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Ohio Expands 2008-09 Hunting Opportunities

From Ohio Department of Natural Resources

-- September 1 will again kick off the state's fall hunting seasons - with the opening of the squirrel-hunting season that runs through January 31 - under regulations recently approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council.

Fall turkey hunters will enjoy expanded opportunities. They will be able to hunt the entire season, from October 11 through November 30, with a shotgun, muzzleloading shotgun, bow or crossbow. This new rule adds 35 days to the previous season for fall turkey gun hunting. Nine additional northeast Ohio counties will also be open for fall turkey hunting, bringing the total to 46 counties statewide.

Deer hunters can again buy additional antlerless deer permits at reduced prices for hunting in an urban zone, participating in a controlled hunt, or hunting during the September 27 to November 30 portion of the archery season. Deer hunters with antlerless permits can hunt in Zone C until December 7. Cost of the antlerless deer permit remains at $15.

As was the requirement last year, hunters must purchase a regular deer permit before purchasing antlerless deer permits. The permit system remains otherwise unchanged from last year: hunters may still take up to one additional antlerless deer in Zone A, up to two additional antlerless deer in Zone B and up to three additional antlerless deer in Zone C.

However, use of the antlerless deer permit during the first part of the statewide archery season and during deer-gun week in Zone C will not count against the hunter's season bag limit for that zone. The sale of these permits will cease after November 30, so hunters need to commit early to buying and using the extra reduced-cost permits.

Archery season will run from Saturday, September 27 through Sunday, February 1, 2009. The popular youth deer-gun season is Saturday and Sunday, November 22-23. Regular deer-gun season will run Monday, December 1 through Sunday, December 7. The additional deer-gun hunting weekend is set for Saturday and Sunday, December 20 -21.
 
Ohio's statewide muzzleloader season will run Saturday, December 27 through Tuesday, December 30. Special area muzzleloader hunts will be open Monday, October 20 through Saturday, October 25 at Salt Fork, Shawnee and Wildcat Hollow. Muzzleloader hunts at these areas will no longer require a special permit and hunters may use either deer permit for this hunt.  The bag limit remains at one deer of either sex with any antlered deer harvested counting toward the one-buck yearly limit for the year.

The state's three deer-hunting zones remain in place. A three-deer limit (Zone C) will cover 38 central, south, southeastern, and southwestern counties. The 30 mid-state counties of Zone B will have a two-deer limit, and the 20 northwestern counties of Zone A will have a one-deer limit. A hunter may take only one buck in Ohio, regardless of zone, hunting method or season.

Hunting and trapping seasons for rabbits, pheasants, quail, squirrel, grouse, fox, raccoon, mink, muskrat, beaver, river otter, crow and falconry were approved as proposed.

Rules for dove, Canada goose, rail, moorhen, snipe, and migratory waterfowl hunting, as well as those season dates, will be set in August, in compliance with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service's 2008-09 framework.

All hunting and trapping season dates and rules can be found at www.wildohio.com.

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