Along the shoreline from Toledo to Sandusky, there are over 30 privately owned hunting clubs. A majority of the fertile coastal marshes are on these private lands.
Many of these clubs are working together and with conservation agencies to help manage the wetlands. Winous Point Shooting Club and Winous Point Marsh Conservancy share stewardship of one of the largest wetlands remaining in Ohio, combining a passion for waterfowl hunting with wetlands protection.
Winous Point Shooting Club is the oldest shooting club in the United States. Founded in 1856 by a group of wealthy Clevelanders, it maintains an elite membership, never more than 30 members. Members have included John Hay, private secretary to Abraham Lincoln and United States Secretary of State under Presidents William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt.
When duck hunting season begins in mid-October, the members and their guests will be returning to the revitalized marshes to hunt wood ducks, teal and mallards. Each morning after breakfast guides take the hunters by punt boats to the duck blinds throughout the marshes. After a buffet lunch, members and guests often spend afternoons by the fireplace or in the lounge of the recently rebuilt clubhouse. The new clubhouse has maintained traditions and furnishings from the rich legacy of Winous Point.
Members and guests then change to formal attire for the evening meal. As has been the tradition for over a century, after dinner there is a drawing for the next day’s choice of hunting locations. The wind vane on the roof is connected to a compass in the ceiling of the drawing room, indicating the direction of the wind, so that members can better determine the prime locations for the next day’s hunt.
Winous Point Marsh Conservancy, established in 1999, now manages close to 5,000 acres in Ottawa and Sandusky counties, including the lands of the Winous Point Shooting Club. It has been instrumental in protection of habitats, controlling invasive species, and supporting and funding wildlife and ecological research at Winous Point and in the surrounding communities of Northwest Ohio. Each summer interns from Ohio State University reside in the dorm at Winous Point and work on research projects.