The photo of a green heron, submitted by wildlife enthusiast Matthew Schmalz of New Albany, was the winner in the annual Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp Photo Contest.
The first place photo appears on the 2017 Wildlife Legacy Stamp, which is now on sale, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The first runner-up photo of a black-crowned night heron was taken and submitted by Dean Davis of Troy. Graytown resident Sharon Cummings was selected as the second runner-up with her picture of a great blue heron. The contest was open to Ohio residents, with 21 individuals submitting 58 native Ohio heron photos.
The idea for the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp began as a grassroots effort to inform the public about the need to fund wildlife conservation. Offering the stamp to the public has continued with the positive support of individuals and conservation groups throughout the state.
Fourteen dollars of every $15 Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp sold are invested in the state’s Wildlife Diversity Fund. This fund supports habitat restoration, wildlife and habitat research projects, creation of wildlife educational materials, as well as efforts that restore and conserve endangered and threatened species. No state tax dollars are contributed to this fund. For people who purchase the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp, they can show their stamp at eight Ohio State Park lodges to earn a 25 percent discount on lodge rooms for weekday stays. The stamp holder must be present to receive this discount.
The subject for next year’s event, the ninth Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp Photo Contest, is a native Ohio snake. Here in Ohio, snakes can be found in a variety of sizes, patterns and colors, making snakes a deserving choice to be showcased on the 2018 Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp. People can learn more about Ohio native snake species by visiting wildohio.gov. Entries will be accepted Aug. 1-18, and the winner will receive $500. The selection of the winning photo will be made in September. The contest is open to all Ohioans age 18 and older. Visit wildohio.gov for complete contest rules. Entries can be presented in vertical or horizontal format.
• Landowners and wildlife enthusiasts interested in learning more about wildlife food plots are encouraged to attend an informational workshop provided by the ODNR Division of Wildlife and the Darke County Soil and Water District on Monday, April 10. Trained professionals will cover topics including soil fertility, soil sampling, seed selection, and how to determine food plot location.
The workshop will take place at the Shawnee Prairie Preserve, 4267 State Route 502, Greenville, OH. Doors open at 6 p.m. The workshop is free of charge but pre-registration is required by April 5 and space is limited to 50 participants. Register by calling the Darke SWCD at 937-548-1752, or to register online click here. Registration is also being taken at the SWCD office, 1117 S. Towne Ct., Greenville.
• Great trout-fishing opportunities on Cold Creek, one of Ohio’s most unique streams, await fishing enthusiasts who enter and are drawn in a special lottery conducted by the ODNR. A half-mile section of the creek, located at the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s Castalia State Fish Hatchery in Erie County, will be open to a limited number of anglers on selected dates from May 1–Nov. 30.
Anglers interested in fishing the stream must submit an application form and a nonrefundable $3 application fee by Friday, March 31, in order to be eligible for the random drawing. Applications may be completed online at wildohio.gov or by calling 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) to obtain a paper form, which must be returned via mail. Only one application is allowed per person. More information about the lottery can be found at wildohio.gov or by calling 800-WILDLIFE.
There will be one season for adults (May 1–Nov. 30), and one for youths (June 12–Aug. 11). Applicants of the youth lottery must be at least 4-years-old and under 16 when they apply. Approximately 90 adult and 90 youth permits will be issued. Individuals selected to participate will be allowed to bring two adults and three youths under the age of 16 (no more than six people total). Participation is determined by a random drawing, which will be held in early April.
The results of the adult drawing will be posted on the division’s website at wildohio.gov. Successful youth applicants will be notified by mail. This year, all permits will be mailed. Applicants not chosen will not be notified.
Special fishing rules will be in effect to ensure that a quality fishing experience is maintained throughout the season. One of these special rules prohibits catch-and-release fishing, with wildlife officials requiring that anglers keep all fish they catch. The daily bag limit will be five trout per angler.
Anglers will be required to check in at the hatchery upon arrival and check out at the end of their session. Fishing sessions will be open from 7 a.m. to noon for adult events. For the youth events, there will be two sessions per day (7 a.m.–11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m.). All anglers age 16 and older will need a valid 2017 Ohio fishing license.
An Ohio resident annual fishing license costs $19, and 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 fishing license.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!