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Waterfowl & Migratory Bird Hunting

Hunting Regulations Icon Ohio Hunting

WATERFOWL SEASONs OPENING DATE CLOSING DATE DAILY LIMIT

Hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset during the regular waterfowl season, unless posted.

Youth Waterfowl Season Oct. 7, 2017 Oct. 8, 2017 Same as the regular season
Lake Erie Marsh Zone:

Geese

Oct. 14, 2017 Oct. 29, 2017 Geese

3 combined: Canada goose, white-fronted goose, brant.

10 combined: Snow goose, blue goose, Ross’s goose.

Ducks

The daily bag limit is six ducks, which may include no more than four mallards (only one hen), three wood ducks, three scaup, two redheads, two canvasbacks, one pintail, one black duck, or one mottled duck.

MERGANSERS & COOTS

Five mergansers (only two hooded), and 15 coots.

Nov. 11, 2017 Dec. 24, 2017
Jan. 6, 2018 Feb. 10, 2018
Lake Erie Marsh Zone:

Ducks, Coots, & Mergansers

Oct. 14, 2017 Oct. 29, 2017
Nov. 11, 2017 Dec. 24, 2017
North Zone:

Geese

Oct. 21, 2017 Nov. 5, 2017
Nov. 18, 2017 Dec. 31, 2017
Jan. 6, 2018 Feb. 10, 2018 *
North Zone:

Ducks, Coots, & Mergansers

Oct. 21, 2017 Nov. 5, 2017
Nov. 18, 2017 Dec. 31, 2017
South Zone:

Geese

Oct. 21, 2017 Nov. 5, 2017
Nov. 23, 2017 Feb. 10, 2018
South Zone:

Ducks, Coots, & Mergansers

Oct. 21, 2017 Nov. 5, 2017
Dec. 16, 2017 Jan. 28, 2018

* North Zone goose hunting closes Jan. 28, 2018 at Pymatuning Lake

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service sets the frameworks for hunting ducks, geese, and other migratory game birds. Waterfowl hunting is governed by both state and federal regulations.

Waterfowl hunting is permitted when seasons are open during the youth deer gun season, the deer gun season, and the deer muzzleloader season.

The possession limit for waterfowl and migratory birds after the second day is three times the daily bag limit.

YOUTH WATERFOWL HUNTING

New! Federal regulations allow hunters 17 years old or younger to hunt waterfowl during the youth waterfowl weekend.

Young hunters (17 or younger) are given priority on opening day controlled hunts.

Migratory bird HUNTING

To hunt migratory birds in Ohio, you must have the following:

A resident hunting license, resident youth hunting license, nonresident hunting license, three-day nonresident tourist hunting license, or an apprentice hunting license.

Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification.

To hunt waterfowl in Ohio, you must also have the following:

A printed Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp endorsement is required of all persons 18 or older.

A signed federal Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp (Duck Stamp) is required of all persons age 16 and older. Federal Duck Stamps are available at most post offices, online at usps.com, or duckstamp.com.

HIP SURVEY

Hunters who plan to hunt migratory game birds, including mourning doves, ducks, geese, woodcock, rails, coots, and snipe must have a harvest information program (HIP) certification number on their hunting license. To complete the HIP certification requirement, call 1-877-HIP-OHIO (1-877-447-6446) or go to wildohio.gov and answer the survey questions. After the survey you will be given a certification number. Write the certification number on your hunting license in the space provided.

Ohio Wetlands habitat stamp

The Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp will not be issued at the time of purchase. A license will be issued stating Ohio Wetlands Stamp. The stamp will be mailed later in the year. The stamp does not need to be carried while hunting. Hunters under the age of 18 are not required to obtain the Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp.

Federal migratory bird

hunting stamp (DUCK stamp)

Hunters 16 years of age and older are required to purchase this stamp to hunt waterfowl. These stamps are available at many U.S. post office branches, usps.com, or duckstamp.com.

The E-Stamp available through duckstamp.com is valid immediately for up to 45 days with the receipt of the e-stamp purchase.

Federal Regulations

Federal regulations relating to migratory game birds are located in Title 50, Code of Federal Regulations, Part 20.

