The pot is still simmering but this fall’s deer hunting regulations are just about done. The latest proposal considered by state wildlife officials includes the legalization of rifles in addition to shotguns, muzzle loaders, and handguns.
Not center fire rifles, often known as high power rifles, but rifles designed to fire the same ammunition used in pistols — ammo that is not necked down but those rounds which are built with straight casings such as the popular .44 magnum of Clint Eastwood’s “make my day” fame.
In effect, rifles which shoot the same stuff that is currently used by Ohio handgun hunters, will be more accurate because of barrel length but no more powerful than already used handguns.
It’s a sure bet that if this proposal is adopted that a great many Ohio deer hunters will soon be toting lever action rifles bored for the .44 which are already made and are quite popular with hunters who like to hunt thick brush.
Heavy slugs like the .44 are slow and apt to crash through brush while retaining plenty of knockdown power.
In addition, it’s quite probable that gun makers will be quickly at work making a variety of rifles that meet the restrictions. But even if rifles are the next big deal they will have to be restricted to just three rounds, just like slug shooting shotguns. Given that, if the market is there, gun makers will make it.
Deer bag limits and new licensing rules have also been worked over with season bag limits changed in a few counties. Look for cheap doe tags to play a lesser role statewide and Trumbull County to be a three-deer county and Mercer County to be a two-deer county.
And, too, it is probably true that some counties will named as no antlerless permit counties.
Ohio’s Wildlife Council will be the official deciding committee when they meet April 9.
New, 2014 Ohio fishing and hunting licenses are now required. Purchase both at the same time online and keep them in your wallet. Hunters can also purchase spring turkey permits at this time.