Bird watching, hunting, fishing, family activities highlight

Looking at the 52 outdoor stories I wrote for 2021, I definitely saw a trend, and I’m actually quite proud of the message they delivered when viewed as a full set.

The picture painted was of the beauty of our exterior, with the people who protect it, for those who excel at it and for those who make sure that we do not forget it.

Several of my outdoor excursions are dotted around, offering the reader new places to visit, new ways to enjoy the outdoors, and new adventures to take on. The following is a 2021 review, in no particular order, through my outdoor stories.

It all starts with a big name in ornithology

It started with one of my most read stories of the year as I told the 66 year story of Roger troutman participating in the National Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count.

His roles in the largest animal data collection process on the planet have changed, but his belief in the value of the event is stronger than ever.

“It’s important from an animal perspective because you can see which birds move up and down in the population,” Troutman said.

Birds were a common theme in 2021, including a story in February about the thousands of waterfowl finally enjoying the “Great spring” project at the Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Preserve. For several years, the great spring has been a safe haven for ducks, geese, whistling and trumpet swans, and sandhill cranes, as it provides open water when other lakes, ponds and rivers are frozen in winter. .

The Trumpeter Swan looks around after sitting in the water.

Along with the food plots at KMWA, it is a “large-scale bird feeder,” as KMWA Director Dennis Solon explained.

Swans, beavers and young, handicap hunts

In the spring, I also did a well-being story on the rehabilitation and the release of an injured Trumpeter swan. the Raptor Center of the Medina cared for the large bird and it has been successfully reintroduced to the wild at KMWA.

Two months later, I was back at the wildlife reserve, this time to take out a rehabilitated beaver. Fran Kitchen, with Operation Orphan Wildlife Rehabilitation, raised the beaver from a small ball of fur that could fit in the palm of her hand to an adult beaver, an 11-month process.

And speaking of wellness stories, it doesn’t get bigger than the work Whitetail Heritage of Ohio does each fall with its youth and handicap hunting. It was early October, and it’s something that will bring tears to anyone’s eyes if they get the chance to attend.

This year, I had the opportunity to speak at two events, on topics close to my heart – fishing and monarch butterflies. I have helped in the Ashland Soil and Water Conservation District Family fishing day and we made new friends and new memories in May, then in early July, with my wife Jean, we gave a lecture on monarch butterflies at Horse progress days in Mount Hope. We talked about our trip to Mexico to see the wintering butterflies, handed out milkweed plants and talked about the plight of the monarch.

Jean Holden watches a monarch forage for flowers in one of the clover fields used by Stoller's Organic Dairy in Sterling.

Monarchs also appeared in the newspaper in September, as I wrote about how the migration began, and insects flocked by the thousands to a farm in the Sterling area to rest and strengthen on the nectar of a field of flowering clover. Just sitting in the clover and seeing the butterflies was truly one of my best outdoor experiences of the year.

Outdoor souvenir making

Outdoor success was another big theme this year, with memories made just as important as meat in the freezer. It all started in April with a turkey hunting story for young people on Jarod Hawkins and his son Grady. When Grady packed his big bird, Papa Jarod realized that this was exactly the same spot his father had first taken him turkey hunting 30 years earlier.

Deer archery season is always big news in Wayne and Holmes Counties, and this year has been no different. I chronicled an archer The pursuit of a monster by Steph Genet with a compound bow, but by far the biggest story with readers this year was the bow hunting trip by Ellie and Kevin Miller, the story of Captain Hook. The deer was No.1 on Dad’s kill list, but it was Ellie who let him go with a bolt from her crossbow.

“It was special for me to be able to give Ellie the best of what I had to share. And she will do it in the future,” said Kevin Miller.

Holden Art

Another wellness story has been the successful opening of gun season Duane and Kendall Hochstetlerbecause they both tagged tape measure dollars.

In the world of sport shooting, it was another successful season for the region’s youth teams in the Nationals of the Scholastic Clay target program in Marengo. The Ohio Claybusters had a two-time national champion at Lane Adkins, and the Buckeye-Chippewa Youth Shooting Sports team won three national team titles and two individual titles (Cully Emerson, Bryce Posten).

A mission to rehabilitate Shreve Lake

Of course, 2021 wasn’t all sun and rainbows, because friends of shreve lake had had enough of the Division of Wildlife dragging its feet to fix the 55-acre Wayne County Lake. It all started in July when Jeff Norris, Melissa Spencer and Joseph Slabaugh started the Shreve Lake Restoration Group to heat the DOW to finally repair the Shreve Lake dam, which was drained in 2014.

The group quickly picked up steam, and after another story in October about having nothing to do with the state, officials started making plans to start the process, although the lake filling is still years away.

“The Shreve group that keeps our feet on fire is a good thing,” said Scott Angelo, director of the Division of Wildlife’s District Three. “It keeps us accountable to the athletes.”

Fishing stories near and dear to his heart

And, of course, there have been a lot of my fishing stories along the way, some successful, some not. I wrote on one of my best fishing days ever when I landed four rainbow trout while fishing in Fairport Harbor in early November.

I also enjoyed the bite of walleye on Lake Erie, fished the March walleye run on the Maumee River, caught smallmouth bass in Presque Isle, Pa in April and on the Mohican River in June, ice fished 23 times in January and February, and visited Michigan twice and New York once for fishing trips.

There have been many other trips to the state, including repeatedly fishing in the Ohio River, Lake Milton, and Portage Lakes, as well as camping and fishing in Piedmont and Pymatuning, to name a few. some.

I also wrote on the decline of perch in the central basin of Lake Erie population, opening day of the dove season, Dylan Breitenbucher’s Eagle Scout project at KMWA, reduction of the spring turkey hunting limit, opening of the William J. Robertson nature reserve in Rittman, World Earth Day, a new venture called “Fish My Spot,” and most recently my trip to Colorado and a chance meeting with another Wayne Countian.

Hoping that 2022 is another eye-opening year in the world of the outdoors, and that your weekly dose of outdoor stories encourages you to get out there and explore what Mother Nature has to offer.

The Art Holden external correspondent can be reached [email protected]