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Friday, November 16th, 2007

Schools allow students time off to hunt

By William Kincaid
As hunting season is under way in Mercer County, some local school districts are allowing students to skip classes for a few days to participate in the sport.
Principals from Fort Recovery, St. Henry and Coldwater schools all say they would permit student hunters time off school to go hunting. Gun season for deer opens Nov. 26 statewide, with deer already being hunted by bow and arrow.
Fort Recovery High School Principal Dave Warvel said according to school policy, students are allowed a maximum of two days excused absence for hunting.
"In this area there are a lot of people who like to go deer hunting," Warvel said, before adding that Fort Recovery's handbook has its own hunting policy to give students time off school to go hunting.
Warvel said students must come to the high school office and pick up a hunting form, which they, as well as their parents and Warvel, must sign at least a week before the scheduled hunt.
He also said those students must meet with all of their teachers - who are also required to sign the form - and record all of the assignments they will miss while away from class.
"Nine times out of 10 it's not a big deal," Warvel said about approving hunting absences.
However, Warvel said if students miss more than two days, those absences would be considered unexcused - resulting in possible zero grades for missed assignments and tests.
"I think we're pretty fair to let them have two days," Warvel said.
Warvel said he wasn't able to estimate how many students request leave to hunt each year.
St. Henry High School Principal Frank Griesdorn said the school also permits a few days of excused absence for hunting, but is flexible and will allow more if the students are going on a hunting vacation with their family.
Occasionally, he said a family may decide to take a hunting trip in southern Ohio for three or four days, which would be considered an excused time off.
In order to request a leave of class for hunting, Griesdorn said a student must bring a note signed by parents to the high school office giving the reason for the absence.
"We don't have a whole lot of them," he said about student hunters.
Coldwater High School Principal Steve Keller said although the school handbook does not explicitly mention hunting, the school will allow student hunters time off if they fill out a vacation form.
He said the form must be completed and signed by the parents and brought to the office.
"I haven't had any requests yet (for hunting)," Keller said, before pointing out there were only a couple of requests the prior year.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Ohio bow hunters set a record harvest during the first six weeks of the state's deer-archery season, taking 53,982 whitetails.
"This year's early archery season harvest is 18 percent higher than last year's record of 45,733 deer," the Web site says.
In Auglaize County this fall, 207 deer were checked and tagged during the first six weeks of deer-archery hunting season, up from 152 deer in 2006. In Mercer County, 152 deer were checked and tagged during the first six weeks of deer-archery hunting season, up from 79 in 2006.
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