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These are the best Southeast Ohio hotspots for game hunting

By DICK MARTIN • May 12, 2018 at 8:00 AM

Huron County has always been considered a decent county for deer and not bad for wild turkeys, and plenty of local hunters bag their game within a half hours drive of their home.

But there’s little question that southeastern Ohio is the state’s top hotspot for either game animal, and it can be good to drive down there and do some hunting where odds are far better. Finding private land hunting can be tough, but wildlife areas can be good too, maybe hard hit during the gun season, but prime territory for archers who face little hunting pressure from others.

To do well there, readers should make a trip or two well before bow season, maybe going down this spring to hunt mushrooms, or early fall for squirrels, or even to do some fishing on the areas this summer, just to get acquainted and scout out potential hunting spots. What wildlife areas are best? According to Division of Wildlife folk like Wildlife Management Supervisor Jim Hill, these are worth a close look.

Tri-Valley Wildlife Area – This 16,200 acre reclaimed strip mine area lies in Muskingum County, one of the top deer counties in the state. It’s north of Zanesville and near Dresdon, a land of mature forest, fields, and brush. This area is prime for deer and turkeys, and is managed to support deer with food plots of corn, buckwheat, and other grins. On early trips, do some fishing in one or more of the area’s 10 ponds.

Powelson Wildlife Area – It lies close to Tri-Valley, 2,779 acres north of Zanesville. It’s gently rolling with old fields and woodland that’s basically 76 percent wooded, and 22 percent brush. Powelson is also reclaimed strip mine land, all good deer country with two stocked lakes.

Egypt Valley Wildlife Area – this hunting spot is 14,300 acres of land near Barnesville in Belmont County. It’s a good mix of forest, grasslands, and brush with many small ponds. The hilly land holds some good bucks. In fact, archers who hunt the area say it’s one of the best in the state.

Cooper Hollow Wildlife Area – This 5,421 section of deer and turkey country sits in Jackson County about 12 miles southeast of the town of Jackson. The area is mostly rolling hills dissected by Symmes Creek. It’s over half wooded with oak and hickory predominating, and has some upland fields with little pine thickets.

Waterloo Wildlife Area – It’s located 10 miles west of Athens, 5,146 acres of mostly forest with small scattered openings. Good broken land with ridgetops, slopes, ravines, and mostly walk-in. Athens County is a top deer producing county where hunters took 3,513 deer last year.

Crown City Wildlife Area – This areas 11,171 acres lies in Gallia and Lawrence counties three miles south of Mercerville. Crown City is another reclaimed strip mine area that’s mostly forest with some open grasslands and a number of ponds. The land is rugged and rolling, and considered one of the best in Wildlife District Four for deer.

If there’s a secret to hunting wildlife areas, even in archery season, it’s to get back into real hunting country. Trying your luck just off a parking lot or major trail can be tough, but those willing to walk, climb, sweat and even wade a little should do well.

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Dick Martin is a free-lance writer from Shelby. Reach him at [email protected] You can also visit his blog at outdoorswithmartin.com.

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