Friday, October 12, 2018

Our 1st Darby Plains Pheasants Forever Youth Pheasant Hunt

Presented by the Darby Plains Pheasants Forever Chapter #0956, ODNR Division of Wildlife, and The Madison County Fish and Game, Saturday, October 27, 2018

Pheasants Forever (PF) is a non-profit conservation organization, dedicated to the preservation and restoration of wildlife and habitat. PF believes that the pheasant, and all wildlife, can be appreciated and admired by hunters and non-hunters alike. Education is necessary to develop the ethical hunter and outdoorsman. Although nothing can replace good common sense, much of the knowledge, technique, and etiquette of hunting is not intuitive. Only through guidance and experience can the proper lessons be learned. Recognizing the need to provide young hunters with the appropriate hunting educational opportunities, the Darby Plains Pheasants Forever Chapter is presenting the 2018 Youth Pheasant Hunt on Saturday, October 27, 2018.

How Do I Sign Up?

If you have a son or daughter, or know of any young boys or girls, who would like to participate in the Youth Pheasant Hunt, please have them complete the attached application (make copies if you like) and mail to:
Dean Retterer
4977 Mumper Rd.
Springfield, Ohio 45502

or e-mail Dean at

Spaces are limited ... Fill out your application and waiver forms; and returned to Dean Retterer. We will contact you when we receive your application. Then go to the Madison County Fish and Game, 4700 Deer Creek Lane, London, Ohio 43140 on October 27, at 8:00am for registration.

If you would like to mentor, guide, take pictures, or help serve food, or volunteer your time in any way, please call Dean Retterer @ 937-206-4111 or e-mail @

Download the PDF with registration and volunteer information to participate ... space is limited! REGISTER NOW

Friday, August 17, 2018

New Sights - Thirteen Lined Ground Squirrel

I've seen them in books, but never actually seen one live ... until this one wandered in. I redirected him back across the road and into a more appropriate habitat. Adding that to a list of first sightings this year, along with a weasel. Sorry, no video or photo of that one.

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Final Gun

Think you know how Super Bowl VI ended? You're Probably Wrong.

If you're a sports buff, you probably think the game ended 24-3 in favor of the Dallas Cowboys. That part isn't disputed. But what actually ended the game was the final gun. That's right, not a buzzer. Not a whistle. Not a horn. Up until the 1980's, a gunshot from officials marked the end. And more specifically, it might have been this revolver that signaled the actual end of that game. Maybe. Trying to confirm that.

It's a Harrington & Richardson .38 S&W double-action revolver carried by my grandfather who was the back judge (Ralph Vandenberg, #47) during that game. How times have changed! You might expect a traditional starter's pistol since only blanks would be used. Evidently, the NFL left the decision to the official's discretion. While it's not as powerful as the .38 Special, it is a 200g bullet coming out of a rifled barrel with more than 150 ft. lbs of energy. It was a common caliber in the first half of the last century and the blanks give a much more authoritative report than a .22 or crimped shell for sure.

I know because the fall of 2017 was a miserable bird season, due to my unpreparedness. I wanted to make sure thaJ├╝rgen didn't forget his association of gunfire with good things. It was around and we had some shells, so what the heck. He hasn't forgotten the association, but it's louder than I think is appropriate for a neighborhood backyard.

On Super Bowl Sunday this year I'll be watching NFL Films of the game from '72. Maybe I can determine if he was carrying this revolver on the field for that game, which would make it even more special.

UPDATE: To end the 3rd quarter, the announcer,  , counts down the seconds and states "there's the gun, which is distinctly heard here. However, it's offscreen and it's impossible to tell the actual direction or who fired the shot. So it can neither be confirmed nor denied at this point.

Monday, January 22, 2018

The Habitat Organization is Growing in Ohio

Pheasants Forever Darby Plains Chapter

Pheasants Forever is dedicated to the conservation of pheasants, quail and other wildlife through habitat improvements, public awareness, education and land management policies and programs.
How do we achieve this mission across more than 45 U.S. states and parts of Canada? Through the dedicated efforts of our:
  • 149,000 members
  • Diverse staff – including more than 100 wildlife biologists
  • Local chapters – more than 700
  • Many non-governmental, governmental, nonprofit and corporate partners

The sum of these parts has made Pheasants Forever the recognizable leader in wildlife habitat projects accomplished and the leading advocate for wildlife habitat conservation. Since creation in 1982, Pheasants Forever has spent $708 million on 517,000 habitat projects benefiting 15.8 million acres nationwide, including thousands in Ohio. 

