Take time to study the new hunting laws

Hunters who want to stay out of trouble need to be up to date on the current year's rules, regulations, seasons and boundaries.

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The latest edition of Ohio's hunting and trapping regulations is now available. Get yourself a copy, and give it a read. (Submitted photo)

Ten years ago, Ohio’s week-long gun season for deer opened on the first Monday after Thanksgiving, just like it will this fall and just like it has for decades. Ten years ago there was a two-day youth season the weekend before Thanksgiving, just like it will be this fall.

While those two seasons which seem to be held at the same each year, the rest of a long list of hunting opportunities ride a more fluid schedule.

Ten years ago, Ohio’s deer herd was on the verge of getting out of hand. Too much of a good thing, said critics of the growing number of deer.

Population control

And so began planning ways to not just control the herd but to actually reduce it. And reduce the herd is exactly what happened, drastically in many areas of the state.

In more recent years, hunters have been regulated in a variety of ways, all of which were and are intended to keep the herd from again getting what some stakeholders consider to be too large.

The moral of the story is that hunters need to be schooled in the most current rules, seasons, and special events, a generous list that is built around the state’s game manager’s task of reacting to herd size that can be localized or at least regionalized.

Ideally, managers would stay one step ahead of herd trends but the world of wildlife management is at best a balancing act.

Current rules

So back to the schooling part, because hunters who want to stay out of trouble need to be up to date on the current year’s rules, regs, seasons, and boundaries.

The text book is free and easily obtained. The 2016 Hunting and Trapping Regulations is fresh off the press and while it is certainly available online, it is more effective in hand, for quick reference with no Wi-Fi needed.

We all know the rules, right? They never change, right? Wrong.

New dates. For instance the final season dates for deer are not what managers proposed months ago. Indeed, there will be a two-day bonus season for gun hunters, set for Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 17 and 18.

In addition, the popular four-day muzzleloader season will be held Jan. 7-10. It too, is not what was first proposed. Dove season starts Sept. 1, as does woodcock and squirrel. Early season for geese and teal begins Sept. 3.

While this edition of the hunting and trapping regulations will never earn of a spot on any best-seller list, it ought to be considered required reading for all outdoor enthusiasts.

Know the rules

The rules keep changing and ignorance is never a good defense in a courtroom.

Here are a few goodies which may have been overlooked in years past. During the youth, gun and muzzleloader deer seasons, hunters must have the legal amount of orange on and that goes for all others except waterfowl hunters, but does include archers.

Antlerless deer permits, once readily available at discount prices, are no long valid in many counties and subject to a list of limitations — read carefully.

One may not carry the license of another person. Keep that in mind, dad.

That and about 44 more pages of simple to complex do’s and don’ts. Copies of the booklet are available at licensing agents, the Akron DOW office, and online.

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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.

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