2006 Promises To Be Exciting Outdoor Year

By Larry S. Moore

I’ve often said when it comes to outdoor recreation and hunting opportunities, we are indeed blessed to be living “in the good old days”. I believe that 2006 may be one of the best outdoor years yet. There were lots of issues in 2005 and many remain but the outlook for hunting and other outdoor recreation is bright.

Sadly, 2005 was the last Grand American Trapshoot held in Vandalia, Ohio. The Grand American will now be hosted in Sparta, Illinois at the World Shooting Complex. It was sad to see the world championship of trap shooting leave Ohio. Gone with it is the $14 million per year economic impact to the greater Vandalia area. For the dedicated shooters that will continue to compete, there will be a new first class shooting facility waiting in Sparta.

The Ohio State Trapshooting Association (OSTA) will have a new home in 2006. It will be the near Murango, Ohio at exit 140 on I-71 just north of Columbus. OSTA reports that the first trap house was set into place in October with more ready to move. The campsite area is cleared plus the roads and parking lot areas are graded and graveled. A new road will be constructed to open access to the neighboring Heartland Campground. The new OSTA facility should be ready for a great Ohio State Shoot in June 2006.

In preparation for this article, Moore spoke to the Division of Wildlife about its priorities for 2006. Click on the "Read More..." link below for details.

Todd Haines, Division of Wildlife District 5 Manager, noted, "The three-deer counties are probably about right but we may look at some opportunities for more hunter days in the field for deer. The farm bill legislation will be very important to help target the edge habitat that upland game species require. That could be a significant boost to the quail programs. Additionally, getting more land enrolled in the Scioto River Conservation Reserve Program is very important. There is a major renovation to the south shore boat ramps at Grand Lake St. Mary's. We are looking for opportunities to improve boating and fishing access on the inland lakes and rivers."

The Division of Wildlife may need to take an additional look at the deer harvest results especially since the deer gun week harvest was somewhat below expectations. The results of the muzzle-loading season, which runs through 12/30/05, may have a significant impact on the total deer harvest. A high priority for the Division is the passage of the Apprentice Hunting License House Bill 296. This bill will improve the options to recruit new hunters and trappers. The bill has passed the Ohio House and is in the Senate.

I am excited about enjoying all the outdoor opportunities Ohio has to offer. I hope everyone will join me in a New Year's Resolution to enjoy more of the great Ohio out of doors. It is one resolution that should be easy to keep and provide a lot of great sights and fun. Happy New Year!

Outdoor writer and hunter education instructor Larry S. Moore is a long-time volunteer leader for Buckeye Firearms Association and winner of the 2005 USSA Patriot Award.

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