The hunt in Ohio officially began on Tuesday, September 1 when the squirrel and pigeon seasons open.
While the red, gray, fox and black squirrel populations are ideal for a good season (September 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021 with a daily bag limit of 6), the same cannot be said for the pigeon population. as the numbers appear to be down for opening week.
While almost any agricultural field, especially a recently harvested field, is a good place to hunt doves, the Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area specifically has two sections of land set aside for dove hunting.
“I drove through the fields this morning and the millet looks good, there is no vegetation in the recovery zone, but I don’t see any pigeons,” said Dennis Solon, Ohio Division of Wildlife manager for KMWA. “There just isn’t a buildup of birds yet.
“It’s not like it used to be,” Solon continued. “There seemed to be more pigeons when we had a later season.”
Solon said that with the COVID-19 situation, his staff were not required to plant and prepare the pigeon fields this year, but they managed to do so.
“Hopefully we can work through and expose some bare ground,” Solon said ahead of the rains late last week.
The hot summer didn’t do KMWA staff any favors this year, and combined with the cold, wet spring, it wasn’t good for wildlife. In fact, before the rains at the end of last week, parts of the wildlife area were dry, as every time it rained, it evaporated due to the high temperatures and the plants absorbed the water.
A dry spring and wet summer would help Solon and his staff manage the Wildlife Area and benefit the animals as well. This year’s cold, wet spring didn’t do the turkey population any favors, but Solon has noticed plenty of deer in the landscape, seen an increase in rabbits, and a good squirrel population.
The darker hunting seasons for snipes, moorhens and rails also open on September 1.
The first seasons of Canada Goose and Teal (Blue-winged, Green-winged and Cinnamon) will arrive on September 5th. Early goose is September 5-13 with a daily bag limit of 5, and early teal season is September 5-20 with a bag limit of 6.
“We’ve seen a handful of teal, but it’s been so dry there’s no water,” Solon said. “We don’t normally see Killbuck Creek that low. We need a lot of rain.”
Hopefully, the storms of this past Thursday, Friday, and Saturday weren’t too late to do any good.
The pigeon fields in KMWA are located on Clark Road at Valley Road north of the pond, and at the corner of Valley and Force Roads on the west side of KMWA. You can find specific details on the Ohio Division of Wildlife website.
Pigeon hunting is divided into two seasons: from September 1 to November 1. December 8 and 12-January. 1. The daily baggage limit is 15.
“Fall in Ohio is an exciting time with so many hunting opportunities available,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “We encourage experienced hunters to bring someone new with them this year and wish everyone a safe, successful and enjoyable fall hunting season.”
Hunters are reminded to check regulations for changes to season dates and bag limits as the fall 2020 seasons begin. A summary of Ohio hunting and trapping regulations is available where they are sold. licenses and at wildohio.gov.
Outdoors correspondent Art Holden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org