Governor Strickland Helps Promote Ohio's Outdoor Traditions
Special turkey hunt helps youngsters hone outdoor skills and hunting ethics
COLUMBUS, OH - Governor Ted Strickland's Second Annual Youth-Celebrity Spring Turkey Hunt paired renowned hunters with a group of up and coming Ohio sportsmen and women for a premier wild turkey hunting opportunity.
On May 2, ten Ohio youth took to the woods with adult celebrities, including Gov. Strickland, and nationally known hunting guides at Dillon State Park in Muskingum County. The young hunters were top finishers in a statewide essay contest answering the question, "What makes a good hunter?" The turkey hunt dovetailed with a statewide effort to encourage youth involvement in outdoor recreation, including hunting, and highlight Ohio's spectacular turkey hunting opportunities.
"Turkey hunting is a time-honored tradition in Ohio and I always enjoy opportunities to take part in it," said Governor Ted Strickland. "Each year this event provides an opportunity for our youth to experience the incredible outdoor opportunities Ohio has to offer, and allows them to stay connected to our hunting heritage."
Four hunters, including 16-year-old Janelle Gephart of Fort Loramie, Ohio, harvested turkeys on Saturday. The Fort Loramie High School sophomore, who completed her hunter education training in 2003 and has experience in deer hunting, was thrilled to have a successful hunting experience with her guide, accomplished hunter Greg Keeton, and well-known turkey calling competitor Josh Grossenbacher from Zink Calls in Port Clinton.
"A good hunter is someone who is willing, above all else, to preserve the surrounding land and its animals, follow all precautions to keep fellow hunters and themselves safe, and obey the local laws," wrote Gephart in her top-ten essay. "During a hunt, she does not just kill because it's 'fun,' but because she enjoys the outdoors and the challenges that are in it."
Stephen R. Collopy III, Ashville; Alexandria Cope, Alliance; Benjamin Day, Marysville; Janelle Gephart, Fort Loramie; Christian Hoecherl, Monclova; Tiffany Hopkins, Georgetown; Albert Bo Ray Huffman, Newark; Travis Nieman, Cincinnati; Dalton Rogers, West Carrollton; and Noah Ulrey, Wapakoneta hunted with celebrities including Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Jordan Palmer and safety Corey Lynch and former Ohio State Buckeye football head coach John Cooper.
Generous supporters and sponsors provided food, lodging and hunting equipment for the guests, including Bass Pro Shops, Blind Turtle Blinds, Cincinnati Bengals, Doc's Deer Scents, Flint Ridge Outfitters, Gander Mountain, Gutridge Grills, Mike's Archery, National Wild Turkey Federation (NWTF), ODNR Division of Parks & Recreation, ODNR Division of Wildlife, Ohio Trophy Buck Outfitters, Quaker Boy, Rittberger Meats for 99 Years, Trophy Rock and Zink Calls.
The Eastern wild turkey is Ohio's largest game bird. Spring wild turkey hunting is open in all 88 Ohio counties through May 17. Legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon daily. Ohio's wild turkey population was estimated at 200,000 prior to the start of the spring season.
Caption: Ohio Governor Ted Strickland with Janelle Gephart as she proudly poses with her first wild turkey.