DIVISION OF WILDLIFE Weekly Report February 10, 2005 Division Objectives: Biologists have completed the 2004 black bear observation report. Ninety-one sightings involving an estimated 34 individual black bears were received in 2004. Thirteen of the estimated 34 bears were observed at least twice. Three nuisance bears were captured and relocated during 2004. Bear sightings were reported in 21 Ohio counties, most occurring in northeastern and southeastern Ohio. Trumbull County led the state with 17 sightings. A total of 14 verified bobcat sightings were reported in 2004, including 4 sightings by Wildlife personnel, and 8 road kills. Verified reports represent positive identification of the bobcat, usually as a result of the animal being killed on the road or incidentally trapped. Fifty-two unverified sightings were recorded in 2004, including first time reports from Butler, Huron, Mahoning, Shelby, and Warren counties. Since 1970 there have been 84 verified reports of bobcats, an Ohio endangered species. Last weekend ice anglers were successful fishing Lake Erie west of the Bass Islands, around Catawba Island, off of Camp Perry, around Kelleys Island, and on Sandusky Bay. Many walleye were caught, but most were near or under the 15" minimum size limit on the main lake, with limited reports of yellow perch being caught on Sandusky Bay. Recent warm weather is expected to deteriorate ice conditions on the lake and anglers are urged to use caution. Dan Shroyer, Carroll County Wildlife Officer, will be presented the Wildlife Officer of the Year Award from Ohio Bowhunters Association at their annual banquet on Saturday. The long reach of the Turn-in-a-Poacher (TIP) Program was recently witnessed when an U.S. soldier in Iraq emailed the Division of Wildlife about deer poaching that was occurring on his land back home in Scioto County. Training workshops will begin in March for hunter education instructors. The workshops will be held at five locations across the state. Ohio currently has 1,700 volunteer instructors who train hunters to be safe and responsible in the field. On March 18, fisheries staff will host a "Fish School" for all division personnel and interested parties. The one-day workshop's theme will be Lake Erie walleye, how they are managed and what they mean to Ohio. Wildlife Management personnel gave two presentations on the success of barn owl management in NE Ohio last week. The presentations were given to members of the West Cuyahoga Audubon Society at the Rocky River Metropark and the Kirkland Bird Club at Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Division personnel manned a display at the Shelby County Bassmaster's Annual Tackle Show. Approximately 850 people visited the three day event, which featured tackle vendors, charter boat captains and various sportsmen's organizations. District One staff will man a display at the annual Columbus Sports, Vacation, and Boat Show which starts today and runs through Sunday. The large display will feature replicas of several state record fish, along with other fishing and hunting information.