The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

March 24, 2013

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Let’s talk some turkey!

By DALE SUNDERLIN
For the Star Beacon

— It’s getting close folks, turkey time! Yep, we’re less than a month away — April 22 being opening day of regular Ohio spring turkey season. With the days getting longer and sunshine becoming “somewhat” more prevalent many hunters are starting to daydream about longbeards, hooked spurs and the monarch of spring’s thundering gobble.

So without any further ado, let’s talk a little turkey.



Hunt drawings

The ODNR Division of Wildlife will offer special opportunities for young hunters seeking wild turkeys this spring. In addition to the statewide youth turkey hunting days April 20 and 21on both public and private lands, the Division of Wildlife will be holding a drawing on Saturday, April 6, for special, controlled youth turkey hunting opportunities at Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area as well as Ravenna Training and Logistics Site (TLS).

For Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area, hunting dates are on Saturdays and Sundays only, from April 20 through May 19.  Hunters 17 years and under must be present in order to participate in the drawing and must bring a valid 2013 hunting license. A total of 90 permits will be drawn.

For Ravenna TLS, hunting will take place on Saturday, April 20. A total of five permits will be drawn.

A “Jake’s Day” sponsored by the National Wild Turkey Federation, Trumbull Federation of Conservation Clubs and Trumbull Rod and Gun Club will begin at 9:30 a.m. where youngsters can participate in shooting sports and other activities. Lunch will be provided.  Registration for the youth day will begin at 8:30 a.m. at the Trumbull Rod and Gun Club, 6575 Phillips-Rice Road (one mile north of State Route 88) and the drawings will take place at 1 p.m. Youths not wishing to participate in the event may register anytime prior to the drawing. Participants in the “Jake’s Day” are encouraged to dress for the weather! For more information call Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area at 685-4776.



Youth drawing

The ODNR Division of Wildlife will offer special opportunities for young hunters seeking wild turkeys this spring. In addition to the statewide youth turkey hunting days April 20 and 21 on both public and private lands, the Division of Wildlife will be holding a drawing on Saturday, April 13, for a special, controlled turkey hunting opportunity within the refuge portion of the Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area.

Hunting dates are on Saturdays and Sundays only, from April 20 through May 19.  A total of 30 names will be drawn. Hunters 17 years and under must be present in order to participate in the drawing and must bring a valid 2013 hunting license.

Interested youngsters must attend the drawing which will be held at the East Holmes Sportsmen’s Club, located 2.5 miles southeast of Millersburg on Township Road 310. Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. and the drawing will begin at 1 p.m. The drawing will coincide with a National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF) Jakes Day event sponsored by local chapters of the NWTF. Please dress for the weather.

For questions regarding the drawing call Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area at (330) 567-3390 or call Wildlife District Three in Akron at (330) 644-2293.



No CWD in Ohio

The ODNR and the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) announced today that testing of Ohio’s deer herd found no evidence of chronic wasting disease (CWD). CWD is a degenerative brain disease that affects elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer.

According to the ODNR, state and federal agriculture and wildlife officials collected 519 samples in 2012. For the 11th consecutive year, all samples were negative for CWD. Since CWD was first discovered in the late 1960s in the western United States, there has been no evidence that the disease can be transmitted to humans.

Since 2002, the ODNR Division of Wildlife, in conjunction with the ODA Division of Animal Health and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Wildlife and Veterinary Services, has conducted surveillance throughout the state for CWD. While CWD has never been found in Ohio’s deer herd, it had been diagnosed in wild and captive deer, moose, or elk in 22 states and two Canadian provinces. Since CWD was discovered in the western United States in the late 1960s, there has been no evidence that the disease can be transmitted to humans.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife continues to carefully monitor the health of Ohio’s wild deer herd throughout the year. Visit www.ohioagriculture.gov or www.wildohio.com for the latest information on CWD or the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance at www.cwd-info.org. All CWD testing is performed at the ODA Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory.



Hunting grounds

The first thing a turkey hunter needs to be able to hunt turkey is a place to do it. It’s one of the greatest challenges facing every hunter. No, it’s not calling in that longbeard or figuring out how to get the tightest pattern out of your shotgun. It’s finding a good place to hunt.

While a small handful of hunters own their own land and even more are able to join hunt clubs and leases, many others search every year for that perfect spot. And for a lot of these hunters, it means finding good public land. For those of you who don’t have access to any or much private land you might want to investigate public hunting grounds are a viable alternative.



First choice

The first step in every hunter’s search for good public hunting lands should begin with the ODNR. They are responsible for managing much of the land available for public hunting, such as wildlife management areas or state forests. The ODNR can usually provide complete information on areas close to your home and those areas with the best opportunity for tagging a wild turkey or whatever game it is you seek.



