From the Division of Wildlife comes a warning for hunters who frequent the rugged southeast Ohio terrain belonging to the American Electric Power Company.
While approximately 90,000 acres of land are currently open to sportsmen, not all AEP properties are open to the public, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife, adding that hunters need to confirm that the AEP property they plan to hunt is open.
Hunting without permission on AEP’s private properties has rarely been enforced, but that will change this year. Many hunters have been using the private AEP properties for years with no repercussions, but that will no longer be the case.
As a result of increased illegal activity on these private properties, AEP’s land management section has asked the Division of Wildlife to begin enforcing hunting without permission. Many of these private properties are in lease agreements with private hunting clubs, or with farmers for agricultural practices.
AEP public lands will still be open to sportsmen who have obtained a permit. The DOW stressed that none of the public AEP properties are affected by this increase in enforcement, and sportsmen and women who have been legally hunting these areas will not see any change.
All persons interested in recreational activities on any public AEP properties must still obtain a free lifetime permit which can be found at www.aep.com/environmental/recreation. AEP public lands span several counties including Coshocton, Gallia, Meigs, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble and Perry Counties.
In Ohio, hunting without permission is a misdemeanor of the third degree on the first offense, with a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail. Any subsequent hunting without permission offenses would be charged as misdemeanors of the second degree with a maximum penalty of a $750 fine and up to 90 days in jail.
Ohio deer hunters will soon be asked to keep a record of how many times they hunt deer, in what county or counties they hunt, and, their success. It’s all part of an outreach program by the Ohio DOW’s head man in charge of deer management, Mike Tonkovich, who sent word that his office will be soon be in touch with deer hunters asking them to keep a log this fall and completing a survey about their deer hunting experiences.
The log, according to Athens-based Tonkovich is simply a tool that can reviewed by the hunter to help them complete the survey questions.
Tonkovich and other wildlife managers will use the survey information to help them effectively manage Ohio’s healthy deer herd, an ever changing plan that is based on real information and trends.