For additional information on federal regulations, contact Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 45, Twin Cities, Minnesota 55111.

Hunters should know:

If you hunt migratory waterfowl and you are 16 years of age or older, you need to purchase and carry a current Federal Duck Stamp or E-Stamp.

Federal Duck Stamps are valid from July 1 through the following June 30.

You must sign the front of your Duck Stamp in order for it to be valid. Remember: only you can use your Federal Duck Stamp.

If you bought an E-Stamp, you must carry your 45-day receipt with you at all times while hunting. Once the receipt has expired, you must carry your current, signed Federal Duck Stamp. If you purchased your E-Stamp at a retail store, you must carry the E-Stamp/45-day receipt. Your purchase/credit card receipt from the store is not valid as

a Duck Stamp.

Opening day of a season

No person on the opening day of the season shall possess any freshly killed migratory game birds in excess of the daily bag limit, or aggregate daily bag limit, whichever applies.

Non toxic shot

No person may take ducks, geese (including brant), or coots while possessing shot (either in shotshells or as loose shot for muzzleloading) other than approved nontoxic shot. For a list of approved nontoxic shot, see fws.gov/migratorybirds/currentbirdissues/nontoxic.htm.

DOVE HUNTING

Hours for dove are sunrise to sunset, except for those wildlife areas which have been posted with special regulations. Doves may be hunted with lead shot. Dove field maps are available at wildohio.gov.

Doves may be hunted on areas that have been manipulated (for example, mowed or bush-hogged) for wildlife management purposes, in addition to areas that have been planted or harvested in a normal agricultural manner. Neither waterfowl nor doves may be hunted on areas where grain or other feed has been distributed once it has been removed from or stored on the field where grown. Contact an ODNR Division of Wildlife district office or a state wildlife officer for clarification on baiting regulations before you hunt.

Harvest Information Program (HIP) certification is required to dove hunt. To complete the HIP certification requirement, call 1-877-HIP-OHIO (1-877-447-6446) or go to wildohio.gov and answer the survey questions. After the survey you will be given a certification number. Write the certification number on your hunting license in the space provided.

Controlled Dove

Hunting opportunities

The ODNR Division of Wildlife will hold controlled dove hunts at Fallsville, Rush Run, Indian Creek, and Bott wildlife areas. These controlled hunts will occur during the first two days of the season, Friday, Sept. 1, and Saturday, Sept. 2, 2017. Controlled hunts will also be held at the St. Marys State Fish Hatchery on Friday, Sept. 1, Saturday, Sept. 2, Sunday, Sept. 3, and Saturday, Sept. 9.

Hunting hours will be noon to sunset for all controlled dove hunts. Drawings for opening day dove hunts at these five public hunting areas will be held at noon on Saturday, Aug. 26 at the respective wildlife area headquarters. All other drawings will be held at noon the day of the hunt. Contact the Wildlife District Five (Xenia) office at (937) 372-9261 for dove hunting information. Dove field maps are available at wildohio.gov.

Controlled waterfowl

hunting opportunities

The ODNR Division of Wildlife conducts controlled waterfowl hunts on many areas not normally open to hunting. These controlled waterfowl hunts are designed to provide access and opportunity on a limited basis. Find a complete list of controlled hunts at wildohio.gov.

Participation is determined by computer-generated random drawings. The application period is June 1 through July 31, 2017. Hunters may apply at wildohio.gov, or by calling 1-866-703-1928 with a convenience fee.

Tagging requirement

No person shall put or leave any migratory game birds at any place (other than at his personal abode), or in the custody of another person for picking, cleaning, processing, shipping, transportation, or storage (including temporary storage), or for the purpose of having taxidermy services performed, unless such birds have a tag attached, signed by the hunter, stating his address, the total number and species of birds, and the date such birds were killed. Migratory game birds being transported in any vehicle as the personal baggage of the possessor shall not be considered as being in storage or temporary storage.

Field possession limit

No person shall possess, have in custody, or transport more than the daily bag limit or aggregate daily bag limit, whichever applies, of migratory game birds, tagged or not tagged, at or between the place where taken and either (a) his automobile or principal means of land transportation; or (b) his personal abode or temporary or transient place of lodging; or (c) a migratory bird preservation facility; or (d) a post office; or (e) a common carrier facility.

