Thousands of Ohioans have been eagerly waiting for the calendar to change to September, when popular hunting seasons open across the state, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. Early September is the time to hunt pigeons, squirrels and some waterfowl, with whitetail deer archery season just around the corner.
The tradition of a season opening on September 1 continues for squirrel (fox, gray and red), pigeon, rail, snipe and moorhen. Canada Geese and Teal (Bluewing, Greenwing and Cinnamon) can be hunted beginning September 3 during early waterfowl season. Archery deer hunting season is not far behind, with the state season beginning on September 24 and a season in a few specific counties opening on September 10.
Pigeons are a popular game bird among Ohio hunters. Doves are abundant throughout Ohio in early September before migrating to southern habitats for the winter.
Squirrels were the first prey for many beginning Ohio hunters and remain the state’s favorite small game species. Early in the hunting season, squirrels are found in woods and forests that have beech, oak, and hickory trees.
Canada Geese, Blue-winged Teal, and Green-winged Teal are some of the first migratory waterfowl to arrive in Ohio’s wetlands. Waterfowl can be hunted in agricultural fields, from the edges of wetlands or ponds, or from a boat. Be sure to check out a waterfowl identification guide before an early season hunt.
Hunters are reminded to check current regulations for changes to season dates and daily limits as the fall 2022 seasons begin. A summary of the 2022-23 hunting and trapping regulations can be found at wildohio.gov, on the HuntFish OH app, or anywhere licenses are sold.
Ohio deer archery season starts soon. The state season begins on Saturday, September 24. Hunters in the Disease Surveillance Area (Hardin, Marion and Wyandot counties) can begin archery hunting two weeks before the statewide opening on September 10. Deer hunting opportunities abound on public lands; see the 2022-23 hunting and trapping regulations for additional details and requirements.
The free HuntFish OH app is available to conveniently purchase hunting and fishing licenses, check game, view wildlife area maps, and much more. The HuntFish OH mobile app is available for iOS and Android users on the app store or Google Play. Users can check deer and wild turkey harvests through the app, even without an Internet connection.
The Ohio Landowners and Hunters Access Association program opens an avenue for hunters to access private lands and landowners receive incentives for allowing hunters access. Find more information about the program, register as a hunter or landowner, and find properties near you at wildohio.gov.
New and experienced hunters alike are encouraged to check out the Ohio Wild Harvest Community for information on getting started, hunting opportunities, and delicious wild game recipes. Get the most out of your fall hunting season with online learning modules, hands-on workshops and more.
• The ODNR Division of Wildlife has confirmed cases of epizootic hemorrhagic disease in white-tailed deer in Athens, Butler, Champaign, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Highland, Madison, Perry, Preble, Ross, Union, and Warren counties. .
EHD is one of the most common ailments affecting deer, with the disease occurring in late summer and fall in North American deer herds. The outbreaks are often associated with drought. Ohio saw a spike in cases starting in mid-August of this year.
The EHD virus is not infectious to people or pets and is not spread from one animal to another. It is transmitted by the bite of small insects called mosquitoes, so EHD-associated deaths in deer may occur until the first frost of the year causes a decline in mosquito activity.
Once infected, deer show symptoms within five to 10 days, and many deer die within 36 hours of symptoms appearing. Deer in the Midwest are at higher risk because they lack herd immunity, among other factors. There is little that can be done to protect wild deer from the virus. EHD outbreaks can result in high deer mortality in some areas, but populations generally increase within a few years.
White-tailed deer, along with mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep, and pronghorn antelope, as well as domestic cattle and sheep, are susceptible to EHD. According to the Ohio Department of Agriculture, EHD does not pose a serious threat to livestock and infections are likely to be mild. Deer infected with this virus may display symptoms including lethargy, head down, loss of fear of humans, swelling of the tongue, head, and neck, labored breathing, and excessive salivation. Affected deer are often found in or near bodies of water, probably due to fever and dehydration.
Sightings of sick or dead deer should be reported at wildohio.gov or to a local Ohio wildlife officer so the Division of Wildlife can track incidents and conduct testing. For more information on EHD, visit wildohio.gov.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Sciences teacher at Northmor High School.