From Across the Field 11-16-2017

From Across the Field

This is the time of the year where I’d like to take a minute to reflect. The growing season is over, harvest is progressing, trees are almost bare, it is getting cold outside, and winter is on the way. That was especially true this past weekend. It was refreshing to watch the sun rise over the horizon with a few trees still holding on to leaves. Coming off a Veteran’s Day weekend and heading towards the holiday season is when I reflect on the many blessings we have with faith, family, living in this area, and in this country.

As I mentioned this is the beginning the slow time of the year for those involved in grain farming operations, as machinery is being stored for the winter, repairs are completed, and decisions are being made for next year. However, we are in a sweet spot on the calendar for the wildlife enthusiast and hunters across the state. It seems like bow season for deer has taken over my social media feeds. I have seen more photos of big deer being harvested with a bow and arrow than I can ever remember. I imagine that those numbers will only increase as the week of shotgun season arrives after Thanksgiving.

Hunter safety should be the number one priority for those in the woods. Simple things like utilizing a harness in a tree stand, wearing the appropriate amount of high visibility orange clothing, and knowing your target and beyond, especially in this flat landscape of NW Ohio.

Over the weekend the hunting season for small game furbearing animals, including raccoon also came in. At one-time raccoon hunting was a big time outdoor sport here in Ohio. While the number of raccoon hunters have continued to decline over the years, there is still great tradition for those who remain active in chasing their ring tailed foe during the night. Today, hunters continue to carry that tradition through competition hunting, and various conservation/hunting clubs throughout the country.

One could argue that there is a need for more outdoorsmen to pick up raccoon hunting, due to the crop damage they cause, and their contribution to the roadkill population. You can see the evidence of a popular raccoon crossing on State Route 108, just south of Napoleon. However, due to the ever increasing rate of urban sprawl and decreasing values of pelts and hides, America’s rich raccoon hunting tradition may only be known by many via books and movies such as “Where the Red Fern Grows” and the recordings of former backwoods comedian, Jerry Clower.

Ohio’s raccoon season is in until the end of January. For more information on hunting rules and regulations contact your local wildlife officer or the Ohio Division of Wildlife. I’ll end this week with a quote from Englishman David Icke who said, “Today’s mighty oak is just yesterday’s nut, that held its ground”. Have a great week.

Garth Ruff,

Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator

OSU Henry County Extension

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