Proposed migratory bird hunting seasons that begin in the fall of 2021 were presented to the Ohio Wildlife Council on Wednesday, Jan. 13, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.

The biggest news is that it was proposed to increase the combined number of Canada geese and white-fronted geese that may be harvested daily during the waterfowl hunting season. The proposal would allow five geese to be harvested per day during open seasons across all waterfowl hunting zones. A limit of one brant was not proposed to change. The current waterfowl hunting season allows a combined limit of three Canada geese, white-fronted geese, and brant.

A change from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allows for this increase throughout the Mississippi Flyway, which includes Ohio and other Midwest states. During Ohio’s goose hunting season, Canada geese are most commonly harvested, while white-fronted geese and brant are less common. This change is designed to allow additional harvest of abundant, resident Canada geese, and is based on research that shows limited impact to the migratory subspecies. Hunter preference surveys support the increased bag limit.

A notable update that was also proposed would permit active military and veterans to hunt alongside a youth hunter during the special youth, active military, and veterans waterfowl hunting weekend. Previously, a youth hunter was required to hunt with a non-hunting adult, and this proposed change will allow eligible participants to hunt together.

The proposed dates for duck and geese are very similar to this year’s dates: Early goose would be September 4th-12th. Early teal season would be Sept. 4-19. Youth and military season would be Oct. 9 and 10. Lake Erie Marsh duck season would be Oct. 16-31, then Nov. 6 – Dec. 19. North zone duck season would be Oct. 23-31, then Nov. 6 – Dec. 26. South zone duck season would be Oct. 23-31 then Dec. 11 – Jan. 30.

A complete list of proposed hunting season dates for 2021-2022, including the goose dates, are available at Proposals for Ohio’s white-tailed deer, wild turkey, furbearers, and small game hunting seasons will be presented at the next Ohio Wildlife Council meeting, scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2021.

The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all Ohio Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. Council meetings are held virtually and open to the public. Individuals interested in providing comments are asked to call 614-265-6304 at least two days prior to the meeting to register. All comments are required to be three minutes or less. A statewide hearing on all proposed rules will be held virtually on Wednesday, March 18 at 9 a.m.

• Ohio’s white-tailed deer hunters completed the 2021 muzzleloader season with 9,708 deer checked from Saturday, Jan. 2 to Tuesday, Jan. 5, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Over the last three years, an average of 12,695 deer were taken during the same four-day period.

During the weeklong and extra weekend of deer-gun season, 86,853 deer were checked by Ohio hunters. In total, 102,672 deer were harvested with a gun, including muzzleloaders, during the 2020-2021 gun hunting seasons. Over the last three years, hunters harvested an average of 90,722 deer during the three gun hunting seasons.

The total number of deer taken in Ohio during all 2020-2021 hunting seasons is 187,883, with one month remaining to hunt with archery equipment. That number has already surpassed last season’s final tally of 184,468. Each year, the number of deer taken with archery equipment continues to grow, while gun hunting also remains popular. Beginning in September, Ohio archery hunters have taken 85,211 deer, or 45% of the harvest. Muzzleloaders accounted for 9% of deer taken (15,973 deer for all gun seasons). Ohio’s youth hunters checked 5,795 whitetails during the two-day youth season, Nov. 21-22.

Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!

Water and Wings by Ken Parrott

Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.