From the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
-- Sept. 1 has again been set as the kick-off date for Ohio’s fall hunting season with the opening of the squirrel hunting season that runs through Jan. 31. Regulations were approved April 1 by the Ohio Wildlife Council.
The statewide muzzleloader season moves to early January. Season dates are Jan. 9-12, 2010. Two additional northwest Ohio counties will be open for fall turkey hunting, Oct. 10-Nov. 29, bringing the total to 48 counties statewide.
Spring turkey season for 2010 will be April 19 through May 16. Spring gobbler hunters will be able to hunt all day the last two weeks, May 3-16, 2010, of the four-week season. Legal hunting hours during those two weeks will be one-half hour before sunrise to sunset.
The ruffed grouse bag limit will be cut from three to two, and the season will end on Jan. 31, 2010. Grouse populations continue long-term declines with flush rates and harvest rates at record lows.
Deer hunters can again buy additional antlerless deer permits at reduced prices for hunting in an urban zone, participating in a Division of Wildlife authorized controlled hunt or hunting during the Sept. 26 to Nov. 29 portion of the deer season. The deadline for using the antlerless permit will be extended to Dec. 6 for those hunting in Deer Zone C. Cost of the antlerless deer permit remains $15.
A hunter can take only one buck in Ohio regardless of zone, hunting method or season.
Hunters must purchase a regular deer permit before purchasing antlerless deer permits. The sale of antlerless permits will cease after Nov. 29, so hunters need to commit early to buying and using the extra, reduced-cost opportunity.
The regulations maintain the same deer zones as the last four years. Zone C will cover 38 central, southern, southeastern, and southwestern counties. There will be 30 counties in Zone B and 20 northwestern counties in Zone A.
The maximum number of deer a hunter can take in Zone A is two. Prior to Nov. 30, hunters can take up to two deer in Zone A, one of which can be on a $15 antlerless deer permit. Beginning Nov. 30, hunters can take only one deer in Zone A and antlerless permits cannot be used.
The maximum number of deer a hunter can take in Zone B is four. Prior to Nov. 30, hunters can take up to four deer in Zone B, two of which can be on a $15 antlerless deer permit. Beginning Nov. 30, hunters can take only two deer in Zone B and antlerless permits cannot be used.
The maximum number of deer that a hunter can take in Zone C is six. Prior to Dec. 7, hunters can take up to six deer in Zone C, three of which can be on a $15 antlerless deer permit. Beginning Dec. 7, hunters can take only three deer in Zone C and antlerless permits cannot be used.
Another change for deer hunters includes those hunting in urban units and at Division of Wildlife-authorized controlled hunts . They will have a six-deer bag limit, and those deer will not count against the hunter's zone bag limit. Antlerless deer permits can be used for the entire season in urban deer units or Division of Wildlife-authorized controlled hunts.
A valid hunting license and proper deer permits are required to hunt deer in Ohio. A hunter can take only one buck in Ohio, regardless of zone, hunting method or season.
Archery season will run from Saturday, Sept. 26 through Sunday, Feb. 7, 2010. The popular youth deer-gun season is for Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 21-22. During the youth deer-gun season, zone bag limits will apply to young hunters. Any deer taken will be part of the young hunter's total season limit.
Deer-gun season will run Monday, Nov.30 through Sunday, Dec. 6 and Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 19-20. Statewide muzzleloader season will run Saturday, Jan. 9 through Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2010.
Special area muzzleloader hunts will be open Monday, Oct. 19 through Saturday, Oct. 24 at Salt Fork, Shawnee, and Wildcat Hollow. Hunters can use either a deer permit or an antlerless deer permit for this hunt. The bag limit remains at one deer of either sex with any antlered deer harvested counting toward the hunter's one-buck yearly limit.
During the 2008-2009 season, which concluded Feb. 1, hunters bagged a record 252,017 deer. Approximately 475,000 people hunted white-tailed deer in Ohio this past season.
Hunting and trapping seasons for rabbit, pheasant, quail, squirrel, fox, raccoon, mink, muskrat, beaver, river otter, crow, and falconry were approved as proposed.
Rules and season dates for mourning dove, Canada goose, rail, moorhen, snipe, and migratory waterfowl hunting will be set in August, in compliance with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 2009-10 framework.
All hunting and trapping season dates and rules can be found at wildohio.com.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR web site at www.ohiodnr.com.