Ohio’s waterfowl hunting zones were simplified for waterfowl hunters after the 2014-2015 season dates and bag limits were approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council on Wednesday, Aug. 20. The South Zone, North Zone and Lake Erie Marsh Zone remain the same for waterfowl hunting, but the Lake Erie Goose Zone that previously covered much of northeast Ohio was removed. Also new this year, the canvasback daily bag limit was reduced to one.
Opening day for duck and goose hunting is Saturday, Oct. 18, in the Lake Erie Marsh Zone and Saturday, Oct. 25, in the North and South zones. See the 2014-2015 Waterfowl Hunting Seasons for more waterfowl hunting information, including zone maps.
Hunters 15 years of age and younger will have the opportunity to enjoy a statewide special youth waterfowl season Oct. 4-5. Bag limits established during the regular season apply. Ohio is divided into three zones for duck, coot and merganser hunting. The seasons are split in each zone during the following dates: Duck hunting season in the Lake Erie Marsh Zone is Oct. 18-Nov. 2 and Nov. 15-Dec. 28. Duck hunting season in the North Zone is Oct. 25-Nov. 9 and Nov. 22-Jan. 4, 2015. Duck hunting season in the South Zone is Oct. 25-Nov. 9 and Dec. 13-Jan. 25, 2015.
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, three 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. Possession limits after the second day are three times the daily bag limit.
Ohio is also divided into three zones for goose and brant hunting. The seasons are split in each zone during the following dates: Goose hunting in the Lake Erie Marsh Zone is Oct. 18-Nov. 2, Nov. 15-Dec. 28 and Jan. 14- Jan. 31, 2015. Goose hunting in the North Zone is Oct. 25-Nov. 9, Nov. 22-Jan. 4, 2015 and Jan. 14-Jan. 31, 2015. Goose hunting in the South Zone is Oct. 25-Nov. 9 and Dec. 11-Jan. 31, 2015.
The daily bag limit for Canada geese is three. Light geese (snows, Ross’s and blues) have a daily bag limit of 10, white-fronted geese have a daily bag limit of one and brant have a daily bag limit of one. The possession limit for brant and geese is three times the daily bag limit after the second day.
Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification is required of all waterfowl hunters prior to hunting. Migratory game bird hunters must call 877-HIPOHIO (447-6446) and answer a few survey questions to complete the HIP certification requirement. Once the survey has been completed, hunters will be provided a certification number to write on their Ohio hunting license.
Waterfowl hunters age 18 and older must also purchase an Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp, available at any hunting license agent or wildohio.gov. In addition, all waterfowl hunters age 16 and older must possess a signed federal duck stamp, which can be purchased at duckstamp.com, usps.com and most post offices. Copies of this season’s waterfowl hunting regulations, which include maps of the zones, are available at wildohio.gov or available at all license agent outlets by late September.
In nearly thirty years of waterfowl hunting in Ohio, I have to say that this year’s dates are about as near perfect for Ohio as they can get. Kudos to the Division of Wildlife for listening to the waterfowlers and opening the season much later in October to give more opportunities for the season to be open in November when the diver migration traditionally happens. Now, if we can just get the Division of Wildlife to lock these dates in stone for a long term stint so we don’t have to hold our breaths each summer waiting for the season dates to be released, things would be perfect indeed for the Buckeye Duck Hunter.
• Hunters interested in the Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area’s Controlled Waterfowl Hunts should be aware of changes to the scheduled hunt days, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. In an effort to maximize the efficiency and quality of the controlled waterfowl hunts at Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area, the controlled hunt drawings will be held Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays (including holidays, except Thanksgiving) during the Teal/Early Goose and the Regular Waterfowl seasons.
Each hunting party must fill out a registration card at the Waterfowl Check Station prior to the drawing time. Drawings will be held at 5:15 a.m. during the Teal/Early Goose and the Regular Waterfowl seasons up to the Deer Gun Season. Drawings will be held at 6:15 a.m. after the Deer Gun Season. Any permits left following the morning drawings will be available through a self-serve system on a first-come, first-served basis.
In addition, there will be drawings both days of the statewide Youth Waterfowl Hunt Weekend for hunters 15 years of age and younger to hunt waterfowl. Youth hunters must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult. The drawing time will be 5:15 a.m. The Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area Check Station is located at: 19100 County Highway 115, Harpster; between Marion and Upper Sandusky.
Until Next Time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!