The Ohio Division of Wildlife is going after quality instead of quantity at its Mosquito Creek Wildlife Area and Refuge in Trumbull County.
Included are changes that will impact not only access and use of the controlled waterfowl blinds but also the use of the daily allotment of hunting units within the refuge.
And there will be one less day of hunting each week with the shuffle switching the daily rotation as well.
Among the changes: all hunters who want to hunt from goose blinds at Mosquito Creek must apply online or by mail in order to be drawn for opportunities through the controlled hunt program. Nothing different there.
However, any unfilled goose blinds will no longer be offered to waterfowl hunters who are present at the daily drawings.
Perhaps more importantly the daily drawings for waterfowl hunts will now take place on a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday rotation instead of the previous Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday rotation.
“The new format is intended to make the hunts better and tracking the data indicates that a four-day rotation is contributing to burning out the marshes,” said the area’s manager, Lou Orosz.
As for the unused blinds, the effort is being made so as to better ensure a quality hunting experience for those hunters who do show up, Orosz said.
“We’ll try it for this year and if it doesn’t pan out maybe we’ll go back,” he said. “Everyone is onboard with this run and we’ll see how it goes.”
Just as was the case last year, the drawings for allotment slots during the waterfowl season will begin at 5:15 a.m. and drawings for teal season start at 5:45 a.m.
And if you’re thinking of hunting ducks and geese at Mosquito during the week of the firearms deer-hunting season, forget it. There will not be any waterfowling for this week nor for following week.
The skinny on this change is because last year hunters killed only two ducks during these two weeks combined. The third and final Saturday drawing for teal season will be eliminated as well. This also due to lack of interest from hunters along with few birds being present, said Orosz.
“All of these changes are designed to restore a more quality hunting experience for everyone who participates,” Oros said. “We can’t make special allowances for suitable weather conditions, however, we can help ensure that the refuge is not hunted to the point that the quality experience is being lost.”
Shuffling manpower away from the waterfowl season and to the first week of the firearms deer-hunting season is a better utilization of manpower, Orosz says.
In regards to Mosquito’s manicured and planted dove fields, Orosz says those allotments will see plantings of one kind or another. That activity will include the planting of buckwheat this summer along with working toward planting field corn within the next couple of weeks, Orosz says.
“We don’t have to worry about harvesting the corn; the critters won’t care and it will provide cover for our hunters not only in the dove fields but around our waterfowl hunting blinds,” Orosz.
“And our winter wheat is actually looking very good considering that we had water standing in the fields only a few days ago.”
Waterfowl hunters can apply for the controlled hunts at Mosquito by visiting www.wildohio.com through July 31. To obtain paper applications call 1-800-WILDLIFE.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn