Reduced bag limits of white-tailed deer and a new two-day “bonus” gun season will rule the roost in Ohio for the up-coming 2015-2016 hunting season period.
And once available everywhere, antlerless-only deer permits now will be acceptable in only 10 Ohio counties.
No county will see an increase in the number of deer which can be killed, either, with reductions occurring in many of Ohio’s 88 counties.
As for the new two-day, bonus firearms deer-hunting season that perk will occur December 28 and 29, a Monday and a Tuesday rather than as originally announced for the two days after Christmas, or a Saturday and a Sunday.
Also, the state has reduced to six from nine, the total number of deer a properly licensed hunter can kill. Of course, such a rule revision is of virtually no deer management use since only a very, very few hunters even come close to achieving such success.
And for those hunters who have embraced the acceptance of certain straight-walled rifle cartridges the Ohio Division of Wildlife has given them another excuse to buy another rifle. That is because the agency’s eight-member Ohio Wildlife Council at its April 8th meeting accepted adding the .450 Marlin to the long list of already approved straight-walled cartridges.
Oh, and hunters who have long enjoyed the state’s stand-alone muzzle-loading deer-hunting season will see that hunting period shift on the calendar once again.
For the 2015-2016 deer hunting season the muzzle-loading portion will run January 9th to 12th, or a Saturday through a Tuesday.
Gone entirely via “suspension” is the previous October weekend muzzle-loading-only/antlerless-only deer-hunting season.
Nor in its place will slip the youth-only firearms deer-hunting season, which will continue to reside in late November, the 21st and 22nd to be exact.
Instead, Ohio’s fall wild turkey-hunting season will begin October 10th rather the originally announced date of October 12th.
Here are the rest of Ohio’s officially adopted 2015-2016 deer hunting regulations and as announced by the Ohio Division of Wildlife:
Deer regulations have been trending toward reduced bag limits and restricted use of antlerless permits in recent years. The reduced bag limits and adjusted hunting seasons work to stabilize deer populations.
Deer population goals will be revised this summer through a random survey of hunters and landowners. Participants in the survey will have the opportunity to provide input about the future of deer management in Ohio.
Overview of the deer seasons for 2015-2016:
· Deer archery: Sept. 26, 2015-Feb. 7, 2016
· Youth deer gun: Nov. 21-22, 2015
· Deer gun: Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2015; Dec. 28-29, 2015
· Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 9-12, 2016
Approved county bag limits:
No more than two either-sex deer permits: Athens, Auglaize, Belmont, Butler, Carroll, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Coshocton, Darke, Erie, Fairfield, Fayette, Gallia, Geauga, Greene, Guernsey, Hancock, Harrison, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Madison, Meigs, Mercer, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Ottawa, Perry, Pickaway, Preble, Sandusky, Shelby, Tuscarawas, Van Wert, Vinton, Warren, Washington and Wood. Antlerless permits are not valid in these counties.
No more than three either-sex deer permits: Adams, Allen, Ashland, Ashtabula, Brown, Clermont, Columbiana, Crawford, Defiance, Fulton, Hardin, Henry, Highland, Holmes, Huron, Knox, Licking, Logan, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Paulding, Pike, Putnam, Richland, Ross, Scioto, Seneca, Trumbull, Union, Wayne, Williams and Wyandot. Antlerless permits are not valid in these counties.
No more than three either-sex permits, or two either-sex permits and one antlerless permit: Lake, Lorain, Portage and Stark.
No more than four either-sex permits, or three either-sex permits and one antlerless permit: Cuyahoga, Delaware, Franklin, Hamilton, Lucas and Summit.
The statewide bag limit of six deer was approved, a reduction from the limit of nine deer last season. Only one deer may be antlered, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit. Antlerless permits may be used from Sept. 26 through Nov. 29, 2015.
Small game hunting seasons will continue during the second gun weekend, Dec. 28-29, 2015. Also on Wednesday, the ringed-neck pheasant and chukar hunting seasons were extended one week to Jan. 10, 2016.
The Ohio Wildlife Council voted to approve the proposals after receiving public input from Ohioans at open houses and a statewide hearing in March. Open houses gave the public an opportunity to view and discuss proposed fishing, hunting and trapping regulations with the ODNR Division of Wildlife officials. For Ohioans who were unable to attend an open house, comments were accepted online at wildohio.gov.
The Ohio Wildlife Council also approved changes to Ohio’s list of threatened species. The peregrine falcon, previously threatened, was removed from the list. The population of peregrine falcons in Ohio, and throughout the eastern United States, has made a significant recovery through conservation efforts. The ODNR Division of Wildlife will continue to monitor peregrine populations, but on a smaller scale. This will allow biologists to focus on recovery efforts for other species which need additional attention. The Rufa red knot, previously unlisted, was added to Ohio’s list of threatened species.
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 2015-2016 hunting and trapping season dates can be found at bit.ly/1516Ohiohuntingseason.
The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all of the ODNR Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. 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.
By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.