Columbus – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service made good on its promise not to restrict waterfowl seasons because of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The 2010-2011 waterfowl hunting season dates have been approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council and are the most liberal regulations allowed by the USFWS, according to the DNR Division of Wildlife.
"This is about as good as it has gotten for us in some time," said Dave Scott, administrator for wildlife management and research with the Division of Wildlife. "There are no season within a season restrictions. It's very clear cut."
The waterfowl hunting seasons are set to open Oct. 16 in both Ohio's north and south zones. Hunters 15 years of age and younger will have the opportunity to enjoy a special statewide season Oct. 2-3. The zones remain unchanged this year. Zones can be altered every five years; 2011 is the next opportunity to change Ohio's zones.
The duck hunting season in the North Zone is Oct. 16 through Nov. 14, followed by a late portion that opens Nov. 20 through Dec. 19. In the South Zone, duck season is open Oct. 16 – 31, followed by a late portion that opens Dec. 11 and runs through Jan. 23, 2011.
The daily bag limit for ducks is six, which may not include more than four mallards (no more than one may be female), three wood ducks, one black duck, two redheads, two scaup, one canvasback, two pintail, and one mottled duck. The daily bag limit for mergansers is five, of which no more than two may be hooded. The daily bag limit for coots is 15. Possession limits after the first day are twice the daily bag limit.
There is no season in a season restrictions on scaup, or bluebills, and another pintail was added to this year's bag.
In the Lake Erie Canada Goose Zone, the goose season is Oct. 16 through Nov. 14 followed by a second segment that opens Nov. 20 and runs through Jan. 2, 2011. The goose season for the remainder of the North Zone is Oct. 16 through Nov. 28, with a second segment that runs from Dec. 18 through Jan. 16, 2011. In the South Zone, goose season is Oct. 16 through Nov. 7 followed by a second segment that opens Dec. 11 and runs through Jan. 30, 2011.
The daily bag limit for Canada geese is two. Light geese (snows, blues, Ross') have a daily bag limit of 10, and white-fronted geese and brant have a daily bag limit of one. The possession limit for brant and geese is twice the daily bag limit after the first day.
Licensed falconers may hunt in the north, south and Lake Erie Canada Goose zones whenever these zones are open to waterfowl hunting; in addition properly licensed falconers may hunt ducks and coots statewide from Feb. 5, 2011, through March 4, 2011, and geese from Feb. 5-18, 2011. There are about 80 active falconers in the state, according to Scott.
Those planning to hunt waterfowl are required to answer several questions for the Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey when purchasing their hunting licenses. A state wetland habitat stamp endorsement and a valid and signed federal duck stamp are required when hunting waterfowl, in addition to an Ohio hunting license. The 2010-11 hunting licenses and wetland stamps are on sale now and remain valid through Feb. 28, 2011.
Copies of this season's waterfowl hunting regulations, which include maps of the zones (Publication 295, Waterfowl Hunting Seasons), will be available online at wildohio.com or by late September to hunters at all license agent outlets.