Wednesday, May 8, 2013

BREAKING NEWS update: Wildlife Division's maybe/maybe not proposed new deer regs

Latest update at 5 p.m., Wednesday, May 8:

In a major mid-course correction to the state's deer-hunting regulations the Ohio Division of Wildlife is now proposing additional hunting opportunities.

Or not, as a media teleconference with the agency's chief to discuss the issue was put on hold five minutes before the voice-only program was to have begun.

The abrupt postponement was launched, a Wildlife Division official said, because agency Chief Scott Zody was called away to a meeting. That meeting appears to have either lasted all afternoon or else resulted in a reevaluation of the proposals themselves.

Thus the sudden stop to the teleconference is raising as many questions as did the issue of the agency's last-minute request to expand deer-hunting opportunities.

These proposals include offering two additional days of gun hunting immediately prior to the state's four-day muzzle-loading-only season, set for Jan. 5 through 7.

Consequently, if the proposals are ever actually brought forth and then approved gun hunters will have the opportunity to take to the field Jan. 3 and 4.

Approval must come from the eight-member Ohio Wildlife Council, which is set to meet later this month. This body already has accepted the agency's a series of deer-hunting regulations that add a two-day antlerless-only, muzzle-loading-only season in October.

Another facet approved by the entire Council was the elimination of the state's two-day mid-December firearms deer-hunting season.

As for the suddenness of presenting the gun season addition, Zody said in a late Wednesday morning email directed to the state's outdoors writers how the agency is “..under a very tight time-line to refile the rule in order to keep the process moving and make the May 20 JCARR agenda so we can file (the final) rule(s), get the regulations to print, and make the necessary changes to the licensing system so we can make the proper permits, etc. available for our customers.”

JCARR is a joint Ohio House and Senate group that approves any administration rules brought about by approved legislative action.

Along with the proposal to run a two-day gun hunt back-to-back with the four-day muzzle-loading hunt, the agency is requesting that licensed hunters in Hocking, Perry, Ross counties be allowed to kill up to four deer, up from the three deer previously approved.

A tele-conference was scheduled with the state's outdoors writers on this subject at 1:30 p.m. but at 1:25 p.m. Wildlife Division spokeswoman, Vicki Ervin, emailed the outdoor writers, saying "Due to unforeseen circumstances, we will need to postpone the call.

"We will let you know as soon as possible when we can reschedule."

A return reply was immediately forwarded, requesting additional details about the postponement.

Ervin responded quickly with: "Hopefully today. The chief was called into a meeting. As soon as I know anything, I will let you know."

However, later this afternoon Wildlife Division spokeswoman Susie Vance sent an email to the state's outdoors communicators, noting:  "Unfortunately, we unable to (re)schedule the call (for) today. As soon as it is rescheduled, I will send out an email notification."

Additional information will be posted on this blog when becomes available.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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