Young hunters can get feet wet during early season

Toledo Blade outdoor writer Steve Pollick on Wednesday noted that Ohio's young hunters will get a jump on upland game hunting this weekend with the opening of two special advance seasons on pheasants and rabbits.

From the story:

    Properly licensed hunters ages 17 and younger, accompanied by non-hunting adults, will be allowed afield Saturday and Sunday and again Oct. 28 and 29. The general upland seasons in Ohio do not open until Nov. 3.

    Releases of state-raised pheasants are set just prior to each weekend on an array of state wildlife areas, including Resthaven in Erie County, Oxbow in Defiance County, Killdeer Plains in Wyandot County, in northwest Ohio.

    In conjunction with the youth hunting weekends, the Wood/Lucas Chapter of Pheasants Forever has scheduled two of its patented youth hunts, Oct. 28 from the Wood County Fairgrounds in Bowling Green and Dec. 9 at Maumee Bay State Park.

    The PF hunts include orientation sessions discussing hunting safety and ethics, a supervised field experience led by guides with bird dogs, and post-hunt sessions on proper game handling. A lunch with prize drawings also is in the program.

    The hunts are open to youths ages 12 to 15 who have completed hunter education and have valid licenses. Hunters must be accompanied by licensed non-hunting adults. To apply, contact Lou Best, hunt coordinator, 419-353-3171, this week.

Pollick goes on to mention that the Ohio Division of Wildlife plans the release of some 15,000 ringed-neck pheasants on 29 public hunting areas statewide in advance of the youth and general seasons.

Click on 'Read More' for more details, and for commentary on the enjoyment of youth hunting by Buckeye Firearms Association's Larry Moore.

Again, from Steve Pollick:

    Scheduled release dates are Friday and Oct. 27, Nov. 2 and 9, and Nov. 22. Areas to receive stockings in northwest Ohio include Killdeer Plains in Wyandot County, Resthaven in Erie County, Willard in Huron County, Maumee State Forest in Lucas County, Oxbow in Defiance County, and Turkeyfoot in Henry County.

    The general pheasant season runs Nov. 3 through Jan. 7. For other details consult the annual digest of hunting regulations, available free where licenses are sold, or [at]

Commentary by Larry S. Moore

Ohio has also been providing special early youth seasons for many years. I started my kids
out on youth pheasant hunts and/or rabbit hunts when they were about 10 or 11. I am 56 now, and I hope to do this with my grandkids. I am ever so
thankful that I didn't miss it with my kids due to some stupid state law!

This article from Pennsylvania, where youth hunting opportunities are new, is worth the read - even more so when you can understand the context in relation to Ohio and my experiences with my

From the story:

    Mike Hartman and twin sons Alex and Austin had just traveled through the early morning hours from their home in northern Berks County to the
    field in western Schuylkill County for a mentored youth pheasant hunt provided by the Valley View Gun Club when Alex, 13, said, "I like this
    small game hunting. Can we come again?"

    This is the first year in Pennsylvania that youth under 12 may legally hunt. Prior to the just-started seasons, 12 was the minimum age for
    hunters in the state.

    However, under the commission's new mentored youth program, those under 12 are allowed to hunt woodchucks, squirrels and spring gobblers when
    accompanied by a licensed mentor at least 21 years of age.

    "One of the best ideas they have had for some time," said Craig Cassel, who with his brother Chris was joined on the hunt by his 8-year-old son
    Elliot and Chris' sons, 10-year-old Lee and 8-year-old Colton.

    "Not only did my brother and I get to spend some wonderful time in the woods with our sons, but we enjoyed the many hours of practice, gear
    shopping, as well as planning and scouting sessions that led up to our
    successful outing."

    Each boy bagged a nice fat squirrel as the first hunting trophy in his life.

    Craig Cassel said, "The hunt also provided the boys with valuable life lessons and responsibility, which they are not too young to benefit

My daughter Tiffany is already sharing these types of experiences and mentoring with others. She now understands that what we had when she was young is special. And yes, I am still helping. There is nothing more special than when that kid catches the first fish or gets the first rabbit/squirrel/deer, etc.

Ohio hunters and youth are very fortunate.

ODNR Youth Regs

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