State needs to adjust North Zone Waterfowl dates
Molly, our intrepid black Labrador retriever, plunged ahead off the front porch, quickly being enveloped in a snowbank at the bottom of the steps before plowing her way into the backyard.
Meanwhile, Cricket, our rescue “terrier-ist” (all 20 pounds of her) stood her ground and refused to budge from the partially snow-blocked front door.
Welcome to the northern fringe of Northeast Ohio’s fabled Snow Belt.
And although the 20 inches of partly cloudy that fell overnight was exceptional, those of us who live in northern Ohio and especially in the Snow Belt of Northeast Ohio, can reasonably anticipate from one to a handful of abusive snowstorms each January and February – the typical high point of winter in these parts.
Problem is, that time period also leads to wheels spinning for the state’s North Zone Waterfowl hunting season. At least as it applies to the pursuit of Canada geese.
As stipulated by the Ohio DNR, the North Zone’s 2021-2022 season for ducks ran from Oct. 23 until only Oct. 31, and again from Nov. 13 (two weeks later) until Jan. 2.
For geese the season makes even less sense. Make that much less sense, in fact. The goose season’s first period ran the same for the duck-hunting dates. However, the second phase also started Nov. 13 but is to continue to Feb. 5.
What’s more, the proposed 2022-2023 North Zone season dates parallel those of the 2021-2022 season with a one-day adjustment.
Missing than are those two weeks of the first half of November. Note that the weather on Nov. 1 as seen in Cleveland included a high in the low 50s.
In other words, mild temperatures, no snowfall, and much better weather that would have benefited the elderly, women, youths, and the disabled.
Instead, the Ohio DNR’s choice features a Winter Storm Warning, dangerous snowfall, and sub-freezing temperatures.
All with the excuse that Canada geese are migrating later and thus the state needs to adjust the seasons accordingly.
Which might make some sense were it not for the simple and practical argument that it’s better to have an opportunity to hunt in nicer weather when there may be fewer geese than to conduct a season when there are more migrant birds around but with much more restricted opportunities.
At least – again – for the elderly, women, youths and the disabled.
No one is suggesting eliminating goose hunting entirely during the month of January, of course. What is being recommended is whacking off a dozen days at the end of the current season proposal. Thereby slicing off the six days in February along with five or six days at the end of January, concluding Jan. 24 or Jan. 25, and then putting those days where they rightfully belong: The first 12 or so days of November.
That should be more than sufficient time for those goose hunters will relish late season hunting and who don’t mind laying out in snow and enjoying a brisk day afield.
What such a recommendation would also also provide, however, is better hunting opportunity for – once more – the elderly, women, youths, and the disabled.