With an 8.4 percent drop in the state’s all-deer-hunting-seasons kill, the Ohio Division of Wildlife has taken a rare step.
The agency’s 2011-2012 deer hunting proposals are so close to those encountered they are virtually identical. This lack of proposed changes likely happens less frequently than there being five Sundays in February.
Only if you hunt in far-away Fayette County is any change being proposed. This county will slide over from Deer Zone B to the even more restrictive Deer Zone A.
Other than that, if you could understand the labyrinth of last year’s convoluted deer-hunting instructions you’ll master this year’s laws and rules as well.
Rare is it when the Wildlife Division does not bring at least one major - often, controversial - rule change proposal to the table. So says the agency’s wildlife management administrator Dave Scott.
“The biggest change, of course, is how deer will be checked in under the new system,” Scott said of the state’s new $16 million license-issuing and game check-in program.
With such an expected massive undertaking the Wildlife Division did not want to add any other potentially distracting changes, Scott said.
“I suppose that next year there may be more changes in where counties are located in which deer zone,” Scott said.
Yet even veteran deer hunters get confused over the layer upon layer of deer hunting rules, regulations, requirements and stipulations.
Complicating matters are that the state’s Urban Deer Zones are themselves located within specific general deer zones. This can lead to confusion as to which permit is acceptable and when as well as where along with whether an antlered deer can be shot or if an antlerless-only tag is acceptable after a certain date.
Not on the agenda this time around during discussions is whether certain straight-walled cartridges will become acceptable tools if used in rifles or if the current ban on all centerfire rifle continues.
Likewise still off the table is any decision on whether to open up the various gun seasons to include hunting until 30 minutes after sunset. Now, hunting during the gun seasons must stop at sunset, except if you’re archery hunting in which case you can stay afield 30 minutes longer.
See what I mean about being complicated?
In any event here are the proposed dates for the state’s 2011-2012 deer hunting seasons:
n Archery season - Sept. 24 to Feb. 5, 2012.
n Special muzzle-loading season for three designated areas - Oct. 17 to 22.
n Youth-only firearms deer-hunting season - Nov. 19 and 20.
n General firearms deer hunting season - Nov. 28 to Dec. 4.
n Bonus firearms deer-hunting season - Dec. 17 and 18.
n Statewide muzzle-loading deer-hunting season - Jan. 7 to 10, 2012.
Open houses on the proposals as well as accepting comments on future possible changes are slated for each of the state’s five wildlife administrative districts between noon and 3 p.m., March 5.
The closest one is at the headquarters for Wildlife District Three (Northeast Ohio), 912 Portage Lakes Drive, Akron.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn