The kids are back in school, the start of football season is upon us, and a few leaves are beginning to lose their luster — all signs that fall is here in spirit, if not officially. And with the arrival of fall we also know that the start of hunting season is less than a week away in Ohio.
The early season for Canada geese opens Monday and runs for two weeks, with a daily limit of five birds and possession limit of 15 after the second day. Monday also signals the start of the hunting seasons for squirrel, mourning dove, Virginian and sora rails, common moorhen, and common snipe.
Ohio waterfowlers will find that the hunting zones have been simplified for the 2014-15 seasons, with the Lake Erie Marsh Zone, the North Zone, and the South Zone remaining the same. The special Lake Erie Goose Zone used in the past has been eliminated.
The South Zone takes in everything south of where I-70 does a rough bisection of the state, while the North Zone is made up of everything north of I-70, including the Lake Erie Islands and the waters of Lake Erie that are not part of the Lake Erie Marsh Zone.
The Lake Erie Marsh Zone is a work of gerrymandering beauty, but it was created by sound biology, not politics, and it takes in the richest waterfowl hunting region in the state. This zone includes all of Sandusky Bay, and portions of five counties — a slice of eastern Lucas, a- bit of northeastern Wood, most of Ottawa and Erie, and the northern two-thirds of Sandusky.
This Lake Erie Marsh Zone has its northwest boundary starting at the intersection of I-75 with the Ohio-Michigan state line, and it runs south along I-280 to the Ohio Turnpike, and then east along the Turnpike to the Erie-Lorain county line, and then north to Lake Erie. The zone extends out into the lake for a distance of 200 yards.
This unique hunting zone’s northern boundary takes some jogs in the Cedar Point Amusement Park and the Cedar Point National Wildlife Area, before reaching the southernmost tip of Wood Tick Peninsula at a point near the Ohio-Michigan state line. Consult the 2014-25 Waterfowl Hunting Seasons publication for an exact description of the zone’s boundaries.
Ohio waterfowl hunters should also be aware that the canvasback daily bag limit for this season has been reduced to one. Opening day for the regular duck and goose seasons in the Lake Erie Marsh Zone will be Oct. 18, with the season opening a week later in the North and South zones.
The daily bag limit for ducks is six, with no more than four mallards (only one may be female), three wood ducks, one black duck, two redheads, three scaup, one canvasback, two pintails, and one mottled duck. The daily bag limit for mergansers is five, of which no more than two may be hooded. Possession limits after the second day are three times the daily bag limit.
The daily bag limit for Canada geese in the regular season is three. The daily bag limit for Light geese (snows, Ross’, and blues) is 10, while white-fronted geese have a daily bag limit of one and brant have a daily bag limit of one.
Waterfowl hunters age 18 and older must have an Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp, while all waterfowl hunters age 16 and older must also have a signed federal duck stamp.
Ohio waterfowl hunters are also required to take part in the Harvest Information Program (HIP) prior to hunting. Migratory game bird hunters must call 877-HIPOHIO (447-6446) and respond to a few survey questions to meet the HIP certification requirement. After completing the survey, hunters receive a certification number to write on their Ohio hunting license.
Ohio hunters 15 years of age and younger can take part in a statewide special youth waterfowl season Oct. 4 and 5. The daily bag limit for ducks in that special hunt is six, which may not include more than four mallards (no more than one may be a female), three wood ducks, one black duck, two redheads, three scaup, one canvasback, two pintails, and one mottled duck.
Waterfowl hunters in the Buckeye State are reminded that it is unlawful to construct or place a permanent blind on a state wildlife area or any other state or federal property. All portable blinds in state wildlife areas must be removed immediately after th999e day’s hunt.
Only nontoxic shot is permitted for hunting waterfowl, rails, snipe, and gallinules. It is unlawful to possess or use any shot other than nontoxic shot while hunting these birds. Lead shot is still permitted for taking mourning doves and woodcocks.
OFFICER HONORED: Reid Van Cleve, the wildlife officer assigned to Ottawa County, has been named Mississippi Flyway Waterfowl Protection Officer of the Year for Ohio by the Mississippi Flyway Council. VanCleve covers Ohio’s most heavily hunted county for waterfowl, with Ottawa County being home to Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Toussaint Wildlife Area, Turtle Creek Wildlife Area, Little Portage Wildlife Area, East Harbor State Park, and many private duck hunting clubs.
Contact Blade outdoors editor Matt Markey at: email@example.com or 419-724-6068.