Squirrel Season Offers Hunters Preparation For Fall Hunting

Season Begins September 1 and runs through January 31

Ohio's squirrel season will open on September 1, providing hunters with an opportunity to take as many as six squirrels each day, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.

A long-time tradition for many hunters, Ohio's squirrel season offers ample hunting opportunities for fox and gray squirrels across the state. It is a great time to get out in the woods and scout for the upcoming deer and fall wild turkey hunting seasons or take a youth hunting. Legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset daily.

The season closes January 31. Squirrel season will be closed during the one-week statewide deer gun season, beginning November 29 through December 5; deer gun weekend, December 18 and 19; and during early muzzleloader deer season, October 18-23 at the following areas: Salt Fork State Wildlife Area, Shawnee State Forest and Wildcat Hollow.

The abundance of nut crops is a good indicator of squirrel numbers the following year. Squirrels have higher survival and reproduction after years with an ample supply of acorns and hickory nuts. Statewide nut production ratings for fall 2009 were lower than average, especially for oaks in the southeastern portion of the state. Therefore, the predicted squirrel hunting outlook for the 2010-11 season is below average, particularly for gray squirrels. However, the early spring green-up and mild temperatures may offset some of the negative effects of poor mast production.

Fox squirrel populations may have fared better than gray squirrels. Primary range for fox squirrel includes the western and northeastern portions of Ohio. Mast production for most tree species remained above average in these regions in 2009. Additionally, supplemental food (i.e., corn) may be more available to fox squirrels inhabiting agricultural areas.

Hunters who wish to participate in the new squirrel hunting diary program, designed to track trends in nut crops and squirrel populations across the Buckeye State, should contact the Waterloo Wildlife Research Station 360 East State St., Athens OH 45701, for more information.

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.com.

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