Wednesday, Apr 25, 2018
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Governor, young hunters have right idea about sport

Sometimes an offhand remark distills the essence of an issue or event, or even an entire tradition, better than a book.

So give Gov. Ted Strickland credit for saying a mouthful in a one-liner during his recent second annual youth-celebrity spring turkey hunt:

"It's all about goin', not gettin'."

We all need to write that down, memorize it, repeat to our young hunters and anglers - not to mention to ourselves in the mirror every morning before heading to field or stream. It is that important.

We live in an overamped age where the getting has become tantamount to success or enjoyment, and the experience, the going, is mere window dressing.

"Hornography" - obsession with trophies and limits - has become too often and too much the be-all and end-all of hunting and fishing.

So, a tip of the camo cap to the Gov for showing leadership in the oldest of outdoors traditions. His annual gobbler hunt paired well-known figures with 10 young Ohioans. The latter were top finishers in a statewide essay contest answering the question, "What makes a good hunter?"

The hunters took to the woods at Dillon State Park in Muskingum County, the hunt dovetailing with a statewide effort to encourage youth involvement in outdoor recreation and highlight Ohio's spectacular turkey hunting opportunities.

"Turkey hunting is a time-honored tradition in Ohio and I always enjoy opportunities to take part in it," said the governor.

Four hunters among 10 youths and 10 adults, including 16-year-old Janelle Gephart of Fort Loramie, Ohio, harvested turkeys. The Fort Loramie High School sophomore completed her hunter education training in 2003 and has hunted deer. But she was more than pleased with her hunt experience with guide and accomplished hunter Greg Keeton, and well-known turkey calling competitor Josh Grossenbacher from Zink Calls in Port Clinton.

"A good hunter is someone who is willing, above all else, to preserve the surrounding land and its animals, follow all precautions to keep fellow hunters and themselves safe, and obey the local laws," wrote Gephart in her top-10 essay. "During a hunt, she does not just kill because it's 'fun,' but because she enjoys the outdoors and the challenges that are in it."

Among other young hunters on the hunt were 15-year-old Christian Hoecherl of Monclova, a freshman at St. John's Jesuit High School, and Noah Ulrey of Wapakoneta. Among the celebrity hunters were Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jordan Palmer and safety Corey Lynch, and former Ohio State football coach John Cooper.

"Christian and Corey and their guide had several gobblers just beyond shooting distance, but they kept bumping off to chase a real hen versus their decoy," said Christian's dad, Chuck Hoecherl, who accompanied his son to the event.

Reflecting on the aforementioned one-liner, Hoecherl simply said, "Governor Strickland summed it up best."

He added that the hunt is "a great program by the ODNR to promote turkey hunting and getting youth involved. My son, even though he didn't get a shot, had a great time."

The state's spring turkey season runs through Sunday.

Upcoming - Youth and women's shoot, Saturday, Wolf Creek Sportsmen's Association, 349 Teachout Rd., call Michelle Schwiefert, 419-691-2016; Maumee Valley Gun Collectors Association, Saturday and Sunday, Lucas County Recreation Center; Northwest Zone Trapshoot, Saturday and Sunday, Jaqua's, Findlay, 419-422-0912 or visit; North Coast Open birding tournament, Saturday, Toledo Naturalists' Association, visit; Straightened Arrows bowshoot, Defiance County Fish and Game Club, Saturday, call Allan Hansford 419-439-3155; Lou Campbell State Nature Preserve, Weckerly Road south of State Rt. 2, open house Sunday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., also now open year-round, call 419-445-1775.

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