Hunting as a sport has grown throughout the United States over the past few years and Ohio is no exception. Several large game species thrive in the varying terrain found in the state. White Tail Deer seem to adapt well everywhere from the flat farm lands in the north to the wooded hills in the south. This is partly due to their ability to take advantage of a variety of food sources. Ohio has some of the largest white tail deer in the country. The deer herds are healthy and well managed allowing as many as 6 deer to be harvested each year in some counties. According to figures reported by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), there are more deer killed in eastern and southeastern counties than other parts of the state. This can be attributed in part to the fact that it is less populated and access to hunting lands can be more readily obtained. There are large tracks of public land, e.g. Wayne National Forest, which are open to the general public for hunting. However, the small wooded plots near open farm fields in the northern counties, where the hunting pressure is low, may offer the best opportunity for bagging a trophy buck.
The reintroduction of the Eastern Wild Turkeys into Ohio by trapping and releasing birds has been very successful. Turkeys seem to be able to survive even where the number of coyotes is on the climb. There are turkeys in wooded areas, especially where there are hills, throughout the state with hunting allowed mostly in the eastern counties. A season exists in both the spring and fall. The number of counties that allows hunting is increasing as the population grows. The bag limit for turkeys has grown from one to two for the spring season. Changes to Ohio hunting laws now allow all day hunting for part of the season.
Wild Feral Hog populations are on the increase in many states causing untold damage on the environment and native wildlife. Some are believed to have gotten loose from private wild hog hunting properties. Once released, they reproduced rapidly. They are considered undesirable nuisance animals due to the damage they cause. Wild hogs can root up large areas of ground, eat farmers’ crops, and wreak havoc on some wildlife species. They can be found in a few counties scattered throughout Ohio. There are not large quantities of them in Ohio but the fear is that they will spread uncontrollably. The ODNR keeps records on counties where they have been spotted but does not have specifics on where to find them. Hunters are encouraged to shoot them whenever they see them with very few restrictions. Therefore, public land is not a likely place to find wild hogs. The best way to determine where to hunt them is to talk to local farmers and get permission to hunt on their private land.
Coyote populations in Ohio have grown. They adapt to almost every environment and have few predators other than man. They eat almost anything including some of the small game species including rabbits. In order to keep their numbers in check, there is no closed season on coyotes in Ohio. They can be shot with few restrictions when hunting other species. They can be seen mostly at night, late in the evening or early in the morning.
A few Black Bear and Bobcats are occasionally spotted in Ohio. Their sightings are recorded by the ODNR. There is no open season on either of them. Some of the bear are believed to have come into Ohio from Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The bobcat is classified as an Ohio endangered species.
Small game species in Ohio include Waterfowl, Rabbits, Squirrels, Quail, Pheasants, and Grouse. There are many bodies of water in Ohio that attract ducks and geese. A hunting license and a stamp are required to hunt them. Cottontails are the most common type of rabbits. They can be hunted within season. There are some Snowshoe Hares in northeastern Ohio. They are protected. Ohio has mostly gray and fox squirrels but black squirrels can be found in some areas. Quail hunting is mostly limited to a few central and southern counties. The population of pheasants is also limited to a few counties with the right habitat. Corn fields are ideal locations to find pheasants. To supplement their numbers, scheduled releases are made in some areas. Grouse seem to be more wide spread but do not exist in large numbers. They are often found in wooded areas. Flushing them in among trees can make a challenging target for any hunter.
Source by Fred Kilmore