Grand Lake opens up mentor blind for waterfowl hunting

By Al Smith - Guest Columnist

While most hunters are thinking about deer this time of year, new hunters to waterfowling have a special opportunity late this month through December.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) has been encouraging more hunters to take up waterfowl hunting and if novices know a mentor, they have a great opportunity to hunt the Grand Lake St. Marys mentor blind which is otherwise closed to the public. Mentors and mentees will be permitted to hunt.

This opportunity takes place from Nov. 17-Dec. 30 with hunts scheduled every Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Application deadline for these hunts is 4 p.m. next Wednesday (Nov. 14). Those interested in hunting must apply by calling the DOW and leave a voicemail message at 937-347-0929.

The mentor as well as the mentee(s) must meet certain requirements to participate in the hunt and must apply as a group. The mentor, who must be at least 21, is a person who accompanies someone new to waterfowl hunting. The new person to waterfowl hunting may be any age, but has never held an Ohio hunting or apprentice hunting license or holds either of those licenses, but has not been HIP certified in the last five years.

Applicants must provide customer identification numbers, telephone numbers, and email addresses. All applicants must possess an Ohio hunting license or Ohio apprentice hunting license to apply.

Participants will be selected through a random drawing. Successful applicants will be emailed a permit, a map, and other hunt details. Applicants who are not drawn and applicants who fail to meet the requirements will not be contacted.

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Don’t forget the youth deer-gun hunting season is next weekend (Nov.17-18).

A non-hunting adult (at least 18) accompany young hunters 17 and younger during this special season. The adult must accompany the young hunter to and from the field. The adult also must be present while the youth is hunting. The adult must stay within a distance from the person that enables uninterrupted, unaided visual and auditory communications. The non-hunting adult may not possess any hunting implements.

Deer taken by young hunters during the youth deer gun season count toward the county and statewide bag limits.

All youths and non-hunting adults must wear hunter orange.

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Ladies interested in hunting pheasants can participate in on Dec. 23 at the Sandusky River Coon Hunters, located at 7575 S. Twp. Road 131 in Tiffin.

This is a ladies only hunt for teenagers and adults. Interested persons may apply for the hunt through Dec 10. Apply at include and include your name, address, phone number, and whether you prefer a morning hunt, an afternoon hunt or no preference. People will receive a reply within 48 hours.

Those participating in the hunt are required to have a valid Ohio hunting license and wear a blaze orange vest or hat.

Shotguns are provided on a limited basis along with 12 and 20 gauge shotgun shells, a guide and dog. Clay birds will be thrown for practice. A pheasant cleaning station will be provided.

For more information, call Don at 567-278-1551 or go to

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Registration is open for the Gary Anderson Invitational Civilian Marksmanship Program’s (CMP) primary junior air rifle competitions to be held Dec. 1 at the Gary Anderson CMP Competition Center in Camp Perry, located in Port Clinton.

It is open to junior schools, clubs and junior individuals of all experience levels. Adaptive shooter junior competitors are also welcome to compete in this event.

The match is a three-position air rifle tournament that follows the 3x20 Course of Fire, where each competitor completes 20 record shots from prone, standing and kneeling positions. The top eight shooters from each relay advance to a 10 shot final. Winners are determined overall from scores recorded at both Camp Perry and Anniston, Ala.

For more information about the Gary Anderson Invitational, visit

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Fowl Facts: Did you know that male ducks will switch flyways after pairing with a hen that was raised in a different part of the continent?

There are four migratory bird flyways in North America - Atlantic Flyway, Mississippi Flyway, Centra Flyway and Pacific Flyway.

According to Ducks Unlimited Magazine, ducks typically form pair bonds on their wintering grounds and drakes follow their mates back to the breeding grounds the following spring. As a result, it is possible for a drake to follow one flyway in the fall and then another in the spring.

Once the pair breeds and the ducklings fledge, the family breaks up and does not stick together for fall migration.

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

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