Dove hunters who utilize the special fields at Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area in Trumbull County have often expressed frustration of being hemmed in by too much competition from other gunners.
Meanwhile, those lucky enough to be drawn for one of the area's controlled goose-hunting blinds have seen their luck take a nosedive. This, largely due to over-use of the fields which contain the blinds.
Now the Ohio Division of Wildlife is on the brink of making several changes for hunting at the reserve.
Among them would be a special one- or-two day controlled dove hunt adjacent to the North Park Ave. dove field but within the confines of the waterfowl refuge. This area would be just to the south of the current dove field.
The dove field on the former Horvath property would remain as is, state wildlife officials say.
To get to hunt this new controlled area will likely entail a postcard drawing, thus limiting the number of hunters at the new location.
The Wildlife Division also would work it out so as to spread the lucky few over more of this new area instead of having them all bunched up.
And for the remainder of the season, persons could hunt this special unit through the drawing of a daily permit.
The North Park Ave. dove field has just become dangerously over-crowded and safety is a rising concern, says Jeff Herrick, supervisor for the Wildlife Division's Northeast Ohio office.
Also, says Herrick, the agency will likely call for fewer controlled goose hunts through the process of one of more self-imposed seasonal splits. As it stands, Ohio has a 70-day season with just one short split.
What this has done is near continuous blind usage which has resulted in a sharp decline in hunter success. On some days the 17 or so blinds have seen as few as two geese shot for an entire day, Herrick says.
By self-imposing fewer days of hunting through the use of more and longer splits, fewer hunters will be able to hunt at the refuge but the quality of the experience - and the expected increase in the goose harvest - will make up for the lost days, Herrick says.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn