Thursday, April 24, 2014

Army Corps scuttles plans to dump 180,000 cubic yards of contaminated dredge into Lake Erie

In a move that already has environmentalists happy the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has backed away from plans to dump contaminated material dredged from the lower Cuyahoga River and into the open waters of Lake Erie.


Led in large part by the Ohio Environmental Council - a non-governmental organization that serves as an environmental pit-bull guard dog - the plan met a huge profile of strong resistance. This effort was directed at both the Corps and dump supporters.


Up to 180,000 cubic yards of dredged spoils was to have found its way onto the clay bottom of Lake Erie had the plan gone forward.


The Environmental Council says the scraped plans was a "win-win" situation, both for Northeast Ohio's economy as well as the health of Lake Erie.


Likewise, notes the Environmental Council, the Corps was further slammed last week when the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency squashed the required permit the federal government needed to proceed with the dredging and the dumping.


"We thank the Army Corps along with the Ohio EPA in making the correct and really, the only, decision that will help protect Lake Erie," said the Environmental Council's staff attorney, Nathan Johnson.


The river's shipping channel will remain open even as Lake Erie's fishes and the public's source of drinking water are protected, Johnson also said.


"What this does is show that commerce, recreation and a healthy environment can co-exist," Johnson said. "This is a good result, and the Kasich Administration forged it all when it insisted that it would not allow toxic-laced wastes to be dumped into the open waters of our great lake."


As a result of the pull-back on dumping dredge spoil into Lake Erie the material will now go to an approved landfill, a suggestion first put forth by the Ohio EPA, said Johnson.


- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net



 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Ohio's youth-only season and general season turkey opener harvests plunge


A good reason exists for why Ohio’s recently concluded youth-only wild turkey-hunting season harvest was plucked by 17 percent.

Much less accountable is why Monday’s (April 21) general wild turkey-hunting season opener kill dropped from the roost by 11 percent.

In the first case the youth-only season ran this past Saturday and Sunday (April 19 and 20) with the latter also being Easter Sunday. Church services, family gatherings and Easter egg hunts almost certainly kept both youngsters and their adult mentors out of the woods.

No such excuse existed for Monday, however. Blessed with perfect weather and a generally assumed large flock of sexually active two-year old male turkeys – called either “toms” or “gobblers,” hunters should have experienced a corresponding opening day harvest blitz.

Instead, the season’s first day numbers were truly disappointing, if not downright discouraging.

On Monday, 2,455 male wild turkeys were killed statewide compared to the 2,762 toms harvested on the 2013 season opener, based on figures supplied by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

And for the youth-only two-day season the statistics were 1,480 and 1,784, respectively, for the 2014 and 2013 hunts.

In both cases there were far more Ohio counties tallied in the “oops” column than in the “hurrah” column.

For this year’s general season opener, of Ohio’s 88 counties only 10 showed harvest increases while 8 reported no change from the 2013 opener to this year’s opener.

In looking at the youth-only season, 11 of Ohio’s 88 counties registered gains while 15 recorded no change between the 2013 youth-only season and this year’s hunt, the Wildlife Division’s check-in system reveals.

Some of the noteworthy counties with (mostly) declines or (just a couple) gains for the general wild turkey-hunting season opener (with their respective 2013 opening day figures in parentheses) were: Ashtabula County – 75 (114), Brown County – 64 (58), Columbiana County – 73 (62), Coshocton County – 71 (89), Guernsey County - 69 (87), Harrison County – 82 (76), Jefferson County – 58 (60), Licking County – 60 (also 60), Meigs County – 66 (60), Monroe County – 64 (76), Muskingum County – 68 (97), Trumbull County – 74 (70), Tuscarawas County – 68 (85).

Several other counties showing the largest drops and not noted above (with both double digit 2013 and 2014 opening day harvests a requirement) were: Clermont County – 39 (60), Jackson County – 40 (59), Perry County – 38 (47), Pike County – 32 (44).

