Last updated: April 22. 2014 3:59PM - 350 Views
By TOM CROSS Sportmen’s Exit Column

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Despite the great weather opening day of Ohio’s turkey season wasn’t so sunny. The statewide opening day harvest was down over 11 percent with a take of just 2,455 long beards. That is down from the 2,762 gobblers taken last year on opening day. Although turkey hunters have until May 18 to tag a turkey, this trend follows a steady decline in the turkey harvest over the past few years.

Locally, Adams County, normally one of the strongest in the state for the turkey harvest, fell by over 30 percent as hunters tagged in only 48 gobblers as compared to last season’s opening day take of 69 turkeys. Brown County is still strong with a 10 percent increase in the opening day harvest of 64 birds. Highland, Pike, Scioto and Clermont all saw decreases in the turkey harvest, with Clermont down 35 percent and Pike down 27 percent. The top harvest counties in the state for opening day were Harrison (82) Ashtabula (75), and Trumbull (74).

What can be billed as a first is an all-girls team of soon to be pro bass fishermen (persons?). In its humble beginnings at Pebbles High School, a team of six girls, ages 14 to 16, will be competing in the rough and tumble world of pro bass fishing tournaments.

The Peebles High School Bass Fishing Team will be competing in a statewide championship bass tournament at Alum Creek Lake, located northeast of Columbus, on May 16-18. The six-person team is in training every Tuesday evening from 5-9 p.m. at Lake White. Team leader Todd Scott of Peebles is heading up the new program and looking for help. “As the team is destined to grow we will be looking for volunteers that own bass boats to help,” said Scott. “Each competing team will need a boat and an adult captain per two kids.”

The team, while for now is made up of girls, invites all Peebles High School students with a love for fishing to be part of the team. Members of the team are Sierra Stone, age 15, Taylor Alexander, age 16, Story Kremin, age 14, Sarah McFarland, age 14, Josey Scott, age 16, and Savannah McCoy, age 14.

For more information contact Mr. Tim Davis, Principal at Peebles High School, or Todd Scott at 937-205-2626.

Money for state parks is on the way. I sat in on an ad-hoc committee meeting last week in Columbus with ODNR Director James Zehringer, and Director of State Parks Glen Cobb. In the upcoming capital budget bill will be an unprecedented $75 million investment for upkeep and much needed repairs to Ohio State Parks. If you’ve been around as I have, many of Ohio State Parks are in a serious need of updating and repairs.

As Cobb pointed out during the meeting, Ohio has 74 state parks, 9 lodges, and 520 cabins at 16 parks, 56 campgrounds, 96 miles of trails, 1,200 miles of roads, 6 golf courses and 21 marinas to maintain. Plans include modernizing the lodges and cabins, improving and upgrading campgrounds, and in some cases reducing beaches, parking areas and boat docks that are no longer being used and also to re-ordinate the parks toward new recreational opportunities.

The repairs are expected to take years and will be done so in a phased in approach. Also in the capital budget is money to repair dams. Ohio has 180 dams to maintain and to assure the safety of homes and structures below. Cobb said 56 dams in Ohio have been identified as needing repair, of that the top 25 will soon be getting the repairs needed to assure their continued safety.

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