COLUMBUS, OH – A reduction in white-tailed deer bag limits and antlerless permit use during the 2015-2016 hunting seasons were among regulations approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council at its scheduled meeting on Wednesday, April 8, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The council also voted to remove the peregrine falcon from Ohio’s list of threatened species.
The Ohio Wildlife Council voted to approve deer hunting proposals prepared by ODNR Division of Wildlife. Among the approved changes:
Reduce bag limits in most counties, and remove antlerless permits in all but 10 counties. No county had a bag limit increase.
Reduce the statewide bag limit of deer from nine to six.
Suspend the antlerless-only muzzleloader weekend.
Offer two additional days of deer-gun hunting, Dec. 28-29, 2015.
Move muzzleloader season to Jan. 9-12, 2016.
Move the start of fall turkey hunting to Oct 10, two days earlier than 2014.
Add one straight-walled cartridge rifle, the .450 Marlin, to the existing list of legal hunting rifles during the deer-gun and youth deer-gun seasons.
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.
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 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.