Hunters may apply beginning Thursday, July 1 for special controlled hunting opportunities available on Ohio’s public lands during the 2021-22 season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. Controlled hunts include opportunities for white-tailed deer, waterfowl, mourning doves, and more. The application period is open until Saturday, July 31.
These special hunts are held on select areas to provide additional opportunities for Ohio’s hunting enthusiasts. Hunts are available through the Division of Wildlife, Parks and Watercraft, as well as Natural Areas and Preserves. Hunters may apply for the controlled hunts by completing the application process online using Ohio’s Wildlife Licensing System at wildohio.gov. A non-refundable application fee of $3 is charged per hunt. Controlled hunt applications are only accepted online or by phone for the 2021-22 season. No in-person drawing will be available
All applicants, youth and adults, are required to possess a valid Ohio hunting license and meet age requirements. Those applying for deer hunts will also need a valid deer permit to apply. Find more information at wildohio.gov on the controlled hunt page. Customers without Internet access may call 1-866-703-1928 and apply for hunts by phone. There is an additional $5.50 service fee to apply with the phone option.
Hunters are randomly drawn from submitted applications. Successful applications will be notified and provided additional hunt information by Monday, Aug. 9. Successful applications will receive a permit, rules, and hunting area map. Each controlled hunt opportunity is unique, and applicants are encouraged to thoroughly review all site-specific rules and requirements prior to applying. The application status can be viewed through Ohio’s Wildlife Licensing System.
For more information about hunting in Ohio download the HuntFish OH mobile app or visit wildohio.gov. Follow the Your Wild Ohio Hunter Facebook page for hunting tips and useful information as you get outside this season.
• Citizen scientists can participate in surveying Ohio’s wild turkey and ruffed grouse populations by reporting sightings in July and August, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
Every summer, the Division of Wildlife conducts a turkey and grouse brood survey to estimate population growth. The brood survey relies on the public to report observations of all wild turkeys and ruffed grouse seen during July and August. Observations may be submitted at the Wildlife Reporting System webpage at wildohio.gov as well as the HuntFish OH mobile app.
Information collected for wild turkeys includes the number of gobblers, hens, and young turkeys (poults) observed. Information collected for ruffed grouse include the number of adults and young observed. The date and the county where the observation occurred are recorded for both species. Biologists began tracking summer observations of wild turkeys in 1962. Ruffed grouse were added to the survey in 1999.
This survey is conducted by state wildlife agencies across the wild turkey’s range, which includes Ohio. Information submitted to Ohio’s brood survey helps to predict future population changes and guide wild turkey management. In 2020, the public submitted 248 valid reports, with a statewide average of 2.7 poults per hen. The 10-year average is 2.6 poults per hen.
A true conservation success story, wild turkeys had disappeared from Ohio by 1904. Reintroductions began in 1956, and today turkeys are again common throughout much of Ohio. The gobbling of males is unmistakable, but the birds also make a variety of clucks and other sounds. Watch for turkeys in fields along woods, especially early in the morning.
Ruffed grouse inhabit Ohio’s mostly forested regions. Grouse occur in greatest numbers in habitat with young, regenerating forests, especially those less than 20 years old. Habitat loss has driven population declines since the 1980s. In addition, susceptibility to West Nile Virus has likely caused further population declines during the past 20 years. The drumming of a male grouse – which sounds similar to an old lawn mower being started – is made by the bird quickly rotating its wings, creating a vacuum that produces a repetitive, loud booming noise.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.