Termination of possession

Subject to all other requirements of this part, the possession of birds taken by any hunter shall be deemed to have ceased when such birds have been delivered by him to another person as a gift; or have been delivered by him to a post office, a common carrier, or a migratory bird preservation facility and consigned for transport by the Postal Service or a common carrier to some person other than the hunter.

Custody of birds of another

No person shall receive or have in custody any migratory game birds belonging to another person unless such birds are properly tagged.

Transporting of birds of another

No person shall transport migratory game birds belonging to another person unless such birds are properly tagged.

Wanton waste of

migratory game birds

No person shall kill or cripple any migratory game bird without making a reasonable effort to retrieve the bird, and retain it in his actual custody, at the place where taken or between that place and either (a) his automobile or principal means of land transportation; or (b) his personal abode or temporary or transient place of lodging; or (c) a migratory bird preservation facility; or (d) a post office; or (e) a common carrier facility.

Gift of migratory game birds

No person may receive, possess, or give to another any freshly killed migratory game birds as a gift, except at the personal abodes of the donor or donee, unless such birds have a tag attached, signed by the hunter who took the birds, stating such hunter’s address, the total number and species of birds, and the date such birds were taken.

identification requirement

No person shall transport within the United States any migratory game birds, except doves and band-tailed pigeons, unless the head or one fully feathered wing remains attached to each such bird at all times while being transported from the place where taken until they have arrived at the personal abode of the possessor or a migratory bird preservation facility.

Marking package or container

No person shall transport by the Postal Service or a common carrier migratory game birds unless the package or container in which such birds are transported has the name and address of the shipper and the consignee and an accurate statement of the numbers of each species of birds therein contained clearly and conspicuously marked on the outside thereof.

ILLEGAL HUNTING METHODS

No persons shall take

migratory game birds:

1. With a trap, snare, net, rifle, pistol, swivel gun, shotgun larger than 10 gauge, punt gun, battery gun, machinegun, fish hook, poison, drug, explosive, or stupefying substance;

2. From or by means, aid, or use of a sinkbox or any other type of low-floating device, having a depression affording the hunter a means of concealment beneath the surface of the water;

3. From or by means aid, or use of any motor vehicle, motor-driven land conveyance, or aircraft of any kind;

4. From or by means of any motorboat or other craft having a motor attached, or any sailboat, unless the motor has been completely shut off and/or the sails furled, and its progress there from has ceased;

5. By the use or aid of live birds as decoys; although not limited to, it shall be a violation of this paragraph for any person to take migratory waterfowl on an area where tame or captive live ducks or geese are present unless such birds are and have been for a period of 10 consecutive days prior to such taking, confined within an enclosure which substantially reduces the audibility of their calls and totally conceals such birds from the sight of wild migratory waterfowl;

6. With any device that emits recorded or electrically amplified bird calls or sounds, or recorded or electrically amplified imitations of bird calls or sounds. It is illegal to possess such devices while hunting waterfowl in Ohio;

7. By means or aid of any motor driven land, water, or air conveyance, or any sailboat used for the purpose of or resulting in the concentrating, driving, rallying, or stirring up of any migratory bird;

8. By the aid of baiting, or on or over any baited area, where a person knows or reasonably should know that the area is or has been baited.

additional Regulations

It is legal to take migratory game birds including waterfowl and coots on or over the following lands or areas that are not otherwise baited areas:

Standing crops or flooded standing crops (including aquatics);

Standing, flooded, or manipulated natural vegetation; flooded harvested croplands; or lands or areas where seeds or grains have been scattered solely as the result of a normal agricultural planting, harvesting, post-harvest manipulation, or normal soil stabilization practice;

From a blind or other place of concealment camouflaged with natural vegetation;

From a blind or other place of concealment camouflaged with vegetation from agricultural crops, as long as such camouflaging does not result in the exposing, depositing, distributing, or scattering of grain or other feed; or

Standing or flooded standing agricultural crops where grain is inadvertently scattered solely as a result of a hunter entering or exiting a hunting area, placing decoys, or retrieving downed birds.

