The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

March 18, 2013

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: ‘Try it B4 you buy it’

For the Star Beacon

— With the cold days of winter still upon us maybe it time you got out of the house and did something fun. Are you one of the many firearms enthusiasts who are thinking about purchasing a new handgun before they supposedly ban them all?

With the wide array of hand guns out there feeding the frenzy are you unsure of what you want, a .40, a .45, a 9mm, a .380. Maybe a pistol, how about a .357, a .38 or even a new plinker .22. What if you’re a new shooter and really don’t know what you want?

You know the gun shops won’t let you shoot them before you purchase them and what if you get it home and once you’ve put a few rounds through it you don’t like it. The gun shop won’t take it back just because you don’t like it or it kicks too much. So what are you to do, sell it and take a loss, put it in a safe and keep it for posterity?

Naw, check this out, why not “try it B4 you buy it.” Amboy Rifle Club is offering you a unique opportunity for you to “try it B4 you buy it.”

The plan

The purpose of this event is to give prospective gun owners or gun owners who want another caliber or type of firearm a chance to, “try it B4 you buy it.” Each participant will be given the opportunity to shoot 3 separate caliber handguns. This is not a firearm-training course and no personal firearms will be allowed at this event. Women and new shooters are encouraged to attend.

Event agenda

n Eight participants per firing line with a safety instructor supplied for each shooting participant.

n Each participant will be allowed to shoot 5 rounds from 3 separate caliber handguns, 15 rounds total.

n The firing range will be under the supervision of a NRA Certified Range Safety Officer at all times, Dale Sunderlin.

n Snacks and hot food will be available in the kitchen for a nominal fee.

n No personal firearms will be allowed.

n Participants must be 21 years old, no exceptions.

What’s happening

This one-of-a-kind event will be held at Amboy Rifle Club on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. at its Clubhouse, located at 100 Hawthorne Drive in Conneaut. The cost is $20 per participant and this will get you the following:

Each participant will be allowed to shoot 5 rounds from 3 separate caliber handguns, 15 rounds total. The firing range will be under the strict supervision of Dale Sunderlin a multi Certified NRA Firearms Instructor and a NRA Certified Range Safety Officer at all times.

Snacks and hot food will be available in the kitchen for a nominal fee. No personal firearms will be allowed. Participants must be 21 years old, no exceptions. For more information and to sign up, contact Dennis Woodard 645-9698 or Teresa Paone at 813-5648 or go to

Come on down!

New regulations

New statewide and specific site bass fishing regulations are now in effect for the 2013-14 license year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

Statewide, a new 12-inch minimum length limit has been implemented by the Division of Wildlife on all public waters for largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass where there are no other special regulations. The daily limit of five fish per day remains in effect for black bass, singly or in combination.

Some reservoirs that previously had special regulations were changed to the new statewide 12-inch length limit. The 12-15 inch slot length limit was removed from Timbre Ridge Lake, and 15-inch minimum length limits were removed from:

n Caesar Creek Lake (Warren, Clinton and Greene counties).

n Kenton Lake (Gallia County).

n Lake Milton, including the Mahoning River connecting Berlin Lake and Lake Milton (Mahoning County).

n Lake Vesuvius (Lawrence County).

n Monroe Lake (Monroe County).

n Monroeville Reservoir (Huron County).

n Pike Lake (Pike County).

n Sippo Lake (Stark County).

Two new regulations have been incorporated to increase the size and number of bass. These special regulations include a reduced number of largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass that anglers may keep per day and split daily limits, where anglers may only keep a specified number of fish of a certain length.

The first regulation is a special 15-inch length limit with a four fish split daily limit. Anglers may keep two fish under 15 inches and two fish 15 inches or larger, for four fish per day. The split daily limit allows limited harvest of bass less than 15 inches to promote growth of bass to larger sizes. This regulation is referred to as a “15, 2-and-2.” It is in effect at these reservoirs:

n Acton Lake (Preble and Butler counties).

n Findley Lake (Lorain County).

n Hargus Lake (Pickaway County).

n Highlandtown Lake (Columbiana County).

n Lake Snowden (Athens County).

n New Lyme Lake (Ashtabula County).

n Paint Creek Lake (Highland and Ross counties).

n Salt Fork Lake (Guernsey County).

n Silver Creek Lake (Summit County).

n Upper Sandusky No. 2 (Wyandot County).

