Overview of proposed deer hunting seasons for 2017-2018:
Deer archery: Sept. 30, 2017-Feb. 4, 2018
Youth deer gun: Nov. 18-19, 2017
Deer gun: Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 2017; Dec. 16-17, 2017
Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 6-9, 2018
The county bag limits were proposed to be modified for several counties throughout the state. An increase in the bag limit, from two deer per county to three deer per county, was proposed for Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Fairfield, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Tuscarawas, Vinton and Washington counties. These proposed changes are designed to slow the rate of growth, but still allow the herds to increase.
A reduction in the bag limit, from three deer per county to two deer per county was proposed for Allen, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding, Putnam and Williams counties. All other county bag limits would remain the same. The statewide bag limit was proposed to remain at six deer, only one deer may be antlered and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit. These proposed changes are designed to encourage herd growth in these counties.
In other proposals, the ODNR Division of Wildlife proposed to allow any straight-walled cartridge rifle with a minimum caliber of .357 to a maximum caliber of .50 be allowed for hunting deer in Ohio. There have been three seasons of hunting deer with straight-walled cartridge rifles in Ohio with no biological impacts to the herd or additional hunter incidents. Defining the allowable rifles would make the rule easily understood and easily enforced, while also being inclusive of a great number of rifle options.
A complete list of proposed rules changes can be found at wildohio.gov.
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 4. 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 5.
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 16, at 9 a.m. The office is located at 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus 43215.
The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all 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 12, after considering public input. Small game, migratory bird and wild turkey hunting season dates were proposed at the January council meeting and will also be voted on by the council on April 12.
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 register at least two days before 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.