Water and Wings
By KEN PARROTT
The Ohio Wildlife Council has approved the state’s early migratory game bird hunting seasons for this fall, with the traditional September 1st kick off of the state’s hunting season with the opening of dove, Canada goose, rail, moorhen and snipe. Ohio’s dove season runs September 1 through October 23 and December 17 through January 2, 2012, with a daily limit of 15 birds and a possession limit of 30 birds.
Canada geese may be hunted statewide September 1–15, during the special early season, with a daily limit of four birds and possession limit of eight birds after the first day.
The Mercer Goose Zone will not be open during the early Canada goose season. The early teal hunting season will open September 3 and end September 18, with a daily bag limit of four birds and possession limit of eight after the first day.
Waterfowl hunters must have a valid hunting license in addition to a state wetlands habitat stamp endorsement, a federal duck stamp and a Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification. Anyone who intends to hunt migratory game birds must obtain a new HIP certification each year.
Sora rails, Virginia rails and moorhens can be hunted September 1 through November 9, with a daily limit of 25 rails and 15 moorhens. Hunting season for snipe will be September 1 through November 27 and December 17 through January 4, 2012 with a daily bag limit of eight.
The woodcock hunting season is open October 8 through November 21, with a daily bag limit of three birds and a possession limit of six birds.
Hunting hours during the seasons for rails, moorhens, snipe, woodcock, teal, doves and Canada geese are sunrise to sunset.
The only exceptions will be on wildlife areas that have specially posted hunting times for doves.
The 2011-12 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations and the 2011 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons brochure can be found on line at wildohio.com.
The 2011 Migratory Game Bird Hunting Seasons brochure will be available by late August at license outlets, Division of Wildlife district offices, or by calling 1–800-WILDLIFE.
• The Ohio Division of Wildlife is asking Ohio waterfowl hunters to provide input on the timing of the fall waterfowl hunting season in the portion of Ohio where they prefer to hunt.
The Ohio Wildlife Council will establish season dates and other regulations in late August after federal guidelines are established for the upcoming waterfowl season. Biologists are seeking input from Ohio waterfowl hunters through this online survey so opportunities can be closely matched to the preferences of as many hunters as possible within the constraints of federal guidelines. The survey is available at wildohio.comuntil August 15.Hunters will need to have their customer identification number readily available (found on all Ohio hunting and fishing licenses) when they take the survey.
Ohio waterfowl hunters provided input in March 2011 on zone boundaries for waterfowl hunting. Input being requested in the current survey is focused on the timing of hunting season dates, preferences about waterfowl hunting during the deer gun season, and holiday periods.
• The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last week announced proposed hunting season lengths for the upcoming 2011–2012 waterfowl seasons. The proposed federal frameworks include duck hunting season lengths of 60 days in both the Atlantic and Mississippi Flyways, 74 days in the Central Flyway (with an additional 23 days in the High Plains areas), and 107 days in the Pacific Flyway.
The proposed frameworks also include a full season on pintails with a 2 bird daily bag limit in nationwide, and a full season on canvasbacks with a 1 bird daily bag limit nation-wide.
States select their season from within the federal frameworks that establish the earliest season beginning and latest ending dates and the maximum season length and bag limits. Flyway-specific highlights of the proposed season frameworks for the Mississippi Flyway is a 60 day season which is great news for duck hunters.
The proposed daily bag limit is 6 and may include no more than 4 mallards (2 hens), 3 wood ducks, 1 mottled duck, 2 redheads, 2 scaup, 2 pintails,1 black duck, and 1 canvasback. The proposed daily bag limit of mergansers is 5, only 2 of which may be hooded mergansers.
Generally, seasons for Canada goose would be held between September 24, 2011, and January 31, 2012, and vary in length among States and areas. States would be able to select seasons for light geese not to exceed 107 days with 20 geese daily between September 24, 2011, and March 10, 2012; for white-fronted goose the proposed season would not exceed 74 days with a 2-bird daily bag limit or 88 days with a 1-bird daily bag limit between September 24, 2011, and February 15, 2012; and for brant it would not exceed 70 days with a 2-bird daily bag limit or 107 days with a 1 bird daily bag limit between September 24, 2011, and January 31, 2012. There is no possession limit for light geese.
Overall it is great news for waterfowl hunters this fall. It’s hard to believe that hunting season is almost here but those cool nights are only a few weeks away.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!