First Darby Plains Chapter 956 Banquet 

Saturday, March 31st, 2018

Doors open @ 5:30pm at the Madison County Fairgrounds

Join us for an evening of Food, Games, Prizes, Raffles, and Auctions. Proceeds stay with the local chapter and go where it's needed most as determined by local members. This helps to give Pheasants Forever a Four Star rating with Charity Navigator.
  • Single Ticket $50.00
  • Couples Ticket $75.00
  • Youth Ticket $15.00 
*All tickets include dinner and 1 membership ($35 value), youth ticket includes youth membership*

Registration qualifies for a special early bird raffle if submitted by March 15st.
For information or questions contact:

Mike Retterer @ 937-631-1064
or John Howard @ 937-631-5202

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Tall Grass Prairies, Water, and Flood Control

You could say that nobody predicted Hurricane Harvey, but the flooding in Houston, has been a known issue. In fact prior to 2017, "Houston has more casualties and property loss from floods than any other locality in the US." And they're going to keep that unwanted distinction for some time.  

This article appeared this June, months before Harvey: 

Houston fears climate change will cause catastrophic flooding: 'It's not if, it's when'

While in the end, Harvey was well beyond the scope of even the most hyperbolic weathercaster, the fact remains that many of the issues were known beforehand. 

Houston, Katy Prairies and flooding
We may not be able to stop flooding but we ought to be able to better manage it,” said Mary Anne Piacentini, the executive director. “Our grasses are great water-holding reservoirs. Initial studies that we were doing with the Harris County Flood Control District show that our prairie grasses can hold up to about 8in of water.”
Her colleague, Wesley Newman, likens tallgrass prairies to an upside-down rainforest: the grass can grow to 6ft to 8ft above ground and two or three times as much below. “We’ve come to realise that the grassland, the tall grass prairie, is maybe even more important than the wetlands,” Piacentini said. “The more that we can restore, the more likely it is that we will be able to increase the water-holding capacity of what we do, and that affects directly downstream Houston.”
It turns out that natural spaces do more than restore the soul, but can protect our lives. Flood control is just one of the ways. I firmly believe that the way to smart conservation is through the water. Eventually, between the algae blooms and floods, people will have to pay attention. At least one hopes. 

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Matching Birds to the Habitat

Hungarian Patridge Ohio

Climate change debates aside, the environment has changed radically in the last 150 years in North America when immigrant species arrive. The first of these and most disruptive are obviously humans. From farming to controlling fires to altering river beds the impact can't be ignored. In Ohio, and western Ohio specifically, a change was profound and impacted a number of game birds.

This is taken from the Ohio Journal of Science, March 1956. "Ohio was originally 95 percent forested. Today a relatively small percentage of the state is in forest. This drastic change in landscape naturally affects the game of the state. The wild turkey and prairie chicken disappeared; the ruffed grouse became scarce and is presently restricted to southeastern and eastern Ohio; the bobwhite quail expanded its range, and none of the prairie grouse immigrated from the west into the newly created open lands of Ohio."

The turkey has obviously made a comeback, while ruffed grouse have decidedly not. Habitat plays the deciding factor, but that's not the complete story. If anybody is left that Regals in the glories of bobwhite quail hunting in the old days, they should know the actual truth: "The bob white quail is close to its northern limit in Ohio; it has never consistently occurred in large numbers in this state, and it has been protected from hunting since 1912."

The Hungarian Partridge in Ohio

The solution then was the introduction of non-native species that adapt to the habitat. Specifically ring-necked pheasants and Hungarian partridge. The ring-necked proved adaptable and became well-established and self-sustaining. Covey Hungarian did for a time, then dropped off. They seem to thrive in the west on big spaces. It would be interesting to see how they could adapt to the modern farming practices today around western Ohio that create huge expanses of open spaces.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Frog Pointer

After three years in the yard, Jurgen has suddenly become interested in frogs for some reason. Pointing obviously too close, but with a headlamp, he might be useful. Then again, probably not.