Monday, December 31, 2012

Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife officials said Friday that Ohio's white-tail deer muzzleloader hunting season has been set for Jan. 5-8.  According to the department, so far Ohio hunters have bagged more than 188,000 deer this season. During the last four-day muzzleloader season more than 19,000 were harvested.  To partake in the 2013 season, deer hunters must have proper permits and may only take one antlered deer, which must be checked-in by noon the next day. Legal hunting hours are set for a half-hour before sunrise to sunset.  The state's small game, furbearer and waterfowl seasons will also be open during the event.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Cover crops boosting soils and profits

Like a kid on Christmas morning, Allen Dean can hardly wait to dig into his soil test results from the fields on his Williams County soybean and wheat farm. He excitedly looks to see how his soil nutrient holding has improved each year —something that has been happening consistently since he combined no-till and cover crops nine years ago.
Read complete article here:

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Update on Ohio deer harvest figures from ODNR

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources shared that the agency's Division of Wildlife noted a drop in the statewide deer harvest during Ohio's extra gun-hunting weekend of Dec. 15-16.  Hunters checked 14,365 white-tailed deer during the period, according to DNR. The total reflected a 14.3% decline from 2011, when hunters harvested 16,766 deer. In 2010, hunters bagged 20,916 deer over the same time period.
"The overall size of the deer herd is smaller, and the harvest is aligned with that decrease," Mike Tonkovich, ODNR Division of Wildlife deer project leader, said in a release. "We anticipated the 2012-2013 deer season harvest would be down 5 to 10 percent from last year. Most of Ohio's counties are above their target deer harvest number, and we have worked to get those numbers closer to the target through generous harvest regulations."
The counties reporting the highest numbers of deer checked during the 2012 deer-gun hunting weekend: Coshocton (489), Tuscarawas (483), Muskingum (474), Licking (444), Harrison (390), Belmont (387), Guernsey (382), Carroll (375), Ashtabula (372) and Knox (356). The top five counties remained unchanged from last year.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Tree of Heaven not so heavenly

Tree- of-heaven (Ailanthus altissima), historically planted in urban landscapes and the inspiration for the title of the 1945 novel “A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, is threatening many of Ohio’s native forests.  Originating from China and Taiwan, tree-of-heaven is often confused with our native sumacs.   However, it can be easily distinguished by its distinct foul odor. It also typically has much longer leaves (up to 6 feet) and attains a much larger size (3 feet in diameter) than our native sumacs.  Late fall and early winter is a perfect time to identify tree-of-heaven on your property because it holds on to its seed pods until after all the leaves of the trees have fallen off.
This non-native invasive plant is a very aggressive competitor.  The average female tree-of-heaven is capable of producing hundreds of thousands of seeds per year, and to make matters worse it aggressively sprouts when it is cut.  Its seeds can travel great distances in the wind making tree- of-heaven is very effective at becoming established along forest edges, in forest openings and especially in recently harvested woodlands.   Once it becomes established, it can rapidly spread and displace many native tree, shrub and herbaceous plant species.   If left unchecked, tree-of-heaven can negatively impact your forest’s ability to provide recreation, wildlife, timber and other benefits that you desire.
So what do you do if you think you’ve got tree-of heaven on your property?
·         If you’re not sure, collect a sample and get confirmation.  Your local Ohio State University Extension or Soil and Water Conservation District offices are a great place to start. 
·         Secondly, determine the extent of the infestation. You may want to seek assistance from your local Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Service Forester Jeremy Scherf, or a consulting forester.
·         Evaluate your treatment options!  Although it often requires follow up treatment, there are several herbicide treatment options available.  Controlling Non-Native Invasive Plants in Ohio Forests: Ailanthus”, Ohio State University Extension Fact Sheet, F-65-09 provides a detailed description of many of the treatment options available to woodland owners.  
·         Keep informed!  A fungal wilt disease, which has been killing tree-of-heaven in Pennsylvania for nearly a decade, was recently found in Ohio providing hope for an effective biological control in the future.
 For more information about tree-of-heaven and other non-native exotic plants visit the Appalachian Ohio Weed Control Partnership at  Photo credit: Leslie J. Mehrhoff.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Walnut Twig Beetle

Ohio Department of Agriculture officials announced Monday the discovery of the Walnut Twig Beetle in southwest Ohio.   According to the department, the beetle often carries a fungus that threatens the health and sustainability of walnut trees. Officials said currently, no trees in Ohio have been found to be infested with the disease, Thousand Cankers Disease, caused by the fungus.   Eight of the insects were found in traps set by the Department of Natural Resources at a wood processing company in Butler County. Following the discovery, ODA officials quarantined walnut products at the site.

Friday, December 7, 2012

STREAM NIGHT - on salamander migration

Landowners and children are welcomed to join the fun; we will be exploring the salamanders that will be migrating to the wetlands, vernal pools and streams.
Salamanders in Ohio are generally inconspicuous most of the year.  Since salamanders go into hiding during the day, finding them can be an exciting adventure.  Mole salamanders live most their life underground. During the spring breeding season they appear in large numbers; some species migrate by the hundreds during cool spring rains as they move toward water to lay eggs.

The best place to begin your search is in any wet, wooded environment in the early spring.  The best time for viewing comes at night either after or during an early spring precipitation when the temperature is around 50 degrees.  So grab a flashlight and lets go take a look at some night-migrating salamanders.  you'll see something that very few others have ever witnessed.

This workshop will take place on private property near Piedmont Lake in Guernsey county at the end of February or beginning of March, depending on weather conditions.  We will call those who are on the list giving a 24-48 hour notice of the time and location. Please dress according to the weather.  RSVP to Joe Lehman, Guernsey SWCD, at 740-432-5624 soon so that you will be on the list to call when the time is right.  It will be spring again before we know it!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Ohio Deer Harvest down slightly from 2011

Ohio Division of Natural Resources notes that Ohio hunters yielded nearly 87,000 white-tailed deer during the state's week-long deer-gun season, a slight decrease from the 90,000-plus deer harvested in 2011.  Counties reporting the highest number of checked deer include: Coshocton, with more than 3,000; Muskingum, with more than 2,900; and Tuscarawas, with more than 2,800. According to the department, the order of the top-six counties for deer harvesting remains unchanged from last year.  Ohioans still have one weekend left for deer-gun hunting in mid-December. Archery season remains in effect through early February, meanwhile statewide deer-muzzleloader season will run in early January

Monday, December 3, 2012

Watch for signs of disease at your birdfeeder this winter

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — Backyard bird watchers need to be extra vigilant this year in maintaining their feeders, according to ornithologist Richard Bailey of the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources Wildlife Resources Section.