Locally, Lake County’s 2014 opening day figure was 11 and its 2013 opening day figure was 8.

Meanwhile, the same figures for Geauga County were 50 and 52, respectively. In Cuyahoga County the same statistics were zero and 1, also respectively.

At the other end, several additional counties showing the biggest gains and not noted above (with both double digit 2013 and 2014 opening day harvests a requirement) were: Defiance County – 27 (20), Hocking County – 52 (40), Lorain County – 23 (19), Mahoning County – 34 (24), Richland County – 36 (47), Ross County – 32 (49), and Vinton County ­- 35 (39).

Note that Vinton County was the site of Ohio’s first modern-day efforts to reintroduce wild turkeys into Ohio, a project launched in the 1950s with the county also the first location where the state conducted a very tightly controlled turkey hunt that included a lottery drawing just in order to obtain a permit.

Today, properly licensed hunters – both residents and non-residents – in Ohio can tag up to two male wild turkeys during the season, which will run through May 18. The daily bag limit is one bearded bird, though; almost always and with only rare exceptions the individual being a male wild turkey.

Hunting hours now through May 4 are one-half hour before sunrise until noon. From May 5 to May 18 the hunting hours will be one-half hour before sunrise until sunset.

Any bird taken must be checked-in using the Wildlife Division’s Internet- and telephone-based system by 11:30 p.m. on the day of kill.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Lake Metroparks' two bobcats all grown up and ready for the wild


The two bobcat kittens under the care of Lake Metroparks’ animal rehabilitators for the past year will soon gain their independence.

Wildlife biologists with the Ohio Division of Wildlife have given the go-ahead to return the two bobcats to the wild. Likely the release will be near the edge of Noble County and one of its adjacent neighboring counties.

Though no specific release date has yet to be set, the timing likely will occur no sooner than the middle of May. This is just fine with Lake Metroparks, the agency hand-picked by the Wildlife Division to raise the two bobcat kittens to maturity.

These specialists knew from the first days when the bobcats arrived not much larger than furry puff balls with sharp claws and equally sinister teeth their care was just a temporary – though exciting – study in wildlife rehabilitation. Especially for a species that’s listed as threatened in Ohio.

“The Wildlife Division asked if we’d be interested in raising the kittens, each of which had genuinely been orphaned,” said Tammy O’Neil, the manager of Lake Metroparks’ Kevin P. Clinton Wildlife Center in Kirtland, Ohio. “Believe me; we didn’t need any arm-twisting for us to say ‘yes.”

A backdrop pointed to the kittens arriving separately from two different southeast Ohio counties last May. Though one of the kitten was slightly older than the other both were in need of medical attention and each successfully integrated with the other, O’Neil said.

“One is very inquisitive and brave while the other is more reserved,” O’Neil said.

Even so, O’Neil said, raising the bobcats was an interesting challenge but hardly an undertaking the wildlife center’s staff was unable to successfully navigate. This adaptability was particularly true when the labor-intensive effort of near round-the-clock care and hand-feeding no longer was required.

“Once we put them in the enclosure their instincts kicked in,” O’Neil said.

At that point human interaction with the bobcats was all but eliminated. The public never was allowed to visit the bobcats in their 30-foot-by-28-foot-by-16-foot-high isolated and specially constructed open-air enclosure.

And the agency even hauled in any number of deer carcasses which were donated by hunters and others, O’Neil said.

Even feeding was taken into consideration when approaching the task of minimizing human contact. A large PVC-plastic tube was used to supply live rodents, which slid down into the enclosure with its eagerly awaiting bobcats.

“Every time we care for a wild animal we learn something but having the bobcats gave us an entirely new protocol to work up and deal with,” O’Neil said. “The entire process was an invaluable educational experience for us and we are grateful for all the help we received from other states, other experienced wildlife rehabilitators but especially the Division of Wildlife.”

