The Ohio Wildlife Council received the 2014-2015 hunting proposals for deer season dates, changes to deer bag limits and the possibility of allowing some straight-walled rifle cartridges for deer hunting, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
Ohio deer hunters and other interested parties are invited to share their comments regarding the proposed 2014-2015 deer hunting seasons and regulations at open houses on Saturday, March 1, from 12-3 p.m., and online at wildohio.com through Sunday, March 2.
ODNR Division of Wildlife biologists proposed that 2014-2015 deer hunting season dates remain consistent with previous years, with one exception. In an effort to provide more potential hunting opportunity, it was proposed that deer-muzzleloader season begin on Friday, Jan. 2, 2015, and end on Monday, Jan. 5, compared to last year when the season began on a Saturday and concluded on a Tuesday. A proposal to continue the October antlerless deer-muzzleloader weekend for a second season was also introduced.
Proposed seasons for 2014-2015:
Deer archery: Sept. 27, 2014 - Feb. 1, 2015
Antlerless deer muzzleloader: Oct. 11-12, 2014
Youth deer gun: Nov. 22-23, 2014
Deer gun: Dec. 1-7, 2014
Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 2-5, 2015
Bag limit proposals reflect the reduction in the deer population in many counties as numbers continue to move closer to target levels. The proposal presented to the council called for a reduction in 44 counties and an increase in five counties, while bag limits in 39 counties would remain the same.
It was also proposed that antlerless tags be eliminated in some counties as deer populations approach target levels. Antlerless tags were introduced as a way to reduce Ohio’s deer herd, and have been successful, thereby eliminating their need in certain counties.
Proposed county deer bag limits:
Two (no more than one antlerless permit): Auglaize, Darke, Fayette, Hancock and Madison counties.
Three (no more than one antlerless permit): Adams, Allen, Ashland, Ashtabula, Athens, Butler, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Columbiana, Crawford, Erie, Hardin, Henry, Highland, Huron, Knox, Lawrence, Licking, Logan, Lorain, Marion, Medina, Morgan, Ottawa, Paulding, Pickaway, Pike, Preble, Putnam, Ross, Sandusky, Scioto, Seneca, Shelby, Tuscarawas, Union, Vinton, Wayne, Wood and Wyandot counties.
Three (antlerless permits are not valid): Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Defiance, Fairfield, Fulton, Gallia, Geauga, Greene, Guernsey, Harrison, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Meigs, Mercer, Miami, Monroe, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Richland, Van Wert, Washington and Williams counties.
Four (no more than one antlerless permit): Brown, Clermont, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Franklin, Hamilton, Lake, Lucas, Mahoning, Montgomery, Portage, Stark, Summit, Trumbull and Warren counties.
A proposal was also offered that would allow the use of pistol cartridge rifles for deer hunting. The proposed rifles are the same caliber and use the same straight-walled cartridges that are currently legal for use in handguns. The proposal is designed to allow additional gun-hunting opportunities for hunters that own these guns or want to hunt with these guns. These rifles have reduced recoil compared to larger shotguns, and the proposed rifles are more accurate than the same caliber handgun.
Proposed hunting rifles are chambered for the following calibers: .357 Magnum, .357 Maximum, .38 Special, .375 Super Magnum, .375 Winchester, .38-55, .41 Long Colt, .41 Magnum, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, .444 Marlin, .45 ACP, .45 Colt, .45 Long Colt, .45 Winchester Magnum, .45 Smith & Wesson, .454 Casull, .460 Smith & Wesson, .45-70, .45-90, .45-110, .475 Linebaugh, .50-70, .50-90, .50-100, .50-110 and .500 Smith & Wesson.
Open houses to receive public comments about hunting, trapping and fishing regulations and wildlife issues will be held on Saturday, March 1. Open houses will be held at the ODNR Division of Wildlife District One, District Two, District Three and District Four offices, the Greene County Fish and Game Association clubhouse in Xenia, the Lake Erie Fairport office and the Lake Erie Shores and Islands Regional Welcome Center in Port Clinton. Directions to the open houses can be found at wildohio.com or by calling 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).
Open houses give the public an opportunity to view and discuss proposed fishing, hunting and trapping regulations with the ODNR Division of Wildlife officials. For Ohioans who are unable to attend an open house, comments will be accepted online at wildohio.com. The online form will be available until Sunday, March 2.
A statewide hearing on all of the proposed rules will be held at the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s District One office on Thursday, March 6, at 9 a.m. The office is located at 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus, Ohio 43215.
The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all of the ODNR Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. The council will vote on the proposed rules and season dates during its meeting on April 9 after considering public input. Small game and wild turkey hunting season dates were proposed at the January council meeting and will also be voted on by the council on April 9.
Council meetings are open to the public. Individuals who want to provide comments on a topic that is currently being considered by council are asked to preregister at least two days prior to the meeting by calling 614-265-6304. All comments are required to be three minutes or less.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.