Ohio hunting season dates announced

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If you are a hunter, you’ve been waiting for this. After several months of comments, opinions and even a little scientific and fact-driven input, Ohio’s Wildlife Council has given this fall’s hunting seasons their stamp of approval.

While small game seasons remain pretty much the same as always and waterfowl seasons are predictable, as always, too early in the fall for Ohio hunters to see migrating northern birds.

Changes in waterfowl bag limits include the daily limit on canvasbacks, which is increased to two and the daily limit for pintails, which is decreased to just one.

County by county

Hunters will remember that over the last few years Ohio’s deer herd has been systematically reduced and the new deer management program includes county-by-county strategies that in effect are simply to hold numbers as steady as humanly possible by juggling season bag limits.

Season limits are increasing in 21 counties, mostly in southeast Ohio, while seven counties, mostly in northwest Ohio, will see limits reduced.

According to wildlife officials, the increase from two deer per season to three in Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Fairfield, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Tuscarawas, Vinton, and Washington counties is intended to encourage more hunters to kill more deer in an effort to slow the growth of the localized deer herds.

Officials insist that the herds in these 21 counties are increasing too quickly and that the intent is to slow but not quench the growth.

On the other end, the size of the overall deer herd in Allen, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding, Putnam and Williams counties has room to grow, thus the change from a three-deer limit county limit to two deer is appropriate and will encourage a quicker upswing in numbers.

The above changes seem to mirror the hunting public’s opinion that the overall Ohio deer herd suffered systematic recent overkill strategies intended to bring the numbers down to a more manageable, county by county program of management.

Official dates

The 2017-18 deer seasons include:

  • Archer: Sept. 30, 2017-Feb. 4, 2018
  • Youth Gun: Nov. 18-19, 2017
  • Gun: Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 2017 and a bonus weekend, Dec. 16-17, 2017
  • Muzzleloader: Jan. 6-9, 2018

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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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