Thursday, January 29, 2015

Landowner Education Program Planning Meeting

Good turnout and great conversation last night at the planning meeting.  We got lots of good suggestions and ideas for programming, so watch for some great new field days this year.

Friday, January 23, 2015

How can we better serve your needs?

There is a planning meeting for local farmers and landowners on Wednesday evening, January 28th hosted here at our office. We are looking for discussion and input on what educational and technical programming is needed which the district can provide. Please plan to attend this meeting, held at 9711 East Pike at 6PM. Soup and beverages will be provided.  Call Jason Tyrell at 740-435-0408 to let him know you are attending.

Word on Waterfowl

We had a good turnout for our "Word on Waterfowl" seminar, held at Deerasic Park last night. A big thank for to Zink Calls and to Woodbury Outfitters for donating the door prizes for the event.  Several people went home with gift cards and duck or goose calls, and one lucky person won 12 duck decoys, which were donated by Deerasic Park!
Our Wildlife/Forestry Specialist Levi Arnold presented a comprehensive discussion of the species of ducks and geese likely to be seen in Guernsey County during hunting season. ODNR Wildlife Officer Brad St Clair answered questions on the laws concerning waterfowl hunting in Ohio.

How to test your garden’s soil

Good, simple instructions on how to take a soil sample, found in the Farm and Dairy  HERE

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Comparing neighboring fields

Anyone who has spent much time talking with Fairfield County cover crop expert Dave Brandt knows that he has a history of trying some unusual things on his farm. As one would expect, his neighbors have taken notice through the years. 
Read rest of article  HERE

Wildlife News (Small Game Hunting Seasons)

2015-2016 Small Game Hunting Seasons Proposed to Ohio Wildlife Council

1/16/2015 Division of Wildlife 
COLUMBUS, OH – The 2015-2016 small game hunting seasons were proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council on Wednesday, Jan. 14, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

Hunting season date proposals are prepared by the ODNR Division of Wildlife and maintain many traditional opening dates. Proposals concerning Ohio's white-tailed deer hunting season will be presented at the next Ohio Wildlife Council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 11.

ODNR Division of Wildlife Proposed Hunting Season Dates: 


Sept. 1 - Squirrel and dove hunting

Oct. 24-25 and Oct. 31-Nov.1 -Youth small game hunting seasons statewide

Nov. 6 - Cottontail rabbit, ring-necked pheasant and bobwhite quail

o Proposed open counties for quail hunting remain the same as last season: Adams, Athens, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Highland, Jackson, Meigs, Montgomery, Pike, Preble, Ross, Scioto, Vinton and Warren.

Nov. 10 - Fox, raccoon, skunk, opossum and weasel hunting and trapping

Oct. 12-Nov. 29 - Fall wild turkey


April 18-May 15 – Spring wild turkey

April 16-17 – Youth wild turkey

The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all of the ODNR Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. The council will vote on the proposed rules and season dates after considering public input.

Open houses to receive public comments about hunting, trapping and fishing regulations and wildlife issues will be held on Saturday, March 7. Open houses will be held at the ODNR Division of Wildlife District One, District Two, District Three and District Four offices, as well as the Greene County Fish and Game Association clubhouse in Xenia.

Open houses give the public an opportunity to view and discuss proposed fishing, hunting and trapping regulations with the ODNR Division of Wildlife officials. For Ohioans who are unable to attend an open house, comments will be accepted online at The online form will be available until March. Directions to the open houses can be found at or by calling 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).

A statewide hearing on all of the proposed rules will be held at the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s District One office on Thursday, March 19, at 9 a.m. The office is located at 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus, Ohio 43215.

Council meetings are open to the public. Individuals who want to provide comments on a topic that is currently being considered by council are asked to preregister at least two days prior to the meeting by calling 614-265-6304. All comments are required to be three minutes or less.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at

                                                                       - 30 -

For more information, contact:
Brian Plasters, ODNR Division of Wildlife
Matt Eiselstein, ODNR Office of Communications


Friday, January 16, 2015

Ford and Enos re-elected to Guernsey Soil & Water Conservation District board of supervisors.

