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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.