Yet all good things have a closure and that end incudes raising the two no-longer bobcat kittens. They are very nearly now fully grown and have reached the point in their lives when their respective mothers would have shown them the door, O’Neil said.

O’Neil said that once a release site is selected and the bobcats given their one-way ticket and ride the felines probably will hang out together at first. Maybe even see that their final home turfs overlap a bit, O’Neil says.

And the Wildlife Division will even have some ability to keep tabs on the wild cats. Each animal will wear a radio-transmitting collar.

“I really don’t believe they’ll have any problems,” O’Neil said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Lake Erie fishes expected to cooperate this summer though no word on the weather

With spring's winds beginning to blow more favorable many anglers' are warming up thoughts about trolling for Lake Erie walleye or dropping a spreader for Lake Erie yellow perch.


In each case the fishing should be fine, weather determining, of course.


Here is the official version of what Lake Erie anglers can expect to encounter this year on the Big Water. Again and of course, weather determining.


Lake Erie Sport Fishing Outlook Should Please Anglers

Walleye, yellow perch bag limits announced

COLUMBUS, OH – Lake Erie anglers can expect to enjoy another year of diverse fishing opportunities in 2014, according to Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) biologists.

“While fishing success always varies among species and seasons, we expect that anglers will find success on the waters of Lake Erie this year,” said Jeff Tyson, Lake Erie fisheries program manager for the ODNR Division of Wildlife. “The lake’s population of walleye, yellow perch, black bass, white bass and steelhead remains stable, with a very broad distribution of sizes for each species.”

Lake Erie walleye and yellow perch fisheries are managed through an interagency quota system that involves Ontario, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New York and Ohio. Each jurisdiction regulates their catches to comply with quotas and to minimize the risk of over-fishing these species.


Quotas for the upcoming fishing season are determined through a consensus agreement by these jurisdictions through the Lake Erie Committee of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, which were recently announced for 2014.

Currently, the daily walleye bag limit is four and the daily yellow perch bag limit is 30 per angler in Ohio waters of Lake Erie until April 30. As a result of the 2014 quota allocation, the daily bag limit will be six walleye from May 1 through Feb. 28, 2015. From March 1, 2015, through April 30, 2015, the daily walleye bag limit will be four.


A 15-inch minimum size limit is in effect during the entire season for walleye. The daily yellow perch bag limit is 30 from May 1 through April 30, 2015, with no minimum size limit. Lake Erie anglers can find walleye and yellow perch bag limit information at ODNR offices, in special publications at bait and tackle shops and online at wildohio.com.


Walleye

Ohio walleye anglers in 2014 will catch fish from the 2010, 2009, 2007 and 2003 hatches, with some fish from the 2011, 2008 and 2012 year classes. Walleye from the 2012 hatch will be present in the fishery with most individuals near or over the 15-inch minimum size limit fairly early in the 2014 fishing season. Walleye from the moderate 2010 hatch will range from 18 to 23 inches, while walleye from the 2007 hatch will be more than 20 inches.


The 2003 and 2007 hatches are likely to carry most of the Central Basin fisheries. These walleye will contribute to the population that has a good number of fish over the 26-inch range. Large walleye from the strong hatch in 2003 will continue to provide “Fish Ohio” opportunities (greater than 28 inches), with this year class nearing the size that may give Ohio a new state record walleye.


Yellow Perch

Expect good perch fishing in 2014, with the largest fish in the eastern areas of the Central Basin. Perch anglers should encounter fish ranging from 7 to 13 inches from the 2012 through 2007 hatches in this year’s fishery, with major contributions from the 2010, 2008 and 2007 year classes.


Fish from the average hatches in 2007 will contribute fish in the 10 inch and greater range. In 2013, yellow perch fisheries flourished in the eastern portions of Ohio’s Lake Erie, and ODNR biologists expect this trend to continue into 2014.


