The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

October 7, 2013

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: New antlerless-only muzzleloader hunt on tap

For the Star Beacon

— Ohio hunters may participate in a new antlerless-only deer muzzleloader season Saturday and Sunday, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

“October is a great time to hunt deer in Ohio. This new antlerless muzzleloader weekend is a chance for Ohio hunters to enjoy the outdoors and help manage the state’s deer herd,” Scott Zody, chief of the ODNR Division of Wildlife, said. “Hunters should be aware that no antlered deer may be killed during this weekend, regardless of hunting implement.”

In addition to this added antlerless season, an extra half hour of prime hunting time after sunset was added to all gun seasons this year to give hunters more golden opportunities in the field. Hunting hours are now 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

It is legal to hunt antlerless deer statewide with a muzzleloader or bow during this two-day season. No antlered deer may be harvested regardless of hunting implement. Antlerless deer include deer without antlers and deer with antlers less than three inches in length. All hunters, excluding waterfowl hunters, are required to wear a vest, coat, jacket or coveralls that are either solid hunter orange or camouflage hunter orange.

Hunters will be able to use antlerless permits and either-sex permits during this two-day season.  A new tagging procedure administered by the Division of Wildlife requires hunters to make their own game tag to attach to a deer. Game tags can be made of any material (cardboard, plastic, paper, etc.) as long as it contains the hunter’s name, date, time and county of the kill. Go to the Deer Hunting Resources page at for more information on changes to the game check process.

Workshop for educators

Both formal and non-formal educators who work with children ages three to seven are invited to attend a Growing Up WILD workshop in Lake County on Tuesday. The workshop, which will be facilitated by personnel from the Division of Wildlife, will be held at the Holden Arboretum from 4-7 p.m.

Growing Up Wild is an early childhood education program that builds on children’s sense of wonder about nature and invites them to explore wildlife and the world around them.  Workshop participants will take home an easy-to-use book containing nearly 30 field-tested activities focusing on wildlife and nature. These activities blend social, emotional, physical, language, and cognitive skills to help foster learning and are correlated to the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Standards and the Head Start Domains.

Step-Up-To-Quality (SUTQ) credits from the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services will be offered. There is no fee for the workshop but pre-registration is required by calling Holden Arboretum at (440) 602-3833. Spaces are limited.

Read more about Growing Up WILD at

Serving youth

Crisp fall air and brilliant fall foliage signal the start of Ohio’s world-class hunting seasons and family traditions that can be carried on for generations. Ohio’s young hunters have many opportunities to learn and improve their outdoors skills during several special youth hunting seasons, according to the ODNR.

“Ohio offers great hunting opportunities for sportsmen and women of all ages,” ODNR Director James Zehringe said. “Our youth hunts provide parents a chance to share with their children the excitement of their first hunt.”

n Small game — Hunters age 17 and younger may hunt statewide for rabbit, pheasant and all other legal game in season during two designated weekends, Oct. 19-20 and Oct. 26-27. Quail also may be hunted in 16 designated open counties.

The Division of Wildlife will release pheasants prior to these weekend dates on the following state wildlife areas — Berlin, Caesar Creek, Camp Belden, Darke, Delaware, Dillon, Fallsville, Grand River, Killdeer Plains, Oxbow, Resthaven, Rush Run, Spencer, Tiffin River and Wellington, and Charlemont Metropark in Lorain County and Ringneck Ridge Area in Sandusky County. A permit is required to hunt the Ringneck Ridge Area. The free permit can be obtained from the Sandusky County Park District by calling (419 ) 334-4495.

n White-tailed deer — A youth deer-gun season will be open statewide Nov. 23-24 for hunter’s age 17 and younger. Hunters holding a valid youth hunting license and youth deer permit may harvest deer of either sex during this season in accordance with existing bag limits. Young hunters, regardless of age, must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, 18 years or older, when hunting during this season.

n Wild turkey — It is not too early to begin planning for the 2014 spring youth wild turkey hunting season. A statewide spring youth wild turkey season will be offered April 19-20, 2014. This hunt is open to youth age 17 and younger.

To participate in a youth hunt, all young hunters must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult and must abide by all regular hunting hours and bag limits. Accompany means to go along with another person while staying within a distance from the person which enables uninterrupted, unaided visual and auditory communications.

A valid 2013-14 youth hunting license, along with appropriate permits, is required. For complete details on all of Ohio's youth hunting seasons, refer to the 2013-2014 Ohio Hunting Regulations, call 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) or go to

Check ’em!

An enhanced website will offer Ohio hunters a quick and easy way to check harvested white-tailed deer with their smartphones, according to the ODNR.

The enhanced site at is now available.

The mobile-friendly site is available for all hunters to check deer, including landowners not required to purchase a deer permit. A valid email address and phone number are required to use the website on a mobile device.

A new tagging procedure administered by the Division of Wildlife requires hunters to make their own game tag to attach to a deer. Game tags can be made of any material (cardboard, plastic, paper, etc.) as long as it contains the hunter’s name, date, time and county of the kill. Go to the Deer Hunting Resources page at for more information on changes to the game check process.

All hunters must then report their deer harvest using the automated game-check system. Hunters have three options to complete the game check:

Game-check transactions are available online and by telephone seven days a week, including holidays. Landowners exempt from purchasing a deer permit, and other people not required to purchase a deer permit, cannot use the 877-TAG-ITOH option, but they can use the new enhanced Internet site.

Deer hunting in Ohio continues to be a popular activity for many who enjoy the outdoors. Ohio hunters checked 218,910 deer during the 2012-2013 season. Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has a more than $853 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting in America — An Economic Force for Conservation publication.

