Youth small game season set for next two weekends

By Al Smith - Guest Columnist

The annual small game youth hunt will take place next weekend (Oct. 24-25) and also Oct. 31-Nov. 1. Youth hunters may hunt for rabbit, pheasant and all other legal game which is in season.

This hunt is available to anyone who is 17 years old or younger during the those dates who must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult. A non-hunting adult is any person (a hunting license is not required) age 18 or older who accompanies the young hunter to and from the field and is present with the young hunter while the young hunter is engaged in hunting. The non-hunting adult may not possess any hunting implements.

All hunters are required to have the appropriate licenses and permits. Young hunters must be accompanied at all times by a non-hunting adult. No more than two youths per adult.

Hours are sunrise to sunset. Only male pheasants may be killed. The bag limit is two. The Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) will release pheasants for the youth small game weekends. Youth release sites are listed on page 24 of the Hunting and Trapping Regulations digest.

The Black Swamp Chapter of Pheasants Forever will not hold a youth hunt open to the public this year. Due to COVID19 restrictions, the hunt has been limited to youth of chapter members as well as members of the Kalida Fish and Game Club.

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The Allen County Sportsmen and Farmers Association, located at 1001 South Kemp Road, will hold it monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 29. The meeting is open to the public. The club encourages those attending to wear a mask. The club will hold a turkey shoot Nov. 15. For additional information, contact Bill Stratton at 419-236-9082.

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The Ohio Wildlife Council recently approved walleye, catfish and deer carcass regulations. The white-tailed deer carcass taxidermy and processing regulations take effect Nov. 1 while the other rules take effect Jan. 1, 2021.

The deer carcass change allows certified Ohio taxidermists and venison processors to accept legally harvested out-of-state white-tailed deer and other cervid carcasses. Information about properly handling cervid carcasses will be distributed to certified taxidermists and processors to limit the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a fatal disease that affects deer and other cervids.

The council approved a six-walleye daily limit across Lake Erie from March 1-April 30, 2021. A separate walleye daily limit for the Sandusky River and Sandusky Bay from March 1 to April 30 has been rescinded. According to the Ohio DOW, this change aligns the walleye daily limit with the rest of the Lake Erie Sport Fishing District.

The catfish change removed the six-fish daily limit of channel catfish on inland lakes and reservoirs less than 700 acres. The statewide daily bag limit of one channel catfish 28 inches or larger remains in place. The statewide changes do not include Hoover Reservoir, which has site-specific regulations. According to the DOW, removing the channel catfish bag limit on smaller lakes and reservoirs increases angler opportunities, promotes harvest, increases the growth rates of the remaining fish and improves the overall health of these populations.

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The Ohio DOW and Ducks Unlimited (DU) recently announced the development of a new H2Ohio wetlands project in Wyandot County. The wetlands will be located near the Andreoff Wildlife Area in the headwaters of the Blanchard River which ultimately flows into Lake Erie.

The Andreoff Wildlife Area sits along the Hardin and Wyandot county line and is just 10 miles northeast of Kenton.

H2Ohio funding was granted to DU to purchase 278 acres in Wyandot County directly to the east of Andreoff Wildlife Area where the new wetland complex will be built. The wetlands will utilize drainage from surrounding agricultural fields as a water source. This water will feed into the wetlands via a system of pumps and tiles designed to control flow for maximum nutrient and sediment reduction.

This 861-acre Andreoff Wildlife Area consists of wetlands, tall-grass prairies and woodlots. Over 86 species of birds are known to breed on the area, and nearly 175 bird species have been sighted, including several rare waterbirds.

The wetlands provide wildlife watchers with the chance to view sandhill cranes, trumpeter swans, American bittern, green-winged teal, and king and sora rails. Hard to find species such as the northern harrier, bobolink, and dickcissel also frequent the prairies, along with countless pollinator species. The area is open to wildlife viewing on the 1st and 3rd Sunday of each month.

In addition to their water quality benefits, wetlands provide excellent wildlife habitat for uniquely adapted plant and animal species, many of which are considered in peril. The public, including birders, anglers, and waterfowl hunters, will have access to this property once wetland construction is complete, as part of the Andreoff Wildlife Area complex.

This new wetland project joins several others that already have broken ground as part of the H2Ohio initiative including: the Fruth Wetland Nature Preserve in Seneca County, the St. Joseph Confluence Reconnection in Williams County, the Van Order Wetland and Forest Restoration in Henry County, and the Forder Bridge Floodplain Reconnection in Paulding County. The H2Ohio initiative currently has 26 wetland projects underway. These projects are being completed in collaboration with the Black Swamp Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy, and various county and metropark systems, among other partners.

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During a late summer annual cold water survey, New York state’s Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) Lake Erie Fisheries Research Unit came up with a surprising catch — a 21-pound, 36-inch lake trout that is 35 years old.

The size is not surprising, but the age is. The age was revealed by a coded wire tag. The trout was stocked from shore off of Barcelona Harbor, New York. It is the oldest record lake trout in the history of the 39-year survey. According to the DEC, the remarkable thing about finding such a fish is that it has been swimming around Lake Erie for more than 30 years, avoiding anglers and surviving numerous attacks by sea lampreys.

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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