The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

October 8, 2012

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Gobble, gobble!

Hunters prep for Ohio’s fall turkey season

For the Star Beacon

—  Fall wild turkey hunting opens in 48 Ohio counties Saturday, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The season continues through Sunday, Nov. 25.

“The warm and dry spring resulted in better nest success and brood survival this year,” said ODNR Wildlife Biologist Mike Reynolds. “Although fall turkey hunting is not as popular as spring turkey hunting, more wild turkeys and a six-week season should provide ample opportunities for hunters to harvest a bird for a Thanksgiving feast.”

Hunter’s harvested 1,375 wild turkeys during last year’s fall season. According to Reynolds, Ohio currently has a population of approximately 180,000 wild turkeys. An estimated 15,000 people, not counting private landowners hunting on their own property, will enjoy Ohio’s fall wild turkey season.

Only one turkey of either sex may be taken during the entire fall season, and a Fall Turkey Hunting Permit is required. Hours are one half hour before sunrise to sunset. Shotguns using shot, crossbows and longbows are permitted. Hunting turkeys over bait is prohibited, and turkeys must be checked by 11:30 p.m. on the day the bird is shot.

All hunters must still report their harvest of turkeys, but they are no longer required to take their turkey to a check station for physical inspection. Hunters will have three options to complete the automated game check:

n At or

n By telephone at 1-877-824-4864. This option is only available to those who are required to purchase a turkey permit to hunt turkeys.

n At all license agent locations online.

Game-check transactions will be available online and by telephone seven days a week and during holidays. Landowner hunters who are not required to purchase a fall turkey permit must use the Internet or any license agent to check their turkey. Hunters who tag their turkey as a landowner harvest cannot use the phone-in method.

Game will be checked in by all authorized license sales agents. A list of these agents can be found at or by calling 800-WILDLIFE.

ODNR Division of Wildlife advises turkey hunters to wear hunter orange clothing when entering, leaving or moving through hunting areas in order to remain visible to others. Go to to view the counties that are open for hunting fall wild turkey.

Additional details regarding fall wild turkey hunting can be found in Publication 85, Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations, or online at


Ohio’s youth hunters will have several opportunities to learn and improve their hunting skills this fall. The ODNR offers many ways for families to hunt together and create lasting traditions in the state’s outdoors.

Waterfowl: Youngster’s age 15 or younger wanting to pursue waterfowl may do so statewide on public and private lands. On Nov. 23-24, the South Zone of Ohio will be open for young hunters. Hunters 15 years of age and younger must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult 18 years or older (no more than two youths per adult). More details regarding waterfowl zones, bag limits and licensing requirements can be found in Publication 5295, 2012-2013 Waterfowl Hunting Seasons on

Small game: Hunter’s age 17 and younger may hunt statewide for rabbit, pheasant and all other legal game in season during two designated weekends, Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 27-28. Quail also may be taken in 16 designated open counties.

Pheasant releases for young hunters will occur prior to these dates on the following state wildlife areas: Resthaven, Oxbow, Berlin, Killdeer Plains, Camp Belden, Grand River, Spencer, Wellington, Delaware, Dillon, Caesar Creek, Rush Run, Fallsville, Tiffin River and Darke, as well as Charlemont Metropark in Lorain County and Ring Neck Ridge in Sandusky County. A permit is required to hunt the Ring Neck Ridge Area. The free permit can be obtained from the Sandusky County Park Office by calling 419-334-4495 or the Sandusky County Park District Office at 419-637-2900.

White-tailed deer: A youth deer-gun season will be open statewide, Nov. 17-18. Hunters holding a valid youth hunting license and youth deer permit may take deer of either sex during this season in accordance with existing bag and deer-zone limits. Young hunters, regardless of age, must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, 18 years or older, when hunting during this season.

Wild turkey; It is not too early to begin planning for the spring youth wild turkey hunting season for 2013. A statewide spring youth wild turkey season will be offered on Saturday and Sunday, April 20-21. This hunt is open to youth’s age 17 and younger.