It is legal to take migratory game birds, except waterfowl and coots, on or over lands or areas that are not otherwise baited areas, and where grain or other feed has been distributed or scattered solely as the result of manipulation of an agricultural crop or other feed on the land where grown, or solely as the result of a normal agricultural operation.

Baiting – means the direct or indirect placing, exposing, depositing, distributing, or scattering of salt, grain, or other feed that could serve as a lure or attraction for migratory game birds to, on, or over any areas where hunters are attempting to take them.

Baited area – means any area on which salt, grain, or other feed has been placed, exposed, deposited, distributed, or scattered, if that salt, grain, or other feed could serve as a lure or attraction for migratory game birds to, on, or over areas where hunters are attempting to take them. Any such area will remain a baited area for 10 days following the complete removal of all such salt, grain, or other feed.

Migratory birds – are birds protected by federal law as a result of treaties signed with other countries. Protected migratory birds are listed in Title 50 Code of Federal Regulations, Section 10.13.

All subset of migratory birds are classified as migratory game birds and may be hunted in accordance with state and federal regulations. The list of migratory game birds includes species of ducks, geese (including brant), swans, doves and pigeons, cranes, rails, coots, gallinules and moorhens, woodcock and snipe, if there is an open season.

Migratory bird

preservation facility – means:

(1) Any person who, at their residence or place of business and for hire or other consideration; or

(2) Any taxidermist, cold-storage facility or locker plant which, for hire or other consideration; or

(3) Any hunting club which, in the normal course of operations receives, possesses, or has in custody any migratory game birds belonging to another person for purposes of picking, cleaning, freezing, processing, storage, or shipment.

Daily bag limit – means the maximum number of migratory game birds of a single species or combination (aggregate) of species permitted to be taken by one person in any one day during the open season in any one specified geographic area for which a daily bag limit is prescribed.

Aggregate daily bag limitmeans the maximum number of migratory game birds permitted to be taken by one person in any one day during the open season when such person hunts in more than one specified geographic area and/or for more than one species for which a combined daily bag limit is prescribed. The aggregate daily bag limit is equal to, but shall not exceed, the largest daily bag limit prescribed for any one species or for any one specified geographic area in which taking occurs.

Possession limit – means the maximum number of migratory game birds of a single species or a combination of species permitted to be possessed by any one person when lawfully taken in the United States in any one specified geographic area for which a possession limit is prescribed.

Aggregate possession limit – means the maximum number of migratory game birds of a single species or combination of species taken in the United States permitted to be possessed by any one person when taking and possession occurs in more than one specified geographic area for which a possession limit is prescribed. The aggregate possession limit is equal to, but shall not exceed, the largest possession limit prescribed for any one of the species or specified geographic areas in which taking and possession occurs.

Natural vegetation – means any non-agricultural, native, or naturalized plant species that grows at a site in response to planting or from existing seeds or other propagules. The term natural vegetation does not include planted millet. However, planted millet that grows on its own in subsequent years after the year of planting is considered natural vegetation.

Normal agricultural operation – means a normal agricultural planting, harvesting, post-harvest manipulation, or agricultural practice that is conducted in accordance with official recommendations of state extension specialists of the Cooperative Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Normal agricultural planting, harvesting, or post-harvest manipulation – means a planting or harvesting undertaken for the purpose of producing and gathering a crop, or manipulation after such harvest and removal of grain, that is conducted in accordance with official recommendations of state extension specialists of the Cooperative Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Normal soil stabilization practice means a planting for agricultural soil erosion control or post-mining land reclamation conducted in accordance with official recommendations of state extension specialists of the Cooperative Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for agricultural soil erosion control.

Manipulation – means the alteration of natural vegetation or agricultural crops by activities that include but are not limited to mowing, shredding, discing, rolling, chopping, trampling, flattening, burning, or herbicide treatments. The term manipulation does not include the distributing or scattering of grain, seed, or other feed after removal from or storage on the field where grown.

Personal abode – means one’s principal or ordinary home or dwelling place, as distinguished from one’s temporary or transient place of abode or dwelling such as a hunting club, or any club house, cabin, tent, or trailer house used as a hunting club, or any hotel, motel, or rooming house used during a hunting, pleasure or business trip.

