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Published: Tuesday, 7/14/2009

Gun range gets new life in Berkey

Shotgun sports in the Toledo area are getting a shot in the arm with the reopening today of the Toledo Trap & Skeet Family Shooting Center in Berkey in western Lucas County.

Toledo Trap and Skeet for years was a standby under the operation of Jim Fletcher, for it was handy and open to the walk-in public. But it closed last August with Fletcher's retirement.

Supporters of the former club have been working quietly since then to find a way to reopen it, and now a lease agreement has made it happen.

"It's some good news for local shooters," said Dan Hathaway, who was a member of the former club and who did marketing services for Fletcher. He is helping spread the news of the reopening under manager Mike Philbin,

The center will be open for trap and skeet shooting and also will offer an indoor pistol range. Hours will be 2 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays, and 1 to 6 p.m. Sundays. An annual membership is $50 with a daily walk-in fee of $5 for nonmembers.

"It's great to have the facility back open because it's a friendly, nice place to shoot," said Hathaway. He said in the interim he has been traveling to clubs in Monroe and at Camp Perry. "I'm a skeet shooter. I need a place to practice."

The reopening should be welcome news for individuals who do not belong to private clubs but who want a place to shoot handguns and to engage in the clay-target shotgun sports. Hathaway said Philbin intends to open a Five-Stand Sporting Clays range at the center as well.

Regular trap and skeet shooting leagues are anticipated by the fall.

The center is located at 3150 North Berkey Southern Rd. [State Rt. 295]. Call the center at 419-829-3178, or visit online at toledotrapandskeet.net.

Higher Michigan antlerless deer quota - The Michigan Natural Resources Commission has approved a quota of 728,100 antlerless deer licenses for the fall seasons, up from 641,075 in 2008.

The total includes 68,300 public land licenses and 659,800 private land licenses. Most licenses in each region are for private lands.

The overall quota for the upper peninsula of 34,000 was reduced slightly from 39,000 a year ago. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources said that although the winter was severe, spring breakup was moderate, so the impact on reproduction was not thought to be too serious.

The norther lower peninsula quota was increased to 165,900 overall from 157,400 a year ago because the herd there has increased. While deer numbers there are about on target, the MDNR said it needs to increase antlerless tags to maintain the present population.

In the southern lower peninsula, where the herd remains oversized, overall permits were boosted to 458,700 from 442,700 in 2008. Other details are available at michigan.gov/dnr.

Hot hornet summer - It has been a good summer for bald-faced hornets, and Russell Lamp, who specializes in collecting stinging insects for use by the pharmaceutical industry in making vaccines, said he is willing to collect at no charge any large and easily accessible nests in the area.

Bald-faced hornets are black and white. Their nests, which are gray and made of paper, currently are softball-size and growing. Lamp likes to collect hornets when the nests reach basketball size, or larger - something that should occur by month's end.

"We're going to be collecting hornets in earnest this year," Lamp said. "There are good numbers of them around." He added that hornets feed heavily on such pests as flies, mosquitoes, and yellowjackets, and they normally are not a threat to humans unless disturbed. He plans to collect nests into September. Call Lamp at 419-836-3710.

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