The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

December 22, 2013

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: A howling good time

For the Star Beacon

— Whether reviled or revered, coyotes are very clever and adaptive animals. This is proven by their opportunistic and creative instincts to find food and habitat in a wide array of environments.

Learn more about coyotes in Ohio during a free public program on Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

The program will take place at the ODNR Division of Wildlife District Three Headquarters, 912 Portage Lakes Drive, Akron.

 Topics to be covered by Division of Wildlife officials include coyote biology, ecology, population trends and current status, dispelling myths about coyotes, and what to do if you encounter a coyote.

This program is best suited for ages 16 and up. The program is free but preregistration is required as seating is limited.

 Call Jamey Emmert, Division of Wildlife at (330) 245-3020 or email Jamey. Learn more about coyotes in Ohio at

Be unpredictable

As deer hunters, we spend so much time trying to pattern deer that we forget that we also can be “patterned.” After all, most of us hunt the same days and the same hours, so it isn’t difficult for deer to figure us out.

While I would never recommend giving up hunting the traditional moving times for deer, early morning and late evening, it’s important to keep in mind that deer will move at other times of the day.

Sometimes, hunting through lunch, I’ve got a picture on my trail cam of a nice 8-point eating lunch this year during gun season while my hunting comrades and I were doing the same way back at the truck.

 Talk about one disheartened hunter. Even getting in your stand earlier than usual for an evening hunt can do the trick.

In addition to staying on stand through the lunch hours another thing you can try is hunting through the week, work schedule permitting. Sometimes deer let their guards down when there are fewer hunters in the woods.

Whether it’s the slamming of the truck doors in the pre-dawn or some other “sixth sense,” whitetails tend to know when hunters are in the woods.

Give them a surprise and try to make it out there a few days that you normally wouldn’t hunt.

The making of a hunter

 I’ve spent the last 20-plus years of my hunting career and life trying to give back to the sport of hunting and the outdoor arena what it has given me for well over 50 years and every once I a while, I get a communication that makes it all worthwhile.

 This past year, I had a young lady, Kaitlyn Miklos, who attended one of my Hunter ED Classes who was just plain ol’ enthusiastic about getting to go hunting. So much so it was to say the least infectious. I mean, she was cranked and ready to go.

After the class, when she had passed the written test and was leaving, I told her good luck and to make sure if she harvested anything, buck or doe, to give me a call and I’d get it in the paper for her.

Well when I opened the email from her father, Kevin Miklos, I can’t even explain the heart-warming feeling that came over me after reading it and seeing the picture of Kaitlyn and her harvest.

Just knowing I had a small part in the formation of a young hunter made me swell up with pride.  

So much so that I would like to share it with all of you in hopes of convincing more of you that’s it’s time to give back:

Hello Mr. Sunderlin,

We have great news! You had asked us to keep you up-to-date on our daughter; Kaitlyn’s, hunting this year. As you may remember Kaitlyn took your hunter’s safety course this past summer. She went out for her first time this weekend and got an 8-point buck. She is so excited and I (and her family) am so proud! The deer was shot on Saturday, Nov 23 around 4:30pm on her Grandfather’s property in Ashtabula County. Thank you for teaching our daughter so well and for your interest in her! Kevin Miklos

All Kaitlyn’s doing

This was Kaitlyn idea from the get go. She was the one that register her father, Kevin, and herself for the Hunter’s Education course. She was also the one who told her dad that she was ready to go hunting and wanted to go hunting just like him.

Busy schedule

Unfortunately, because of Kaitlyn’s busy schedule with school, volleyball and baton, they only had time for a little bit of target practice to prepare for the hunt.

Confident that what time they had gotten in was quality time they fearlessly headed out to their tree house at about 6:30 a.m.

Slow time

Kaitlyn did really well with not seeing much wildlife basically birds, cat and a few squirrels during the first five hours.

Since it was slow they decided to take a break and go have some breakfast and a quick “cat” nap.

‘Come hear, deer’

When they returned to their tree house at about 2:15 p.m., it was a tad bit chilly so they started the heater back up.

 Kaitlyn was again being very patient playing the waiting game as good as any 12 year old could. Around 3:30 p.m., Kevin decided to spice things up a little and began joking with her. He told her she needed to call in the deer. He whispered in her ear this is what you need to do, “come hear deer, come hear deer.”

But before he knew it she whispered back and said, “I see two does!”


Huntin’ not gettin’

The does were about 100 yards away. Deciding to get it a try Kaitlyn took three shots at them and missed.

The deer didn’t even seem phased by her shots probably due to the wind blowing so hard.

