Ohio’s Wildlife Council, a group representing multiple stake holders regarding hunting and fishing regulations, seasons, and laws, is considering changes for 2012-2013 as proposed by the Division of Wildlife.
It appears that for the most part, game management officials have a pretty good handle on game and fish harvest goals and success at achieving them.
The need to tweak regulations is a constant, thus the proposed changes. DOW proposes to move seven west-central counties from Zone A to Zone B and to move one Zone B county to Zone A. Zone A hunters are limited to two deer and Zone B hunters can harvest four deer.
If these zone changes are approved by the council, as they surely will, only six Ohio counties will fall in Zone A with a two deer limit. Zone B includes 44 counties while Zone B encompasses 38 counties.
Another deer hunting regulation change, if approved, will eliminate the use of antlerless permits during gun season in Zone C, which covers all of southeast and south central Ohio.
The less expensive antlerless permits will still be used during the early archery season until November 25, 2012. The change will discourage some hunters from traveling to Zone C with a pocket full of cheap permits. That’s a good thing according to hunters who claim the liberal deer harvest in Zone C has greatly reduced the herd and in fact, deer sightings this year as well as in 2010 were down considerably.
Deer seasons being proposed will be as follows: archery — Sept. 29 through Feb. 3, 2013; special area muzzle loader season — Oct. 15-20, 2012; youth deer gun season — Nov. 17-18, 2012; statewide deer gun season — Nov. 26 through Dec. 2 with the bonus weekend Dec. 15-16, 2012. Statewide muzzleloader season — Jan. 5-8, 2013.
Proposed fishing regulations are not published yet but may include a drop in the daily limit for Lake Erie walleyes. Currently, the daily bag limit for Lake Erie walleyes is six.
It wouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with the lake to see that number dropped to four fish per day because of the drastic drop in catch rates along with a failure of recent spawning success. Officials have indicated that the last significant spawn was in 2003.
Lake Erie walleyes reproduce naturally with weather and water conditions and quality affecting success. Recent increases of algae friendly pollutants seem to be a major player in the shrinking walleye population as to other unwelcome factors.
Interested sportsmen can voice their concerns and suggestions at Division of Wildlife open houses to be held Saturday, March 3. All proposed changes will be available for viewing and discussion.
The Ohio Wildlife Council will meet April 4 to vote on the changes. Interested individuals can go on-line to the ODNR website to locate a hearing site which will held in each of the five DOW districts at that district’s office.