Outdoor Briefs, Jan. 28

PHOTO SUBMITTED Ohio Department of Natural Resources Director James Zehringer looks on as some of the K-9s from the Division of Wildlife’s new wildlife K-9 program are introduced to the public. Pictured are Matt Leibengood (left), wildlife officer for Sandusky County, with May, and Jeremy Carter, wildlife officer for Holmes County, with Finn.

Division of Wildlife has K-9 program

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has announced it has joined more than 20 states in a new wildlife K-9 Program in the Division of Wildlife.

One wildlife officer from each of Ohio’s five wildlife districts are to become handlers in the program. The K-9 unit in District Two is to be Sandusky County officer Matt Leibengood and his dog, May.

These dogs are trained to detect hidden wild game such as white-tailed deer, turkey, waterfowl and fish, along with other non-game scents such as ginseng and gunpowder. They also are to have the ability to track people and will be used to find lost hunters and people hunting without permission.

The handlers are taking part in a 10-week training academy in which they will master their skills. The program is in line with the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy standards for law enforcement dogs in Ohio.

Dogs also are to be friendly and socialized to participate in conservation programs and youth events, allowing people to meet them and ask questions about our newest law enforcement members.

The Karr-Aanestad family has started a foundation to help fund the program. Also, several donors have made contributions to help start the program including Whitetails Unlimited, Buckeye Big Buck Club, Safari Club International, Pheasants Forever and National Wild Turkey Federation. Petland has donated food for the dogs. Several veterinary clinics are providing discounted services including York Animal Hospital, Ohio Valley Animal Clinic and Four Paws Animal Clinic.

Next small game and bird seasons being proposed

COLUMBUS — Traditional open fates for 2018-2019 small game and migratory bird hunting seasons and trapping seasons have been proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council.

Proposals concerning Ohio’s white-tailed deer hunting seasons are to be presented at the council’s Feb. 7 meeting.

Notable changes among the proposals included requiring an annual or daily range permit on all ODNR Division of Wildlife firearm target ranges (class A, B and C); modifying waterfowl bag limits by increasing the hen mallard, black duck and pintail daily bag limit from one to two; requiring tree stands on all Division of Wildlife properties to meet certain criteria; establishing a controlled hunting permit for quail at Crown City Wildlife Area; adding Erie, Hancock and Sandusky counties to the 2018 fall turkey season; and modifying hunting hours for the 2019 spring turkey season.

For a complete list of proposed changes, visit the Winter 2018 Proposed Rule Summary at wildohio.gov.

The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. The council is to 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 other wildlife issues are to take place noon-3 p.m. March 3 at each district office include the office in Findlay.

For Ohioans who are unable to attend an open house, comments are to be accepted online at

wildohio.gov beginning Feb. 12. Directions to the open houses can be found at wildohio.gov or by calling (800) WILDLIFE (945-3543).

A statewide hearing on proposed rules is planned for 9 a.m. March 15 at the District One office, 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus.

Individuals who want to provide comments on a topic under consideration by the council are asked to register at least two days before the meeting by calling (614) 265-6304. Comments are required to be 3 minutes or less.