3/4/14 (Columbus) - Over half million Ohio hunters may be impacted by recently proposed changes to ODNR regulations, including increased permit fees, county-by-county bag limits, and relaxed rifle restrictions. The Division of Wildlife met in hopes of receiving public feedback at seven open houses hosted at Division of Wildlife district offices across the state on March 1.
Added cost may be a factor for some hunters during the 2014-15 season if new rules take effect, particularly a planned increase to permit cost. Under the proposed regulations, a $15 antlerless permit (or doe tag) will not be available in 27 Ohio counties, including popular deer-rich hunting grounds in southeast Ohio. During the 2014-2015 season, hunters seeking an additional doe in these counties will need to purchase a $24 either-sex permit. Other counties will allow one discounted doe tag per hunter.
ODNR has also proposed the continuation of the county-by-county bag regulation that began in 2013. Under the proposal, hunters will see a reduction in bag limits in 44 counties, an increase in five counties, and no change to 2013 limits in 39 counties. Another change, designed to encourage participation and retention, is the permitted use of pistol cartridge rifles for the first time.
When asked about the impact and reason for the proposed changes by D'Arcy Egan of The Plain Dealer, ODNR Division of Wildlife Chief Scott Zody noted that “these are not monetary decisions we’re making, but deer management decisions.” Last year, Ohio saw a 13-percent slump in the overall deer harvest. The new rules and regulations are intended to gradually improve the deer harvest, which will result in increased spending on lodging, transportation, and food.
If you would like to forward your thoughts or concerns, please forward comments to Melinda Huntley at firstname.lastname@example.org.