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Here are some useful winter projects

By DICK MARTIN • Mar 2, 2019 at 8:00 AM

It’s shaping up to be a longer than usual winter, with plenty of snow, sleet, ice, chill winds, rain and too much time spent staring out a window and wishing you had something to do besides read or watch TV.

Luckily, there are lots of things that will profitably use your down time, and get you ready for the spring that always comes eventually. Like learning to tie flies. Fly fishermen won’t always talk about their sport, but some will admit that fly fishing is absolutely lethal for catching fish.

The various game species from bass to bluegills and trout, spend most of their lives eating insects, both aquatic and those that blow into a pond, lake or stream like grasshoppers and ants. You can buy a simple kit at places from Cabela’s to L.L. Bean and more, or find one on the web, and spend some challenging hours learning to tie something that will fool the fish. There are plenty of books on fly tying available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and you might find one or two at your local library. Then purchase a fly rod and reel, and learn a new sport!

Hunting for antler sheds will get you outside on those rare warmer days, and the bucks have all dropped their antlers now, leaving them wherever they happen to fall. Seek them out in any likely deer territory, and don’t look for antlers as much as a gray or bleached tine sticking out of the leaves or showing only partially rather than a visible whole. The sheds can be made into all sorts of useful things from fireplace tools to door knobs, and knife handles to buttons.

It doesn’t take much to make those things, either. You’ll need a hacksaw or band saw, a drill to make holes, a disc or belt sander, maybe a rotary grinder, and some skill and imagination. Google up “books on deer shed projects” or buy from Amazon such as Antlers, Bone, Horn and Hide by Monte Burch. You’ll find what you need to know.

Then there’s flint knapping, another challenging sport that can bring in extra income once you learn the skills. Native Americans all over Ohio would make pilgrimages to places like Flint Ridge around Muskingum and Licking counties, and bring home as much as they could carry to make awls, spear points, axes, arrow heads, knives, and such for their daily use. Flint is wonderful stuff, nearly as hard as diamond, brightly colored and easy to work. Flint knives can be as sharp as razors (literally), and have the advantage of easy re-sharpening when they dull by chipping a new edge.

It can be purchased from dealers at various Knap-ins (see Google), at flea markets and antique shows, and do remember the smaller sizes are best. You’ll need fairly heavy copper cylinders several inches long to break off flakes, and other tools with a screwdriver end or a sharp point for fine flaking. Check your local library for books on the hobby. Get on the web and type in flint knapping, or arrowhead making or whatever, too, and ask advice from any experts you meet at shows or Knap-ins. Are the above better than staring out your window for weeks? You decide.


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



• Huron County hunters and fishermen will soon be able to purchase their new state licenses. On March 1 outdoorsmen will be able to purchase their new licenses at wildohio.gov and at many participating agents around the area. Ohio's resident fishing and hunting licenses cost $19 each, unchanged from last year. Ohio residents will also have the option of buying multi-year licenses, and can choose from three-year, five-year, 10-year, and lifetime hunting or fishing licenses.

• Exceptional trout fishing opportunities at Cold Creek will await fishermen and women who enter and are drawn in a special lottery conducted by the ODNR. A half mile section of the creek, located at the Castalia State Fish Hatchery in Erie County will again be open to a limited number of anglers on selected dates between Friday, May 3 and Friday, Nov. 29. Interested anglers must submit an application and a non-refundable $3 application fee available online at wildohio.gov or by calling 800-WILDLIFE. There will be one season for adults (May 3 through Nov. 29) and one for youth (June 10 through Aug. 9).

• Local boaters might be interested in the Progressive Akron Boat & Water Sports Show on March 1 through 3 at the John S. Night Center. There will be a wide variety of boats. some for water skiing, wake boarding, and wake surfing and some for fishing and other activities. There will also be kayaks, pontoon boats, fishing tips and seminars, accessories, food, beverages and more. For more details, visit AkronBoatShow.com,

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