North zone waterfowl dates not optimal for hunters
The regular waterfowl season is finally upon us. The Parrott boys did have a decent opening weekend harvesting a lot of wood ducks with some mallards and gadwall thrown in.
Now that the local wood ducks have been harvested or bugged out for safer waters, we are now twiddling our thumbs staring at empty skies until the weather gets nasty enough to bring us a migration. Unfortunately, if you live and hunt in the Ohio waterfowl north zone, you will have to wait until after Thanksgiving for that to happen as we won’t be in season again until then.
This year, the Division of Wildlife chose to open up the north zone waterfowl season a week earlier in October and keep it in through late October. The second split then opens at the end November and runs into early January. Course, that means we will probably miss most of the diver migration this year as that usually happens in mid-November.
As you can probably tell, I am not a big fan of Division of Wildlife’s choice in north zone waterfowl season dates this year. I love that we are open all of December and into early January, as I love those late season mallards, but being open for so much of October is a waste of many of the sixty days that we are allowed to be in season.
I understand that Division of Wildlife has a tough job trying to appease so many areas of Ohio with only sixty days. I just sorely wish they would do to the season in the north zone like they do in the south zone and only open the first split for eight days and then close it.
That would give waterfowlers a chance to harvest the local wood ducks and take advantage of the small migration of teal that can happen during then and then open the second split up two weeks earlier in mid-November to allow us to take advantage of the diver migration.
It is going to be a strange year not hunting ducks in most of November around here that is for sure. My fingers will be crossed that winter ice up doesn’t arrive too early this year and keep some of those divers around.
• Thanks to the new reporting system of harvested tagged deer, access to total statewide harvest numbers is available to the public much quicker and easier now. Deer hunters can keep up with Ohio’s deer harvest numbers throughout the season at wildohio.com.
The deer harvest report will be posted each Wednesday by noon throughout the hunting season. Each report will compare the total harvest for the same number of hunting days for each year. The report will include deer killed by longbow, crossbow, shotgun, handgun and muzzleloader.
The value of the new reports will be realized most during the early archery season. The early archery harvest tends to be a very good predictor of how the rest of the seasons will fare, assuming weather conditions are average. The direct link to the website is http://bit.ly/ohiodeerharvest.
Locally, all the area counties are way up in harvest totals for the first eighteen days of the season and statewide, harvest numbers are up over forty percent compared to last year.
• The ODNR Wildlife Council recently passed some new rules that will take into effect on January 1st. One of them affects anglers particularly those that travel to Lake Erie and are bringing back cleaned fish.
Fillets must now be kept whole until an angler reaches his or her permanent residence or until the fish are prepared for immediate consumption. There will be no requirement to keep skin on the fillets. This rule will not apply to anglers with a receipt from a fish cleaning house or charter captain, which states the date, number and species of fish.
It was also proposed to adjust the rule to allow for the sale of squirrel skins as well as the tail. Squirrel tails have been sold for many years, hunters often leave them attached to the entire hide, so this will allow a common practice to continue and be a simplification.
It was also proposed to make changes to the tagging process to reflect new templates in the License and Game Check system. One change is that hunters will no longer be required to use a Division issued temporary tag; they will provide their own just as landowners do now. The same was proposed for deer hunting as well.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!