COLUMBUS, OH - A reduction in bag limits and antlerless permit use, as well as a shift in the youth season during the 2015-2016 hunting seasons, were among regulations proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council at its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 11, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
Among the proposals:
• Reduce bag limits in the majority of counties, and remove antlerless permits in all but 10 counties. No county has a proposed bag limit increase.
• Reduce the statewide bag limit of deer from nine to six.
• Suspend the antlerless-only muzzleloader weekend.
• Offer two days of deer-gun hunting Dec. 26-27, 2015.
• Move youth-gun hunting to the Saturday and Sunday formerly occupied by the antlerless-only muzzleloader weekend.
• Add one straight-walled cartridge rifle, the .450 Marlin, to the existing list of legal hunting rifles during the deer-gun and youth deer-gun seasons.
Deer regulations have been trending toward reduced bag limits and restricted use of antlerless permits in recent years. Proposals to reduce bag limits and adjust hunting seasons work to stabilize deer populations.
Deer population goals will be revised this summer through a random survey of hunters and landowners. Participants in the survey will have the opportunity to provide input about the future of deer management in Ohio.
Overview of proposed hunting seasons for 2015-2016:
• Deer archery: Sept. 26, 2015-Feb. 7, 2016
• Youth deer gun: Oct. 10-11, 2015
• Deer gun: Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2015; Dec. 26-27, 2015
• Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 2-5, 2016
Proposed county bag limits:
No more than two either-sex deer permits: Athens, Auglaize, Belmont, Butler, Carroll, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Coshocton, Darke, Erie, Fairfield, Fayette, Gallia, Geauga, Greene, Guernsey, Hancock, Harrison, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Madison, Meigs, Mercer, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Ottawa, Perry, Pickaway, Preble, Sandusky, Shelby, Tuscarawas, Van Wert, Vinton, Warren, Washington and Wood. It was proposed that antlerless permits are not valid in these counties.
No more than three either-sex deer permits: Adams, Allen, Ashland, Ashtabula, Brown, Clermont, Columbiana, Crawford, Defiance, Fulton, Hardin, Henry, Highland, Holmes, Huron, Knox, Licking, Logan, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Paulding, Pike, Putnam, Richland, Ross, Scioto, Seneca, Trumbull, Union, Wayne, Williams and Wyandot. It was proposed that antlerless permits are not valid in these counties.
No more than three either-sex permits, or two either-sex permits and one antlerless permit: Lake, Lorain, Portage and Stark.
No more than four either-sex permits, or three either-sex permits and one antlerless permit: Cuyahoga, Delaware, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas and Summit.
The statewide bag limit was proposed to be six deer, a reduction from the statewide limit of nine deer last season. Only one deer may be antlered, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit. Antlerless permits may be used from Sept. 26 through Nov. 29, 2015.
It was proposed that small game hunting seasons will continue during the second gun weekend, Dec. 26-27, 2015. Also on Wednesday, the ringed-neck pheasant and chukar hunting seasons were proposed to be extended one week to Jan. 10, 2016.
The Ohio Wildlife Council will vote on all proposals after receiving public input. Open houses to receive public comments about hunting, trapping and fishing regulations and wildlife issues will be held on Saturday, March 7. Open houses will be held at the ODNR Division of Wildlife District One, District Two, District Three and District Four offices and the Greene County Fish and Game Association clubhouse in Xenia. Directions to the open houses can be found at wildohio.gov 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.gov. The online form will be available until Sunday, March 8.
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 19, 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 Wednesday, April 8, 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 8.
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.