Dove populations that have not changed since the advent of Ohio's dove season several years ago are the main reason for an increase in the number of birds that hunters are allowed to shoot this year.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife reported recently that the daily and possession bag limits for the mourning dove would increase in the 2002 hunting season.
"Currently, we have the same dove production as we had in 1995," said Tom Henry, a wildlife biologist for the DOW's District Three office in Akron.
"We have not noticed a decrease in Ohio," Henry said. In other words, despite hunting pressure, Ohio mourning doves are doing as well as or even better than before. Hunters are going out after the speedy bird, but the prolific dove is managing to keep its populations levels steady.
Henry said mild winter weather also helped the bird with breeding. He noted that the Ohio Wildlife Council took the good dove numbers into consideration when it upped the bag limits recently.
He added that, in future dove seasons, if the numbers continue as they have, the OWC could consider additional bag limits.
The bag limits for the dove, as well as for a number of other migratory gamebirds, were set by the OWC at its July 24 meeting.
Season opens Sept. 1
A press release issued by the DOW outlined the seasons as follows:
Mourning dove, early Canada goose, rail, moorhen and snipe will open statewide Sept. 1.
Dove season will run through Oct. 20, and then again Nov. 21 through Nov. 30. The daily bag limit increases from 12 to 15 this year, and possession limit increases from 24 to 30 birds.
The statewide early Canada goose season runs through Sept. 15 with a daily bag limit of five and a possession limit of 10. An exception is within the Crane Creek/Ottawa, Mosquito Creek, Mercer, and Killdeer Plains mandatory reporting zones where the daily bag and possession limit is two Canada geese.
Other migratory gamebirds and their season dates and bag totals include: teal, statewide Sept. 7 through 15 with a daily bag limit of four and possession limit of eight birds; sora and Virginia rails, Sept. 1 through Nov. 9 with a daily bag and possession limit of 25 birds; moorhens (gallinule), Sept. 1 through Nov. 9 with a daily bag limit of 15 and a possession limit of 30; snipe, Sept. 1 through Dec. 1, and Dec. 9 through 22 with a daily bag limit of eight and a possession limit of 16; woodcock, Oct. 18 through Dec. 1 with a daily bag limit of three and a possession limit of six.
Hunting hours will be from sunrise to sunset during the open season for hunting rails, moorhens, snipe, woodcock, teal, doves and Canada geese. An exception is for hunting doves on public hunting areas, which will be from noon to sunset from Sept. 1 through 10.
Those planning to hunt migratory birds, including all waterfowl, are required to answer questions for the Harvest Information Program survey when buying a hunting license. Also required before hunting is a state wetland habitat stamp endorsement and a valid and signed federal duck stamp as well as a regular Ohio hunting license when hunting waterfowl such as Canada geese and teal.
As long as we're on the subject of hunting birds, the DOW is inviting waterfowl hunters to take part in a drawing for hunting at Mosquito Creek Reservoir with a permit drawing for blind locations along the lake set at 9 a.m. Aug.17. Registration for the no-fee drawing gets started at 8 a.m.
The drawing will take place at the Mosquito Wildlife Area Headquarters, 8303 N. Park Ave. in North Bloomfield between state Routes 87 and 88.
Those who are selected will get their pick of an unlimited number of blind locations along the shore of Mosquito Reservoir. Information is available from the area headquarters at (440) 685-4776.
Even more on waterfowl
Also Aug. 17, hunters can enter a lottery for the right to build a blind to hunt ducks at an Ohio state park during the 2002-2003 waterfowl hunting season.
The lottery will be used to select hunters for a limited number of duck blind permits available at 18 state park locations throughout Ohio.
To take part, applicants must appear in person at a participating state park office -- Portage Lakes and West Branch in Northeast Ohio; East Harbor and Lake Loramie in northwest Ohio; Dillon in southeast Ohio; Buck Creek, Caesar Creek, Cowan Lake, East Fork, Hueston Woods, Kiser Lake and Rocky Fork in southwest Ohio; and Alum Creek, A.W. Marion, Buckeye Lake, Deer Creek, Delaware and Indian Lake in central Ohio -- and show proof of a current or 2001 Ohio hunting license, a current or 2001 federal duck stamp and state wetlands habitat stamp issued in the applicant's name.
The applications will be accepted at 8 a.m. at most parks, and the lottery will be immediately after.
Restrictions include allowing entrants to apply for only one duck blind permit and disallowing applying or drawing for another person. Those selected will be charged a $50 nonrefundable permit fee and will get 45 days to construct their blinds. All blinds must be dismantled by March 15, 2003.