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Published: Tuesday, 7/22/2008

Bird, squirrel seasons open Sept. 1 with few changes

Ohio's early migratory bird hunting seasons and the statewide squirrel season are to open again on Sept. 1 with just a few changes from last year, according to recent action by the Ohio Wildlife Council.

The bird seasons opening that day will include dove, early Canada goose, rail, moorhen and snipe.

Dove season is to run Sept. 1 through Oct. 22 and Dec. 8 through 26 with a daily bag limit of 15 birds. Controlled hunts are set for Sept. 1 and 2, noon to sunset, for Fallsville, Rush Run, Spring Valley, Indian Creek and Bott state wildlife areas and St. Marys State Fishery Hatchery and Cowan Lake State Park.

Drawings for the controlled hunts are set for Aug. 23 at the respective wildlife area headquarters, except for Cowan Lake park, for which the drawing is set for Spring Valley headquarters. In addition, Cowan Lake park and St. Marys hatchery are offering additional controlled hunts. For other details on any of them call Wildlife District 5 at 937-372-9261.

The early goose season is set for Sept. 1 through 15 with a daily bag of three birds. The mandatory reporting zones at Magee Marsh State Wildlife Area/Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and Killdeer Plains and Mosquito Creek state wildlife areas have been eliminated and the bags increased to three in these zones. The Mercer goose-reporting zone will not be open during the early season.

The early teal season is set for Sept. 6 through 21 with a daily bag of four. Waterfowl hunters must have a valid hunting license with Harvest Information Program [HIP] certification, plus a state wetlands habitat stamp endorsement and a federal duck stamp.

Sora rails, Virginia rails and moorhens can be hunted Sept. 1 through Nov. 9 with daily bags of 25 rails and 15 moorhens. Snipe season is set for Sept. 1 through Nov. 30 and Dec. 8 through 23 with a daily bag of eight. The woodcock season is set for Oct. 11 through Nov. 24 with a daily bag of three.

Hunting hours for these migratory bird season is sunrise to sunset, except on wildlife areas with special postings for dove hours.

In other action, the Ohio Wildlife Council has proposed banning the propagation and possession of live wild boar, and establishing minimum fencing height for captive white-tailed deer while also requiring mandatory tissue testing of deer age 12 months or older that die on a permit-holder's grounds. The Council also granted the Ohio Division of Wildlife authority to enter into the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, which allows states to share information on violations and honor decisions to deny permits and licenses.

Open houses are set for Sept. 13 in each of the five state wildlife district offices to review and comment on the regulations. Call 1-800-WILDLIFE or visit wildohio.com for other details. A statewide hearing is set on the proposed rules on Sept. 25,

9 a.m., at Wildlife District 1 headquarters, 1500 Dublin Rd., Columbus.

Dave Risley, executive administrator of wildlife management and research for the wildlife division, said that he expects few changes in the general duck hunting season, to be set later this summer after the federal season frameworks are established. The expected opening day for the general waterfowl seasons is Oct. 18 for a 60-day split season and a six-duck bag, two goose.

"The only [proposed] change in the duck season is in the south zone, where I recommended moving part of the second split to earlier in the year."

That, he said, would allow for hunting some migrating birds. Risley expects just a one-bird limit, or a "season within a season" for scaup, or bluebills, because of their continued low numbers continent-wide. Canvasbacks and pintails, also down this year, also are under evaluation. Also, a three-bird limit for wood ducks is a possibility

On the Canada goose front, Risley expects big changes, including elimination of the mandatory reporting zones for Canada geese, with the exception of maintaining the Mercer zone in the early September goose season. He explained that "our goose season revolves around protecting interior geese, primarily in the Southern James Bay Population. Our extensive DNA work has convinced others that zoning is an ineffective way to protect those sub-populations and has cast doubt on whether there is a need to protect them at levels previously thought.

"The same data that allowed us to ask for 70 days of goose hunting runs counter to the logic we used for the late [February] season so those seasons will not be offered."

If approved, the Lake Erie Goose Zone will include those parts of Ashtabula, Lake and Geauga countries previously included in the North Goose Zone, with no changes in the rest of the state.

In related waterfowling news, the Southwestern Lake Erie Chapter of Waterfowl USA has set a hunting workshop for Saturday at 9 a.m. at 9500 Baycreek Rd., Erie, Mich.

Mark Rongers, founder of the Mighty Layout Boys, will present a program on techniques for diver hunting at 9 a.m., follow by Shawn Stahl, a champion goose caller, on decoy setups and hunting and calling tips at 10 a.m. Jim Ronquest, a champion duck caller, is scheduled for 10:45 a.m., followed by a pig roast, raffles of guns and gear and more. For tickets and other details call Joe Robison 734-915-7942.



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