Special youth hunts lead to good waterfowl stories
Last weekend was the youth waterfowl season and I just have to share a story with you.
Although my boys and I were a little disappointed with the lack of ducks we had around for weekend, they were able to harvest a few wood ducks and the Canada Goose action kept the guns hopping. It can be tough to do well on ducks in these parts in September. However, ducks or no ducks, we still had a great time.
On Sunday, the goose action was just right where the birds were coming in as singles and decoying right into the pocket where we planned it. The boys were taking turns harvesting their birds and we were having a good time. One single goose came in while we were a little distracted and although it was Zane’s turn to take the shot,
Zach, my oldest, was in his brother’s way so he went ahead and harvested the bird. After that bird, we had a little lull in the action and Zach got to asking me about all the duck and goose bands that I have been fortunate enough to collect over the many years of waterfowling.
I was explaining to the boys that duck bands are very rare and hard to come by in these parts and harvesting a goose with a leg band isn’t quite as common as it was ten years ago. Zach was very curious and expressed that he couldn’t wait to harvest his first banded bird.
About five minutes later a single goose was flying down the middle of the lake. A few quick notes on my goose call got him to turn his attention to us and he came right into the pocket just as the others before him had. Since Zane’s turn got skipped on the previous bird, I told him to go ahead an shoot whenever he was ready.
One quick shot and the bird was down, so I sent our dog Ice after him. When the dog got back with the bird I flipped it over and saw its leg band, I couldn’t help but howl with laughter. Both boys looked at me like I was crazy and when I pointed to the leg band, son number two started to jump up and down with joy and I am not too sure son number one wasn’t about to cry.
If he hadn’t skipped Zane’s turn on the previous bird, that much desired first band could have been his. Instead, it was his younger brother’s. Such is life and I am quite sure that Zach is tired of me having such a good time sharing that story, but it did create a memory of a life time and I now have one son who is very proud of his first goose band.
• Besides the waterfowl youth season, other youth seasons are coming up. It’s a great time to get for youth hunters to learn and improve their hunting skills. The North Zone youth waterfowl season has already occurred but on Nov. 23–24, the South Zone of Ohio will be open for young hunters. Hunters 15 years of age and younger must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult 18 years or older (no more than two youths per adult).
Hunters age 17 and younger may hunt statewide for rabbit, pheasant and all other legal game in season during two designated weekends, Oct. 20–21 and Oct. 27–28. Quail also may be taken in 16 designated open counties.
Pheasant releases for young hunters will occur prior to these dates on the following state wildlife areas: Resthaven, Oxbow, Berlin, Killdeer Plains, Camp Belden, Grand River, Spencer, Wellington, Delaware, Dillon, Caesar Creek, Rush Run, Fallsville, Tiffin River and Darke, as well as Charlemont Metropark in Lorain County.
A youth deer-gun season will be open statewide, Nov. 17–18. Hunters holding a valid youth hunting license and youth deer permit may take deer of either sex during this season in accordance with existing bag and deer-zone limits. Young hunters, regardless of age, must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, 18 years or older, when hunting during this season.
To participate in the upcoming youth hunts, all young hunters must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult and must abide by all regular hunting hours and bag limits. A valid 2012–13 youth hunting license, along with the appropriate permits, is required.
• Fall wild turkey hunting opens in 48 Ohio counties on Saturday, Oct. 13, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The season continues through Sunday, Nov. 25. Hunters harvested 1,375 wild turkeys during last year’s fall season.
According to Reynolds, Ohio currently has a population of approximately 180,000 wild turkeys. An estimated 15,000 people, not counting private landowners hunting on their own property, will enjoy Ohio’s fall wild turkey season.
Only one turkey of either sex may be taken during the entire fall season, and a Fall Turkey Hunting Permit is required. Hours are one half hour before sunrise to sunset. Shotguns using shot, crossbows and longbows are permitted. Hunting turkeys over bait is prohibited, and turkeys must be checked by 11:30 p.m. on the day the bird is shot.
All hunters must still report their harvest of turkeys, but they are no longer required to take their turkey to a check station for physical inspection. Hunters will have three options to complete the automated game check: Online at wildohio.com or ohiogamecheck.com; By telephone at 877-TAG-ITOH (877–824-4864). This option is only available to those who are required to purchase a turkey permit to hunt turkeys; At all license agent locations.
Game-check transactions will be available online and by telephone seven days a week and during holidays. Landowner hunters who are not required to purchase a fall turkey permit must use the Internet or any license agent to check their turkey.
Hunters who tag their turkey as a landowner harvest cannot use the phone-in method. Game will be checked in by all authorized license sales agents.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!