Archive for October, 2018

Like a lot of hunters, I spend a good amount of time dreaming of hunting somewhere else – I grew up in Northeast Ohio, hunting rabbits, squirrel, pheasant, and whitetail deer until the mid 1990’s, then I moved to upstate New York, and eventually back to Ohio and finally Georgia, but I haven’t hunted in Ohio since probably 1993, so twenty-five years give or take.

This year, when looking at various options here in Georgia and other states, I was lamenting not having a good place to hunt, and not having the budget to get in on a decent hunting lease, when on a whim I looked up the price for non-resident Ohio hunting licenses with deer tags, and the answer was under $200 for the general hunting license and one either sex deer tag.  I posed that on FaceBook, and the next time I called to talk to my folks in Ohio, the first words out of my dad’s mouth were something like ‘what took you so long?’

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My dad is, at this point, 76 year old. He doesn’t use Facebook. He doesn’t know what Twitter is and probably would have to think for a few minutes to explain the term ‘social media’ to somebody if pressed.  He is a retired automotive factory worker and U.S. Army National Guard first sergeant, he doesn’t like computers much, and uses a pay-as-you-go box store flip phone like the old Motorola Razr style, and by ‘uses,’ I mean ‘hates, uses it as little as possible, and would probably prefer to throw it in a river.’  My point is that my step-mom or uncle Phil had to tell him ‘hey, Niko is thinking about hunting in Ohio this year.’

So, with a little planning, we set up the trip. I would stay at the house in Hartford, Ohio, and hunt with dad at some of his favorite places.  The easiest way to describe dad’s health isn’t to list all the things that aren’t working, it’s to say ‘he has one good shoulder, and gets around with the help of a 5′ walking stick he cut himself from a sapling.’  He uses a Barnett Recruit crossbow because it’s light enough for him to carry, and usually takes a darn nice buck with it every year.  He’s average height and weight, too, and for those of you who have met me in person, is nothing like me physically. When we stand side-by-side, I look like Shrek standing next to Robert De Niro.  Despite his health issues, the Saturday I was in Ohio, we left the house at 1:15 in the morning, drove over an hour to pick up Dan, Bill, Edna and Cindy, some of Dad’s Amish hunting friends, and then drove to their property in central Ohio, hunted all day, then drove back, dropped them off, and drove back to dad’s house, a 26.5 hour long day.

We hunted four properties, three in Trumbull County, in the townships of Greene, Johnston, and Hartford, and one property in Tuscarawas county south of Canton. In the time I was there, I saw deer every single day, all but three does, and never drew my bow. I had my release hooked to the d-loop three times, twice, a few minutes apart trying to get a shot at a small six-point while being watched by several nanny-does, and the third time trying to get a shot at the same six-point the last night I was there.  The nanny-does had been spooked by both the doe-in-heat drag we used and a decoy set up off to my right, and that spooked the six-point enough for him to stick to cover the first time, the second time, all of the good acorns were apparently in the underbrush where I couldn’t get a clean shot.  I also watched four gobblers make their way across a field, and saw more raccoons than I thought I would ever see in my life.  When I asked dad about that, he said ‘people used to hunt them, now nobody does, and they’re everywhere now.’ I must have seen fifty or more road-killed raccoons, probably two dozen road-killed opossums, and multitudes of deer while in Ohio.

Still the trip was a great amount of fun, with lots of nostalgic moments driving around the area that forms my childhood memories. I would have liked to come home with a couple of coolers full of venison (I could have purchased additional tags for $42 each, up to a total of three), but that’s ok, I came home with memories.