COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio hunters are expected to have good opportunities to harvest some of the most popular species of waterfowl, based on the findings of biologists at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS).
Canada goose hunters will enjoy increased hunting opportunity this year. The bag limit will be three Canada geese, up from two in past years. Also, the hunting season, beginning in October, will increase from 74 days to 78 days. Possession limits after the first day are twice the daily bag limit for both ducks and geese.
Canada geese are overall the most harvested waterfowl in the Buckeye State and can be found in good numbers throughout Ohio. Within the Mississippi Flyway, giant Canada geese were estimated at 1.76 million geese, up from 1.62 million geese in 2011. Migrant interior populations (Southern James Bay and Mississippi Valley area) of Canada geese have had good production, but were slightly lower than 2011 estimates. With proper weather, the hunting outlook is good to very good.
     Beginning in October, Ohio hunters will enjoy a liberal 60-day duck hunting season again this year. The daily bag limit for ducks is six, which may not include more than four mallards (no more than one may be female), three wood ducks, one black duck, two redheads, four 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 mergansers. The daily bag limit for coots is 15.
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 Publication 5295. Hunters can also review seasons and regulations online at wildohio.com.
     The success of Ohio waterfowl hunters depends on weather conditions and local habitat conditions as opposed to continental duck populations. Hunters are encouraged to follow weather trends closely as north winds and severe weather to the north often trigger migrations.
     Habitat conditions this year have been affected by the drought. Food quantity on public areas is likely higher than normal due to low water levels producing ideal conditions for seed germination. Much of this food, however, may be unavailable to waterfowl due to insufficient amounts of water to flood areas.
Hunters are encouraged to follow waterfowl counts and habitat conditions on public areas, and bi-weekly aerial waterfowl surveys are flown near the first and 15th day of each month for the Lake Erie Marsh Zone.
     ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.com.