Four session program educates on hunting

By Al Smith - Guest Columnist

It should be well known to hunters, that our group is losing members at a rapid rate. It is important to continue this tradition for a number of reasons.

Foremost is the fact it is a great conservation tool that not only has brought back populations of wild species, but acts as a great management tool for states’ wildlife agencies. Also wildlife conservation programs are set up on license fees and excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment which the federal government then divides up among the states according to the numbers of hunting and fishing licenses sold. It has proven to be a successful model for wildlife conservation in the United States. However there are going to be funding issues in the near future due to less hunting and fishing licenses being sold.

Those with little or no experience at hunting have an opportunity to learn about deer hunting through a four-session program being offer from late September into early November. Hunters should pass the following information along to people who might have an interest in deer hunting, but have never hunted before.

Applicants should apply by Sept. 5 at 11:59 p.m. for this free event. Spots are limited and will be drawn from the application pool. Applications can be found at Participants are responsible for their hunting license costs (process covered in the program).

All Applicants will be reviewed by a mentored hunt coordinator and placed into one of 4 priority categories below: Priority 1 Be at least 19 years of age and have no previous hunting experience.

The first session takes place from 6-9 p.m. on Sept. 26 at Cleland’s Outdoor World, located at 10306 Airport Highway in Swanton. Introductions and benefits of hunting ill be covered in this session.

Basic crossbow and range safety, crossbow shooting practice and shot placement education will be covered during session 2, which also will be held from 6-9 p.m. at Cleland’s on Oct. 17.

Looking for deer signs, learn woodsmanship skills and finding a place to hunt will be covered during session 3, which will be held on Oct. 20 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at Oak Openings Park, located at 4139 Girdham Road in Swanton.

During the final session on Nov. 3-4, participants will go on a mentored crossbow deer hunt at Maumee Bay State Park, located at 1400 State Park Road in Oregon. Participants will learn about tracking and learn about field dressing and caring for the meat.

For more information, contact Skip Markland at 419-769-6983, or Gary Robison at 419-410-5824,

The program is highly recommended by Kelly Schott, wildlife communications specialist at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area. give it a try and learn to provide your own food. She and her husband, Jim, who is the manager at Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area use hunting as a primary source for food.

“Many people find it surprising when I tell them that I have not bought beef of any kind since I started hunting in my twenties. Venison is our substitute. Some say they can’t get passed the taste. It is not only how you prepare venison but also how you take care of it from the time of harvest that makes it palatable,” she said.

“In our house, we also buy very little pork and chicken. Our children have been raised on eating duck, venison, walleye, perch, frog legs, wild turkey, pheasant, grouse, and the list goes on. If you have an interest in learning to live this way this program is a great way to start,” Schott added.

* * *

Youth who are interested in waterfowl hunting, but have little or no experience have the opportunity to participate in a waterfowl hunting workshop on Oct. 7 at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge near Oak Harbor.

This workshop is designed for kids 17 years and under and their required accompanying adult. It offers plenty since youth will learn all aspects of waterfowl hunting during the workshop from 12-3:30 p.m. They then participate in a waterfowl hunt from 4:30-7:08 p.m. Guides and gear are provided to those who need it.

The workshop will teach participants where to start including what gear is needed, what duck tastes like, why wetlands are important, how to identify waterfowl, how to use a duck call, where to place decoys, how to build a blind and conceal yourself, where to go hunting, etc.

Waterfowl identification is among the activities and demonstrations. Also covered will be duck and goose calling, decoy setup, cleaning and coking waterfowl, firearm and boating safety, wildlife conservation laws, blinds and boats and face paint and gear selection.

Participants should bring a water bottle. Camera, bug spray, sunscreen, license, ammunition and gun, decoys waders and flashlight..

Participants will leave with a goody bag, an optional Ducks Unlimited Greenwings one-year membership and clear direction on how to become successful waterfowl hunters. A packed brown bag dinner will be provided.

Registration is required. Space will be filled first come-first served, with priority given to new applicants and youth with little to no waterfowl hunting experience. Hunters with disabilities will be accommodated. Selected participants will be notified. For more information call 419-898-0014

By 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

Post navigation