Ohio’s most popular hunting seasons are here, The deer archery season began Saturday, Sept. 29 and the waterfowl season opens on Oct. 13.
Are you prepared? Here’s a checklist of things you might consider at this time.
— Check all of your equipment: guns, archery, ammo, clothing, boots, knives, scents, scopes, communications and maps. If you need replacements, visit a local gun or archery shop. Don’t leave important advice or decisions to the teenage clerk at Wally World.
— Have you practiced recently and often so your shots will be true?
— Do you have all the required licenses, permits and certification? Are you aware of changes to regulations?
— Are you in good enough physical shape for hunting? Have you checked with a doctor? If you use dogs, have you been working with them and controlling their diet?
— Have you secured written permission to hunt in the areas where you plan to hunt?
If you do hunt, these items and any others should be addressed now, not right before you plan to hunt.
Deer-archery season to began on Sept. 29
Approximately 205,000 bow hunters, representing more than half of all Ohioans who hunt deer, will participate in the statewide archery deer hunting season.
During last year’s four-month archery season, bow hunters killed 82,732 deer, a decrease of 3 percent from the previous year. Crossbow hunters took 44,979 of that number and longbow hunters took 37,753 deer.
Overall, archers accounted for 38 percent of the 219,748 deer taken during Ohio’s combined 2011-12 archery, muzzleloader and gun seasons.
The archery season remains open until Feb. 3, including deer-gun season, Nov. 26-Dec. 2 and Dec. 15- 16.
Waterfowl hunting begins on Oct. 13
Waterfowl hunting in Ohio begins with the Lake Erie Marsh Zone on Oct. 13. Hunting in that zone ends on Oct. 28, then is open again Nov. 10-Dec. 23.
In the North Zone, hunting also starts on Oct. 13 and stops on Oct. 28. The second half of the season is Nov. 24-Jan. 6.
Hunters in the South Zone can begin on Oct. 20 and go through Oct. 28. Its second half is Dec. 8-Jan. 27.
The North and South Zones are intersected by I-70. The Lake Erie Marsh Zone takes in parts of Erie, Sandusky, Ottawa, Wood and Lucas Counties.
Canada goose hunters will enjoy increased hunting opportunity this year. The bag limit will be three Canada geese, up from two in past years. Also, the hunting season will increase from 74 days to 78 days. Possession limits after the first day are twice the daily bag limit for both ducks and geese.
Ohio hunters will have a 60-day duck hunting season again this year. 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, four scaup, one canvasback, two pintails and one mottled duck. The daily bag limit for mergansers is five, of which no more than two may be hooded mergansers. The daily bag limit for coots is 15.
Details of the waterfowl and all other hunting seasons can be found in the Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations and in Ohio Waterfowl Hunting Seasons Publication 5295. Hunters can also review seasons and regulations online at wildohio.com.