As I type this, it is the eve of the additional two day deer firearm season, which is Dec. 28 and 29. With the rain we have gotten the last two days and the weather they are calling for tomorrow, I am not anticipating big harvest numbers over the next two days. But that is ok because, except for one foggy day, the full week season last month had some very nice hunting weather and harvest numbers were up because of it.
It is also the last week of duck season in the area and the Lake Erie Zone closed today. Even though I harvested some ducks this morning, the first in weeks, I can honestly say that this season will go down as my worse duck hunting season in decades. Spring like temperatures this fall has been great on my heating bill but absolutely miserable for duck hunting. No winter like weather means no reason for the ducks to migrate and when the ducks don’t migrate, trying to hunt them in Ohio can be very disappointing.
I am almost glad the season is almost over just to end my misery. They are calling for some wintery weather at the end of the week, so maybe I can scratch out a few more before it ends but without freezing temperatures, it is hard to get excited about it. Most hunters that I talk to share my frustration but there is nothing we can do about it. We are at the mercy of Mother Nature.
• Outdoors enthusiasts interested in the basic skills needed to make jerky or smoke wild game are encouraged to attend a free informational workshop provided by the ODNR Division of Wildlife on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2016. Trained professionals will cover topics including meat preparation, jerky making methods as well as basic dehydrating and smoking of game.
The workshop will be held from 6-9 p.m. All meat and equipment will be supplied. The workshop is free of charge but pre-registration is required as space is limited. No walk-ins will be admitted. Registered attendees will be provided with location and directions. Register by calling Kathy at 937-347-0920, or email Kathy.Garzabehr@dnr.state.oh.us.This course is hands on and takes place inside with some demonstrations taking place outdoors. Please dress appropriately for the workshop and for the weather.
• The ODNR is hosting information sessions to discuss the upcoming Conservation Club Partnership grants. The grant program is designed to encourage participation in the outdoor skills such as hunting, fishing, trapping, archery and shooting sports.
The gathering will be held at 6:30 on Jan. 26, 2016 at the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s District 2 office at: 952 Lima Avenue, Findlay, OH, 45840. Clubs are asked to please RSVP and include the number of attendees from their organization by calling 614-265-6743. The session will be beneficial for conservation clubs that plan on applying for a Conservation Club Partnership grant. Anyone involved with completing grant paperwork or administering an event within the grant is encouraged to attend.
If unable to attend this meeting, club representatives are welcome to attend a session in another district. The dates for all five districts are: District One – Jan.12; District Two – Jan. 26; District Three – Jan. 20; District Four – Jan. 6; and District Five – Jan. 25.
The 2016-17 grant application period runs from Jan. 1 through March 15, 2016 for events that will occur between July 1, 2016 and June 30, 2017. All applications must be postmarked no later than March 15, 2016. Grant applications can be submitted via email to: Sean.Landon@dnr.state.oh.us. The requested funds cannot exceed $15,000 during the grant period and can be split across a maximum of 10 proposals.
• Ohio hunters and others interested in the state’s white-tailed deer management programs have the opportunity to provide feedback about hunting regulations and season structures in central Ohio on Saturday, Jan. 23, and in northeast Ohio on Saturday, Jan. 30, according to the ODNR.
After input from last year’s deer summits and considering participation from across the state, the ODNR Division of Wildlife has decided to host a centrally located summit in Columbus and another summit in northeast Ohio. Each date will offer the option of a morning and afternoon session. Space at each session is limited, and hunters must register to attend. Spaces will be filled on a first-come basis so individuals are encouraged to register early.
Hunters who wish to attend the summit should pre-register by Friday, Jan. 22. Summits will be held at 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. on both days at the following locations: Jan. 23: Wildlife District One Headquarters, 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus, 43215. Call 614-644-3925 and select option 4 to pre-register. Jan. 30: Wildlife District Three Headquarters, 912 Portage Lakes Drive, Akron, 44319. Call 330-644-2293 to pre-register.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife remains committed to properly managing Ohio’s deer populations through a combination of regulatory and programmatic changes. The goal of Ohio’s Deer Management Program is to provide a deer population that maximizes recreational opportunities, while minimizing conflicts with landowners and motorists. More information about managing deer in Ohio, including the publication, Quality vs. Quantity, A Closer Look at Deer Herd Condition Trends in Ohio, is available at wildohio.gov.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.