Cooler temps signals start of hunting season

Al Smith - Guest Columnist

As the weather cools, outdoor thoughts shift toward hunting.

Friday kicked off Ohio’s small game season. This is a long season for those who especially like hunting rabbits since that season runs through the end of February.

Youth got a head start on that season the prior two weekends when they could hunt both pheasant and other small game.

The youth hunt at the Kalida Fish and Game proved quite successful. The club was able to accommodate 85 youth hunters on various properties in and around the Kalida area. The hunt was made possible through the help of Black Swamp Chapter of Pheasants Forever, numerous volunteers who took the time to bring their bird dogs, Ohio Division of Wildlife, Cherry’s Outdoor World for donating a gun and all the volunteers and the land owners.

While rabbit season extends into February, pheasant season close on Jan. 14.

The furbearer hunting and trapping season for fox, raccoon, skunk, opossum, weasel, mink, and muskrat begins Friday (Nov. 10). Trappers can begin pursuing beaver and river otter on Dec. 26.

More than 15,000 young hunters are expected to participate in the upcoming youth deer-gun hunt on Nov. 18-19. The hunt is open statewide on both private and public land.

All young hunters (17 and under) must wear hunter orange, possess a valid Ohio hunting license and deer permit, and be accompanied by a non-hunting adult. The adult must be at least 18 years old, wear hunter orange and must remain with the young hunter while hunting. The adult is not required to have a hunting license. For more information, visit or call 800-945-3433 for details.

Pre-registration is required for a pair of free deer field dressing workshops. One will be held on Nov. 14 from 6-9 p.m. at the Spring Valley Shooting Range, located at 3450 Houston Road, Waynesville. Interested persons may register by calling Brittany Kessler at 937-372-9261 or emailing The other will be held from 6-9:30 p.m on Nov. 21 at the DOW District Two Headquarters, located at 952 Lima Ave. Preregistration is required by Nov. 17, as space is limited. Interested individuals can register by calling Andrea Altman at 419-429-8321 or emailing

Trained professionals will cover topics including field dressing, skinning, and butchering. These workshops are hands-on and will be held outdoors. Participants are encouraged to dress appropriately for the workshop and for the weather.

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Members of school communities can attend a free basic archery instruction workshop slated for Nov. 15 at the DOW Wildlife District Two office located at 952 Lima Ave. in Findlay.

Persons attending the workshop, which runs from 9 a.m.4 p.m., become certified National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) instructors. Preregistration is required by Nov. 14 as space is limited. Those interested should visit to sign up for the course. Participants are encouraged to bring a packed lunch.

NASP instructors teach target archery to elementary, middle and high school students, within the school gym. The curriculum covers archery, safety, equipment, technique, concentration skills and self-improvement. When students are introduced to the sport of archery, the in-school educational component is only the beginning. Many NASP-participating schools then start after-school programs and archery teams.

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It is not easy to fool an observant wildlife officer. The following two incidents involving Limaland wildlife officers prove that.

During the spring, Logan County Wildlife Officer Adam Smith was patrolling Indian Lake when he observed an angler fishing at a popular saugeye spot. The wildlife officer recognized this angler as one he had contacted earlier in the evening at a different location. Smith watched the man catch a fish, measure it, and place it in a bucket.

According to the Division of Wildlife (DOW, when Smith contacted the angler, the man stated he had only caught fish at his previous spot. The angler lifted fish on a stringer which all appeared to be of legal size. Smith then asked the man if there were any fish in the nearby bucket. The angler replied “no,” and ran over to the bucket and threw the saugeye into the lake.

The angler was issued a summons for deterring a state wildlife officer. He was found guilty in the Bellefontaine Municipal Court and was ordered to pay $135.50 in fines and court costs. Six days prior to this incident, the same man was issued a summons for littering in Mercer County and was ordered to pay $124 in fines and court costs.

A pair of anglers at Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area discovered that overbagging fish can be costly.

Hardin County Wildlife Officer Ryan Kennedy contacted the pair after observing them fishing at Pond 33 on the area. After checking their fishing licenses, Kennedy noticed two buckets sitting in front of them. When asked if they had caught any fish, one angler replied that the pair had caught approximately 10 bluegill. Pond 33 has a possession limit of ten bluegill. But when Kennedy counted the fish, the two anglers had 36 bluegills in their possession, Those 16 over the legal limit cost the subject who caught the additional $175 in fines and court costs.

Al Smith

Guest Columnist

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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