This fall’s deer hunting regulations look to be altered but not drastically.
First guesses about upcoming changes had Ohio’s January muzzle loader season and bonus gun hunting weekend eliminated, limits reduced, and some other moves intended to let the Ohio herd rebuild.
Indeed, there were fewer deer in the woods last fall in many areas of the state, the result of a midge-carried decease that killed countless whitetails last summer.
Experts claimed that the severe drought that gripped much of the Midwest including Ohio activated the bugs that attacked deer and other large mammals.
It was also probable that the ultra-liberal limits, including the use of less expensive doe tags during the gun season, that were allowed during the last couple of years in some areas may have promoted an over-harvest of deer.
Even considering the hunter-perfect weather during the recent 2012-13 deer seasons, the total kill came in slightly under the harvest for the 2011-2 season, a disappointing hunt that was down due to extremely poor weather.
Without doubt, the Ohio herd has shrunk considerably and change will happen. Final numbers for the 2012-13 seasons are 218,910 and for 2011-12 are 219,748.
Official changes for the 2013-14 deer hunting seasons will come soon after hunters are allowed to vent their frustrations to district Division of Wildlife bosses March 2. Following that event DOW officials will ask the appointed Ohio Wildlife Council to accept a new set of regulations for the fall.
According to DOW the proposed changes, already before the Council, include the elimination of the extra gun hunt weekend, a fairly recent addition to the menu of seasons, and a new two day muzzle loader season for antlerless deer only.
This proposed season, if approved, will take place October 12-13 this year and on the corresponding weekend in coming years.
This new weekend hunt would replace a long-established three day muzzle loader season that was held on three select southeast Ohio wildlife areas.
Other proposed changes will stop the use of cheap antlerless permits in gun season and the elimination of urban deer zones. If accepted, the season limits will be greatly reduced to two deer in eight counties, three deer in 23 counties and four in the southeast 57 counties.
This county-by-county limit will replace the established three zones. The one-buck-per-year will stay the same for the entire state.
Hikers have good reason to head for the second annual Buckeye TrailFest, a celebration of the 1,444-mile foot trail that begins near Cleveland and ends near Cincinnati, a marked and mapped path that twists its way through much of Ohio’s varied landscape.
Planned for April 25-28, the gathering features day hikes for all skill levels, workshops and programs and is sponsored by the Buckeye Trail Association. The gathering will be held at Red Oak Camp in Kirkland, Ohio.According to event organizers, various activities will take place in Geauga and Lake counties and several dedicated trail fans are planning hikes ending at the TrailFest.
John Rethman and a group of backpackers plan to walk, camp and explore for four days on their way to the event and Mike Fanelli will take it step-by-step to the gathering from his home in Harrison County, a trip of 175 miles over ten days.Fanelli intends to eventually complete every inch of the Buckeye Trail and this section will be added to others as he logs his progress.
He attended the first TrailFest and he decided that it would be a good reason to take a long walk. To register for the TrailFest go to www.buckeyetrailfest.org.