The first seasons in an autumn full of deer hunting open within the next week or so in Ohio and surrounding states, and most hunters dream of the seasons experienced a year ago by Joe Brooks.
Brooks, an archery-products specialist at the new Cabela's store at Dundee, Mich., bagged three very good bucks, two of them with a bow.
One buck, a seven-pointer, scored 115 points and field-dressed at 210 pounds. It had a 23-inch neck. A six-pointer scored 110 points and had a 17-inch spread and 21-inch main beams. "It dressed in the 190s," said Brooks. A Sylvania resident, he mostly bowhunts from treestands.
The hunter also took an 11-point buck with a shotgun. It scored 158 points overall and was good enough to make the Michigan Out-of-Doors television program. The clincher to Brooks's tale is that all his bucks were taken in the Toledo area during hunts on both sides of the Ohio/Michigan line.
The Pennsylvania bow season opens Saturday and Michigan and Indiana seasons open Sunday. The Ohio season opens Oct. 7. More than 900,000 archers are expected afield in the four states during the seasons.
Though the rut or breeding season still is more than a month away, bucks will be rubbing velvet off antlers, marking small trees and saplings with their rubs, said Tim Plageman, wildlife management supervisor for Ohio Wildlife District at Findlay. A few bucks also may initiate preliminary breeding scrapes, an activity that will begin in earnest later.
Bowhunters, in turn, already should have staked out runways, feeding and bedding areas, and sites for their hunting stands.
The Pennsylvania season runs through Nov. 11 for antlerless deer. Buck archery season runs till Oct. 20, then resumes Oct. 25 to Nov. 11. The preseason herd is estimated at 1.5 million deer, not including special-regulations counties in the Pittsburgh and Philadelphia areas. The state has about 300,000 archery hunters.
The Michigan season runs through Nov. 14 and resumes Dec. 1 through Jan. 1 after rifle season. The state has a bowhunting army some 400,000 strong, and a pre-season deer herd pegged at about 1.75 million animals.
The Indiana season runs through Dec. 3 and resumes Dec. 9 through Jan. 7. The Hoosier State has more than 120,000 bowhunters and while a herd estimate is not given for this year, it was pegged at more than 300,000 in 1998.
The Ohio bow season, the last to begin among the adjoining states, runs continuously through Jan. 31, including during the statewide shotgun and muzzleloader seasons.
The state has about 125,000 archery deer hunters and a herd estimated this fall at about 475,000 animals, up from about 420,000 at this time a year ago. In Ohio more than half the archery deer are taken with crossbows.
In other hunting news, the Michigan fall turkey hunting season opens Monday. It runs through Nov. 9. Details are in the Fall Wild Turkey Guide.
The Maumee Bay Carvers organization listed the following winners in its decoy contest, held Sunday at the 18th Ohio Waterfowlers Festival at Crane Creek State Park:
Best of show, Gary Luman, Grand Rapids, O.; second, Jim Wilson, Maumee; third, Carolyn Wodrich, Elmore.
Shoot stool (three-bird hunting rig), best of show, Bud Shell, East China, Mich.; second and third, George Williams, Dover, Del.
Waterfowl single decoy, best of show, Charlie Prinz, Dayton; second, Duane Ganser, Highland Heights, Mich.; third, Bob Bolle, Roseville, Mich.
Working class (highly painted), novice class, best of show, Bob Lund, Perrysburg; second, Bruce DiVaccaro, Sheffield, O.; third, Fred Zink, Clayton, O.
Working class, open, best of show, Rick Johannsen, Port Clinton; second Charlie Hall, Toledo; third, Charlie Prinz, Dayton.
All of the winning carvings except the Johannsen bird will be on display until Dec. 31 in the Sportsmen's Migratory Bird Center at Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area, 13229 West State Rt. 2, Oak Harbor.
A yellow perch-fishing derby set for last weekend at Spot and Spam's Bait Shop, 5802 Edgewater Dr., has been rescheduled for Saturday, 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., because of stormy weather last weekend.
For details on prizes and entry fees, call the shop, 726-4886.
Thursday Trapshoot, 6 p.m., Sandusky County Sportsmen's Club, State Rt. 600 east of Gibsonburg; continues every Thursday evening.
Saturday Van Wert and Bryan chapters, Ducks Unlimited, annual fund-raising dinners; for Van Wert call John Lahman, 419-238-6803; for Bryan call Todd Seiler, 419-485-8369.
Saturday Fall foliage and feather festival, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Kelleys Island State Park, fall foliage hike, hawk watching, bird banding; call the park, 419-746-2258.
Saturday Nature photography workshop, 9 a.m. to noon, Sandusky County Park District headquarters, Countryside Drive off U.S. 20 bypass, Fremont, with Tim Daniel, Ohio Division of Wildlife, to register call the park district, 419-334-4495 or 1-888-200-5577; also, Sunday, stargazing at sunset, Wolf Creek Park campground, State Rt. 53 along Sandusky River, south of Fremont, weather permitting, with Sandusky Valley Amateur Astronomy Club.
Saturday and Sunday Registered trapshoots, starting 9:30 a.m. daily, six events, Jaqua's Trap Club, 900 East Bigelow Ave., Findlay, call the club, 419-422- 0912.
Sunday Open house, Christy Farm Nature Preserve, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Christy Road north of U.S. 20, just west of Fremont; nature walks, bird-banding demonstrations, sponsored by Black Swamp Bird Observatory; call BSBO, 419-898-4070; also, Sunday, BSBO field trip , 8:30 a.m. to noon, to songbird research site, call to register.
Sunday - Bowshoot: Four-county Conservation League, Bellevue, 3-D targets, register 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., call the club, 419-483-8113.
Monday Public trapshoot, 6:30 p.m., Wolf Creek Sportsmen's Association, 349 Teachout Rd. north of State Rt. 2, Curtice; call Jeff Raczkowski, 836-2033.
Steve Pollick is the Blade's outdoor writer.