If you used a cut Christmas tree this year, instead of burning it or throwing it out in the trash, consider giving it back to wildlife.
Christmas trees offer excellent cover for small critters to get through the cold winter months. Several trees piled together anywhere in the outdoors, especially in the woods, provide excellent habitat. Another option for those of you that have ponds is to tie the tree to a cement block and place it on top of the ice in a strategic location. When the ice melts, the tree will sink into the water and provide great cover for baitfish and it will become a perfect target for you to catch crappie, bluegill, and bass this spring.
• Shooters are reminded that the Delaware and Deer Creek shooting ranges will be closing at the end of the year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. In addition, the Delaware Rifle, Pistol, and Shotgun Range will most likely remain closed through 2017. The ranges are normally closed Jan.-Feb. and traditionally reopen March 1. Environmental work at Delaware range is scheduled to begin in January and contractors will likely be on site throughout the year.
Next year while the Delaware range is closed, please visit one of the other public shooting ranges. In central Ohio, the Deer Creek Wildlife Area range in Fayette County is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily Wednesday through Sunday. A class “A” range requires a shooting range permit for all persons 18 years or older. Permits are available at all hunting and fishing license outlets and online at wildohio.gov. For additional notifications and shooting opportunities visit: wildohio.gov/ranges.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife is committed to providing safe and quality shooting opportunities for Ohioans while remaining good stewards of the environment.
Funding for these ranges comes back to Ohio through the Federal Wildlife Restoration Act. Excise taxes are collected from the sale of firearms and ammunitions and are returned to the states for wildlife management and shooting range projects.
• Outdoors enthusiasts interested in learning to trap coyotes are encouraged to attend a free informational workshop provided by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife on Saturday, Jan. 28. Trained professionals will cover topics such as life history, laws, and trapping techniques.
The workshop will be held from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. and is free of charge, but pre-registration is required as space is limited to 30 participants. No walk-ins will be admitted. Participants must be 18 years of age or older. Registered attendees will be provided with location and directions. Register by calling at 614-644-3925, or email Derek.Klein@dnr.state.oh.us.
This course is hands on with some demonstrations taking place outdoors. Please dress appropriately for the workshop and for the weather. For information on Ohio’s coyote seasons, please visit wildohio.gov.
• Ice fishing season is here. Please be sure the ice is safe and thick enough before you head out. At least four inches of good ice is needed to be safe. With the recent warm ups and heavy rains, the ice may not be as safe as it was a few weeks ago. Always cut a test hole near the edge of the bank before heading too far out.
• Although we are heading into the depths of winter, there are still plenty of hunting seasons still open. The muzzleloading deer season is Jan. 7-10. Canada Geese are still open locally until Feb. 11th. Squirrel is still open until the end of January and rabbit is open through February. And of course, coyote is open all year long and winter can be an excellent time to chase them.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.
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