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Blade Hunting Report: Military veterans honored with pheasant hunt on local farm

The Blade - 1/22/2021

Jan. 20—GRAND RAPIDS, Ohio — The setting was the wildlife haven of the Carson Family Farm along the Maumee River west of here as a group of a half dozen military veterans were treated to the rare opportunity of a pheasant hunt similar to those upland hunters experienced in this region in the 1960s. The event was co-sponsored by the Henry County Chapter of Pheasants Forever and the Henry-Wood Sportsmans Alliance. The veterans gathered early Saturday morning for a breakfast prepared by U.S. Navy vet Barry Hock and a chance to get to know each other before heading out to the surrounding fields to pursue ringnecks. The Carson property, which has been enrolled in many of the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) habitat enhancement efforts over the past few years, also has standing crops that are left for wildlife feed and cover. Pheasants are released into the extensive cover starting in mid-August and throughout the fall to allow the birds to acclimate and adopt wild ways. The hope is the birds develop strong flying skills and use the cover in their new surroundings to survive and thrive. Both hens and roosters are released, but only the roosters are harvested to allow for possible propagation. The vets had the luxury of hunting with three well-trained dogs — the German shorthair Scarlet owned by Bill Beckman, a Vizsla named Shelby owned by Brad Musshel, and a Black Labrador named Dixie owned by Laura Carson. "The dogs made the hunt," the host of the hunt, Greg Carson, remarked. "Watching the dogs work is the thrill of the hunt." Aided by their four-legged scouts, the vets raised 30 or 40 birds and harvested 11 of the pheasants. The pheasants were cleaned and each veteran took home some pheasant meat. The veterans in attendance were Eric Dehn (USAF), Barry Hock (USN), Greg Smith (USA), Greg Panning (USMC), Brad Musshel (ANG), and Joshua Herriott (ANG). The vets were treated to lunch in the best socially distant manner possible.

—Migratory bird hunting: A list of proposed rules and guidelines for the 2021 migratory bird hunting seasons was presented to the Ohio Wildlife Council recently, including an increase in the combined daily bag limit of Canada geese and white-fronted geese. The proposed limit would be five geese per day during open seasons in all waterfowl hunting zones. The current limit is three geese in combination, with only one brant. The one brant limit would remain the same. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service directive allows for states to consider this bag limit increase throughout the Mississippi Flyway, which includes Ohio and Michigan, with the intention of allowing for the additional harvest of abundant and often resident Canada geese. A complete list of the proposed changes is available at the website.

—Michigan/deer: The extended archery season in the urban deer management zone of Macomb, Oakland, and Wayne counties remains open through Jan. 31. According to Chad Stewart, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources deer, elk, and moose program leader, this special extension of the season provides hunters with an opportunity to pursue white-tailed deer while also helping local officials address urban deer conflicts in their communities. In areas where damage to residential gardens and landscaping and an increase in car/deer collisions are linked to an overpopulation of deer, citizen archery hunts offer an urban deer herd management tool at a much lower cost than commercial culling operations.

—Michigan/small game: The cottontail rabbit and snowshoe hare hunting season runs through March 31, with the same closing date for squirrel hunting (both fox and gray). Visit the website for small game hunting information, regulations and bag limits.


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