Waterfowl hunting

Ohio hunters should experience good opportunities for success as they take to the field in search of waterfowl throughout the hunting seasons, according to the ODNR. Waterfowl seasons stretch from October through January, allowing sportsmen and women to pursue many popular waterfowl species.  

This positive outlook is based on findings by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) biologists and detailed in the USFWS Status Report and Adaptive Harvest Management Report. The reports provide information from continental surveys and are available on the ODNR Division of Wildlife Waterfowl Hunting Resources page at

Canada geese are the most harvested waterfowl in Ohio. The 78-day Canada goose season beginning in October allows hunters to harvest three geese daily. Ohio’s spring breeding population estimate was 147,500 geese, near the record high for the 20-plus years the survey has been conducted. Migrant interior goose populations (Canada’s Southern James Bay and the Mississippi Valley) had above normal gosling production, suggesting the Canada goose migration into Ohio this year could be above normal.

Possession limits for all migratory game birds increased this year to three times the daily bag limit after the second day. Additional details of waterfowl and all other hunting seasons can be found in the 2013-2014 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations and in Ohio Waterfowl Hunting Seasons Publication 5295.

Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification is required of all waterfowl hunters prior to hunting. Migratory game bird hunters must call 877-HIPOHIO (447-6446) and answer a few survey questions to complete the HIP certification requirement. Hunters will be provided a certification number to write on their Ohio hunting license once the survey has been completed.

Waterfowl hunter’s age 18 and older must also purchase an Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp, available at any hunting license agent or In addition, all waterfowl hunters age 16 and older must possess a signed federal duck stamp, which can be purchased at most post offices, at or Shipping time is determined by the vendor for the federal duck stamp so hunters should plan ahead and order early if they are using the online method.

The success of Ohio waterfowl hunters depends on the weather and local habitat conditions as opposed to continental duck populations. Hunters are encouraged to spend time afield scouting and follow weather trends closely as north winds and severe weather to the north often trigger migrations.

Hunters can follow the waterfowl migration this year on Data from biweekly waterfowl surveys will be updated throughout the season on the Waterfowl Hunting Resources page starting in the first week of October. Areas to be surveyed from the air will be expanded this year to include Mercer, Big Island, Mosquito Creek, Killbuck and Funk Bottoms wildlife areas, in addition to the Lake Erie Marshes.

Hot huntin’ tip

We all have our favorite and often “lucky” hunting hats. Unfortunately, not many things we wear collect more human odor than our hats. To make matters worse, hats are often difficult to wash and tend to build up odor upon more odor.

How to combat hat odor depends on what style hat you wear most.

For traditional baseball-style hats, purchase one of the inexpensive plastic hat frames. The plastic fits around your hat and protects it from washer and dryer abuse and helps it retain its shape. The Scent-Lok hats can be sprayed with a specific odor eliminator and placed in the dryer, while knit hats, and other pull-on hats can simply be washed and dried with your other hunting clothes. Hunt smart and keep you noggin scent free.

Brianna’s ‘Big Boy’

The day, Sept. 29, 2013, started out with Shane Shetler trying to coax his wife into going out hunting with him but she just wasn’t feeing it. Much to his surprise his stepdaughter Brianna piped up and said she’d like to go. Well all right, let’s get out there and shoot mom’s crossbow since you’ve never shot anything before. A quick dozen arrows and she was spot on and ready to go.

A first-timer   

It was now around 6 p.m. and they were headed for the stand out back, maybe a 5-minute walk. Once they got into the stand it didn’t take long before the action began, 50 minutes, to be exact. A nice 11-point buck was headed to their apple pile. By the time Shane looked over at Brianna she was ready, safety off and bow on target. He was a bit nervous about the situation, her first time hunting and to have a monster out in front of her, well let’s just say that would rattle many experienced hunters much less a first timer.

A good hit

When “Big Boy” was at 20 yards she put the pin on him and squeezed the trigger of her Horton crossbow. The sound of her Rage broadhead was an unmistakeable thwack; it was a good hit, a pass through. Once their nerves subsided they climbed down, Brianna was actually doing better than Shane. Shane was pumped, his comment was, “I don’t think I’ve ever been as excited on any deer I’ve ever shot myself as I was on Brianna’s.”

Mixed emotions

As they walked up to the arrow Brianna had a look of disappointment on her face because the arrow was sticking out of the ground. Once Shane explained to her that it was a good sign and showed her the blood her smile came back.

Backin’ out

They located the blood trail and followed it a ways. At this point Shane decided it was getting too dark and decided to back out for the time being. Once back at the house he made a couple of calls and assembled his bloodhound boys, tried and true friends as well as experienced hunters and trackers.

In and out again

They gave “Big Boy” two and a half hours before starting back out. Once on the trail they found a bed where he had laid. They had more than likely bumped him and decided to back out again. At the house they checked the weather and it was calling for rain. Around 10:30, it started to drizzle and aspirations of finding “Big Boy” were starting to wane. Brianna was feeling pretty low at this point. Undaunted the crew decided to head back out around 11 p.m.


They made their way back to last blood and proceeded on. Success was only a short track away and there laid Brianna’s “Big Boy” 11-pointer. A short ride on the four wheeler and they along with “Big Boy” were all back at the house savoring the moment.

Brianna’s stats

Brianna Hyde a 13-year-old eighth grader at Lakeside High harvested her first deer ever, while on her first hunting excursion ever, on Sept. 29, 2013 around 6:50 p.m. She took her 180-pound, 11-point “Big Boy” using a Horton crossbow powered by Horton Carbon arrows tipped with Rage 2 blade broadheads. She arrowed him at 20 yards and he went another 400 yards before expiring. She harvested him in Saybrook Township while hunting with her step dad Shane Shetler sitting in a Double Buddy ladder stand and wearing Realtree Camo.  


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

Sunderlin is a freelance writer from Geneva. Reach him at