Whether pursuing a Lake Erie walleye or a gobbling wild turkey, an Ohio fishing or hunting license opens a world of exploration. Before participating in these activities this spring, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife is reminding all those who enjoy hunting and fishing to check your license expiration date.

March 1 is the traditional start of Ohio’s fishing and hunting license year. However, new license options give those who enjoy the outdoors more choices than ever before. If your hunting or fishing license has expired, you can purchase a new one online at wildohio.gov, at hundreds of participating agents throughout the state, and through the new HuntFish OH app.

Ohio’s annual resident hunting licenses for the 2021-22 seasons are $19 and available beginning March 1. Hunting licenses are valid immediately after purchase through Feb. 28, 2022. Ohio’s resident fishing licenses are $25 and are valid for one year from the date of purchase. An Ohio fishing license can be purchased up to 30 days prior to its expiration date.

License purchases are now more convenient with the free HuntFish OH mobile app. HuntFish OH is available for Android and iOS users and can be found in the app store. Wild turkey and white-tailed deer hunters can use the app to check in their harvest, even without a connection. When a hunter checks game without a clear signal, harvest information is recorded and stored until the hunter moves to a location with better reception. App users can also purchase licenses and permits, read the current regulations, and view wildlife area maps.

After an online purchase, including by smartphone, anyone with an online account can obtain a free reprint of a license or permit (this option is not available at agents). Customers now have the option of choosing automatic license renewal when purchasing online. The selected license will renew automatically and ensure the license buyer always has a valid license.

Funds from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses, along with excise taxes on hunting and fishing equipment directly impact wildlife management and habitat conservation efforts here in Ohio. Funds also support improvements to fishing access, shooting ranges, and wildlife areas. Visit wildohio.gov to learn more.

Annually, Ohioans take an estimated 171 million outdoor recreation trips and contribute $5.9 billion to the Buckeye State’s economy, according to a report entitled Economic Valuation of Natural Areas in Ohio, recently released by The Ohio State University.

• While filing taxes this year, Ohioans can contribute to the ODNR conservation efforts by donating a portion of their state income tax refund to support the state’s wildlife and state nature preserves.

Ohio is home to some of the nation’s finest wetlands and prairie landscapes. The tax donation program is an important way for wildlife enthusiasts to help restore and manage endangered and threatened wildlife and other species of interest.

In the past, donations to the Wildlife Diversity Fund have supported statewide wildlife projects such as the reintroduction of native Ohio species, including lake sturgeon, mussels, hellbenders, trumpeter swans, dragonflies and damselflies, Allegheny woodrat, and the monarch butterfly. Donations also fund the development of new educational field guides and posters, as well as support the Division of Wildlife’s partnerships with Ohio’s zoos to create educational exhibits on the state’s native animals.

The ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves oversees a statewide system of 136 unique state nature preserves open to visitors for exploration and research. The tax refund donations help the division to construct trails and boardwalks, improve parking and signage, and allow for greater public access to a treasure trove of nature’s wonders available in Ohio.

These structures allow visitors to experience up close the natural beauty found in state nature preserves without negatively impacting the ecological integrity of these protected sites. Donations also support critical ecological management activities, including efforts to remove non-native and invasive species that pose a serious and ever-growing threat to sensitive habitats.

By making a tax donation to either the Wildlife Diversity Fund or Ohio State Nature Preserves on this year’s tax return, Ohioans are helping to ensure the future of Ohio’s ecosystems, from native habitats and landscapes to endangered plant and wildlife species. Individuals may donate all or part of their state income tax refund by entering a dollar amount for “State Nature Preserves” on line 26a or “Wildlife Species” on line 26d of the 2020 IT 1040 tax form. Contributions made on the 2020 tax return and filed in 2021 are considered deductible donations made in 2021.

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.