Black Bass

Smallmouth bass fishing in 2014 is expected to be fair but improving. Smallmouth bass catch rates in 2013 were slightly below those seen in 2012, but were still some of the highest observed since the mid-1990s. Smallmouth bass caught should be an excellent size (14 to 22 inches, weighing up to 6 pounds).


The best fishing for smallmouth bass will continue to occur in areas with good bottom structure, which is the available habitat across much of the entire Ohio nearshore and islands areas. Continuing the trend from previous years, largemouth bass fishing should be excellent in 2014. This emerging fishery is producing high catch rates and some large fish in nearshore areas and harbors across Ohio’s Lake Erie shoreline.


All black bass (smallmouth and largemouth) must be immediately released from May 1 through June 27 of this year. Beginning June 28, the daily bag limit for bass is five, with a 14-inch minimum length limit.


Steelhead

Steelhead anglers should enjoy another year of great fishing in 2014 on Ohio’s Lake Erie open waters and tributaries. Peak summer steelhead action on Lake Erie can be found offshore from June through August between Vermilion and Conneaut, with catches measuring 17 to 29 inches.


Most Lake Erie anglers troll for steelhead in deep waters using spoons with dipsy divers or downriggers until fish move close to shore in the fall. The daily bag limit remains five fish per angler from May 16 through Aug. 31, and two fish per angler between Sept. 1, 2014, and May 15, 2015. A 12-inch minimum size limit is in effect throughout the year.


White Bass

White bass continue to provide excellent seasonal fishing opportunities in the Maumee and Sandusky rivers and in the open lake. The 2014 catch will be dominated by fish from the 2012, 2011 and 2010 year classes.


Fish from 2006 could be as large as 16 inches. Anglers should focus on major Western Basin tributaries during May and June and nearshore areas of the open lake during the summer. There is no daily white bass bag or size limit.


Other Species

Bays, harbors and main lake shorelines offer excellent fishing for panfish, as well as the occasional northern pike and muskellunge in vegetated areas.


Anglers are reminded that fishing conditions on Lake Erie can change hourly, and adjustments are often necessary to improve success. Anglers should take into account factors such as water temperature, cloud cover, water clarity, boat traffic, wave action, structure, currents and the amount of baitfish in the area.


Anglers are also reminded to carefully monitor the Lake Erie weather and to seek safe harbor before storms approach.


Updated Lake Erie fishing reports are available at wildohio.com or by calling 888-HOOKFISH (888-466-5347). Information is available from ODNR Division of Wildlife staff from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays at the Fairport Harbor station (440-352-4199) for the Central Basin and at the Sandusky station (419-625-8062) for the Western Basin.


Information on the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s Lake Erie research and management programs, fisheries resources, fishing reports, maps and links to other Lake Erie web resources are available at wildohio.com.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov


- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Wintry weather slows Ohio fishing licenses - with two noteworthy exceptions


Pummeled by the unusually sustained cold weather, sales of Ohio fishing license have largely stalled.

Largely, though entirely, says the to-date statistics related to sales of the state’s various fishing and hunting licenses.

Provided by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Ohio Division of Wildlife the data reveals that the issuance of resident annual Ohio fishing is off 15 percent. In raw numbers this translates into 126,439 such documents being issued to-date this year compared to 148,785 resident adult licenses sold during the same period in 2013.

In all last year the Wildlife Division sold 653,798 resident adult annual fishing licenses. Such licenses represent the fiscal backbone of the Wildlife Division’s fisheries-related economic tally.

Down also are sales of non-resident adult annual fishing licenses, as well. The to-date figures for this important category are 6,805 so far for this year and 7,502 for the same period in 2013. Last year the Wildlife Division sold 32,914 non-resident adult annual fishing licenses.

However, two categories of fishing license sales are actually up; and the suspect for causing the increase is the weather, says Tom Rowan, a Wildlife Division’s assistant chief.

Increased sales are being noted in the categories of both one-day fishing licenses and three-day non-resident fishing licenses.