Controlled hunts: The ODNR Division of Wildlife also offers several controlled hunts for young hunters throughout the season. Applications to participate in these hunts are accepted June 1-July 31. Applications are available at the division’s five district offices and on the division’s website. The applications may also be submitted by mail or online. There are controlled youth hunts for white-tailed deer, wild turkey and waterfowl.

To participate in the upcoming youth hunts, all young hunters must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult and must abide by all regular hunting hours and bag limits. A valid 2012-13 youth hunting license, along with the appropriate permits, is required. For complete details on all of Ohio’s youth hunting seasons, refer to the 2012-13 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations booklet, call 1-800-945-3543 or go online to

Controlled trapping  

Trappers are invited to participate in special drawings for controlled trapping opportunities, according to the ODNR. The drawing dates and times are as follows:

Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area: A drawing will be held at Killdeer Plains on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 6:30 p.m. Registration is from 6-6:25 p.m. at the Killdeer Plains Check Station, 19100 C.H. 115, Harpster.

Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area: A drawing will be held at Pickerel Creek on Thursday, Oct. 25 at 6:30 p.m. Registration is from 6-6:25 p.m. at Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area Headquarters, 3451 C.R. 256, Vickery.

The Killdeer Drawing is limited to adult participants, age 18 and older. The Pickerel Creek Drawing is limited to adults, age 18 and older, except for six zones, which are reserved for a Youth/Handicapped Priority Drawing. Youth are age 17 and under. Zones which are not taken by a youth or handicapped trapper will be available to other trappers. All participants are required to present their current or previous year’s Ohio Fur Takers Permit to be eligible for the drawings. For additional rules and information visit and click on the controlled hunting tab.  


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, Oct. 23. The workshop, which will be facilitated by personnel from the Ohio 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.

There is no fee for the workshop but preregistration is required by calling Holden at (440) 602-3833. Spaces are limited. You can read more about Growing Up WILD at

Quick tips

A Good Mount Begins in the Field: You’ve just taken your best buck ever and you are so excited you can hardly think straight. While you should be on cloud 9 after taking such a buck, you need to think clearly if you plan to have it mounted.

When field-dressing your buck, do not cut up through the brisket like you normally would. Keep your incision back as far as possible and reach up into the body cavity and pull the entrails back through the opening.

When skinning your buck, pick an area well back past the front shoulder as your cutoff point on the hide. The middle of the rib cage is a good choice and should give your taxidermist enough hide to work with.

You’re may end up loosing a little neck meat but if it’s the buck of a lifetime it will be well worth it every time you look at your mount and remember back to it’s harvest.

Harvesting doe’s improves the quality of bucks in your area. There is nothing wrong with taking a doe. If it is food you’re after, the steaks and burger of a young buck won’t taste near as good as a fat doe. In fact, taking a doe is something we need to do especially if you’re after trophy bucks. Everyone talks about genetics and food supply but taking a buck before he is 3 years old never allows that buck to grow to his full potential.

If you forget about your ego, and take a doe instead of a young buck, it allows that buck to grow another set of antlers. Taking a doe will also help provide more food to the bucks in your area and create a better buck-to-doe breeding ratio. Harvesting does is a way of improving the quality of bucks in your area.

Tips for Deer attractants: Animals are naturally attracted to food, so anything they want to eat will generally attracts them. Minerals, on the other hand, contribute to long-term animal health. Calcium and salt help promote antler and bone growth in deer and elk, and a variety of minerals will contribute to the general health of animals (just like with human).

While food and minerals will attract wildlife, knowing where to put them will improve effectiveness. The key is to put the material where animals feel comfortable. Some liquid gel products can be effectively spread over a decaying log or stump and will slowly soak into the wood, making the whole thing a treat that your deer will consume.

Reapply until the entire stump or log is consumed. It can be used to create a lick on bare ground by just pouring over the site and letting it soak in.

Feed can be put before or during the hunting season (depending on the laws of the state you reside in), while minerals tend to have a longer lasting effect. Putting a mineral mix in the ground will bring animals back over and over.

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

Sunderlin is a freelance writer from Geneva. Reach him at

Click here to subscribe to The Star Beacon print edition.

Click here to subscribe to The Star Beacon replica edition.