days a week, including holidays. Hunters with a turkey permit have three options to complete the game check:

• Online at ohiogamecheck.com;

• Call 877-TAG-ITOH (877-824-4864); or

• Visit a license agent. A list of agents can be found at wildohio.gov or by calling 800- WILDLIFE (945-3543).

Landowners exempt from purchasing a turkey permit, and others not required to purchase a turkey permit, cannot use the 877-TAG-ITOH option. Instead, those hunters have the option to call 866-703-1928 for operator-assisted landowner game-check (a convenience fee of $5.50 applies). Landowners may also visit a license agent. Visit wildohio.gov for more information. 

Wildlife officer Denamen honored

Scott Denamen, Ohio Wildlife Officer Supervisor in northeast Ohio, was recently named Ohio Wildlife Officer of the Year by the Shikar-Safari Club International. Denamen was presented his award during the August meeting of the Ohio Wildlife Council. Shikar-Safari Club International is a conservation-based organization that presents annual awards to deserving wildlife law enforcement officers in all states, provinces, and territories in the U.S. and Canada. The annual award honors a state officer whose efforts show outstanding performance and achievement among commissioned conservation law enforcement personnel.

ODNR awards more than $400K in grants to protect Lake Erie shores

The ODNR has awarded more than $400,000 in Coastal Management Assistance Grants to be used to improve and protect Ohio’s Lake Erie shores. The $424,730 in funding will be used for coastal planning and public access. Local matching funds of $609,730 will be used to complete the projects.

Five grants were awarded for the Fiscal Year 2023, for projects ranging from Lake Erie public access planning to the construction of a walkway for people to enjoy the lakefront views of Lake Erie. The five projects and recipients include:

•           Metroparks Toledo — $150,000 Glass City Riverwalk planning: The project includes maximizing habitat benefits for native plant and animal species and improved public access for recreation on the Maumee River.

•           Conneaut Port Authority — $27,500 Marina Development Master Plan: The project will focus on planning for the waterfront community, for economic and environmental resilience, nutrient management, habitat enhancement, and public access. 

•           City of Lakewood — $77,230 Lakewood Pier Site Selection & Conceptual Design: City will work on a plan for pier connecting Lakewood Park and Lake Erie. Construction will increase public attraction and access to the lake and enhance natural habitats.

•           City of Vermilion — $100,000 Harbor View Park Access Project: Project will improve public access at Main Street Beach and Harbor View Park, including an ADA-compliant walkway system to connect the park greenspace with observation decks being constructed at an enhanced Main Street Beach.

•           Cuyahoga County Planning Commission — $70,000 Lakewood Gold Coast Shoreline Access Plan: The project is designed to expand public access while addressing shoreline erosion. 

The Coastal Management Assistance Grant program is a competitive annual grant opportunity offered through the Ohio Coastal Management Program. Grants can be issued to eligible entities for water quality improvement, coastal planning, education programs, land acquisition, research, public access, habitat restoration, and other purposes. More than $6.5 million in Coastal Management Assistance Grants have been awarded in Ohio since the program began in 1998. Visit wildohio.gov for more information.

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