Proposed changes to Ohio’s deer season announced

The Ohio Wildlife Council has received the 2014-15 hunting proposals for deer season dates, bag limit changes and the possibility of allowing some straight-walled cartridges for deer hunting.
Division of Wildlife biologists propose that 2014-15 deer season dates remain consistent with previous years, with one exception. To provide increased opportunity, it’s suggested that muzzleloader season begin on Friday, Jan. 2, 2015, and end on Monday, Jan. 5.
A proposal to continue the October antlerless muzzleloader weekend for a second season was also introduced.
Proposed seasons for 2014-15:
• Deer archery: Sept. 27 to Feb. 1, 2015.
• Antlerless deer muzzleloader: Oct. 11-12.
• Youth deer gun: Nov. 22-23.
• Deer gun: Dec. 1-7.
• Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 2-5.
Bag limit proposals reflect the reduction in the deer population in many counties as numbers continue to move closer to target levels. The proposal called for a reduction in 44 counties and an increase in five counties, while bag limits in 39 counties would remain the same.
It’s also proposed that antlerless tags be eliminated in some counties as deer populations approach their target. Antlerless tags were introduced as a way to reduce Ohio’s deer herd, and have been successful, thereby eliminating their need in certain counties.
Proposed county deer limits for northwest Ohio are:
• Two (no more than one antlerless permit): Hancock County.
• Three (no more than one antlerless permit): Crawford, Erie, Hardin, Henry, Huron, Marion, Ottawa, Paulding, Putnam, Sandusky, Seneca, Shelby, Wood and Wyandot counties.
• Three (antlerless permits are not valid): Defiance, Fulton, Richland, Van Wert and Williams counties.
• Four (no more than one antlerless permit): Lucas County.
The proposed rifles use the same straight-walled cartridges that are currently legal to use in handguns. Their abilities closely mirror the ballistics of inline muzzleloading rifles and sabot shotgun ammunition currently used to collect Ohio venison.
The permissible cartridges would be: .357 Magnum, .357 Maximum, .38 Special, .375 Super Magnum, .375 Winchester, .38-55, .41 Long Colt, .41 Magnum, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, .444 Marlin, .45 ACP, .45 Colt, .45 Long Colt, .45 Winchester Magnum, .45 Smith & Wesson, .454 Casull, .460 Smith & Wesson, .45-70, .45-90, .45-110, .475 Linebaugh, .50-70, .50-90, .50-100, .50-110 and .500 Smith & Wesson.
Open houses will be held to receive comments about hunting, trapping and fishing regulations and wildlife issues on Saturday, March 1. Locally, the meeting will be held at the Wildlife District 2 Headquarters, 952 Lima Ave., Findlay. Comments may also be left online at www.wildohio.com.
Along the Way:
Deer-archery season ended Feb. 2, bringing deer hunts to a close. Hunters tagged 191,459 deer during the 2013-14 season.
While hunters harvested 218,910 deer during the 2012-13 hunting season, this expected decline followed several years of liberal bag limits and deer regulations which helped bring the deer population closer to target levels.
Until recently, deer numbers in nearly all of Ohio’s counties were above target numbers. Once a county’s deer population is near goal, regulations are adjusted to maintain the population near that goal.
The top three reporting counties were: Coshocton 6,270, Tuscarawas 5,774, and Licking 5,711. Coshocton County was also the top reporting county during 2012-13 (7,413).
Local numbers were: Hancock: 908 (1,338); Hardin: 1,207 (1,306); Henry: 642 (750); Ottawa: 402 (379); Putnam: 687 (786); Seneca: 1,641 (1,923); Wood: 729 (863); and Wyandot: 1,410 (1,670).
Ohio’s first modern day deer-gun season opened in 1943 in three counties, and hunters bagged 168 deer.
Step Outside:
• Join the Arbor Day Foundation by Feb. 28 and receive 10 free Colorado blue spruce trees. Members receive a subscription to the foundation’s bimonthly publication and “The Tree Book,” which contains information about planting and care. Send a $10 contribution to TEN FREE COLORADO BLUE SPRUCE TREES, Arbor Day Foundation, 100 Arbor Ave., Nebraska City, NE 68410 or visit arborday.org/february.
• March 1: Tri-County NRA Dinner and Auction, Hancock County Humane Society. Contact: 419-701-7515.
Abrams is a retired wildlife officer supervisor for the state Division of Wildlife in Findlay. He can be reached at P.O. Box 413, Mount Blanchard, OH 45867-0413 or via email at jimsfieldnotes@aol.com.

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