Check out ODNR

To log on to the ODNR’s website, simply go to www.dnr.state.oh.us/wildlife. Here, you can find license requirements, costs and additional fees that may need to be paid to hunt these areas, along with maps and info on access roads, parking and even local camping or lodging.

It will also have legal hunting hours, bag limits as well as any rules and regulations regarding turkey hunting. Also it will have any particular stipulations in regards to any special regulations you may need to know. It is important to make sure you understand the rules of hunting each individual public hunting area.



Timber companies

But don’t just figure your search is complete with a state agency. Other sources of finding public hunting opportunities lie with large timber companies such as International Paper or Mead/Westvaco. While more and more, these companies only lease land to hunt clubs or the state, some do still allow interested hunters to purchase passes that will let them hunt some tracts of company-owned land.



Ask the Feds

Another great place to check is with large military bases or federal government facilities. Many bases in rural areas take up thousands of acres used periodically by the military for training exercises or sit unused for future military needs. As such, many of them provide hunting to those willing to secure a permit.

To find out if a military base or federal installation near you has hunting opportunities, contact the base’s public information office, which will be able to provide you with the info you will need to obtain access and take part in some of the great hunting these areas can provide.



If all else fails...

If none of these pan out for ya, get in your truck, drive around the rural and farm areas until you find a likely spot and start knocking on doors. You might be surprised how receptive land owners are if you present yourself in a respectable manner. Good luck and good hunting.



Caution when burning

Ohioans are urged to be aware of the state’s outdoor burning regulations and take necessary precautions if they are planning to burn debris this spring, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

Ohio law states outdoor debris burning is prohibited from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. during March, April and May. Burning is limited in the spring due to the abundance of dry fuel on the ground before small, grassy fuels green up with moisture. Winds can make a seemingly safe fire burn more intensely and escape control.

“We often wait until spring for cleaning chores, and many residents burn their unwanted debris,” said Robert Boyles, chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry.

“Unfortunately, some of these fires unintentionally escape control and cause wildfires, which result in significant property damage, personal injury and occasionally even loss of life.”

If a fire does escape control, immediately contact the local fire department. An escaped wildfire, even one burning in grass or weeds, is dangerous. Violators of Ohio’s burning regulations are subject to citations and fines. Residents should also check the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency regulations and consult with local fire officials about burning conditions.

The ODNR Division of Forestry offers these safety tips for burning debris outdoors:

Remember — “Don’t burn during the day in March, April and May!”



Top honors

Maysville High School (Zanesville) won the 2013 Ohio National Archery in the Schools (NASP) State Tournament on Friday, March 1, with a score of 3,397 points, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The 2013 NASP tournament was held at Franklin County Veterans Memorial in conjunction with the Arnold Sports Festival, the annual fitness event developed by former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. The ODNR coordinates the Ohio NASP tournament.

“NASP is currently taught in 620 Ohio schools, and this curriculum emphasizes archery safety in addition to improving the concentration, self-esteem and confidence of the students who participate,” ODNR Director James Zehringer said. “ODNR hosts one of the largest NASP tournaments in the nation, and we want to encourage Ohio’s young archers to continue showcasing their talents.”

The top male and female archers were determined by a shoot-off between the top three boys and top three girls from each division, elementary, middle school and high school. At the conclusion of the shoot-off, Clay Williams, a freshman at Philo High School, and Katie Ruffner, a sophomore at Logan High School, were announced as the overall male and female champions.

Hocking College in Nelsonville offered scholarships to the first, second and third place individual finishers by final score. Waynedale High School received this year’s spirit award for demonstrating enthusiasm and sportsmanship during the competition.

A total of 1,446 archers from 78 teams competed in the 2013 tournament, which is an increase from 1,319 archers last year. Each competitor could score a maximum of 300 points by shooting arrows as close to the center of a target as possible.

Awards were given for teams and individuals with high scores in the elementary, middle school and high school divisions. Thirty-four Ohio teams received qualifying scores, making them eligible to participate in the NASP National Invitational Tournament, which will be held May 10-11, in Louisville, Kent.

Ohio was the 10th state to participate in NASP. The ODNR Division of Wildlife introduced NASP in 2004 with 12 pilot schools. Statewide expansion of the program began in January 2005, and 2005-2006 was the program’s first full academic year. Growth in NASP has continued across the state, and more than half of Ohio’s 88 counties currently have at least one school participating in NASP. Last year, more than 1,300 students participated in the 2012 Ohio NASP State Tournament.

NASP is used to teach target archery in a school’s gym. The curriculum covers archery, safety, equipment, technique, concentration skills and self-improvement. Visit www.ohionasp.com for more information about the program.

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

Sunderlin is a freelance writer from Geneva. Reach him at djss@roadrunner.com.