Board Chairman Bill Bertram(center),  with newly elected board members Ken Ford(left) and John Enos(right) at the regularly scheduled SWCD meeting January 12th.   Re-elected to a three year term, Ford and Enos join Bill Bertram, Myron Dellinger, and Steve Douglass in administering the Guernsey SWCD’s natural resource conservation programs.

Born out of the Dustbowl years, the Guernsey SWCD was organized in 1942 to further the natural resource conservation mission.  As a subdivision of state government, soil and water conservation districts have legal authority to assist landowners with a wide range of soil, water, woodland and wildlife conservation objectives.  Another important goal is to provide information and education programs on natural resource conservation and management topics for county residents.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tracking Ohio's Wildlife

At this time of year Ohio’s woods may seem silent and deep, but tracks in the snow tell a different tale. Why not unravel the secretive world of winter wildlife by becoming a nature detective? All you need is an adventuresome spirit, a blanket of snow and the great Ohio outdoors!
It’s exciting to find the trail of a wild creature. And, you don’t have to be an expert to have fun tracking. Knowing what wildlife is likely prowling nearby and having a basic understanding of their survival needs is all that’s necessary to begin reading the stories they’ve left you in the snow.
Like a thumbprint, every animal leaves a track that is distinctive to its kind. The best place to start studying these tracks is in your own backyard. You’ll probably find prints of squirrels, birds, raccoons - and even the neighbor’s cat. As you examine the different tracks, note their size, number of toes and track pattern.
Next, it’s time to get outside the city limits where you can explore a wide range of animal tracks. In fact, at parks and nature preserves, where manmade trails are common, don’t be surprised to find evidence of animals using these same paths. Just like you and I, animals appreciate an easy route, especially when there’s snow on the ground.
Keep in mind that animals don’t just wander about aimlessly. Whether on a trail, woodlot or meadow, their tracks generally lead to a place of food, water or shelter. The best tracking environments are areas where two habitats intersect, such as forests and fields, or fields and streams. Known as transition zones, these intersections support a variety of wildlife species.
If you want to find tracks, then think like an animal and put yourself into their “paws,” so to speak. Smaller mammals - often food sources for large wildlife species - sensibly stay close to cover for safety. For instance, a cottontail rabbit foraging for food remains near its burrow or a protective brush pile in case a hungry hawk or coyote is out hunting. In winter, cottontails eat raspberry and blackberry plants, dry hay, corn and the bark of tree saplings. To get from place to place safely, they use travel lanes, which include brushy fence rows, corn rows and stream banks.
Red fox and coyote are also very active in winter. With a fondness for rabbits, mice and voles, they will have their noses in nearly every corner of Ohio sniffing out their next meal. Yet when times are lean, these canines adapt their diet to include a variety of plants.


Ohio’s wildlife can be divided into four groups, which include:
  • Two-toed - white-tailed deer
  • Four-toed - rabbits, coyotes, foxes, bobcats
  • Four-toed on the front and five-toed on the hind feet - mice, squirrels
  • Five-toed - opossums, raccoons, otters, beavers, skunks

By applying these facts and observing nearby signs, you can dramatically narrow the possibilities of what animal left its print in the snow. Be on the lookout for gnawed twigs, tree scrapings and animal droppings, known as scat.

Additional tips:

For tracking purposes, the best snow is not too deep or fluffy. And don’t rely on your memory to recall the details of the prints you’ve discovered. A good nature detective will take along a notepad and pencil to make sketches of imprints and jot notes that can help solve the track mystery. A short ruler is another useful tool, allowing you to measure both the size of the print and the distance between the tracks.
More than 90 state wildlife areas are scattered across Ohio, offering excellent opportunities for animal track investigating and wildlife viewing. Many local park systems have winter hikes highlighting animal tracks and signs.
Not only is tracking fun, it gets us outdoors during a time of year when we spend far too much time on the couch. Even when identification remains a mystery, just knowing that we’ve come across the path of a wild creature is thrilling all on its own.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Understanding Waterfowl

Winter Weather and Waterfowl Ducks and geese have a variety of adaptations to help them survive the coldest months of the year