SEASONs OPENING DATE CLOSING DATE DAILY LIMIT

Hunting hours are sunrise to sunset, unless posted.

Dove (Mourning and Eurasian-collared) Sept. 1, 2017 Nov. 5, 2017 15
Dec. 16, 2017 Jan. 8, 2018
Early: Canada Goose Sept. 2, 2017
Sept. 10, 2017
5
Early: Teal

(Blue-winged, Green-winged, & Cinnamon)

Sept. 2, 2017 Sept. 17, 2017 6
Rail (Virginia, Sora) Sept. 1, 2017 Nov. 9, 2017 25
Common Moorhen (Gallinule) Sept. 1, 2017 Nov. 9, 2017 15
Common Snipe Sept. 1, 2017 Nov. 26, 2017 8
Dec. 16, 2017 Jan. 4, 2018
American Woodcock Oct. 13, 2017 Nov. 26, 2017 3

LAKE ERIE MARSH ZONE

The Lake Erie Marsh Zone begins at the intersection of Interstate 75 at the Ohio-Michigan state line and continues south to Interstate 280, then south on I-280 to the Ohio Turnpike (I-80/I-90), then east on the Ohio Turnpike to the Erie-Lorain county line, then north to Lake Erie. The zone boundary follows the Lake Erie shoreline at a distance of 200 yards offshore. The zone boundary follows the shoreline west toward and around the northern tip of Cedar Point Amusement Park, then continues from the westernmost point of Cedar Point toward the southernmost tip of the sand bar at the mouth of Sandusky Bay and out into Lake Erie at a distance of 200 yards offshore, continuing parallel to the Lake Erie shoreline north and west toward the northernmost tip of Cedar Point National Wildlife Refuge, then follows a direct line toward the southernmost tip of Wood Tick Peninsula in Michigan to a point that intersects the Ohio-Michigan state line, then follows the state line back to the point of the beginning.

NORTH ZONE

From the Lake Erie Marsh Zone down to the line extending east from the Indiana state line along U.S. Highway 33 to State Route 127, south along SR 127 to SR 703, south along SR 703, including all lands within the Mercer Wildlife Area, to SR 219, east along SR 219 to SR 364, north along SR 364, including all lands within the St. Marys Fish Hatchery, to SR 703, east along SR 703 to SR 66, north along SR 66 to U.S. 33, east along U.S. 33 to SR 385, east along SR 385 to SR 117, south along SR 117 to SR 273, east along SR 273 to SR 31, south along SR 31 to SR 739, east along SR 739 to SR 4, north along SR 4 to SR 95, east along SR 95 to SR 13, southeast along SR 13 to SR 3, northeast along SR 3 to SR 60, north along SR 60 to U.S. 30, east along U.S. 30 to SR 3, south along SR 3 to SR 226, south along SR 226 to SR 514, southwest along SR 514 to SR 754, south along SR 754 to SR 39/60, east along SR 39/60 U.S. to SR 241, north along SR 241 to U.S. 30, east along U.S. 30 to SR 39, east along SR 39 to the Pennsylvania state line.

SOUTH ZONE

Remainder of the state.

Legal WATERFOWL & MIGRATORY BIRD

Hunting Equipment

SEASON Equipment

WATERFOWL AND MIGRATORY BIRD

HUNTING

Shotgun: 10 gauge or smaller shotgun using nontoxic shot, includes muzzleloading shotguns. In order to hunt migratory game birds, your shotgun cannot be capable of holding more than three shells, unless it is plugged with a one-piece filler incapable of removal without disassembling the gun.

Only nontoxic shot may be used to take waterfowl, rail, snipe, and moorhen (gallinule). Dove and woodcock may be taken with lead shot.

Longbow: This includes compound bows and recurve bows.

Ohio Hunter Education

The ODNR Division of Wildlife offers three types of hunter certification courses:

Instructor-led training.

Home-study courses for

Ohio residents.

Online testing for Ohio

residents 18 and older.

While hunter education is a vital part of becoming an Ohio hunter, new hunters also have the option of hunting with an apprentice license before taking a hunter education course.

Call 1-800-WILDLIFE (1-800-945-3543)

or visit wildohio.gov for information on courses in your area.