Portage Outdoors: Goings-on in the area outdoor world

By Jack Kiser | Correspondent Published:

By Jack Kiser | Correspondent

When the bulbs are down and the lights are put away, don't throw your Christmas tree to the curb just yet! The trunk and limbs of the tree can be cut and arranged into a brush pile that serves as shelter for small wildlife species. Simply put limbs in a square arrangement, similar to building a toy log cabin, and cover with additional brush. If you have a pond on your property, you may want to weigh down your tree and sink it into the water to serve as fish habitat. Whatever project you choose to do, make sure you complete it on your own property. Putting trees and brush on other people's property or public areas without permission is considered dumping and is illegal. If you'd rather recycle your tree, call your local solid waste management district for information on where to recycle live-cut trees in your area. Read more about ideas on attracting wildlife at www.wildohio.com.

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The revitalized Cleveland IX-Center Show, now officially re-christened "The Cleveland Outdoor Adventure Show" by new owners Erie Promotions & Expos, rolls into town January 17-20. The big news is the widely expanded number of guest seminar speakers and national celebrities in attendance. In addition to the bevy of local talents like panfish guru and Bass Pro Shops staffer Carl " Big Daddy" Bachtel of Cuyahoga Falls and many other Ohio experts, this year's armada of guests will include retriever expert Jim Beverly, Bwana Jim's Wildlife Show, TV star, expert archer and author Byron Ferguson, Brian "Pigman" Quaca, "Swamp People" Trapper Joe LaFont and Trigger Tommy Calvin, National Fishing Hall of Famer Spence Petros. Don't forget the free kids trout pond and the Companion Retriever Hunting Challenge, among so much more. The big boat Show will be going on at the same time next door and reduced combined tickets will now be available. Those with questions, whether potential vendors or attendees, can contact my friends Tom Shearer (tom@eriepromotions.com) or Katie Bool (katie@eriepromotions.com), or call them at 814-725-3856. See you there!

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Your backyard can easily be converted into a mini-refuge for native wildlife. A number of wildlife species have adapted to backyard settings and can be drawn to them by the proper habitat elements. Anyone- even with the smallest parcel of land-can help wildlife by creating habitat areas around their backyard.

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Keep your eyes open and make a note of the return of the area's venerable "Earlybird Outdoors Sportshow", which for it's 16th edition will land in the great heartland of Orrville February 15-17, with free parking, hunting & fishing seminars, special guests like the venerable hosts of "The Hunting & Fishing Show" Portage County legend Steve Jones, and yours truly. Already signed up for seminar duty is area tournament whiz and guide Ron Slater. Call 330-413-7355 for any further info.

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Fishing is a year-round activity in the Buckeye State. Bluegill, crappie, and saugeye are among the more abundant catchable species found beneath the ice in ponds and lakes across Ohio. Open water areas below a number of flood control dams offer good winter fishing action for saugeye, especially a week or so following a significant water discharge over a dam. It's highly recommended to wait until there are below freezing temperatures for several days or weeks if you choose to ice fish. View a nice ice fishing safety chart at wildohio.com.

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Cuyahoga Falls and its Riverworks project team are again finalizing demolition plans with the EPA for the two dams at the Front St. stretch of the river. Demolition is now scheduled to commence in the spring of 2013, depending on water conditions. Two public meetings have at long last been scheduled to explain the purpose of the dam removals amidst growing questions as to the effect on water levels and subsequent fishing opportunities. These one-hour scheduled meetings are to take place in the Sutliff Room at the Cuyahoga Falls Public library at 2015 Third Street, at 2 p.m. on Jan. 16 and 7 p.m. on Feb. 20.

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Jack Kiser is the host of TV's "Buckeye Angler" and co-host of radio's "Hunting & Fishing Show." You may contact him at the Facebook site for either program.

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