By Mike Brasher, Ph.D. 
For much of North America, the winter of 2013−2014 will not soon be forgotten, as it brought record snowfall and the coldest temperatures in at least 20 years to many locations. These extreme winter conditions were caused by deep troughs in the jet stream, which enabled Arctic air to plunge southward into regions east of the Rockies. Granted, bone-chilling temperatures occur routinely across Canada and the northern tier of the United States, and it's not uncommon for large portions of the continent to experience below-average temperatures for brief periods each year. But last winter was still harsher than most in many areas.
The invading Arctic air first arrived in December and persisted well into March. In Duluth, Minnesota, for example, the average temperature from December through February was 4°F. In Watertown, New York, the average high during March was 31°F. And in Winnipeg, Manitoba, the temperature rose above freezing on only eight days between November 1 and March 31.
While ice cover on the Great Lakes is normal in winter, this past year it was nothing short of spectacular. At its peak on March 6, more than 92 percent of the surface of the Great Lakes was locked in ice, the second largest ice coverage in 40 years of record keeping. Even more impressive, one-third of the surface of the Great Lakes was still covered with ice during the last week of April, and the official ice-free date wasn't declared until June 7, the latest on record.
When duck hunters hear of extreme winter weather, they instinctively focus on how it may impact their hunting success. In northern states, such forecasts can inspire dread of a rapid freeze-up that will bring an abrupt end to the waterfowl season, while in southern states the prospect of an Arctic cold front or winter storm in the Midwest can create eager anticipation for major movements of birds to their wintering grounds. The severity of winter weather is known to affect the timing and intensity of waterfowl migration, but occasionally conditions become so extreme that the birds find themselves in a life or death struggle against the elements. The winter of 2013–2014 provides a recent example, as late February and March brought numerous reports of starving and dying ducks, primarily on the Great Lakes and in northeastern states.
Waterfowl possess remarkable adaptations to survive in cold weather, including dense layers of insulating feathers, counter- current blood flow to reduce heat loss through their feet and legs, behavioral modifications to reduce exposure to the elements, the ability to carry large fat reserves, and perhaps the greatest adaptation of all—migration. Considering these adaptations, it's natural to wonder why waterfowl would ever find themselves at risk of death due to winter weather.
The greatest challenges faced by waterfowl during severe winters are elevated energy demands required to maintain their internal body temperature and restricted feeding opportunities, resulting from ice and snow cover on foraginghabitats. During severe cold snaps, waterfowl often simply hunker down to conserve energy until the weather moderates and foraging habitats thaw. During these periods, the birds must burn fat reserves to keep warm, which ultimately causes loss of body mass. As long as they are brief, these bouts of cold weather pose little threat to waterfowl, because the birds can rapidly replenish fat reserves when warmer weather returns. However, if extremely cold temperatures persist or worsen, the birds' body mass will continue to decline, ultimately reaching a point at which fat reserves may be insufficient to sustain the birds. At this stage, waterfowl must either migrate or face starvation and eventual death.
While instances of death due to starvation are seemingly rare in waterfowl, some species appear to be at greater risk, such as those with more restrictive diets or whose preferred foods and habitats are in northern latitudes. These species include various diving and sea ducks that forage on mollusks, fish, and crustaceans in large, deep bodies of water. The primary species impacted by bitter cold temperatures during the winter of 2013−2014 were red-breasted and common mergansers, white-winged scoters, common goldeneyes, and scaup. Most observations of starving and dying ducks occurred on the Great Lakes, which during normal years remain sufficiently ice-free to give birds access to underwater food sources throughout winter. But this past year, many waterfowl that attempted to overwinter on the Great Lakes found themselves locked out of essentially all foraging areas by late February due to the unrelenting winter, resulting in the loss of many birds to starvation.
This is not the first time waterfowl populations have experienced extremely cold winters, and it certainly will not be the last. It is striking how similar the observations from 2013−2014 are to those recorded during previous severe winters, including those of 1935−1936, 1976−1977, 1978−1979, 1983−1984, and 1993−1994, to name a few. Although these events seldom have significant impacts on overall waterfowl populations, exceptions do exist, such as the winter of 1976−1977, when more than 60 percent of the Atlantic brant population was thought to have perished while bays and estuaries along the East Coast were locked in ice.
Fortunately, as long as waterfowl have sufficient habitat in traditional wintering areas across North America, the risks posed to the birds by any single winter weather event are small. Indeed, this reality highlights the importance of robust conservation efforts on the wintering grounds, which help ensure that waterfowl survive the winter and return north the following spring in good breeding condition.