Data supplied by the Wildlife Division show that so far this year the agency has issued 1,673 three-day fishing permits compared to the 2013 same to-date tally of 25,360 three-day licenses for a 27-percent gain. In 2013 the agency sold 25,360 three-day fishing licenses.

Again was noted also for sales of one-day licenses to non-resident adults. The current 2014 to-date figure for this category stands at 2,254 one-day tags end compared to the 2013 to-date sale of 1,756 such documents. That increase totals 28.36 percent.

In 2013 the Wildlife Division sold 28,487 one-day non-resident fishing licenses.

“I believe what happened is that a lot of anglers saw and took the opportunity to go ice fishing in the Western Basin,” Rowan said. “Guides up there said the season was one of the best they saw in a long time. People took advantage of that good fishing and it’s reflected in the sales of three-day fishing licenses and one-day non-resident fishing licenses.”

Rowan said that overall fishing sales are off, though such shifts are hardly unusual. The same situation was seen early on 2012 when cold and wet weather struck early also, Rowan said.

“Sales boomed last year this time because we had a mild spring,” Rowan said. “We always see license sale increases when the weather is nice.”

Like the sale of Ohio fishing licenses their respective hunting brethren tags also have slid, though hardly enough to elicit a yawn by the Wildlife Division’s bean counters.

The to-date sale of 2014 general resident adult hunting license figure is off less than 8 percent while sales of spring turkey tags is down slight at 5.5 percent.

Neither drop is even worthy of the smallest of worries, including those for spring turkey permits, says Rowan.

“It’s just like what we see for the deer season; a lot of turkey hunters wait until just before the season starts,” Rowan said.

And that season begins Monday, April 21 with this Easter weekend dedicated to youth only.

Perhaps another area where the on-going wintry weather has impacted sales involves the one-day and seasonal shooting range permits. The first category is down 23.48 percent while the second category is down 12.45 percent.

The Wildlife Division operates five Class “A” supervised rifle and pistol shooting ranges around the state that each require a participant to first purchase either an one-day or else a seasonal permit.

“You can never predict what’s going to happen with license and permit sales because of factors like the weather,” Rowan also said. “But our sales have been steadier than those seen in other states. We take these ups and downs into account when we work up our budget.”
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Pennsylvania knows how to raise trout and the ire of anglers


SANDY LAKE, PA – The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission’s failure to warn the public it couldn’t stock trout along a long stretch of Sandy Creek proved a costly mistake for anglers.

After all it was the several dozen or so anglers up and down Sandy Creek who had bought fishing licenses (adult resident, senior citizen resident and adult nonresident) in the belief they were going to return home with fresh-caught trout.

The eagerness was understandable, too, since all of the fishers were participating in Pennsylvania’s annual trout opener, this latest seasonal launch happening Saturday, April 12.

Given that the Commission will ultimately stock its Commonwealth streams, lakes and ponds with 4.2 million brook, rainbow and brown trout for the year – and with many of these fish released in anticipation of the season opener – an expectation of luring a daily creel limit of five trout was reasonable.

Yet reason was crushed by the bumbling failure of the Commission to notify anyone that a lengthy portion of Sandy Creek upstream from the Utica Bridge to near Sandy Lake Village was not stocked.

None of the Sandy Creek anglers who spent the first 90 minutes fishing for the proverbial whale in a bucket disagreed with the Commission’s logic, of course.

Hammered hard by the 2014 Winter that Would Not Die, the Commission found itself against the calendar.

Consequently the agency’s trout-full stocking truck was stymied by too much snow lingering on the access road that parallels Sandy Creek. That was March 11; one month and one day before Pennsylvania’s trout season opener.

Instead, said the Commission’s waterways patrol officer who made his entry along this trout-starved section of Sandy Creek, he had the truck’s crew pour the vehicle’s fishy contents into the creek at the Utica Bridge. That dumping was worth 2,000 trout, the fish warden said.

