Waterfowl hunters are invited to participate in special drawings for controlled hunting opportunities, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife will be holding drawings in northwest Ohio at the following locations: Pipe Creek Wildlife Area Waterfowl Hunts- A drawing will be held at Osborn Park Thursday, Aug. 17, at 6:30 p.m. Registration is from 5 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. at Osborn Park, 3910 Perkins Ave., Huron. East Sandusky Bay Metro Park Waterfowl Hunts- A drawing will be held at Osborn Park Thursday, Aug. 17, at 6:30 p.m. Registration is from 5 p.m. to 6:20 p.m. at Osborn Park, 3910 Perkins Ave., Huron.
Adult participants are required to present proof of purchasing their current Ohio Wetland Habitat Stamp or current hunting license. Youth Hunters are required to present proof of purchasing their current Youth Hunting License to be eligible to participate in the drawings.
One notable change, beginning in 2017 the Magee Marsh Wildlife Area Early Waterfowl Hunt drawing is being held through the computer lottery. Hunters can apply for the controlled hunt by completing the application process online using Ohio’s Wildlife Licensing System at wildohio.gov through July 31.
• If you have been reading my column for long, you already know that Magee Marsh is one of my favorite places in Ohio. Here is a great way to enjoy this wonderful place through out the summer. Walkers, birders, and wildlife enthusiasts are encouraged to participate in the Hike the Dikes program at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. Hikes take place the second Saturday of each month June through September according to the ODNR.
The Hike the Dikes program is free and open to all ages and interest levels, and provides opportunities to explore the natural wonders of Magee Marsh Wildlife Area and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge. All walks are led by a trained and knowledgeable guide. Participants will learn about local wildlife such as birds, reptiles and amphibians, butterflies and marsh mammals, as well as, wetland plants and more.
Hike the Dikes is a partnership program between ODNR Division of Wildlife – Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, and Black Swamp Bird Observatory. Each walk is hosted by one of the partner agencies. Hike dates for 2017 include June 10, July 8, Aug. 12 and Sept. 9.
Hikes begin at 9 a.m. and usually last one to two hours, depending on the weather. Starting locations are dependent on the hosting agency. Hikes in June, and July will meet at the Sportsmen’s Migratory Bird Center at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, located at 13229 West State Route 2, Oak Harbor 43449. Hikes in August, and September will meet at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Visitor’s Center, located at 14000 West State Route 2, Oak Harbor 43449.
Anyone who attends three or more Hike the Dike walks in 2017 will receive a free hiking stick. For more information call Magee Marsh Wildlife Area at 419-898-0960 ext. 21 or Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge at 419-898-0014. To learn about other available programs, visit wildohio.gov.
• Twenty-five individuals, including 20 juveniles, were recently convicted of 161 hunting-related charges in the Muskingum County Court and the Muskingum County Common Pleas Court Juvenile Division, according to the ODNR.
Over a two-year period, ODNR Division of Wildlife officers received numerous complaints about white-tailed deer being illegally shot near Philo in Muskingum County.
During a night project in 2014, a vehicle was observed spotlighting deer in a hay field. When state wildlife officers approached the vehicle, it fled the scene at a high rate of speed. Officers pursued the vehicle until it was deemed unsafe to continue.
The State Highway Patrol provided a lead in December 2015 when State Troopers pulled over an adult and four juveniles and discovered three dead deer in the vehicle. State wildlife officers and investigators followed up with the individuals and were able to determine that one of the juveniles had been a passenger in the vehicle that had fled the year before. Officers were also able to identify additional suspects and other violations. More suspects were identified through subsequent contacts and additional violation reports. The investigation eventually resulted in 25 individuals being issued summonses for more than 200 counts of wildlife violations.
The defendants were found guilty on 161 of those counts and ordered to pay $1,675 in fines and $3,991 in court costs, and complete a combined 440 hours of community service. Several items seized during the investigation were forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife, including firearms, deer parts, and ginseng.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife encourages anyone observing or suspecting that wildlife violations are occurring to report illegal activity by calling the Turn-In-A-Poacher (TIP) hotline toll free at 1-800-POACHER (762-2437) or submitting information online at wildohio.gov. All information received by the TIP program will remain confidential.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!