Ohio hunters mays soon be able to hunt with silencers.
On Tuesday morning, the Ohio House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee approved a bill that would allow hunters to use silencers to hunt for whitetail deer, certain species of birds and other game animals. Supporters of the bill say that silencers protect hunters from hearing damage caused by loud gunfire.
Last month, state lawmakers attended a silencer demonstration at a firing range in Delaware, Ohio. According to the Columbus Dispatch, an audiologist from Ohio State University was in attendance to record the audible effects of silencers on .45-caliber pistols and .308 caliber rifles. He recorded a 15 percent noise reduction when the guns were fired through silencers. He claimed that is enough to protect ears from damage, but still loud enough to be heard from hundreds of yards away.
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The demonstration likely convinced several members of the House committee, as the law passed with bipartisan support; however, the bill received opposition from one Ohio hunting group, the League of Ohio Sportsmen.
The organization's executive director, Larry Mitchell, Jr., supports silencers, but called the measure a "bad bill, with good intentions."
Mitchell said the law,"opens the door to the General Assembly to take away the authority of the wildlife professionals to write rules that address both the safety of our angling and hunting community but also address wildlife management principles."
Either way, most parties involved seem to agree silencers can be beneficial to hunters. The bill is expected to enter the General Assembly for a full House vote on Wednesday.
Ohio has the fourth largest market for silencers in the country. 29 US states currently allow hunting with silencers.
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