As many as 10,000 duck and goose enthusiasts are expected to gather Saturday and Sunday for the 23rd annual Lake Erie Waterfowlers Festival.
Events are set for Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area and Crane Creek State Park, 13229 West State Rt. 2, Oak Harbor, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. The festival is sponsored by the Lake Erie Waterfowlers and Gander Mountain in cooperation with the Ohio Division of Wildlife and Ohio Division of Parks and Recreation.
Daylong festivities include a trading post, silent auctions, food service, and archery shooting, with trapshoots set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Ohio Ducks Unlimited. Continuing events also include dog trials by the Lake Erie Hunting/Retrieving Club, BB-gun shooting by Wolf Creek Sportsmen's Association, and fishing pond by Northwest Ohio Bass Masters, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily.
On Saturday the regional duck calling contest is set for noon, and the regional goose calling contest is set for 2 p.m., both sponsored by Gander Mountain. The corresponding junior contests are set for the same hours on Sunday. Hayrides through Magee and the adjoining Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge are set hourly, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., weather permitting, each day.
The Maumee Bay Carvers have set a decoy contest for Sunday, registration 8 a.m., singles judging at 10 a.m., rigs at 11 a.m., freestanding at 11:30 a.m., and working class at 1 p.m.
For duck and goose calling call Bob Chaplin 216-731-5208; for retriever trials, Scott Denham, 419-836-8516; for decoys, Bob Lund, 419-874-3671, and trapshooting Steve Oneail, 419-882-9548. Trading post chairman is Paul Kochanski, Jr., 419-691-8151.
Michigan's young hunters, ages 12 through 16, will have a chance to participate in a special youth firearm deer season Saturday and Sunday.
The youth-only hunt, which carries a one-deer bag limit, is in its sixth year and usually attracts some 20,000 participants, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources said. Hunters in 2004 took about 6,000 deer, one percent of the annual statewide total deer bag.
Hunters ages 12 and 13 are restricted to archery tackle and must possess a combination license to take a buck over the weekend. Those ages 14 to 16 must possess a firearm or combination license and may use archery tackle or a firearm.
Public and private lands statewide are open. Hunter orange clothing is required and no baiting is allowed.
A lottery drawing for special deer hunts at Goll Woods State Nature Preserve in Fulton County is set for Monday.
Steve Harvey, preserve manager, said that increasing numbers of deer are causing extensive damage to plant communities on and local highway collisions near the 321-acre preserve. Goll Woods is four miles northwest of Archbolf on County Road F, between State Rt. 66 and the Williams-Fulton county line, and is one of the best remaining stands of mature forest in the region.
Three two-week archery hunts, Nov. 7 through 20, Nov. 21 through Dec. 4, and Dec. 5 through 18 are scheduled. In addition four one-day muzzloading rifle hunts are set for Dec. 27 through 30 during the statewide muzzleloader season.
The limit will be one deer, and use of urban antlerless tags is permitted. An applicant should submit a postcard with printed name, address, and daytime telephone with the caption, "Goll Woods Deer Hunt," and mail it to ODNR, Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, 26093 County Road F, Archbold, OH 43502. One entry only is allowed and should specify archery, muzzleloader, or both.
Postcards must be received by Friday. Applicants will be notified by mail. A mandatory pre-hunt meeting for successful applicants is set for Oct. 8, 10 a.m., at the preserve.
Though a "big day" of migration has not occurred so far on the annual hawk watches in the northwest corner of Lake Erie, three Michigan records have been confirmed by members of Southeastern Michigan Raptor Research, two of them over last weekend.
On Sunday an anhinga, a Gulf Coast waterbird similar to a familiar double-crested cormorant, was confirmed. On Saturday a gull-billed tern, a Caribbean bird, was noted, and on Sept. 11 a frigatebird, a large gliding seagoing species with scissor-like tail, which frequents the tropical coasts and Florida Keys, also was seen.
A frigatebird also was reported about the same time by Jack Bodnar near his home on the Portage River near Oak Harbor. All the unusual species likely were blown north, well away from usual haunts, by Hurricane Katrina, SMRR said.
The hawk-watch sites are at the boat launches at Lake Erie Metropark and Pointe Mouillee State Game Area, along the lakeshore east of I-75 at Rockwood, Mich.
On Sunday at the metropark, watchers tallied 16,365 raptors, or birds of prey, including 15,689 broad-winged hawks. Big days of migration under ideal conditions may see a passage of tens of thousands of broadwings in a day. For other details visit www.smrr.net, or a similar Web site for Holiday Beach Migration Observatory at Amherstburg, Ont., www.hbmo.org.
In recognition of its 25th anniversary, Old Woman Creek National Estuarine Reserve on Lake Erie at Huron is offering a series of public programs this week.
A program on the soils of Erie County is set for 7 tonight in the visitor center, 2514 Cleveland Rd. East, Huron, with Celine Hemminger, education coordinator for the Erie Soil and Water Conservation District.
On Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Friday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., an interactive field trip to seven national estuaries is set for Bowling Green State University's Firelands Cedar Point Center, Bettcher Room. For details call 419-433-4601.
Saturday will be Meet the Researchers Day, 1 to 5 p.m., at the Old Woman Creek visitor center. Many of the scientists conducting research at the estuary will be on hand with displays and discussion of research projects.
Wild Birds Unlimited, 5248 Monroe St., is offering to exchange an old bird-feeder for a discount on a new one. Trade-ins will be cleaned, sanitized, and donated to schools, nursing homes, and other similar facilities, said Bernie Place, store proprietor. Customers also may suggest recipients of reconditioned feeders, and potential recipients may call the strore, 419-841-7219. The offer extends through Sept. 30.
Russell Lamp, who collects stinging insects for use in vaccine manufacturing by the pharmaceutical industry, is offering free removal of nests of bald-faced hornets and in-ground nests of yellow jackets, plus nests of paper wasps on farms where large collections of nests are concentrated. He said that the industry especially is in need of yellowjacket nests this year. For details call Lamp at Integrated Pest Control, 419-243-1212.