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Outdoors;  wildlife can be enjoyed during winter

FPS staff report

The mission statement of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife (DOW) is “To conserve and improve fish and wildlife
resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all.”

Here are some highlights of the DOW’s current projects.

Nest Boxes for Wildlife
Nesting time is an anxious time for critters and wildlife watchers alike. One way to help make the nesting season more successful is by providing suitable nesting boxes and, in some cases, nesting material. Nest boxes, also referred to as artificial cavities, should be erected no later than mid-March. Find plans to build your own nest boxes for squirrels, owls, bats, and more at www.wildohio.com or request a free booklet by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE.

DOW officials noted, “Don’t get discouraged if wildlife doesn’t take to nest boxes right away. Keep in mind that some critters prefer boxes that are “seasoned” or weathered, therefore it might be next year before the nest box is used.”

Bald Eagles Soar into Nest-Building Season
As soon as late January, bald eagles start to scout nesting locations throughout Ohio.

It is no longer unheard of to see bald eagles soaring over northeast Ohio, looking for last year’s nest or seeking out a sturdy tree in which to build a new nest.  If you are lucky enough to spot a bald eagle carrying sticks or branches, please notify your local Wildlife District Office.  This behavior is a great indication that the eagle is building a nest. The bald eagle is currently a state threatened species and bald eagle habitat protection and research is funded by the sale of bald eagle conservation license plate sales and income tax check-off donations to the Endangered Species & Wildlife Diversity Fund.

Make a Field Guide to Your Community
Have you ever realized how many different critters you see on a day-to-day basis?  Make a list of what you see then try photographing or sketching each one.  Put each picture on its own piece of paper and list helpful facts, such as size, habitat, track description, and mating habits below it.  Research your species on the web with The Division of Wildlife’s online “A-Z Species Guide” or at your local library.  At the end of the year, compile your species sheets into your very own community field guide!  Be inspired by the Division of Wildlife’s pocket field guidebooks like the mammals series, which can be found at www.wildohio.com

Winter Fishing Opportunities
Fishing is a year-round activity in the Buckeye State.  Bluegill, crappie, and saugeye are among the more abundant catchable fish found beneath the ice in ponds and lakes across Ohio. Open water areas below a number of flood control dams offer good winter fishing action for saugeye, especially a week or so following a significant water discharge over a dam.  It’s highly recommended to wait until there are below freezing temperatures for several days or weeks if you would like to ice fish. To view an ice fishing safety chart, visit wildohio.com.

Weekly Deer Harvest Updates
A deer harvest report is posted each Wednesday throughout the hunting season. Each report compares the total harvest for the same number of hunting days each season. The report includes deer killed by longbow, crossbow, shotgun, handgun and muzzleloader. Visit www.wildohio.com to view the latest report. 

More information can be found at www.wildohio.com or calling 1-800-WILDLIFE (945-3543). For items specific to northeast Ohio, contact Jamey (Graham) Emmert at Wildlife District Three-Akron 330-245-3020.

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January is Radon Action Month
Outdoors;  wildlife can be enjoyed during winter