LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION
The center of this 3,002-acre public hunting area lies approximately five miles southeast of Caldwell. The many tracts of ownership can easily be reached from Interstate 77, State Route 78, and State Route 821. Nearly 60 percent of the area has been strip-mined for coal. Forty percent of the area was mined prior to modern reclamation laws (pre-1972). The resulting terrain includes many miles of highwalls and many acres of spoil banks that have reverted to brushland and small trees. Twenty percent of the area has been more recently mined and is covered by grasslands. The remaining 40 percent is undisturbed and is approximately 40 percent woodland, 20 percent brushland, and 40 percent openland. Several ponds are available for fishing.
HISTORY AND PURPOSE
B & N Coal, Inc. acquired the properties during the 1950s and 1960s and coal mining has continued since that time. The coal has been used primarily to fuel electricity-producing Ohio utility companies. In October 1987, an agreement was executed between B & N Coal, Inc. and the Division of Wildlife which enables the Division to conduct wildlife management activities and permit free hunting, fishing, and trapping on B & N Coal, Inc. lands.
FISH AND WILDLIFE
The ponds on the area were developed during earlier strip mining operations. Several have been stocked with largemouth bass and bluegills.
Deer, ruffed grouse, gray squirrel, and cottontail rabbit are the principal game species; lesser numbers of wild turkey, fox squirrel, raccoon, skunk, muskrat, and beaver are also present.
The diverse mixture of habitat types, ranging from unreclaimed strip mined land to untouched forested ridgetops, provides a rich variety of both game and nongame species. Wood ducks, mallards, and other waterfowl may be found, mainly during migration, on the area’s many ponds. A rich variety of songbirds are found in association with the diverse mixture of habitat types.
HUNTING, TRAPPING, AND FISHING
Old fields and reverting strip mine spoil banks provide the most productive areas for deer and grouse. Gray and fox squirrels occupy the woodlands that have not been disturbed by mining. Wild turkeys are established on the area and beaver are present on many watersheds.
Largemouth bass and bluegills have been caught from several of the ponds.
A free use permit is required while on the B & N Coal, Inc. area. Permits are available from the District Four Headquarters of the Division of Wildlife, 360 East State Street, Athens, Ohio 45701-1895. Be sure to carry your permit while on the area.
Hunters (especially night hunters) and other area users should be aware that there are miles of highwalls and other forms of generally rough terrain. Users should also respect those portions of the area marked by signs stating “Active Mine Area-No Trespassing.” Trespassing in active mining areas will not be tolerated, nor will the off-road use of any vehicle.
It is important to remember, this area is primitive; drinking water, restrooms, picnic facilities, and parking lots are not available. This is primarily a day-use area; camping is prohibited. Further information may be obtained from the Wildlife District Four Office, 360 East State Street, Athens, Ohio 45701-1895; telephone (740)589-9930.
TURN IN A POACHER
Ohio’s TIP, “Turn In a Poacher,” program is helping to curtail poaching throughout the state. TIP is designed to involve the public in reporting wildlife violations. Citizens who observe wildlife violations should call the TIP toll-free hotline, 1-800-POACHER.
Return to list of southeast Ohio wildlife areas.