Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Magee Marsh dike work to eliminate duck-hunting lottery there this fall

No notes from a well-tuned duck call likely will ring over fabled Magee Marsh during this fall’s general waterfowl-hunting season.

That is because the Ohio Division of Wildlife is working to rebuild the famed duck-hunting location’s wetlands.

The news comes as the Wildlife Division announces that online applications for controlled waterfowl and deer hunting will begin to be accepted starting June 1. These applications will be accepted through July 31.

More than 4,000 Ohioans and out-of-staters annually apply for the opportunity to hunt one of Magee Marsh’s assigned blind locations.

Hunting at Magee is about as close as an Ohio hunter can get to working waterfowl outside of being a member of an exclusive duck-hunting club. Located near Oak Harbor and Port Clinton, Magee Marsh has long been associated with top-notch wing-shooting.

“We are doing a couple of different projects including rebuilding our east marsh and our supply channel dike,” said Patrick Baranowski, Magee Marsh’s area manager.

“I could not guarantee that we’d have the project ready in time for the lottery-style hunt. I’d hate to have people apply when I can’t offer the opportunity but we’ll be back in 2012.”

Baranowski did say that if conditions are favorable the marsh will still host an early teal season hunt. A drawing is scheduled for Aug. 20 at the marsh’s headquarters and is held in conjunction with the annual Lake Erie Waterfowlers Festival.

A late season hunt for the marsh proper may be offered, too, depending upon marsh conditions, Baranowski said.

“My hope is that we can get the marsh dry enough so we can get the job done early so we can do a daily only draw where people can put their name in a hopper,” he said.

If such hunts are done they’ll be held Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and until noon, daily.

“We’ve done that each year after Thanksgiving but we never could guarantee conditions,” Baranowski said. “Hunters also will have to provide their own boats with a no-wake policy.”

For more specific information regarding the potential of day-of waterfowl hunts contact Baranowski at 419-898-0960, ext. 30.

Other popular waterfowl hunting locations are still available for the lottery-style drawing. Among them are Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge (Lucas County), Mosquito Creek (Trumbull County) and Mercer (Mercer County) state wildlife areas.

Special deer hunts are also slated for the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge (Lucas County), NASA/Plumbrook Station (Erie County), Ravenna Training & Logistics Site (Portage County), as well as Mosquito Creek (Trumbull County), Killdeer Plains (Wyandot County) and Old Woman Creek (Erie County) state wildlife areas.

Changes & Highlights For 2011-2012:

* All applicants, adult and youth, must hold a current hunting license. The new license system will detect whether or not the applicant meets this prerequisite. The DOW believes this change will better identify applicants who truly intend to participate in the event should they be drawn for a permit.

* Online applicants will notice that the lottery application and license purchasing processes are identical. Applicants can purchase licenses and lottery applications in the same transaction. This might confuse some customers in the early going. n The application fee is $3 per hunt regardless of method (online versus mail-in).

* Customers who do not wish to apply online must obtain an official application form by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE.

* Application forms are not available on the DOW website (downloadable PDF file), and will not be distributed to DOW offices, license outlets, government offices, libraries, or any other business entity.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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