COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio hunters will again enjoy a 60-day duck hunting season and a six-duck bag limit this year. The 2008-2009 waterfowl hunting season dates have been approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council and are the most liberal regulations allowed by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
The waterfowl hunting seasons are set to open October 18 in both Ohio's north and south zones. Hunters 15 years of age and younger will have the opportunity to enjoy a special statewide season October 4-5.
The duck-hunting season in the North Zone is October 18 through December 7, with a second season open December 20 through December 28. In the South Zone, duck season is open October 18 through November 2, with a second season opening December 6 and running through January 18, 2009.
The daily bag limit for ducks is six, which may not include more than four mallards (no more than one may be female), one black duck, one pintail, three wood ducks, two redheads, and three mottled ducks. Due to continuing low breeding populations of lesser scaup, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service has offered a mixed scaup bag limit with 40 days of a one-bird limit and 20 days of a two-bird limit.
As a result, Ohio hunters can take one scaup ( North Zone from October 18 - November 17 and December 20 - December 28; South Zone from October 18 - November 2 and December 26 - January 18), or two scaup (North Zone from November 18 - December 7; South Zone from December 6 - December 25). Possession limits after the first day are twice the daily bag limit. Hunting season for canvasbacks will be closed.
The daily bag limit for mergansers is five, of which only two may be hooded. The daily bag limit for coots is 15. Possession limits after the first day are twice the daily bag limit.
In the Lake Erie Canada Goose Zone, the goose season is October 18 through November 30 with a second season opening December 3 and running through December 28. The goose season for the remainder of the North Zone is October 18 through November 30, with a second season December 17 through January 11, 2009. In the South Zone, goose season is October 18 through November 5 with a second season December 6 through January 25, 2009.
The daily bag limit for Canada geese is two. Light geese (snows, blues, Ross') have a daily bag limit of 10, and white-fronted geese and brant have a daily bag limit of two. The possession limit for brant and geese is twice the daily bag limit after the first day. The Late Canada Goose Season will not be offered this year.
People planning to hunt waterfowl are required to answer several questions for the Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey when purchasing their hunting licenses. A state wetland habitat stamp endorsement and a valid and signed federal duck stamp are required when hunting waterfowl, in addition to an Ohio hunting license. The 2008-2009 hunting licenses and wetland stamps are on sale now and remain valid through February 28, 2009.
Copies of this season's waterfowl hunting regulations, which include maps of the zones (Publication 295, Waterfowl Hunting Regulations), will be available in mid-September to hunters at all license vendors, online at wildohio.com and at Division of Wildlife district offices in Akron, Athens, Columbus, Findlay and Xenia, or by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE.
Open houses will be held on Saturday, September 13 from noon to 3:00 pm in each of the state's five wildlife district offices to provide the public an opportunity to view and discuss proposed fish and wildlife regulations with state wildlife officials. Directions to the open houses can be obtained by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE or visiting wildohio.com on the Internet.
Topics for the Open Houses are proposed rule changes to the Ohio Administrative Code, and include:
*The prohibition of possessing or propagating wild boar.
*Establishing a minimum fence height for captive white-tailed deer, and requiring mandatory tissue testing of captive deer 12 months of age or older that die or are killed on a permit holder's premise.
*Giving the ODNR Division of Wildlife authority to enforce the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact agreement. States participating in the agreement share information about fish and game violators and honor each other's decision to deny licenses and permits. For example, if an Ohioan is convicted of a wildlife violation in a participating compact state, the individual's right to hunt and fish also can be suspended or revoked back home, providing a similar action would have resulted had the violation occurred here in Ohio.
*Fishing regulations regarding blue catfish bag limits, stream smallmouth bass length limits, and striped bass regulations.
A statewide hearing on all the proposed rules will be held at 9 a.m., Thursday, September 25 at the Division of Wildlife's District One Office, located at 1500 Dublin Road in Columbus.