Saturday, March 2, 2013

Today's ODW game law open house pits agency against archerers

While the Ohio Division of Wildlife appears bound to establish an early antlerless-only, muzzleloading-only deer-hunting season, at least some archery hunters are determined that it not be so.

Thus is what jumped out during today’s open house forum regarding various proposals to Ohio’s hunting and fishing laws. The open house was conducted at the Wildlife Division’s Fairport Harbor Fisheries Research Station.

The open house did include a couple of obscure commercial fishing law proposed changes along with recommendations for other game species hunting seasons.

None of these proposals, however, drew so much as a yawn. That is, not when stacked up against the Wildlife Division’s near virtual overhaul of the state’s deer-hunting regulations.

Ground Zero for this set of proposals, too, is the one dealing with the establishment of an antlerless-only, muzzleloading-only season for Oct. 12 and 13. Even archery hunters would have to take a “bye” on any antlered deer.

The idea of being required to shoot only does coupled with the concern the ka-boom of muzzleloaders going off in the typically tranquil October woods ruffled the feathers of forum attendees such as Mike Betts of Geneva.

“It’d be okay for the kids, women and maybe seniors but I didn’t know until I got here that we bow hunters couldn’t shoot a buck,” Betts said.

No less opposed to the proposed change was Mike McGlynn of Wickliffe, even with the proposed elimination of the current two-day mid-December firearms deer-hunting season.

“I archery hunt in October and I don’t know of any bow hunter who would trade a quiet weekend in the woods then for a quiet entire December,” McGlynn said. “Our (five-person) group has already agreed not to participate if the October muzzleloading season is approved.”

Yet the Wildlife Division is heavily leaning toward the adoption of what Betts and McGlynn so strongly want to see rejected.

“We know that a lot of hard-core archery guys have concerns; that it would disrupt deer movement patterns but we have studies that show that an early season doesn’t do that,” said Jason Keller, the state wildlife officer assigned to Lake County.

“I believe that if we go with it we’ll have a pretty successful season.”

That’s true, says Tom Rowan, the Wildlife Division’s assistant chief and also a former state wildlife officer assigned to Lake County.

“I believe there’s been more support for the (proposed) early muzzleloading season than those against it,” Rowan said.

Far less controversial and far more acceptable is the agency’s suggestion to allow gun deer hunters to continue being afield until one-half hour after sunset rather than ending at sunset as is now the case.
“I’d say a lot of guys are doing that anyway,” McGlynn said. “Now they’d at least be legal.”

Of interest to the Wildlife Division is an additional study of its proposal to restrict the use of the less-expensive antlerless-only deer tags. Being proposed is to void the use of these documents the day before the start of the general firearms deer-hunting season.

The reason the Wildlife Division is having limited second thoughts is because of cities like Mentor.

Mentor’s highly successful - but equally highly restrictive - archery-only law saw participants make heavy use of the antlerless-only deer permits clear through to the end of this past archery season.

“We’re looking into the extended use of these permits in high-density, archery-only communities like Mentor and some others in the state,” Rowan said.

Untouched in the way of discussion - at least at today’s open house at the fisheries research station - were the proposals to do away with the special early muzzleloading hunts at three designated areas. This elimination would come about should the two-day October season be approved.

Additionally, the Wildlife Division solicited a short questionnaire on the subject of whether to allow future gun deer hunters to use certain straight-walled cartridges in rifles.

A hanging point to this idea, however, is the believed $50,000 cost of conducting a scientific comprehensive survey of all types of hunters, farmers and others on such an allowance.

As it now stands, the most vocal supporters belong to one particular statewide group of firearms enthusiasts.

“We’re open to looking at it but we have to take everyone into account and not just one small group of very interested people,” Rowan said. Pretty much ignored were the two proposals impacting commercial fishing.

The first of these would allow commercial fishermen to catch as a by-product any grass carp. Such a lifting would help enable Wildlife Division fisheries biologists document the abundance and distribution of the species, says Kevin Kayle, the fisheries research station’s manager.

said such captures would aid in determining whether any of the grass carp are of viable breeding stock or are the required sterile “triploid” variety. Ohio law stipulates people are permitted to release only triploid grass carp into their farm ponds and small lakes.

On the proposal docket also was what has to be the last remaining Sunday Blue Law left in the state.

Under current Ohio law, licensed commercial seine fishermen operating in Sandusky Bay are prohibited from engaging in the business on Sunday. This, in spite of the fact that no such prohibition exists for licensed seine commercial fishermen from earning a living on Sunday.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

1 comment:

  1. Give me a brake, what idiot came up with not taking a buck for two days in October with archery equipment because they want a early two day antlerless season for muzzleloaders. Pennsylvania has a early attlerless gun season for youths and seniors but still allows all hunters to hunt bucks with archery equipment.