Ohio’s annual Youth Small Game hunting season is underway October 21/21 and October 26/29 statewide. Waterfowl hunting seasons get underway October 21-29 in both the North and South waterfowl management zones.

Donations support wounded veterans

If over the years a collection of used cars, boats, and tractors have taken up valuable space in the yard or barn, consider donating them to a worthy cause. One to consider is the Military Warriors Support Foundation (MWSF), dedicated to positively affecting the lives of combat-wounded veterans.

Donors and supporters make the mission of MWSF possible and help significantly change the lives of combat-wounded veterans and Gold Star families. Contributions go toward housing, vehicles, and support that are all part of each unique MWSF program. These programs go on to help our heroes in different ways.

One program that the Foundation offers is the Skills4Life program, which provides recreational outings and peer-to-peer mentorship through hunting, fishing, and golfing adventures. The program provides a great opportunity for combat-wounded veterans to connect and find camaraderie through outdoor activities. More details about this program and the other programs can be found at MilitaryWarriors.org.

The Vehicles4Heroes program receives donated cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles, boats, ATVs, and even RVs, and then the vehicles are sold at auction. These donations can be in any condition — working, needs minor or major repair, wrecked, or undriveable. Vehicles4Heroes welcomes them all and the money from the auction sale goes directly into the programs MWSF offers.

The process of donating is simple; just fill out the online donation form, and partners at Flexco Fleet Services will make contact you to arrange all the details. The Foundation and Flexco Fleet Services handle the process entirely, from arranging the pickup of the vehicle to managing the title transfer process.

More information on the Vehicles4Heroes program can be found at militarywarriors.org/vehicles4heroes. Once the vehicle is sold, a donation letter is sent to the donor. This is a great way to help our Heroes here in Ohio and nationwide.

Muskies stocked

The Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW), in cooperation with the Ohio Huskie Muskie Club and Muskies, Inc., released 2,370 muskellunge in Piedmont Lake (Belmont and Harrison counties) during a recent, annual autumn stocking event.

“The muskie release is the culmination of six months of work by Division of Wildlife hatchery staff to raise these fish,” ODOW Chief Kendra Wecker said. “Eventually, they will grow to large sizes and create trophy fishing opportunities at Piedmont Lake and the other reservoirs where we stock them.”

Piedmont Lake in Belmont and Harrison counties offers excellent fishing for crappie, bass, and muskellunge in its 2,270 acres of water. The current state record muskellunge, which weighed 55.13 pounds, was pulled from Piedmont Lake in 1972 and the lake continues to provide excellent opportunities to catch a Fish Ohio muskie of 40 inches or more.

The Division of Wildlife stocks 20,000 muskellunge across nine Ohio reservoirs: Alum Creek Lake, C. J. Brown Reservoir, Caesar Creek Lake, Clearfork Reservoir, Lake Milton, Leesville Lake, Piedmont Lake, Salt Fork Lake, and West Branch Reservoir. Beginning in April, hatchery and fish management staff begin the rearing process. The muskies grow to lengths of 10 to 12 inches long at London and Kincaid state fish hatcheries before being stocked in September. Anglers can report catches to The Muskie Angler Log, which was developed as a resource to support management efforts.

Trophy muskellunge have been documented across the nine stocking locations. In July, an angler reeled in a 51.25-inch muskie in Pleasant Hill Lake that was initially captured in 2016 by Division of Wildlife staff in Clearfork Reservoir and fitted with a tag. At the time, it was 44 inches long. In 2019, it was detected by a tag reader in the Clearfork Reservoir tailwaters. In 2020, it was caught by an angler at Pleasant Hill Lake and reported as 49 inches long.

The Division of Wildlife operates six state fish hatcheries to manage fish populations and increase public fishing opportunities. Eleven fish species are stocked statewide, and the agency put more than 52 million fish into public waters in 2022. Learn more about fish stocking at wildohio.gov or view complete fish stocking records at data.ohio.gov.

Turner honored by Flyway Council

The Mississippi Flyway Council recently recognized Ohio Wildlife Officer Brad Turner as the Waterfowl Protection Officer of the Year. Officer Turner has been serving Ohioans as a state wildlife officer since 2007 and is assigned to Preble County.

The Waterfowl Protection Officer of the Year award is presented to a law enforcement officer who exhibits exceptional dedication and service to protecting the Mississippi Flyway’s waterfowl populations. This award highlights officers who go above and beyond by protecting wetlands and waterfowl in their areas of assignment, educating waterfowlers, participating in waterfowl organizations, and promoting youth hunting activities. 

Officer Turner is dedicated to waterfowl education and enforcement. He serves on the Waterfowl Training Team to teach new officers and other staff about waterfowl identification, instructs classes as a field training officer, and contributes to events with local conservation organizations. He patrols an area of the state with ample waterfowl hunting opportunities, including the Great Miami River, Rush Run Wildlife Area, and Acton Lake and works closely with the ODNR Division of Parks and Watercraft to coordinate waterfowl hunting permit drawings for Acton Lake in Hueston Woods State Park. Officer Turner has also undertaken many outreach efforts for the new Woodland Trails Wildlife Area.

After graduating from the wildlife officer academy in 2007, Turner was assigned to Scioto County before being transferred to Preble County in 2010. He graduated from Mississinawa Valley High School in Darke County and in 2003, he received a degree in fish and wildlife management from Hocking College.

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