Ohio’s squirrel season will open on Sept. 1 and provide 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.

Ohio’s squirrel season, a long-time tradition for many hunters, offers ample hunting opportunities for fox and gray squirrels across the state. This is an excellent time to take a youth hunting or scout for the upcoming deer and fall wild turkey hunting seasons. Legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset daily.

Squirrel season will be closed during the one-week statewide deer gun season, Nov. 26-Dec. 2.

The abundance of nut crops is a good indicator of squirrel numbers the following year. Statewide nut production ratings for fall 2011 were lower in comparison to those from 2010. However, the predicted squirrel hunting outlook for the 2012-13 season is again above average. Although oak production was average, substantial increases in walnut production occurred throughout the state during fall 2011. Increased food supply in concert with an exceptionally mild winter should lead to high squirrel densities and increased hunting opportunities this fall.

Primary fox squirrel range occurs predominately in the agricultural landscapes in the northeastern and western regions of Ohio, whereas the primary gray squirrel range is in the extensively forested east-central, southeastern and south-central regions. Gray squirrels are more dependent on hard mast, and their abundance is closely tied to the mast crop the previous fall. Fox squirrels are less dependent upon mast crop resources and likely use supplemental food in agricultural areas.

Hunters who wish to participate in the 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, Ohio 45701, at 740-589-9930 for more information.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at www.ohiodnr.com.

Logo courtesy of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources

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