Ohio hunting and trapping rules for 2008-2009 have turned out about as expected, with little change except for increased fall wild turkey and deer opportunities, according to recent action by the Ohio Wildlife Council.
Fall turkey hunters will be able to hunt the entire season, Oct. 11 through Nov. 30, with a shotgun, muzzleloading shotgun, bow, or crossbow in 46 counties across the state. This rule adds 35 days of gun hunting to the season and nine new northeast counties.
Deer hunters again can buy additional antlerless deer permits for $15 each for hunting in urban deer zones, controlled (limited draw) hunts, or hunting Sept. 27 through Nov. 30 segment of the archery season plus new this year, during the first full week of shotgun hunting in the southeast Zone C, or Dec. 1 through 7.
In any case, a hunter must purchase a regular, $24 deer permit first, and must purchase any $15 antlerless tags by Nov. 30, even though they may be used the following week. The reduced-cost permit, moreover, allows a hunter to take an extra, albeit antlerless, deer in Zone A, two extra in Zone B, and three extra in Zone C.
Archery deer season will run Sept. 27 through Feb. 1. Youth gun-deer season is Nov. 22 and 23. Shotgun season is Dec. 1 through 7 and Dec. 20 and 21. Statewide muzzleloader season is Dec. 27 through 30.
Special area muzzleloader hunts at Shawnee, Wildcat Hollow and Salt Fork public hunting areas are set for Oct. 20 through 25 for one deer of either sex, with a buck counting for the one-a-year-only limit. Muzzleloader hunters no longer will require a special permit for this hunt and can use either a regular deer permit for either sex or the $15 antlerless permit.
The county composition of the three deer zones remains the same as 2007, with 38 in Zone C, 30 in Zone B, and 20 in Zone A, the latter covering most of northwest and west Ohio.
In other seasons, Sept. 1 again will be the opening date for hunting seasons, beginning with squirrel, which runs through Jan. 31. Other small game and upland bird seasons remain nearly the same except for calendar dates. Migratory bird hunting seasons, including dove, Canada goose, rail, moorhen, snipe and waterfowl will be set in August after setting of the annual federal seasons framework.
A complete rundown of rules can be found at wildohio.com.
As discussed in January, the Council approved down-listing the bald eagle, osprey and peregrine falcon from endangered to threatened on the Ohio list.
The lesser ranking under endangered species protection really is an indication of population stability and distribution, and conservation successes, not a lack of protection of these birds of prey. All three are federally protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 and the eagle receives additional protection under the Bald Eagle and Golden Eagle Protection Act.
Ohio s current list of animals under some degree of endangered species classification, generally reflecting population status and outlook, includes 352 species. A full listing under six categories is available online at wildohio.com.
With income tax day looming a week hence, Ohioans are reminded that they can make a difference in conserving the state s natural resources wealth with a voluntary checkoff contribution of a portion of any state income tax refund they may be owed.
The state s system of 131 state nature preserves, which conserve natural remnants of the state s rare habitats dating back to the Ice Age, and the state s 13 scenic river designations, which include portions of the Maumee and Sandusky rivers, are covered on Line 19 of form IT-1040EX or Line 27 of IT-1040. Other details are available on-line at ohiodnr.com.
Fishing: Walleye action was very good over the weekend at high water access sites on the Maumee River in the Maumee-Perrysburg area, with action expected to stay high and spread out toward popular rapids upstream from the Maumee-Perrysburg bridge as the stream level continues to fall.
The Sandusky River at Fremont also produced good fishing action over the weekend, though catching was slower on Sunday, the Ohio Division of Wildlife said. Both streams still are muddy but slowly clearing and the runs should be building toward peak, especially on the Sandusky.
On western Lake Erie, the jig-and-minnow walleye season is under way on and around near-shore reef complexes, but wind and muddy water limited the catches over the weekend.