continuing this weekend
Deer-gun season returns statewide Saturday and Sunday, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.
Hunters can use a legal shotgun, muzzleloader or handgun to pursue white-tailed deer a half-hour before sunrise to sunset. Extra weekend days were added in 2006 in response to hunters' requests for extended weekend hunting hours.
Hunters and birdwatchers are reminded to be aware of one another as they pursue deer and birds on the shared weekend.
Hunters should remember there may be other people - hunters and non-hunters - in the woods. Birders are reminded hunters are allowed to hunt on private land where they have written permission.
Deer hunters are required to wear a hunter orange vest, coat, jacket or coveralls in the field. Birders should consider wearing a hunter orange vest or hat during the deer-gun weekend for their own safety.
So far, hunters have harvested 86,964 deer during the traditional deer-gun season Nov. 26-Dec. 2.
More information can be found in the 2012-13 Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at www.wildohio.com.
Fish hatchery offers
new lottery application dates
CASTALIA Application dates have changed for controlled trout-fishing permits at Cold Creek at the Castalia State Fish Hatchery, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.
Anglers may apply for the controlled trout fishing random drawing March 1-31. This is a change from previous years, when the application period started the beginning of December and ended in January.
The date change was made so anglers can apply for the drawing and fish at Castalia State Fish Hatchery in the same license year. Applicants still must purchase an Ohio fishing license to apply for the drawing.
Anglers interested in fishing in the creek must apply online at www.wildohio.
com in March and pay a non-refundable $3 application fee. Random drawings will take place in April and fishing begins in May.
An Ohio resident annual fishing license costs $19; a one-day fishing license costs $11. Those who purchase a one-day fishing license may later return it to a license agent to receive credit toward the purchase of an annual license.
Walnut twig beetle pest
discovered in Butler County
COLUMBUS - Ohio Department of Natural Resources and Ohio Department of Agriculture have announced the first discovery of walnut twig beetle in southwest Ohio.
The bettle is known to carry a fungus that causes Thousand Cankers Disease, which threatens the health and sustainability of walnut trees. There have been no trees determined yet to be infested with TCD in Ohio.
The beetles were found in traps set by ODNR Division of Forestry officials at a wood-processing business in Butler County. Eight beetles were found in the traps.
ODA officials have quarantined walnut products from leaving the site of discovery.
TCD is caused when the beetles, which carry a fungus, bore into the branches and trunk tissue of walnut trees. The tree suffers repeated infections caused by the fungus and eventually dies. There is no known cure for TCD.
The disease first was found in Colorado in 2003 and since has been detected in 11 other states.
In September, ODA enacted an exterior state quarantine regulating the transportation of walnut products from areas of the 12 affected states.
Although TCD has not yet been detected in Ohio, landowners and homeowners are encouraged to watch for signs of TCD on their walnut trees. Symptoms vary, but commonly include thinning crowns, yellowing or wilted leaves in the crown, leaves that are smaller than normal and limbs that died recently.
State officials are surveying the Butler County area for beetles, as well as surveying walnut trees for signs of TCD. After further investigation, officials are to determine an appropriate course of action.
Email outdoors reporter Vicki Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.