LOCATION AND DESCRIPTION
Woodbury lies in east-central Ohio approximately five miles west of Coshocton. Access to the area may be gained from a number of state routes including 16, 36, 60 and 541. State Route 541, which runs east-west through the center of the area, provides good access to a series of county and township roads.
The land comprising Woodbury has undergone many conversions. From early agriculture and timbering to recent strip-mining, the area contains a diverse mixture of habitat types from expanses of grasses and legumes to relatively undisturbed woodlands. Approximately 35 percent of the area is in openland, 8 percent in brushland, and 57 percent in woodland. There are over 150 small water impoundments on the area, most of which were developed during strip-mining activities. This number includes 42 wetlands and 116 ponds.
HISTORY AND PURPOSE
Beginning with an initial purchase of 779 acres in 1934, Woodbury remained a wildlife area of less than 2,000 acres for 55 years. The original tract was the site of a small mining town and a coal mine that was integral to the making of soap for the Woodbury Soap Company. The area was managed as a game refuge until 1948 when it was opened to public hunting.
During 1987, an agreement for wildlife management and public hunting and fishing was reached with Peabody Coal Company and the Hurst Trust, owners of land adjacent to Woodbury. Further negotiations led to the Division of Wildlife’s purchase of this land totaling 14,615 acres in 1991 and 1992.
Prior to state ownership approximately 50 percent of the Peabody-Hurst Trust lands were affected by strip-mining. Mining began in 1963 and concluded with final reclamation efforts completed in 1987. The older mined areas contain highwalls and spoil banks which were originally planted and now contain pole-sized trees. More recently mined areas (after 1972) are open grasslands. Since acquisition, emphasis has been placed on the development of small wetlands and the planting of trees.
FISH AND WILDLIFE
White-tailed deer, squirrels, cottontail rabbits, wild turkey, waterfowl, and ruffed grouse are the primary species of interest. Furbearers including beaver, muskrat, raccoon, opossum, and skunk are present in good numbers. A rich variety of songbirds are present in association with the unique combination of habitat types. Many ponds were created during mining operations on the area. Where water quality allows, at least 42 ponds have been stocked with bass, bluegills, redear sunfish, and channel catfish.
HUNTING, TRAPPING, AND FISHING
Deer and grouse hunting may be productive throughout the area, especially where old fields, cutover timber, old strip-mine spoil banks, and brushy transition zones between woodlands and openlands exist. Rabbit hunting is optimal in brushy uplands and along field edges. Good squirrel hunting may be encountered in all the residual stands of timber. Woodlands dominated by hickories are usually best early in the season. Later, squirrels are more scattered while feeding on acorns, beechnuts, and other fruits. Raccoon hunting is good throughout the area. General trapping is permitted on the area, but beaver trapping is restricted. Beaver may only be trapped with special permission. During years when beaver are causing unusual damage or problems, a drawing will be held to allow limited beaver trapping.
Hunters (especially night hunters) and other area users should be aware that several highwalls and other forms of rough terrain exist and caution should be exercised.
Limited fishing for largemouth bass, bluegills, redear sunfish, and channel catfish is available in area ponds.
Woodbury provides habitats for species of animals not normally encountered in the hills of southeastern Ohio. Modern strip-mined land reclamation processes have caused the conversion of many acres of woodlands into extensive grass and brushlands. Bobolinks, normally a more northern species found primarily in the glaciated portions of Ohio, may be observed regularly during the summer months. Birds of prey are abundant, and uncommon species such as short-eared owls and rough-legged hawks reside here in the winter. Numerous small wetlands in the valleys attract waterfowl and shorebirds.
PUBLIC USE FACILITIES
Several parking lots and small pull-offs are available throughout the area for public access. Many trails provide foot access to interior portions of the area for hunting and fishing purposes. A small primitive camping area is available on a first-come, first-served basis.
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.
The nearest wildlife district office is located at 360 East State Street, Athens, Ohio 45701; telephone (740) 589-9930. Further information may also be obtained by contacting the Woodbury Wildlife Area Manager, 23371 SR 60 South, Warsaw, Ohio 43844; telephone (740) 824-3211.
Return to list of southeast Ohio wildlife areas.