The squirrels can generate grudging admiration, sometimes even a laugh, with their circus act around backyard feeders. However, since the endgame is a serious matter of free meals, owners take offense at the notion that tree rodents get fat and saucy by gorging themselves on food pantries meant kindly for freeloading birds.
Many feeder fillers therefore look for ways to scare off invasive squirrels, usually without long-term success.
In reality, due to the unfair and brutal shell game of life, many squirrels are unlucky enough to be born outside areas where seemingly bottomless food dispensers hang in abundance. Mr. Bushytail on the fringes is required to work more diligently than his wily city cousins to get the daily nut from him, but he’s no less likely to become food for hawks, owls, and other ravenous high-ups in the food chain. .
Unfortunately, only those country squirrels, who neither seek alms nor are offered a hand, face naked each year those treacherous months from which the city squirrels largely protect themselves.
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Ohio squirrel season begins Thursday. Not counting the squirrels that succumb to starvation, predation, age, disease, and traffic, nearly half a million tree squirrels will no longer be practicing the foraging arts by the end of the season on January 31, 2023.
Some 257,000 gray squirrels and 222,000 fox squirrels are hunted for fricassee during the season, a survey by the Ohio Division of Wildlife suggests. Red squirrels can also be hunted, although their table yield is poor, which probably contributes to the number of victims being unknown or under-reported.
The rarely seen and extremely small nocturnal southern flying squirrel cannot be legally hunted, although it is found in large numbers in Ohio’s treetops. The sight of a stretched squirrel navigating from one tree to another is memorable.
The squirrel hunt is from 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset, the daily limit is six.
Generally, gray squirrels are concentrated in the wooded counties of southeastern Ohio, and fox squirrels in the agricultural west and northwest. However, a large area of overlap includes central Ohio.
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Also beginning Thursday is the hunt for native mourning doves and Eurasian collared doves, an invasive lookalike. The initial phase of the split season runs statewide through November 6. The second phase runs from December 10 to January 1, 2023. Legal hunting hours are from sunrise to sunset, the daily limit is 15.
Lead shot is legal, though for more details see Regulations Pamphlet 2022-23, available on the wildohio.gov website. Dove catchers must be able to demonstrate current Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification.
Hunting seasons for Sora and Virginia rails, perch and Wilson’s snipe begin Thursday. Hunting hours are from sunrise to sunset and HIP certification is required.
Rails can be caught until November 9 up to a daily limit of 25. Moorfish can be caught until November 9 up to a daily limit of 15. Split season for snipe runs through November 23 and resumes on November 10. from December to January 1. 1, 2023, with a daily limit of eight.
Canada’s early goose season runs from Saturday through September 11 with a daily limit of five. Teal season runs from Saturday through September 18 and there is a daily limit of six Bluewing, Greenwing, or Cinnamon birds.
Waterfowl hunters over the age of 18 must purchase an Ohio Wetland Habitat Stamp, and those over the age of 16 must also purchase a Federal Duck Stamp.