UPLAND GAME HUNTING SEASON BEGINS NOVEMBER 7
COLUMBUS, OH - The season for three of Ohio's most popular game species, ring-necked pheasant, cottontail rabbit, and bobwhite quail begins Friday, November 7, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
"The state's rabbit population is at its highest level since 2003, so opportunities to take cottontails should be plentiful," said Nathan Stricker, project leader with the division's Olentangy Wildlife Research Station.
Two years in a row of February snow storms, cool wet springs and dry summers has had a less positive impact on Ohio's upland game birds, noted Stricker.
"Generally that combination of weather conditions is not good for upland game birds. Quail and pheasant populations have declined in some areas, but there are still locations that will produce wild birds consistently."
Cottontail rabbit hunting continues through February 28, 2009. Ring-necked pheasant hunting is open through January 11, 2009. Both seasons are closed during the statewide 2008 deer-gun hunting season, December 1 through December 7, as well as the extra weekend of deer-gun hunting December 20-21.
Rabbits, pheasants and quail may be hunted from sunrise to sunset. The daily bag limit for all three species remains unchanged from last year at four rabbits, two pheasants (roosters/males only) and four quail.
Hunters are reminded that snowshoe hares are not legal game in Ohio and may not be taken. Recently reintroduced to northeastern Ohio after nearly a century of absence, snowshoe hares are brown early in the season, resembling cottontail rabbits. To avoid confusion between cottontail rabbits and snowshoe hares, portions of Geauga and Ashtabula counties will be closed to all rabbit hunting from November 7 through December 7. The coats of most hares will have turned white by early December, allowing for proper distinction.
There are two restricted zones that cover portions of Geauga and Ashtabula counties. The first restricted area encompasses parts of Geauga and Ashtabula counties and is bordered by U.S. Route 6 to the north, U.S. Route 322 to the south, Kile Road to the west, and State Route 534 to the east. The second restricted area is in Ashtabula County bounded on the north by Cork-Cold Springs Road, on the west by Windsor-Mechanicsville Road, on the south by New Hudson Road and on the east by U.S. Route 45. A map of these two areas can be viewed in the2008-2009 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations and on the Internet at wildohio.com.
The Division of Wildlife releases pheasants on selected public hunting areas throughout the state prior to opening day of the pheasant season, the second Saturday of the season, and Thanksgiving Day. Hunters may call 1-800-WILDLIFE for locations of specific release sites.
Bobwhite quail hunting is limited to 16 counties in southern Ohio: Adams, Athens, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Highland, Jackson, Meigs, Montgomery, Pike, Preble, Ross, Scioto, Vinton and Warren. The season continues through November 30.
Additional hunting information is contained in the 2008-2009 Ohio Hunting Regulations brochure ,which is available where hunting licenses are sold, on the Internet at wildohio.com or by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR web site at www.ohiodnr.gov.