Ohio’s waterfowl season is finally here. I had the privilege of being invited to hunt the Magee Marsh on the shores of Lake Erie this past weekend for the Lake Erie Marsh zone opener.
This incredible area of Ohio is a great place to hunt and bird watch all kinds of migratory species. We saw all kinds of species of ducks as well as up close visits by Sandhill cranes, swans, and even pelicans. The weather sure felt ducky with the wind blowing out the northeast at twenty-five mph and waves of rain storms passing through. Despite the miserable conditions, we had a great day and were able to harvest five different species of ducks.
The rest of the state will open for the regular duck and goose season this coming weekend. The season dates for Ohio’s duck season will consist of the following dates: Lake Erie Marsh Zone: Oct. 14 to Oct. 29, and Nov. 4 to Dec. 17. North Zone: Oct. 21 to Oct. 29, and Nov. 11 to Dec. 31. South Zone: Oct. 21 to Oct. 29 and Dec. 9 to Jan. 28.
Waterfowl hunters must have a hunting license, federal duck stamp, and an Ohio wetlands stamp. The daily limit on ducks is six ducks which may include: four mallards (only two hens), three wood ducks, two redheads, two canvasbacks, one pintail, two black ducks, one mottled duck, and one scaup the first fifteen days of the season and then 2 scaup the last forty-five days of the season.
• The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife will release more than 14,000 ring-necked pheasants at public hunting areas in late October and November. Releases will begin Saturday, Oct. 21 during Ohio’s youth small game hunting season.
Each fall, the Division of Wildlife releases male pheasants (roosters) at 25 public hunting areas throughout Ohio. The division is scheduled to release 14,020 pheasants this fall.
The Division of Wildlife will release pheasants for the following dates: Saturday Oct. 21 (first youth weekend); Saturday Oct. 28 (second youth weekend); Friday, Nov. 3 (opening day); Friday, Nov. 10; Thursday, Nov. 23 (Thanksgiving Day).
Pheasants will be released in the following locations: Delaware Wildlife Area; Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area; Oxbow Lake Wildlife Area; Resthaven Wildlife Area; Ringneck Ridge Wildlife Area (by permit only); Tiffin River Wildlife Area; and Wyandot Wildlife Area (no youth releases); Camp Belden Wildlife Area; Charlemont Metro Park; Berlin Wildlife Area; Grand River Wildlife Area; Highlandtown Wildlife Area (no youth releases); Spencer Wildlife Area; West Branch Wildlife Area (no youth releases); and Zepernick Wildlife Area (no youth releases); Appalachian Hills Wildlife Area; Pleasant Valley Wildlife Area (no youth releases); Salt Fork Wildlife Area (no youth releases); and Tri-Valley Wildlife Area; Caesar Creek Wildlife Area; Darke Wildlife Area; Fallsville Wildlife Area (no releases for Oct. 21-22, or Nov. 10); Indian Creek Wildlife Area (no youth releases); Rush Run Wildlife Area; and Spring Valley Wildlife Area.
Ohio’s ring-necked pheasant hunting season is open from Friday, Nov. 3, until Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024. The daily harvest limit is two male birds; no hens (females) may be harvested. A valid Ohio hunting license is required to pursue pheasants and other game birds.
Small game hunting is a great way to introduce someone to hunting and create lasting memories in the field. For more information on getting started, explore the interactive Introduction to Upland Game Birds online learning module and related resources through the Wild Ohio Harvest Community.
• The Ohio Wildlife Council approved wild turkey hunting dates for spring 2024 during its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 4, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The Statewide youth wild turkey season will be April 13-14, 2024. The South zone season will be April 20-May 19, 2024 (all counties except the northeast zone). The Northeast zone will be April 27-May 26, 2024 (Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, and Trumbull).
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.