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MIKE BRAUN Benefit will help send youth on hunt



Published: Sun, August 18, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



A number of interesting items have crossed my desk recently that bear getting some ink.

First of all, on Sept. 1, the Mosquito Bowmen will hold a benefit tournament to help send a local youth with a life-threatening illness on a dream hunt.

Through the auspices of the "Hunt of A Lifetime" nonprofit organization, the club's shoot will seek to raise funds to help send a Northeast Ohio youth, Cody of Solon near Cleveland, on an elk hunt in New Mexico. Cody suffers from leukemia.

The group does not identify the children and young adults who are the subjects of the benefit events due to nasty letter-writing campaigns previous participants were subjected to from animal-rights groups.

The Mosquito Bowmen also received donations from area businesses and organizations. In fact, club member and event organizer Mike Shevitz said the Cortland Moose Club gave $200 toward the trip.

Those wishing to offer a donation can send it to the Trumbull County Conservation League, Mosquito Bowmen, c/o Mike Shevitz, 525 Sycamore Trail, Cortland, Ohio, 44410.

Registration for the shoot will start at 8 a.m. at the club's grounds on McCleary Jacoby Road between state Routes 305 and 46. The 40-target 3D and American 900 shoot will be $10 for adults and $7 for children 12 and under.

Shevitz also said another youth with a life-threatening illness was recently sent on a perch fishing trip on the Taylor-Made Charter out of Ashtabula.

Turkey talk

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife reports that, based on wild turkey observation cards from June, July and August so far, the 2002 wild turkey poult-to-hen ratio is down from 2001.

The preliminary results show a 1-9 ratio, which according to the DOW, is 39 percent below last year's 3-1 ratio, making it the lowest on record.

The DOW report said that cold, wet weather during late May and early June most likely caused the low reproductive success rate.

Deer and disease

According to published reports, the Colorado Division of Wildlife is establishing testing stations around that state for hunters to have their deer and elk tested for chronic wasting disease.

Newly available tests, developed in Europe, are said to be faster, more convenient and cheaper than in previous years, with results returned in less than two weeks.

Testing, funded partly by $1.9 million from hunters' license fees, is ready on the brink of Colorado's archery elk and deer hunting seasons, opening Aug. 31.

Although CWD is rare and has not proved transmissible to humans, the tests are considered a public health precaution, the reports said, adding that widespread samples also will provide researchers with important information about where the disease might be lurking or absent.

Meanwhile, Whitetails Unlimited, a national conservation organization based in Wisconsin, is forming a coalition of conservation and environmental groups to encourage that state's hunters to continue hunting deer this fall in order to fight CWD.

A press release from Jeff Schinkten, president of WTU, said that Wisconsin's deer herd is at a record-high level, and needs culled "for a number of reasons, including CWD."

Schinkten said that wildlife biologists estimate the Wisconsin herd at 1.6 million deer, and feel that the optimum pre-hunt population should be no larger than 1 million animals.

In April WTU established a national fund to help pay for education and research into CWD, and donated $50,000 in matching funds to initiate the program.

CWD concerns have led The Pennsylvania Game Commission to impose a ban on all live deer and elk imports to protect that commonwealth's animals from chronic wasting disease. Ohio has added CWD to the list of diseases it tests deer for.

CWD, which affects the animals' nervous systems and causes them to grow thin and die, reached across the Mississippi River for the first time in February when it was discovered in Wisconsin. It has appeared in nine states and two Canadian provinces.

Pennsylvania got a scare last fall when a farm received several elk from a Colorado farm identified as a source of the disease. All animals at risk for infection had to be killed and tested, and the results were negative, officials said.

The state's wild deer population is about 1 million, with almost 800 wild elk. There are also 700 deer and 90 elk farms.

Ohio's deer population is estimated at 500,000 animals and can be found in all 88 Ohio counties

An excellent article on CWD is available in the September 2002 issue of Buckmaster's Magazine.

braun@vindy.com




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