Ohio’s familiar habitat mosaic of farm fields, woodlots, and wetlands provides optimum opportunities to hunt mourning doves, squirrels, and waterfowl, as hunting seasons begin during the first week of September, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.

Hunting is a favorite and cherished activity for thousands of Ohioans. As in years past, the hunting seasons that open on Wednesday, Sept. 1 include squirrel (fox, gray, and red), mourning dove, rail, snipe, and gallinule. Canada geese and teal (blue-winged, green-winged, and cinnamon) may be hunted during the early waterfowl season beginning Saturday, Sept. 4.

Mourning doves are fast fliers and a popular game bird pursued by wing shooters. A field seat, dark clothing, and a box of shotgun shells provide all the equipment necessary to hunt doves while they skirt farm fields and other open areas.

Many Ohioans learned to hunt by pursuing squirrels through Ohio’s forests and woodlots. Squirrels are found in the treetops during the early hunting season, feeding amongst beech, oak, and hickory trees. A small-bore rifle or lightweight shotgun are common hunting implements for squirrels.

Canada geese require a larger gauge shotgun to hit flying birds from a longer distance. Be sure to review waterfowl identification before an early season hunt; in particular, wood ducks are not yet in season but are sometimes misidentified as teal.

Hunters are reminded to check the current regulations for changes to season dates and daily limits as the 2021 fall seasons begin. A summary of the 2021-22 hunting and trapping regulations is available where licenses are sold, on the HuntFish OH app, and at wildohio.gov.

Additional hunting seasons begin soon. That includes Ohio’s white-tailed deer archery hunting season, opening Saturday, Sept. 25. Additional details and requirements for deer hunting, including on public land, can be found in the 2021-22 hunting and trapping regulations.

The free HuntFish OH app can be downloaded to conveniently purchase fishing and hunting licenses, check game, view wildlife area maps, and much more. The HuntFish OH mobile app is available for Android and iOS users and can be found in the app store. Users can access the Division of Wildlife’s online system to check harvested white-tailed deer and wild turkey while out in the field, even without a Wi-Fi connection.

Landowners can now receive an incentive to allow hunters access during specific hunting seasons through the Ohio Landowner and Hunter Access Partnership Program. Visit the Ohio Landowner and Hunter Access Partnership Program page at wildohio.gov to sign up as a landowner or hunter.

The Division of Wildlife wants to help new and experienced hunters make the most of their outdoor adventures. Visit the Wild Ohio Harvest Community page at wildohio.gov for information on getting started, hunting opportunities, and delicious wild game recipes.

• Ohioans contributed more than $750,000 in 2021 to the conservation of state nature preserves and endangered wildlife through the annual income tax checkoff program, according to the ODNR. The donations collected go directly to programs that protect Ohio’s wildlife and natural areas.

The Division of Natural Areas and Preserves oversees Ohio’s 139 state nature preserves. The 2021 tax checkoff program provided more than $400,000, donated by more than 24,000 Ohioans, to help fund facility improvements, invasive species management, land purchases, education opportunities, and scientific research. A portion of the funds will be used to purchase a tract of land along Little Beaver Creek that will protect an additional half-mile of habitat along one of Ohio’s most scenic rivers. The monies will also be used to purchase additional lands at Eagle Creek, Goll Woods, and Whipple state nature preserves; and to make various trail improvements including ADA accessible trails.

The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to manage, protect, and restore wildlife populations for the benefit of all Ohioans. More than $372,000 from nearly 25,000 donations were made to the Wildlife Diversity Fund to help support critical management activities in Ohio.

The Division of Wildlife cares about all wildlife and maintaining stable, healthy wildlife populations. Donations through the tax checkoff program connect wildlife enthusiasts to restoring and protecting endangered and threatened wildlife.

Since its inception more than 35 years ago, the tax checkoff program has received widespread public support. Millions of dollars have been donated to natural land conservation and wildlife management. For more information on the tax checkoff program and to find other ways to contribute to conservation efforts, visit ohiodnr.gov.


Water and Wings by Ken Parrott

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