Ohio hunters killed a total of just over 188,000 whitetail deer during all of the various deer seasons for 2015-2016, a number just slightly ahead of last year’s harvest. Sadly, according to most hunters, deer hunting was less than stellar with the increase due only to a huge difference in weather.
Certainly, a valid concern and one that leads to a growing worry that Ohio hunters will never again see the numbers of deer seen previous to the management-by-planned-reduction of the overall herd that has been in effect for the last few years.
Obviously, state wildlife officials have responded to lobbyists demanding less deer and are now attempting to somehow satisfy the wants and interests of hunters, insurance companies, and farmers, interests that represent a difficult challenge for management strategists.
Division of Wildlife officials claim to be, for the most part, pretty much where they need to be and have proposed very few regulatory changes for the 2016-2017 deer hunting seasons.
The way it works is simple. Officials study the results of the recent season, see how they compare to the goals they had set, then propose a set of regulations and hunting seasons to the Ohio Wildlife Council for approval or suggested changes.
Bonus gun season
Season dates include a change for a two-day “bonus” gun season to be Dec.28-29, 2016, nearly a month after the week-long annual gun hunting season to be held Nov. 28- Dec. 4, 2016. Staying the same are county by county bag limits which include the drastic reduction in less expensive antlerless permits.
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 March 5. 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.
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. An online form will be available until March 6.
A statewide hearing on all of the proposed rules will be held at the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s District One office at 9 a.m. March 17. 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 13.
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