Recreational shooters both young and old are invited to experience one of Ohio’s premier public shooting ranges on Saturday, Aug. 11, during Ohio’s Free Range Day, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. On this day, the shooting range permit requirement will be waived at all ODNR Division of Wildlife Class “A,” “B,” and “C” shooting ranges.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife is partnering with the National Shooting Sports Foundation as part of a continued effort to provide more opportunities for recreational shooters. New shooters can gain hands-on experience with firearms at no charge from certified instructors at one of five ranges from 12- 4 p.m. Staff will offer on-site instruction to new or beginning shooters and will provide equipment, ammunition, and hearing and eye protection free of charge. The ODNR Division of Wildlife staff on-site to assist new shooters at the Cardinal Shooting Center, 3389 County Road 225, Marengo
The ODNR Division of Wildlife shooting ranges provide the public with comfortable, safe places to shoot archery or firearms. A complete list of range facilities can be found at wildohio.gov. Free Range Day is being offered as part of the National Shooting Sports Foundation Inc.’s National Shooting Sports Month.
• The ODNR is holding a lottery for more than 280 permits to hunters wishing to construct a blind to hunt ducks and geese on select Ohio State Park lakes this waterfowl hunting season. All but one of the drawings will be held the morning of Saturday, Aug. 18, at 18 state parks. Portage Lakes will hold its lottery on Thursday, Aug. 16. At all parks, applications will be taken locally with the lottery drawings following registration.
Interested applicants must appear in person at a participating state park office with proof of a 2018 Ohio hunting license, Ohio wetlands habitat stamp endorsement in the applicant’s name and a signed 2018 federal duck stamp. Applicants under the age of 18 are encouraged to have a parent or legal guardian present to sign the permit contract and provide the required license and stamps.
Each hunter can apply for only one duck blind permit, and no one can apply or draw for another person. There is a $50 non-refundable permit fee for the state park lottery winners. Most locations accept cash, check or credit card for payment, except Portage Lakes where payment is by cash (exact change) or check only. Lottery winners have 45 days to construct their blinds, and all blinds must be dismantled by March 15, 2019.
Participating state parks include Portage Lakes and West Branch in northeast Ohio; East Harbor and Lake Loramie in northwest Ohio; Adams Lake, Caesar Creek, Cowan Lake, East Fork, Hueston Woods and Rocky Fork in southwest Ohio; Shawnee in southeast Ohio; and Alum Creek, A.W. Marion, Buck Creek, Buckeye Lake, Deer Creek, Delaware and Indian Lake in central Ohio.
For more information about waterfowl hunting seasons and regulations, call 800-WILDLIFE or visit wildohio.gov.
• Hunters and outdoor enthusiasts interested in learning the basics of mourning dove hunting are encouraged to attend free workshops at Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area and Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area, according to the ODNR.
ODNR Division of Wildlife staff will cover topics including dove life history, hunting techniques and equipment, and basic dove field management. The workshop will also include dove field dressing and processing.
Workshops will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the following dates and location:
Aug. 28, 2018 – Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area Headquarters, 19100 Co Hwy 115, Harpster, 43323.
Aug. 29, 2018 – Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area Headquarters, 3451 County Road 256, Vickery, 43464
The workshops are free of charge, but pre-registration is required by August 27, as space is limited. Interested individuals can register by calling Andrea Altman at 419-429-8321. A portion of the workshop will include walking in a dove field, and sturdy footwear is recommended.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.