ST. MARYS — A slew of changes have been proposed regarding deer hunting in Ohio.
During a meeting on Wednesday, the Ohio Wildlife Council proposed an October antlerless-only, white-tailed deer muzzleloader hunting season, extended hunting hours and new bag limits on a county-by-county basis. The changes, if approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council, would take effect for the 2013-14 hunting seasons.
The antlerless-only muzzleloader hunting season would be held Oct. 12 and 13. After that, it would be held the second weekend of October every year. The proposal also includes making the October muzzleloader season for antlerless deer only, regardless of the method of harvest, and it would eliminate both the bonus gun weekend in December and early muzzleloader season at three public hunting areas in Salt Fork Wildlife Area, Shawnee State Forest and Wildcat Hollow.
Hunting hours would be extended to 30 minutes past sunset for all deer firearms seasons, including the weeklong deer-gun season, youth season and muzzleloader seasons. The change would make the hours the same as archery season.
Under the proposal, deer zones would be eliminated and replaced with county bag limits. Bag limits would range from two to four deer, depending upon the county. The proposed statewide bag limit would be nine deer, down from last year’s limit of 18.
The proposed bag limits for Auglaize County would be two either-sex permits and one antlerless permit. Other counties falling within this limit are: Butler, Champaign, Clark, Gallia, Harrison, Henry, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Logan, Meigs, Mercer, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Preble, Ross, Shelby, Van Wert and Washington.
Darke, Erie, Fayette, Hancock, Madison, Ottawa, Sandusky and Wood counties would fall under one either-sex permit and one antlerless permit bag limits. Fifty-seven other counties would have three either-sex permits and one antlerless permit bag limits.
The proposed seasons would be:
• Deer archery from Sept. 28 to Feb. 2, 2014.
• Deer antlerless muzzleloader Oct. 12 and 13.
• Youth deer gun Nov. 16 and 17.
• Deer muzzleloader Jan 4-7, 2014.
The proposal also would move the date of when permits go on sale. Under the plan, deer and fall wild turkey permits would go on sale on June 1, instead of March 1.
Open houses are being planned across the state on March 2 for public comment on the proposals.
Comments also may be submitted online at WildOhio.com. After the public input period, the Ohio Wildlife Council will vote on the proposals during its April 17 meeting.