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Plenty for sportsmen to do in September

Register • Aug 27, 2014 at 3:15 PM

By way of an introduction, my name is John Hageman.

If the name sounds familiar, it may be because I frequently provided news while Manager of Ohio State University’s Stone Laboratory in Put-in-Bay for 25 years. I also operated Primetime Ice Charters.

Now retired from the former two occupations, I am a freelance contributing outdoor writer to the Ohio Outdoor News, Ohio Valley Outdoors and other magazines on occasion. Elected as Vice President of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio for 2013-2015, I will serve as their President in 2015-2017.

I am an officer in the Erie-Ottawa-Sandusky Co. Chapter of Pheasants Forever, Lake Erie Islands Chapter of Ducks Unlimited and a member of the Ohio State and National Trappers Associations, NRA, Black Swamp Bird Observatory and Outdoor Writers of Ohio.

There is a lot to cover in this area that is so profuse with outdoor history, rich traditions and new challenges. Of course, Lake Erie plays a prominent role in the news year-round. But, inland waters and upland pursuits deserve coverage as well.

World renowned fishing, duck hunting opportunities, fur trapping and a growing interest in nature watching are a few activities appreciated by so many of us in this slice of paradise that we call home.

Using my background in biology, education, outdoor sports and conservation, I plan to update, inform, educate, entertain and opine to whoever cares to join me each week about things that are important for me to share with you.

I am pleased to now have the opportunity to provide a new Sunday outdoors column for subscribers of the Register.

September is a month that tests the outdoorsman’s time management abilities. There are too many open seasons and not enough days to enjoy them all equally. Success will always improve if locations are scouted prior to the opening day to determine the best places to hunt.

On Sept. 1, Mourning dove hunting is legal until Nov. 9, and again Dec.13-Jan. 1. I'll have more about this topic next week.

Squirrel hunting lasts Sept. 1-Jan. 31. Early in the season, between the heavy leaf cover, relentless mosquitoes, concerns about spooking deer and the benefit of a very long season, they get a reprieve in some locations after opening day.

Early goose season is from Sept. 1-15. Canada (not Canadian) geese are very widespread this time of year. Many family units are currently feeding in harvested wheat field stubble, or corn fields already cut for animal silage. They may also be hunted over water, from small ponds to Lake Erie.

Hunting fields or ponds and decoying young birds, with only a handful of decoys and sparse calling can be as easy as goose hunting gets. Or, it can be a complete bust if an experienced adult goose spots something out of place and honks out a new family flight plan.

Teal season runs Sept. 6-21 this year. The good news is that the populations of blue wing teal are up 75 percent, and green wing teal are up 69 percent above long term averages. The bad news is that they are pretty picky about where they hang out.

Marshes with shallow water where these tiny ducks can reach their submerged food are the best. Some of the state’s public access areas are open to walk-in hunting, while others were doled out through a drawing held in mid-August. Call the Division of Wildlife’s District 2 office in Findlay for help locating local places open to walk in hunting at 419-424-5000.

Be careful to be certain about the duck’s identification. Wood ducks are often mistaken for teal and shot prematurely, since they are out of season until 'Big Duck' season begins in October.

There is always something special about the anticipation that comes with hunting on opening day. I have hunted both geese and doves many times in the same field on opening day, but rarely at the same time — mainly because of different shotgun shell requirements (large steel vs. small lead).

Check the Ohio Hunting Regulation handbook for season dates, bag and possession limits, hours and other rules.

Labor Day weekend was the traditional kickoff date to get serious about perch fishing. In recent summers, they are already in schools — like kids — even before the holiday.

But, as much as I love perch fishing, they will have to wait for me to perfect my September outdoor time management ...

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