Afterward, as any good sportsperson would do, they decided to double check and make sure that it was a miss.

They descended form the tree house and proceeded to the spot where the doe were at when Kaitlyn shot. Much to their dismay, no sign of a hit.

More frivolity

Afterward, when they had returned to the tree house, they were laughing and joking about how Dad had called the deer in for her, quite unconventual but hey whatever works.

After about 45 minutes, while Kevin was taking a drink of his Pepsi, Kaitlyn turned her head with a big smile and whispered, “There’s a BUCK!”


She made that pump gun talk

This time Kaitlyn was very patient even more patient than with the earlier doe.  She took her time so that the buck would not see her raise her gun, she stood up took aim and shot three times.  

Kevin said he was very surprised how she made that pump gun talk with such little experience.

The waiting game

Again as all good hunters do they waited. Hoping he would lay up and expire. They waited about 45 minutes before they began the tracking process.

By this time, it was getting to dark and the woods were way too thick to continue that night.

He was laying down a good blood trail and with not wanting to push him too far they decided to back out, call it a night and come back the next morning.

My Camo Princess

They arrived Sunday, Nov. 24, at about 9 a.m. picked up the trail and proceeded to go back to tracking her buck.  

Fortunately, the newly fallen’ snow was in their our favor and helped in the process.  They were able locate the buck in a matter of no time. Kaitlyn actually found him first. Kevin said he had never seen her so excited.

When she spotted her trophy she was ecstatic, “There he is, there he is, Dad!”  Unfortunately, the coyotes made a little morning meal of the hindquarter.

Nevertheless, they had done like any good sportsperson would do they went back, persevered and found her harvest, her first deer and her first buck.

Kevin’s closing comment was “This will be a weekend we will never forget! I have never been more proud of my little Camo Princess!”

Kaitlyn’s stats

Twelve-year-old Kaitlyn L. Miklos who is a 7th grader at LaMuth Middle School in Riverside Local Schools harvested her first deer, an 8-point buck on Nov. 23, 2013 at 4:30 p.m. while hunting with her father, Kevin, in Monroe Township.

She was shooting a 20 gauge Remington 870 pump shotgun blasting out Remington 2 & ? slugs. Her buck was at 40 yards when she hammered him and went another 200 before expiring.

She was wearing a Carhartt camo coat with an orange vest and an orange stocking cap. They were hunting from a homemade tree house ladder stand. Her buck weighed in at approximately 165 pounds and she checked him in at Gander Mountain in Mentor.

Deer-harvest numbers

Ashtabula: Antlered: 1337. Down 6.89 percent. Antlerless: 3,152 Up 7.43 percent

Geauga: Antlered: 527 Up 1.93 percent. Anterless: 1,079. Down, 13.54 percent

Lake: Antlered: 226. Down 11.02 percent. Anterless: 438. Down, 19.34 percent

Trumbull: Antlered: 1,019. Up 4.73 percent. Anterless: 2,131. Up 4.10 percent

Statewide totals: Antlered: 60,872. Down 13.85 percent. Anterless: 104,025. Down, 10.99 percent.

Statewide totals: Antlered + Anterless all seasons: 164,897 Down, 12.07 percent.

My call

Oh, by the way, you may be interested in my reply to Kevin when he sent me the original email.


That is awesome, my friend. I’m almost as proud as you are! I’m attaching my questionnaire that I use to interview people for the paper via email.

Please fill it out and get it back to me as soon as you can and I will put Kaitlyn’s story in the paper. Please tell her I said congratulations and keep up the good work!

Also, you’re more than welcome on the teaching’s, believe me when I say it was my pleasure, especially when I see a fine young lady like Kaitlyn take it to heart and have a successful hunt.

 Oh, by the way, don’t sell yourself short. I’m sure you had a lot to do with her success as well as her desire to be out there. Congratulations to you, too!

Your friend in camo,


Ya know somethin? I truly am a blessed man. I have a wonderful family, my wife Janie, my son, Dale II, and his wife, Katie along with my three grand kids, Michael, Liam and Brianna, my daughter, Stacey, and my future son in-law, T.J., as well as our family patriarch, my father, Tom.

But over the years, I’ve acquired an extended family, all the young adults and adults I’ve instructed via the Ohio Hunter Education classes.

To have any one of them share their first harvest with me is truly fantastic. To know that I have played a small part in their Hunting Heritage makes everything I do worthwhile.

Ya ought to try it some time, it does a body good.

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

And yeah lest I not forget, here’s hoping you have a Blessed and Merry Christmas and the same wish goes out to your families and everyone you hold near and dear.

Sunderlin is a freelance writer from Geneva. Reach him at