Is It Illegal To Kill Pigeons In Ohio [Know The Rules Here] 

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Pigeons and doves are common in Ohio. They are chunky birds with small necks. You will frequently spot them in your backyard. There are several methods available online to remove them. Killing pigeons is the easiest way to keep your property safe. However, is it illegal to kill pigeons in Ohio?  

No. It is not illegal to kill pigeons in Ohio. You can eliminate pigeons destroying your property with or without a license. The state also allows the removal of the nest and eggs of annoying pigeons, except for Homing pigeons.  

However, you will need a permit to shoot Migratory pigeons. This article further discusses the pigeon shooting and hunting rules in Ohio.  

Which Type Of Pigeons Are Illegal To Hunt And Eat In Ohio? 

It is illegal to hunt Homing pigeons in Ohio. According to state law, it is not legal to harm, trap, or forcefully remove any Homing pigeon and its nest. Homing pigeons are derived from wild rock pigeons.

They are selectively bred according to the area so that homing pigeons can find their way back home. In the past homing pigeons were known as messenger pigeons or mail pigeons. Eating pigeons is not illegal in Ohio as long as a person can prove that the pigeon was found dead. 

There are seven pigeon species in Ohio, including Rock pigeons, Eurasian collared doves, Common ground doves, White-winged doves, and Mourning doves. It is legal to hunt all of these pigeon species at all times except for Migratory pigeons.

Every year Ohio state wildlife organizes a hunting festival where you can hunt Migratory pigeons. However, the state has specified daily bag count for Migratory pigeons. 

Why Is It Illegal To Hunt And Eat Pigeon In Ohio? 

It is illegal to hunt Homing pigeons in Ohio as they are for military purposes and sports like pigeon racing. They have a similar appearance to Feral pigeons. However, the latter is not under federal protection due to the rapid increase in their population. Mostly Homing pigeons appear grey, but some of them are white. The white Homing pigeons appear very similar to the doves.  

Migratory pigeons include white-winged doves and Mourning doves. Both of these are protected all year except during gaming festivals. The dove hunting games begin in September and end at the beginning of January.

Hunters can hunt Migratory birds during these four months with a limited bag count. According to the Migratory bird treaty between the USA and other foreign countries, no one can harm Migratory pigeons without a state permit.  

Pigeon meat is not illegal to eat in Ohio. But it is not available easily. The local food authorities do not support the idea of eating pigeon meat as it consists of disease-causing organisms.

Can I Hunt On My Own Land Without A License In Ohio? 

No, you cannot hunt on your own land without a license in Ohio. A hunting license is an absolute requirement for shooting or hunting pigeons on public or private properties. The hunters must purchase a hunting license from the wildlife authorities. It is essential to carry a hunting license while shooting pigeons. The wildlife authorities members can randomly check and ask you for it.  

The only exception is farmers or owners of the agricultural land. Pigeons are frequent visitors of the farmland and crops as their favorite food is the seed. Therefore, Ohio state authorities are slightly lenient and allow farmers to shoot pigeons without a license only when destroying the harvest.  

Can I Bow Hunt In My Backyard In Ohio?  

Yes, you can bow hunt in your backyard in Ohio only when it meets the minimum acreage requirement. The property must be a minimum of five acres for you to use a bow to kill pigeons. It is unlawful to use any weapons to kill pigeons on a property shorter than the requirement. The hunter must have completed the hunting education course and should have a legal license.  

The landowners, their spouses, and children do not need a permit from the authorities to hunt on their property. But other people, like acquaintances, will have to get permission from the landowner and submit the permit letter to wildlife authorities. 

Laws Governing About Pigeon Shooting In Ohio State 

It is essential to follow laws to hunt pigeons anywhere in the USA. These laws are the basic guidelines for people to learn hunting techniques. Laws differ in each state of the USA. In some states, people under 12 cannot hunt, while other USA states allow young people under 12 to participate in hunting.

Before shooting pigeons in Ohio, you must know all the pigeon hunting rules of the state. It is to avoid any charges. Below are some essential laws you must know before shooting pigeons in Ohio. 

Shooting Nuisance Pigeon 

If a source of nuisance and disturbance, people can shoot common pigeons at any time. The state also allows the removal of nuisance pigeon nests and eggs. However, under any circumstances, it is not legal to harm homing pigeons. 

Hunting License and Age

The hunters, regardless of age, must carry a hunting license and permit while shooting pigeons. People can purchase a hunting license online or through an agent. Before buying a hunting license, one must complete a Hunter education course. Young people from 12 to 17 must be under the supervision of an adult with a valid hunting license.   

Shooting Pigeons On Private Property 

It is legal to shoot nuisance pigeons on private property without a license only if it is at least 6 yards away from the residential area. To hunt on private land, hunters must obtain a permit from the landowner.

The law requires the hunter to write an application to the landowner and submit a signed copy to the wildlife authorities. Hunting on private property without landowners’ permission will be considered trespassing.  

Weapons For Pigeon Shooting  

The Ohio wildlife authorities allow pigeon shooting only through shotguns, muzzleloaders, and straight-walled cartilage rifles. The state authorities do not allow the use of BB and pellet guns. Hunters can also use archery equipment, including bows and arrows.   

Hunting Migratory Pigeons 

It is unlawful to hunt Migratory pigeons at all times except during the hunting season. Typically the hunting season begins in September and ends in January. The dates for hunting each pigeon species carries each year. To confirm the hunting dates go to the official Ohio wildlife website.  

How Can You Shoot And Hunt Pigeons At Ohio State? 

Pigeon hunting is quite simple when you know all the processes and the laws. The best pigeon hunting time is afternoon. The legal hunting time begins early morning and ends half-hour after sunset. Below are some necessary pointers which you must know for pigeon shooting and hunting. 

  • Complete the hunter education program and obtain its certificate from the office.   
  • Purchase a hunting license online or through an agent. The license fee is different for residents and non-residents. It also depends on the hunter’s age.   
  • For hunting on private land, obtain a permit from the landowner.   
  • Carry a hunting license and permit with you while shooting pigeons.   
  • The weapon must be legal, and you must have its license with you at all times.   
  • Avoid shooting pigeons in residential areas.   
  • Hunters must have all the safety gear while shooting pigeons, which includes goggles, gloves, and safety vests.   
  • After shooting the target, collect the pigeon’s body and discard it in large plastic bags far from the area.   
  • Inform the bag count and the pigeon specie of the wildlife authorities.   


Killing pigeons is a common way of eliminating nuisance sky rodents. Pigeons are annoying and frequent visitors of the place with ample food and shelter. The authorities of Ohio allow killing, shooting, and hunting pigeons, except for the Homing pigeons.

The state protects Homing pigeons as they are used for military purposes and sports activities. Ohio wildlife authorities also provide protection to the Migratory pigeons as they fall under the Migratory pigeon act of 1918. However, the state does organize a gaming festival for hunters to enjoy hunting the Migratory pigeons for some days. The article discusses all the laws and essential pointers of pigeon hunting in Ohio.