Cars for Critters coming in September to Lake Erie

Steve PollickOak Harbor, Ohio — The early hunting season openers almost are upon us – dove, squirrel, teal, Canada goose – but mark your calendars now for a Sunday afternoon “off” but well spent come end of September after the early gunsmoke clears, this in quest of cougars, impalas, cobras, mustangs, goats, barracudas, and marlins, among wild game.

This would be the sixth annual Cars for Critters benefit car show at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, 14000 West State Rt. 2, north of Oak Harbor on western Lake Erie. The show, set for Sept. 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., features classic cars with legendary wild animal nameplates and benefits wildlife rehabilitation and environmental education.

The 2012 edition of the event drew a record 225 vehicles, so there promises to be plenty of oldies but goodies on display, not to mention live bald eagles, hawks, owls, flying squirrels and other wildlife brought to the refuge by Mona Rutger of Back to the Wild, a rehabilitation center south of Sandusky.

The event is sponsored by the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge Association, a refuge volunteer- support group, and was the brainchild of Eddy Pausch, assistant refuge manager. There are 15 vehicle entry-categories plus ones for longest migration (longest distance traveled to show), best plumage (paint job), and best of show.

If you have your own vintage “wild car,” you can enter it in the show for $10 by Sept. 7 by calling Pausch  at 419-898-0014 extension 31. Or check the Web at www.onwra.com.

This unusual critter car show caps the end of four great days in the western Lake Erie marshes, kicking off on Sept. 26 with the dedication of the Bob Hines Refuge Ranger Station at Ottawa refuge. It honors the late Hines, who grew up in nearby Fremont, and who became a federal duck stamp artist (1946) and was the prestigious contest’s originator.

Then, on Sept. 27 and 28 comes the 2013 edition of the federal duck stamp art competition, to be held at Maumee Bay State Park, just west of the refuge on  State Rt. 2. For details on the duck stamp art fete, visit on-line at www.fws.gov/midwest/2013duckstamp/.

A youth waterfowl hunting workshop also is set for Sept. 28 at the Ottawa refuge Visitor Center. Call the refuge for details, 419-898-0014.

Categories: Ohio – Steve Pollick

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