I’m going to be honest. My hunting background consists of going rabbit hunting with my husband about 10 years ago. It didn’t go well since I didn’t have a license. My husband Tim handed me his gun to hold while he did something with our beagle and wouldn’t you know it, a Ranger showed up just at that time. We were lucky he didn’t take Tim’s shotgun ,which he was in his right to do and he didn’t give either of us a ticket, just a warning.
Since working at Fowl Foolers, a lot in my life has changed and I now find myself with time to pursue the hunting aspect of our business.
So, I took the Hunter Safety Class.
First, you have to sign up on line. In Ohio, they give you a variety of times and places that you can go to. It just depends on how far you want to travel. I chose to stay close to Erie County which is where I live, so I had to wait approximately two months for classes to be lined up. Each county has different venues to use and people to teach the classes.
To be prepared, I downloaded the book and had the questions already answered after each chapter. I am glad I did that. I arrived at class not quite knowing what to expect. They give you a Hunting Education Manual, an Ohio Hunting & Trapping Regulations book and an Ohio Wildlife Identification Pocket Guide.
The class consisted of quite a few minors with their parents. Looking around you could see the excitement in them about going hunting. I was also happy to see a handful of girls present. The class was conducted by two very personable Department of Natural Resources Rangers. They started at Chapter 1, gave everyone time after each chapter to answer the questions and then discussed the questions. The class started at 8:00 am on a Saturday morning and was to go until 5:00 pm. There are 9 chapters in the book so the quicker we did a chapter the more time we had for questions.
A lot of information is packed into that 8 hour day. The day was split with lunch in the middle. They served us hot dogs and chips which was provided by the Huron Conservation Club. The hospitality was top notch.
I learned a lot about guns, rules and where and when you can hunt. I did not know that you couldn’t cross private land when chasing deer for instance. If you shoot one and don’t kill it immediately and it wanders off and dies on someone else’s property, it belongs to them. Waterfowling is a bit different. There are marshes, fields and open water to hunt over. Lots of choices.
The culmination of the class was a 100 question test. I passed 90 out of 100. Maybe because I rushed. I also found out that the card the Rangers give you when you pass the test also has to be with you at all times if you are a new hunter and your hunting license gives you away. Always carry that card with you. If they ask you for it and you don’t have it, you have a certain amount of time to produce it or the Department of Natural Resources fines you.
The one thing the class does not go over is the equipment that you will need to pursue waterfowl. For that, I relied on our Sales & Marketing Manager David Fletcher to give me a list of equipment. I already have a 20 ga shotgun and for that matter a 12 ga shotgun. The rest of the list is as follows.
I already have a few hunting trips planned for this season. One is with Port Clinton's very own Kyle Weber in November. I am going to rely on his expertise to show me how and what to do. I am also planning to go to Maryland with David Fletcher and his boys to show me how to hunt the sea ducks. I am also starting to plan a few other ones. I will be sure to let everyone know how I did during my first year of hunting.