Stunned, the angler standing next to me noted in a telling understatement, “no wonder we’re not catching fish.”

Well, not entirely, since just an hour shy into the season I caught one 14-inch rainbow, either a fish washed downstream from a genuine stocking point or else a trout that was curious Marco Polo and had made its way upstream from the Utica Bridge. It was the only fish taken by anyone within eyeshot of the Furnace Run dead- end angling terminal

No doubt, had the officer stuck around just a few minutes longer he’d have heard  language take on a decided deep blue color for all of the  salty “that dirty so-and-so” tints directed at him as well as the entire Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

“Why didn’t it get the word out; call the media, bait stores that Sandy Creek wasn’t stocked?” queried more than one angler as he (and she) began packing up to leave.

Other anglers opined upon their exit that at the very least the printing of signage saying something like: “Due to heavy snow cover on the access road the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission was unable to stock this portion of Sandy Creek. We regret any inconvenience.”

However, inconvenienced were the dues-paying tout anglers, though their regrets were not directed at the previous month’s uncharitable for stocking weather.

Instead, the anglers’ collective regret was in trusting the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission would have done the right thing. That being, of course, the Commission going not just the mile but the extra mile in a genuine effort to alert prospective Sandy Creek trout anglers to make alternative plans for opening day.

Problem is such a thought process requires a heartfelt belief that the customer comes first, last and always.

Given that government bureaucracy is a monopoly it makes sense in some twisted way that the Commission would dump 2,000 trout at one location. And followed by pretty much keeping the news to itself instead of directing the agency’s  sign shop to print informative posters that could be stapled to the oaks, sycamores, maples and other tree species that line Sandy Creek.

 - Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ohio approves 2014 hunting seasons, use of some straight-walled cartridges for deer

Ohio's deer hunters will now have the opportunity to use a limited number of centerfire rifle calibers even as they will confront tighter bag limits.


On Wednesday, April 9, the eight-member Ohio Wildlife Council approved allowing more than 20 specific so-called straight-walled calibers commonly used in centerfire rifles. They include such venerable calibers as the .45-70 Government.


For a number of years various pro-firearms and pro-hunting groups have lobbied in favor of allowing such calibers. But it was only after the introduction of in-line muzzle-loaders, new propellants for them along with superior sabot pistol-type bullets was the opposition to the straight-walled calibers largely silenced.


The reason for this is because in-line muzzle-loaders powered by new powders that crank up velocity and propel heavier payloads and with improved ignition systems are now in everyway equal to or better than many of the old-fashioned calibers chambered in various rifle configurations.


Of interest and concern now is whether the demand for single-shot and lever-action rifles chambered in the allowed calibers will exceed supply. Already some Northeast Ohio gun shops have experienced enhanced customer interest along with increased sales of such firearms and related ammunition.


Anyway, here is the official press release from the Ohio Division of Wildlife as it relates to the approval of the various 2014-2015 hunting seasons and regulations:


The Ohio Wildlife Council approved new white-tailed deer hunting regulations at its meeting on Wednesday, April 9, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).


Among new regulations are decreased deer bag limits in many counties, and hunters may use straight-walled cartridge rifles during the 2014 deer-gun week. The council also voted to remove bobcats from Ohio’s list of threatened species.

The Ohio Wildlife Council voted to approve deer hunting proposals prepared by ODNR Division of Wildlife biologists. The 2014-2015 deer hunting season dates will remain largely consistent with previous years.


One change in season dates included adjusting deer-muzzleloader season to begin on Friday, Jan. 2, 2015, and end on Monday, Jan. 5, compared to last year when the season began on a Saturday and concluded on a Tuesday. The October antlerless deer-muzzleloader weekend will be held for the second year.