The second split daily limit is referred to as a “Super Slot,” a 14-20-inch slot length limit intended to increase the chance of catching trophy bass. Anglers may keep two fish under 14 inches and one fish 20 inches or larger, for three fish per day. However, anglers are not allowed to keep any fish in the protected slot. This regulation will be limited to the following waters:

n All American Electric Power (AEP) ponds and reservoirs, including AEP ReCreation Lands, Conesville Coal Lands and Avondale Wildlife Area, with all ponds and reservoirs included in each daily limit per angler (Coshocton, Guernsey, Muskingum, Morgan, Noble and Perry counties).

n Belmont Lake (Belmont County).

n Guilford Lake (Columbiana County).

n Killdeer Plains Reservoir (Wyandot County).

n Kiser Lake (Champaign County).

n Long Lake (Summit County).

n Oxbow Lake (Defiance County).

n Spencer Lake (Medina County).

n St. Joseph Wildlife Area ponds (Williams County).

n Tycoon Lake (Gallia County).

n Wingfoot Lake (Portage County).

n Wolf Run Lake (Noble County).

These adjustments in regulations were developed by the Division of Wildlife through an analysis of historical fish surveys, creel surveys and angler-reported tournament results, an evaluation of management options and fisheries objectives as well as extensive angler input through online surveys, creel surveys, open houses and meetings with sportsmen and women.

Ohio has other special regulations for black bass at a number of waters around the state that remain in effect. These include traditional 14-inch, 15-inch and 18-inch minimum length limits, and 12-15 inch slot length limits, all with five fish daily limits on Lake Erie and inland waters, and six fish daily limits on the Ohio River. Visit for more information.


The Division of Wildlife conducts an annual drawing to fish for trout in the half-mile section of Cold Creek that runs through Castalia State Fish Hatchery. Participation is determined by computer generated random drawing.

The application period runs through March 31. Applications must be submitted online by March 31 or earlier to be considered. Go to the Wild Ohio Customer Center and click “Lottery Applications.”

Applicants 16 years old and older must hold a valid fishing license to apply.

The application fee is $3.00 and anglers may apply once annually. If the same name appears on multiple applications, all applications will be disqualified and the fee(s) forfeited.

Independent drawings will be held for both youth season (summer), which includes 15 years old and younger, and an adult season (spring and fall) which includes 16 years old and older. Each person must submit a separate application. Application fees are non-refundable.

Permit holders may bring two.adults and three youths and you may participate only once per season as either the permittee or a partner. Participants 16 and older must hold a valid fishing license.

Anglers will be able to check the website (in the Wild Ohio Customer Center) under their customer number to find out if they were chosen as participants. Applicants not chosen to participate will not be notified. Anglers chosen to participate will receive instructions on how to download the necessary permit and instructions from our website, including the fishing date.

The permit to fish applies to the successfully drawn applicant and his/her partner(s) and permits are transferable. All participants must be properly licensed.


Got Venison? Got a little free time? How about experimenting with do-it-yourself venison jerky? If you’re like me, the start of a new year usually means a freezer full of venison and some free time, a perfect combination for creating jerky for my friends and family. It’s easy and only takes a few hours.

What kind to make?

First, decide on your type of jerky. There are two kinds:

n Ground meat jerky.

n Muscle jerky, made usually from round steak.

Whichever you choose, be sure to thaw the meat in the refrigerator. It’s advised to use meat that’s been previously frozen since the freezing process helps eliminate bacteria growth in the meat.

Most recipes require from 2-5 pounds of meat, so be sure to thaw the correct amount needed for your recipe. When using steak, it’s easier to slice the meat thinly if it’s slightly frozen. Slice thin, bite-size pieces and cut with the grain. Also when using steak, most recipes require it to marinate overnight, up to24 hours before drying. Ground meat may require a few hours and up to a day or two of curing, depending on the recipe, but when using a prepared mix like Backwoods by LEM, it can be mixed and dried immediately after mixing. There are several different ways to dry meat: with a smoker, a dehydrator or an oven; my guide covers oven drying.


Cure — Years ago, I made jerky at home with various recipes I found in wild game cookbooks. It tasted great; however, the recipes usually didn’t include cure, and my jerky wouldn’t last long due to mold growth. What is “cure?”

Historically, cures were used to preserve meat safely by using nitrates and nitrates to cure meat and enhance its color. The use of a cure reduced the risk of botulism, but the amounts of nitrates and nitrites must be used correctly to be effective, making use of prepared cures a safe and easy choice for jerky making.

Be sure cure is included in the seasoning you purchase or that it’s an ingredient in your homemade recipe. Cure is used in small amounts and inhibits bacterial growth during the lower temperatures used in the drying process.

Oven drying using temperatures of at least 160 degrees is recommended for killing bacteria, although moisture could still lead to mold growth if not completely dried or if not stored correctly.  You’ll find many different brands of seasonings with cure available for making jerky, making the entire process foolproof and simple.

