The wait for many Ohio hunters who eagerly anticipate opening day for ring-necked pheasant, cottontail rabbit and bobwhite quail seasons will come to an end this Friday, Nov. 1, when small game hunting officially opens, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

“Small game hunting is a cherished tradition among Ohio hunters,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “We appreciate generous habitat contributions made by Ohio’s landowners that help support wild populations of pheasants, quail and rabbits so Ohio’s small game hunting legacy can continue for generations.”

Ohio’s cottontail rabbit populations are strong again this year, and it is expected that hunting opportunities will be good to excellent throughout the state. Cottontail rabbit hunting continues through Friday, Feb. 28, 2014. Wild quail and pheasant populations continue to decline throughout their Ohio range. These populations are dependent upon quality grassland and shrubland habitats, especially those provided on private lands through the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP).

Ring-necked pheasant hunting is open through Sunday, Jan. 5, 2014. Both pheasant and rabbit seasons are closed during the statewide 2013 deer-gun hunting season, Dec. 2-8.

Bobwhite quail season continues through Sunday, Dec. 1. Quail hunting is open in 16 counties in southern Ohio: Adams, Athens, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Highland, Jackson, Meigs, Montgomery, Pike, Preble, Ross, Scioto, Vinton and Warren.

Rabbits, pheasants and quail may be hunted from sunrise to sunset. The daily bag limit for all three species remains unchanged at four rabbits, two pheasants (roosters/males only) and four quail.

Cottontail rabbit hunting restrictions were removed this year in the snowshoe hare protected area in Geauga and Ashtabula counties. Snowshoe hares are protected as a state-endangered species, and it is illegal to kill them in Ohio. Rabbits and hares look very similar, but hares are generally larger than rabbits with longer legs and ears. Snowshoe hares have a thick white coat in the winter that helps them blend in with the snow. In the spring, they shed their winter coat and grow a thin brown summer coat.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife releases pheasants in select hunting areas throughout the state prior to opening day of the pheasant season, prior to the second Saturday of the season (Nov. 9) and the day before Thanksgiving Day.

Additional hunting information is contained in the 2013-2014 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations. The regulations are available where hunting licenses are sold, at or by calling 800-WILDLIFE.

Logo courtesy Ohio Department of Natural Resources

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