Some significant changes are afoot for whitetail deer hunters in Ohio in the fall with more – perhaps many more – the following season.
The wildlife staff at the Ohio Division of Wildlife has proposed changes to the Ohio Wildlife Council. Following a period of six or seven weeks of public input opportunities, the council will vote to set up the 2015-16 season.
The proposals include lowered bag limits, drastically reducing antlerless permits and changing some season dates.
Following are the proposals:
— No more than two either-sex deer permits in these counties: Athens, Auglaize, Belmont, Butler, Carroll, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Coshocton, Darke, Erie, Fairfield, Fayette, Gallia, Geauga, Greene, Guernsey, Hancock, Harrison, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Madison, Meigs, Mercer, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Ottawa, Perry, Pickaway, Preble, Sandusky, Shelby, Tuscarawas, Van Wert, Vinton, Warren, Washington and Wood. No antlerless permits valid in these counties.
— No more than three either-sex permits: Adams, Allen, Ashland, Ashtabula, Brown, Clermont, Columbiana, Crawford, Defiance, Fulton, Hardin, Henry, Highland, Holmes, Huron, Knox, Licking, Logan, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Paulding, Pike, Putnam, Richland, Ross, Scioto, Seneca, Trumbull, Union, Wayne, Williams and Wyandot. No antlerless permits valid in these counties.
— No more than three either-sex permits, or two either-sex permits and one antlerless permit: Lake, Lorain, Portage and Stark.
— No more than four either-sex permits, or three either-sex permits and one antlerless permit: Cuyahoga, Delaware, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas and Summit.
— The statewide bag limit was proposed to be six deer, a reduction from the statewide limit of nine last season. Only one deer may be antlered, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit. Antlerless permits may be used from Sept. 26 through Nov. 29.
Proposed deer seasons for 2015-2016:
Deer archery: Sept. 26, 2015-Feb. 7, 2016;
Youth deer gun: Oct. 10-11;
Deer gun: Nov. 30-Dec. 6 and Dec. 26-27;
Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 2-5, 2016.
Note the switch of the youth-gun season to the weekend used for early muzzleloader last year and the addition of the “Holiday Weekend” gun season extension.
Open houses will be held in each district for public input on March 7. In southwest Ohio (District 5) it will be at the Greene County Fish & Game Club from noon-3 p.m. You can also comment online. For more information, visit wildohio.gov or call (800) WILDLIFE.
Next year plans call for the state to be divided into up to 27 “deer management units” with different regulations in each one. Hunters and landowners will be surveyed this summer to help decide particulars.