If you choose to use your homemade recipe, LEM also makes a cure for purchase and recommends a quarter-teaspoon per pound of meat used.

Salt — Salt is used as a preservative and canning salt is ideal to use since it contains no additives. Table salt can sometimes add a metallic taste or funny flavor to jerky. You can find canning salt near canning supplies at your grocery store. Cures do contain salt, so you may choose to minimize the use of additional salt in your recipe.

Spices — Most of the ingredients found in homemade recipes you already have in kitchen. Common ingredients include: garlic powder, onion powder, pepper, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, brown sugar, molasses, cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes. Have fun and play with the seasoning variations and amount of heat in your jerky to create your own special flavor. Some like it sweet, others like it hot and spicy.

Liquid Smoke — Liquid smoke is another fun way to vary the flavor of your jerky. You’ll find several brands on the market, as well as a variety of flavorings like original, mesquite, hickory or barbecue, to name a few. Liquid smoke is actually a concentrated flavoring produced from smoke, which is condensed and combined with water. Follow the directions on the brand you choose to determine amount to use. LEM Liquid Smoke recommends a half-teaspoon per 5 pounds of meat, while other brands may suggest a different amount per pound.

Equipment needed

A working oven and a few basic pieces of equipment are needed to make jerky:

n Jerky seasoning packet, with cure included (I used LEM Backwoods Original. Or use your own recipe from scratch, with cure added. Meat cure is available at most grocery stores, butcher shops or where jerky-making products are sold.)

n Large bowl for mixing.

n Measuring spoons.

n Drying trays or racks (mesh), approximately one tray per pound of meat (Spray with non-stick cooking spray to prevent sticking.)

n Drip pan, placed under the drying racks in the oven.

n Jerky gun, when using ground meat.

Jerky guns are quick and easy to use. Similar to using a caulking gun, just squeeze and quickly press strips of jerky onto drying racks. If you don’t have a jerky gun, you can also simply form jerky strips with your hands and flatten to a quarter-inch with a rolling pin between sheets of waxed paper.


Now that you have your venison ready and your equipment assembled, you are ready to begin. Be prepared to stay home, as you’ll be leaving your oven on for the next four to six hours. Snowstorm coming? Cold and rainy weather keeping you indoors? What a great time to make some venison jerky!

n Mix ingredients as your recipe indicates and blend with your ground meat using clean hands.

n Let mix rest for several minute.

n Pack the ground and seasoned meat into the jerky gun, taking care to eliminate air pockets; wash hands.

n Begin carefully pressing the ground meat onto the racks in strips about an eighth-of-an-inch apart

n Stack racks on top of drip pan.

n Set oven to 160-200 degrees, as your recipe indicates.

n Place in center of oven for approximately two to three hours.

n After 2.5 hours, turn strips over, rotate racks and return to oven for another two to three hours.

n After removing dried venison from the oven, blot off any excess moisture from the meat and let dry completely before storing.


It is recommended to always store jerky in the refrigerator so it lasts longer. Store jerky in a paper bag or tightly sealed glass jar. Storing in plastic bags is not recommended as it can lead to condensation and mold growth. After two weeks to one month, it’s advised to freeze uneaten jerky to maintain its freshness.

Safety guidelines

n Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water while handling meat.

n Use clean equipment and utensils.

n Defrost meat in the refrigerator.

n Marinate meat in the refrigerator.

n Minimum temperature used for drying is 160 degrees to kill bacteria.

n Store homemade jerky in refrigerator for one to two months.

With minimal prep time and little equipment required, making homemade venison jerky is easy, rewarding and a great way to share your wild game with friends and family. It’s a great snack to throw in your pocket on your next hunt or outdoor adventure and a great way to spend a few hours during those months when hunting is limited and time is available.


n The Amboy Sharp Shooters 4H Club will be holding its annual registration Saturday at the Amboy Rifle Club from 9: a.m. until noon. This will be your final opportunity to sign up for this year’s 4H Club featuring the discipline’s of Rifle and Archery. For more information, call 344-6208 or email

n The ODNR Division of Watercraft will be conducting another Boater’s Education Class at Lake Erie boat Club 1207 Broad St. in Conneaut on Saturday from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Call 964-0518 to register. A $5 fee for material will be charged.

n Monroe Sportsman’s Club is having its Spring and Summer Trap League. It will consist of 1,000 single targets. You may sign up and shoot anytime from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Cost is $17 / 100 of which $2 will go toward trophies. For more information, call Ron Berrier at 228-8900 or Sara Dean at 223-0244

Remember, pass it on or it will surely pass on.

Sunderlin is a freelance writer from Geneva. Reach him at