Based in Lafayette, Louisiana, Dr. Mike Brasher is biological team leader of the Gulf Coast Joint 

Retrieved on 1/12/15 from

Ohio Deer Hunters

COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio hunters and others interested in the state’s white-tailed deer management programs have the opportunity to provide feedback about hunting regulations and season structures on Saturday, Jan. 24, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
The first part of each summit will offer updates from ODNR Division of Wildlife staff, including Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance efforts and results, long-term trends in deer herd condition, and the transition from counties to deer management units (DMUs). The second portion of each summit will give attendees the opportunity to provide comment regarding deer hunting in Ohio.
Hunters who wish to attend the summit should preregister by Friday, Jan. 23, as seating is limited. Summits will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the following locations:
• Columbus: Wildlife District One Headquarters, 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus, 43215. Call 614-644-3925 to preregister.
• Findlay: Wildlife District Two Headquarters, 952 Lima Ave., Findlay, 45480. Call 419-424-5000 to preregister.
• Akron: Wildlife District Three Headquarters, 912 Portage Lakes Drive, Akron, 44319. Call 330-644-2293 to preregister.
• Athens: Wildlife District Four Headquarters, 360 East State Street, Athens, 45701. Call 740-589-9930 to preregister.
• Waynesville: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Caesar Creek Lake Learning Center, 4020 N. Clarksville Road, Waynesville, 45068. Call 937-372-9261 to preregister.
More information about deer hunting in Ohio is available at
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at
– 30 –
For more information, contact:
1-800-WILDLIFE (1-800-945-3543)

Retrieved on 1/12/2015 from                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

Friday, January 9, 2015

A day in the life of an Ohio wildlife officer

NEW PHILADELPHIA, Ohio — Along a deserted roadway in the Dundee Falls area of Tuscarawas County, the black pickup is conspicuous. It sits, unoccupied, on the banks of a still, scrubby swamp.

“He is probably close,” says Wade Dunlap, Ohio state wildlife officer for Tuscarawas County. “They trap a lot of muskrat, raccoon and fox here, and beaver season isn’t in yet. If I was really hard core to talk to this guy, I could hang out and wait for him.”

Read rest of article  HERE

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Century Farms

 Agriculture: More than 100 historic farms were recognized in the state last year, ODA announced.  In 2014, 104 new century or bicentennial farms owned by the same family for at least 100 or 200 consecutive years were added to a list of more than 1,100 such properties in the state, according to a department release. The owners of the farms each received a certificate signed by Gov. John Kasich and ODA Director Dave Daniels.  "These historic farms are the foundation of Ohio's agriculture industry," Mr. Daniels said. "The families have withstood the test of time, often through adversity, to provide us with life's essentials. We owe them a debt of gratitude."  Any farm owner that can verify ownership information that meets ODA's historical criteria can register to have their property added to the list of historic farms, the department said.

Webcast of water quality trading credits

EPRI Webcast:  There is an upcoming webcast on the public auction of water quality stewardship credits involving EPRI Ohio River Basin Trading Project.  The webcast is January 15th at 2pm ET and will last an hour.  The call-in number is 877-789-2085, PIN 7712.  For more information, go to:

Monday, January 5, 2015

ECOFA meeting scheduled

DOVER, OHIO - On Wednesday, January 7th,Jeremy Scherf, ODNR Service Forester, will present the latest information about invasive species impacting Ohio forests at the next East Central Ohio Forestry Association (ECOFA) meeting. Please note that the meeting location and time has changed for 2015. All meetings will be held at the Dover Public Library at 7 PM.

ECOFA is an organization of persons interested in improving their woodlands and in forestry-related topics. The public is cordially invited to attend the free meetings which are held monthly at Dover Public Library, 525 N. Walnut St, Dover.