Division of Wildlife Supplemental Information for 2015-16 proposed deer hunting seasons
Deer archery: Sept. 26, 2015-Feb. 7, 2016
Youth deer gun: Oct. 10-11, 2015
Deer gun: Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2015; Dec. 26-27, 2015
Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 2-5, 2016
Major changes include:
• Reduction in bag limits and antlerless permit use. No county has a proposed bag limit increase.
• Move youth-gun hunting to the Saturday and Sunday formerly occupied by the antlerless muzzleloader weekend.
• Suspension of antlerless only muzzleloader season
• Shift in opportunity for a gun hunt by offering two days of deer-gun hunting Dec. 26-27, 2015.
• 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.
Shift in the youth season
The first youth season was held in 2003. While popular, and a great opportunity there has been a growing discontent about timing. Commonly heard feedback included that the season was in the peak of the rut and archers had to make a decision whether they hunted themselves during this peak time or mentored a youth. Gun hunters had some discontent with the removal of 6-8k deer the week before gun season.
Mid-November weather has been less than ideal the last 2 years, and youth hunter harvest has declined. Conversely, youth harvest during the antlerless only muzzleloader season has increased 50%. The proposed shift in this season gets youth into the woods at a productive hunting time and a more enjoyable experience in the elements. In a canvass of other Midwestern states, most offer youth opportunities during September/October, so this proposal brings Ohio more in-line with the rest of the region. This proposal would once again make the 2nd weekend in October either sex for archers.
Suspension of antlerless only muzzleloader season, and the shift in opportunity for a gun hunt by offering two days of deer-gun hunting Dec. 26-27, 2015.
The antlerless-only muzzleloader season was a tool used to incentivize an early harvest of antlerless deer from the population. We no longer need to put as much pressure on does, and we can maintain an early harvest by shifting the youth season to this time, while addressing continued negative feedback from sportsmen related to this season (including not being able to kill an antlered deer). If a future need arises to re-establish this season we will do so.
Offering 2 days of holiday gun hunting after Christmas may seem contrary to our goal of reducing antlerless harvest; however, we control overall harvest through restrictions on antlerless permits and bag limits. By offering two days of gun hunting later in the season (instead of the two days of October muzzleloader hunting) this gives gun hunters more options and should be popular with those that didn’t want muzzleloader season moved away from holidays.
Small game hunting is allowed during the second gun weekend. This is a change from the weeklong gun season, when only coyote/feral swine is allowed besides deer. Small game hunting has always been allowed during the youth season.
Reducing bag limits and antlerless permit use
At the highest levels of deer populations (in 2007) the antlerless permit was developed and put in place. The permit incentivized opportunity and doubled the bag limit for part of the season. However, harvest per hunter figures indicate that large bag limits are rarely achieved.
Since that time, Ohio has increased the antlerless harvest by incentivizing the take of antlerless deer.
Thus, to reduce the antlerless harvest we are proposing to do the opposite – decrease the incentive to take an antlerless deer by further limiting the use of the Antlerless Only permit. The same rationale can be applied to reducing the county and statewide bag limit.
Counties that allow larger bag limits and antlerless permits are urban counties that are still in need of population reduction.
Add the .450 Marlin, to the existing list of legal hunting rifles during the deer-gun and youth deer-gun seasons.
Feedback from sportsmen indicated their interest in including this cartridge. Upon review, this cartridge falls under similar specifications as all other allowable straight walled cartridges and we find it acceptable to allow its use.
Please convey the following methods for providing comments:
• Open houses on March 7,2015
• Online at Wildohio.gov (Homepage at bottom of the page) “Feedback Summary”
• Contact Council Members by sending letters to:
2045 Morse Road, Bld. G-3
Columbus, Ohio 43229