Deer hunting seasons for 2014-2015:
  • Deer archery: Sept. 27, 2014 - Feb. 1, 2015.
  • Antlerless deer muzzleloader: Oct. 11-12, 2014.
  • Youth deer gun: Nov. 22-23, 2014.
  • Deer gun: Dec. 1-7, 2014.
  • Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 2-5, 2015.
The Ohio Wildlife Council also approved changes to Ohio’s list of endangered and threatened species. The bobcat, previously threatened, was removed from the list. Bobcats are still considered a protected species in Ohio with no hunting or trapping season.


The snowshoe hare was changed to a species of concern, Bewick’s wren was changed to extirpated and smooth greensnakes were changed to endangered.

Small-game hunting and furbearer trapping season dates were also passed on Wednesday.


Season dates and bag limits for migratory birds, including mourning dove, Canada goose, rail, moorhen, snipe, woodcock and waterfowl will be set in August in compliance with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s framework. The Ohio 2014-2015 hunting and trapping season dates can be found at bit.ly/1415Ohiohuntingseason.

Deer bag limits reflect the reduction in the deer population in many counties as numbers continue to move closer to target levels. Bag limits were reduced in 44 counties, increased in five counties and 39 counties stayed the same as last season.


Antlerless tags are eliminated in some counties as deer populations approach target levels. Antlerless tags were introduced as a way to reduce Ohio’s deer herd, and have been successful, thereby eliminating their need in certain counties.
County deer bag limits:
  • Two (no more than one antlerless permit): Auglaize, Darke, Fayette, Hancock, Madison and Mercer counties..
  • Three (antlerless permits are not valid): Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Defiance, Fairfield, Fulton, Gallia, Geauga, Greene, Guernsey, Hardin, Harrison, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Lawrence, Meigs, Miami, Monroe, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Richland, Van Wert, Washington and Williams counties.
  • Three (no more than one antlerless permit): Adams, Allen, Ashland, Ashtabula, Athens, Butler, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Columbiana, Crawford, Erie, Henry, Highland, Huron, Licking, Logan, Lorain, Marion, Medina, Morgan, Ottawa, Paulding, Pickaway, Pike, Preble, Putnam, Ross, Sandusky, Scioto, Seneca, Shelby, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Union, Vinton, Wayne, Wood and Wyandot counties.
  • Four (no more than one antlerless permit): Brown, Clermont, Cuyahoga, Delaware, Franklin, Hamilton, Lake, Lucas, Mahoning, Montgomery, Portage, Stark, Summit and Warren counties.
The council also approved straight-walled cartridge rifles for deer hunting. The rifles are the same caliber and use the same straight-walled cartridges that are currently legal for use in handguns.


The new regulation is designed to allow additional opportunities for hunters that own these guns or want to hunt with these guns. These rifles have reduced recoil compared to larger shotguns, and the rifles are more accurate than the same caliber handgun.


Legal deer hunting rifles are chambered for the following calibers: .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.


A new regulation states shotguns and straight-walled cartridge rifles used for deer hunting be loaded with no more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined. The current hunting regulation states a shotgun must be plugged if it is capable of holding more than three shells.


New next year, youth hunters can harvest up to two wild turkeys during the 2015 two-day youth season (one per day). Checking two wild turkeys would fill the youth hunter’s bag limit for the remaining 2015 spring wild turkey season. This change does not take effect until 2015. The bag limit remains one wild turkey for the two-day 2014 youth wild turkey hunting season.


The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all of the ODNR Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. Small-game hunting and trapping seasons were proposed at the Ohio Wildlife Council’s January meeting.


Deer proposals were presented in February and amended in March. Go to wildohio.com for more information about hunting in Ohio.


Open houses to receive public comments about hunting, trapping and fishing regulations and wildlife issues were held on March 1, and a statewide hearing on all of the proposed rules was held on March 13.


Open houses give the public an opportunity to view and discuss proposed fishing, hunting and trapping regulations with the ODNR Division of Wildlife officials.


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 preregister at least two days prior to the meeting by calling 614-265-6304. All comments are required to be three minutes or less.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.