STATE WILDLIFE BIOLOGISTS PREDICT GOOD WATERFOWL HUNTING IN OHIO
Spring pond indexes and breeding duck surveys indicate good reproduction
COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio waterfowl hunters should have good opportunities to take some of the most popular species of waterfowl, based on the findings of biologists at the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
The spring pond index for the prairie pothole region of North America (Kansas to central Saskatchewan) and breeding duck surveys indicate an above average reproduction year for most duck species. Ponds are housing near-record numbers and good production has been noted from most of the primary breeding range.
Closer to home, the Upper Great Lakes states showed above average conditions and good production of mallards this year. The Upper Great Lakes are the primary breeding range for mallards harvested in Ohio. Mallards are Ohio’s number one harvested duck and can be found throughout the state.
Wood ducks, the second most important duck to Ohio hunters and the state’s number one breeding duck, also appear to have had a good production year. Late summer rains have dispersed the birds and should provide a variety of hunting locations for Ohio hunters.
Canada geese are the most harvested waterfowl in Ohio and can be found in good numbers everywhere. Locally raised giant Canada geese had the second highest population estimate this spring and all indications are there was excellent production across Ohio. Migrant interior populations (Southern James Bay and Mississippi Valley) of Canada geese have also had good production. With proper weather, the hunting outlook is good to very good.
With good habitat conditions, Ohio hunters will enjoy a liberal 60-day hunting season once again this year. Pintail and scaup showed slight population increases that are permitting full seasons for pintail and a continued two-bird bag for scaup. The record population estimate for canvasbacks has allowed the first two-bird bag in recent history for this species.
The success of Ohio waterfowl hunters has more to do with weather conditions and choice of hunting location than available ducks. Hunters should be scouting their territories now and securing landowner permission where needed. State wildlife areas are in good condition with excellent fall food potential. An extended summer drought early in the season caused moist-soil plants to occupy many traditional wetlands. A flooding of those areas by late summer rains has provided additional waterfowl habitat. Hunters should not only check out their traditional spots, but also more marginal haunts for food production and water quantity.
Details of the waterfowl and all other hunting seasons can be found in the Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations and in Ohio Waterfowl Hunting Seasons. Hunters can also review seasons and regulations online. Additional waterfowl hunting resources are also available, including an online waterfowl identification key and links to migration tracking maps.