I know it doesn’t seem like we have had much of a summer but July is winding down and before you know it hunting season will be here.
Because of that, there are several waterfowl hunt drawings that duck and goose hunters will want to be aware of. Waterfowl hunters are invited to participate in special drawings for controlled hunting opportunities: Magee Marsh Wildlife Area Early Teal and Goose Hunt; A drawing will be held at the Magee Marsh on Wednesday, Aug. 12 at 6:30 p.m. Registration is from 5:00 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. at the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area beach parking lot, 13229 W. State Route 2, Oak Harbor. Pipe Creek Wildlife Area Waterfowl Hunts; A drawing will be held at Osborn Park on Thursday, Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m. Registration is from 5 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. at Osborn Park, 3910 Perkins Ave., Huron. East Sandusky Bay Metro Park Waterfowl Hunts; A drawing will be held at Osborn Park on Thursday, Aug. 20 at 6:30 p.m. Registration is from 5 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. at Osborn Park, 3910 Perkins Ave., Huron.
Adult participants are required to present their current or previous year’s Ohio Wetland Stamp or Ohio Hunting License. Youth Hunters are required to bring their 2014 or 2015 Ohio Youth Hunting License to be eligible to participate in the drawings. For more information on Ohio’s wildlife resources, call 1-800-WILDLIFE or visit wildohio.gov.
• Hunters interested in hunting Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area on the opening day of teal season or Labor Day are encouraged to enter a lottery. Deadline for submitting a lottery entry is Aug. 1.
Both adults and youth can apply for the adult morning hunts. Only youth (17 and younger) can apply for the youth afternoon hunts. Zones and hunt days will be assigned in the order they are drawn. Successful applicants will receive a permit and special instructions in the mail. Permits are not transferable. Successful applicants may bring up to two guests to hunt with them. Both teal and Canada geese may be hunted.
To apply, applicants must submit a 4×6 inch postcard listing their name, address, Customer ID number and phone number. Only one postcard per applicant is allowed and no duplicates may be submitted. Postcards should be sent to: ODNR Division of Wildlife District Two, 952 Lima Avenue, Findlay, Ohio 45840. Postcards need to be labeled at the top for the particular hunt in which the hunter is applying (Adult Teal; Youth Teal).
The ODNR Division of Wildlife’s Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area is located in Sandusky County off State Route 6, between Fremont and Sandusky.
• Lottery drawings for Buckeye Lake State Park and Hebron State Fish Hatchery waterfowl hunting blind locations will be held Saturday, Aug. 15. The drawings take place at the Buckeye Lake State Park office, located at 2905 Leibs Island Road, Millersport, Ohio 43046. Registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. The Buckeye Lake drawing begins at 8 a.m., and Hebron immediately follows. Hunters can apply for both drawings.
Interested applicants must appear in person at the Buckeye Lake State Park office with proof of a 2015-2016 Ohio hunting license, a valid Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp, a signed 2015 or 2014 Federal Migratory Bird Hunting stamp and Harvest Information Program certification. Applicants under the age of 18 are encouraged to have a parent or legal guardian present to sign the permit contract, and need to provide the required license and stamps. There is a $50 nonrefundable permit fee for state park lottery winners, payable by cash, check or charge.
Information on waterfowl hunting seasons, locations and restrictions will be discussed during the event. Visit wildohio.gov for more information about hunting seasons and regulations.
• If you are heading to the upcoming state fair with kids, don’t forget to stop at my favorite area, the ODNR Natural Resources Park. Smokey Bear has been an Ohio State Fair tradition and fairgoer favorite since 1959. This year, a brand new animatronic Smokey Bear will welcome state fair visitors to the ODNR Natural Resources Park during the Ohio State Fair. This new exhibit is just one of the many free family-friendly activities available at the park, which will be open throughout the Ohio State Fair from July 29-Aug. 9.
This year, visitors will be welcomed to the park by a brand new Smokey Bear, whose moving arms, head and mouth will continue Smokey’s mission of teaching people about how they can prevent wildfires. The 14-foot-tall Smokey will greet each child who comes to visit by name from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.
A fun activity which is open daily for visitors of all ages is the 7,000-square-foot kayak pond. ODNR Division of Watercraft staff will be on hand to help people learn new paddling skills. Additionally, a stand-up paddleboarding demonstration will occur daily at 3 p.m. in the kayak pond. New this year is the addition of a personal watercraft simulator, which will allow visitors the fun experience of “riding” a jet ski while staying (mostly) dry.
For people interested in fishing, the Youth Fishing Pond is open daily to guests under 14. Kids can fish for one of almost 2,000 bluegill that will be stocked throughout the fair, and they will have the option to keep their catch. Fish filleting and frying demonstrations will also be featured at the fishing pond for guests of all ages.
The ever popular ODNR Amphitheater will once again provide outdoor entertainment to visitors, with seating for approximately 500 people, from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. daily. Amphitheater acts range from music groups and lumberjacks to animals from the Columbus Zoo, as well as a show featuring retriever dogs.
Visitors can learn about Ohio’s native wildlife, such as snapping turtles and rat snakes, along the wildlife boardwalk. Park visitors are welcome to visit the Butterfly House to get an up close look at butterflies emerging from their chrysalises. Visitors are also invited to Ruthven’s Aviary, which offers fairgoers a chance to learn about making their backyards wildlife-friendly, especially for Ohio’s native bird species.
For the second year in a row, disc golf will be offered in the Ohio State Parks camping village, with professionals available to teach visitors about golfing skills and equipment. In the camping village, visitors can also explore some of the options available to people wishing to stay overnight in one of Ohio’s 74 state parks, with ODNR’s new Play and Stay camper and a yurt being featured this year.
The Ohio Public House, a renovated pioneer cabin, will transport visitors back in time to Ohio in the 1800s. Volunteers in period costumes as well as a variety of activities, games and music will teach visitors about Ohio’s pioneer days.
Fairgoers are also encouraged to try their hand at archery or visit the Annie Oakley BB Shooting Range. Instructors from the ODNR Division of Wildlife will be in the park to assist visitors in these activities.
Located at the Ohio Expo Center and State Fairgrounds in the southeast corner of the fairgrounds, the ODNR Natural Resources Park will be open for the duration the park, and all of its activities are open from 9 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. daily and are free for anyone attending the fair. Visit ohiodnr.gov/state-fair for more information about the ODNR Natural Resources Park and to check out the daily amphitheater schedule.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!