Location & Description
The Shenango Wildlife Area is situated in northeastern Ohio, in eastern Trumbull County, 22 miles north of Youngstown. It extends from Orangeville northwest along Pymatuning Creek, nearly to the Ashtabula County line. Most of the area is paralleled by State Route 7 on the west and Orangeville-Kinsman Road on the east. State Route 88 crosses the center of the area. Topography ranges from gently sloping to nearly level. The soils are moderately well drained and of low to moderate fertility. Approximately 60 percent of the habitat consists of second growth hardwoods. The timber stands are mainly pin oak, green ash, elm, sugar and red maples, and a mixture of hickories. Cropland and openland make up 21 percent, brushland 15 percent, and wetlands 4 percent of the wildlife area.
History & Purpose
The Shenango Wildlife Area consists of the Ohio portion of the Shenango River Reservoir project owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and authorized by the Flood Control Act of 1938. The Shenango dam was completed in July 1965. There is no reservoir within the Ohio portion of the project; the dam and all waters are in Pennsylvania, except during extreme flood conditions. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, has administered the lands under a long-term license with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers since 1968. Wildlife management activities have included development and management of several hundred acres of grain crops and meadows, primarily for food and nesting of upland game and waterfowl. Woods have been protected and improved. Some former pastures and crop fields have been selected to return to woodland through natural succession and planting of thousands of trees and shrubs; vegetation in others is regulated by controlled burning, selective spraying, bushhogging, and establishment of food patches for general wildlife use. Waterfowl production has been enhanced by providing nest structures for wood ducks.
Pymatuning Creek is home to largemouth bass, white crappies, sunfish, bullheads, carp, and suckers. The cottontail rabbit is the most abundant upland game species. Ring-necked pheasants occur in moderate numbers. Good populations of fox squirrel, ruffed grouse, and white-tailed deer utilize the area. Furbearers -- particularly raccoon, muskrat, and beaver -- are abundant. Beaver are of major importance in providing waterfowl habitat. Although only four percent of the area occurs as natural wetlands, beaver impoundments normally double the wetland acreage on the wildlife area. During fall migration, sizable flights of woodcock augment local production. A great variety of both nesting and migrant birds use the area. From October through December and again in the spring, large numbers of migrant waterfowl are attracted to the area.
The Shenango Wildlife Area is popular for hunting waterfowl, rabbit, squirrel, turkey, grouse, deer, woodcock, and pheasant. One of the finer waterfowl marshes is located north of State Route 87 along Pymatuning Creek. Decoy layouts work best in the marsh areas, and jump shooting is often rewarding along Pymatuning Creek. Trapping for muskrat and other furbearers is equally rewarding, and night furbearer hunting is popular. Spring is the best time to fish, with both live and artificial baits being effective. The most productive method for bass in Pymatuning Creek is fishing by canoe and casting lures. The wildlife area provides many opportunities for wildlife watching. Much of Shenango's habitat is beaver swamp, interspersed with upland fields and woodlands. Waterfowl, furbearers, and songbirds are abundant. Shenango is an excellent place to watch woodcock mating flights at dawn and dusk in the spring; hiking and canoeing are also popular at this area.