The 2017-2018 small game and migratory bird hunting seasons and the trapping seasons were proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council on Wednesday, Jan. 11, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
The hunting season date proposals prepared by the ODNR Division of Wildlife maintain many traditional opening dates. Proposals concerning Ohio’s white-tailed deer hunting seasons will be presented at the next Ohio Wildlife Council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 8.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service oversees all migratory bird regulations, including Ohio’s hunting seasons. A recent change in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s process allows Ohio to now propose fall waterfowl regulations in January, more than six months earlier than in past years.
Notable changes among the proposals included adding 11 counties to the 2017 fall turkey season; modifying waterfowl bag limits by increasing the canvasback daily bag limit from one to two and decreasing the pintail daily bag limit from two to one; and allowing any straight-walled cartridge rifle with a caliber between .357 and .50 to be used for deer hunting.
Additional proposed rule changes include changing the age requirements for those participating in youth waterfowl season from age 15 and younger to 17 and younger; modifying Pymatuning Lake fishing regulations for striped, hybrid-striped and white bass to be consistent with Pennsylvania regulations; and moving sandhill cranes from the list of state endangered species to the list of state threatened species.
A complete breakdown of all the hunting season dates and limits, with the exception of the deer rules, can be found at www.ohiodnr.com. I really like the changes in format of setting the waterfowl seasons and bag limits. It is refreshing not having to wait until late August to find out what the waterfowl season dates will be. It makes planning of hunts and trips much easier.
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 after considering public input.
Open houses to receive public comments about hunting, trapping and fishing regulations and wildlife issues will be held on Saturday, March 4. Open houses will be held at the ODNR Division of Wildlife District One, District Two, District Three and District Four offices, as well as 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 ODNR Division of Wildlife officials. For Ohioans who are unable to attend an open house, comments will be accepted online at wildohio.gov beginning on Thursday, Feb. 9. Directions to the open houses can be found at wildohio.gov or by calling 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).
A statewide hearing on all of the proposed rules will be held at the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s District One office on Thursday, March 16, at 9 a.m. The office is located at 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus, 43215.
Council meetings are open to the public. Individuals who want to provide comments on a topic that is currently being considered by council are asked to register at least two days before the meeting by calling 614-265-6304. All comments are required to be three minutes or less.
• Hunters checked 15,843 white-tailed deer during Ohio’s muzzleloader season, Jan. 7-10, according to the ODNR. During last year’s muzzleloader season, 12,503 white-tailed deer were checked. Locally, all the area counties were slightly up from last year’s harvest as well.
Hunters still have opportunities to pursue deer this winter, as archery season remains open through Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife remains committed to properly managing Ohio’s deer populations. The goal of Ohio’s Deer Management Program is to provide a deer population that maximizes recreational opportunities, while minimizing conflicts with landowners and motorists.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.