In the taking of fish and game, nothing beats not only being in the right place at the right time but also being in exactly the right place at the right time.
Take opening morning of the early special Canada goose season last week, down on the upper Maumee River.
Vaughn Hoblet and Tom Rumpf, both of rural Perrysburg, had situated themselves exactly in the right blinds hard by the riverbank.
They had their limits of geese before 9 a.m. The rest of us - Ron Stieben, the property owner and host, Ron Gniewkowski, of Genoa, Jeff Palicki, of Toledo, and me - chose to take up posts slightly inland nearer a soybean field that the geese have been grazing to death. We took one bird - that is, Palicki did - by 10 a.m. Growing heat put an end to flying flocks and put an early end to a hunt in which 100 yards made all the difference.
On balance, the lemon-colored dawn, dew-coated spiderwebs backlit in the rising rays and the ringside seat to the show - scores of geese and ducks trading upriver and down - made it worth getting up early.
The goose-getting efforts of a rural Sandusky County neighbor evenings last week followed a similar pattern. One evening all he could do was watch as the flocks passed a mile south of his wheat stubble. The Sunday evening just before sunset, the birds dumped into his decoys and he was ready. His shotgun said so, three times.
Scott Butterworth, wildlife management supervisor for Ohio Wildlife District 2, said action for geese and doves during the first week was spotty, especially for geese. "It was so darn hot," he noted, applying the remarks to both hunters and the birds.
With doves, Butterworth said, usually such places as the state's managed fields at various wildlife areas produce very well on opening day. Results this year were very uneven.
Don Schooner, of Weston, who annually grooms two parcels for doves, estimates hunting success for his crew - led by Bruno Hankins, of Pemberville - is down so far this season by 30 to 40 percent. He said plenty of doves were about last week, but they seemed to be much more scattered than prior years, possibly because of the presence of more wheatfields. Many of those fields were tilled post-harvest much earlier than usual and the early tillage, Schooner added, could keep birds less concentrated.
From here on out, the usual march of cold fronts are likely to move out local doves, but the same fronts may bring down more northern birds, Schooner said.
Saturday's early special teal season opener was somewhat slow at the state's Magee Marsh in Ottawa County and Killdeer Plains in Wyandot County, Butterworth said. But the state's Pickerel Creek area and adjacent Sandusky Bay seemed to have a lot of teal around, the supervisor added.
The early goose season ends Monday, but teal season continues until Sept. 21. Dove season continues until Oct. 22, with a late split from Dec. 9 through 26.
The other main season in play is squirrel and Butterworth said lots of them are to be found but not so with squirrel hunters. So the odds on bushytails are good.
Discounted antlerless deer licenses of just $3 for residents and $30 for nonresidents are being offered by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for Kent County in hopes of encouraging an increased bag there during the statewide Sept. 18-22 private land antlerless season.
Kent County is the site of the first known case of chronic wasting disease among deer in Michigan, CWD having been confirmed recently in a game farm doe. The MDNR has quarantined game farms statewide as a result, among other measures, and has instituted a CWD surveillance zone in nine northern Kent County townships.
Hunters in the townships will be required to have their deer sampled at a check station for CWD testing. For any deer that may test positive, the hunter will be given a replacement permit and the MDNR will keep the carcass. For other details on the early hunt visit online at michigan.gov/dnr.
The inaugural "Cars for Critters" benefit car show is set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sept. 21 at Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, 14000 West State Rt. 2, Oak Harbor. Friday is the deadline for advance registration.
Proceeds from the show will benefit Back to the Wild, a nonprofit private wildlife rehabilitation center at Castalia. Mona Rutger, head of the center, will have live eagles, hawks, owls and other native wildlife on display, and some of the car classes in the show will be set up for cars with animal names.
For example, a 1969 Ford Mustang may compete against a 1962 Chevrolet Impala in the "best mammal" class.
Classes for all types of cars are planned, with trophy plaques awarded accordingly. For details and registration, call Eddy Pausch, assistant refuge manager, at 419-898-0014, extension 31.
The deadlines for ordering fish fingerlings of several species for stocking ponds is coming up within the week in Ottawa and Lucas counties.
The Ottawa Soil and Water District deadline is Friday for bluegill, channel catfish, largemouth bass, redear sunfish and white amur, or grass carp. Call the district office for order details, 419-898-1595. The fish will be delivered Sept. 18 at the district office on Lake Street in Oak Harbor.
The Lucas Soil and Water Conservation District sale's order deadline is Monday. The district offers the same species as Ottawa, plus yellow perch and fathead minnows. Pickup will be Sept. 21 at the district office at 130-A West Dudley St., Maumee. Call the office for order details 419-893-1966 or visit online at co.lucas.oh.us/LSWCD.
Russell Lamp still is collecting stinging insects for use in making vaccine by the pharmaceutical industry and offers free removal of nests of bald-faced hornets and in-ground nests of yellow jackets.
Most in-ground yellow jacket nests are ready for removal, but Lamp said residents also can contact him about sizable gray hornet nests in trees. He can be reached at 419-836-3710.
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