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Ohio Wildlife Council Considering Changes to Ohio Deer Regulations

Ohio deer regulations are up for proposal and could affect future seasons.

Changes to the current Ohio deer hunting regulations have been received by the Ohio Wildlife Council for the 2014-15 season. Proposals on deer season dates, bag limits, and the possibility of allowing certain center-fire rifles to be used in the field have all been received.

Ohio deer hunters and anyone else with interest in the outdoor sports are invited to voice their opinions on the proposed changes at an open house held by the Ohio Division of Natural Resources from 12-3 PM on March 1, 2014. They will also be accepting opinions through their website, until Sunday, March 2.

Season Dates

State biologists have not suggested any major changes to the current deer hunting season dates. It has been proposed that the short muzzleloader season be adjusted to fall on a weekend in order to provide hunters with more opportunities to hunt with primitive weapons. A continuation of the newly introduced October weekend of antlerless deer hunting with muzzleloaders has also been suggested. Besides those two small proposals, hunters looking to hit the fields of Ohio for deer this upcoming seasons should not expect any major changes.

Bag Limits

As Ohio’s deer herd starts to approach its target levels, bag limits will begin to change with the population. There has been a call for a reduction in the seasonal bag limits in 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties, an increase in five counties, and no change in the remaining 39 counties. An elimination of antlerless deer permits in some counties has also been suggested. Originally introduced as a way to control the population, the antlerless deer permits are being phased out in those counties where the program has proved successful.

Center-fire Rifle Use

Center-fire rifles, with the notable exception of muzzleloaders, have long been banned for deer hunting in Ohio. That may change in the upcoming 2014-15 season. A proposal that would allow the use of certain rifles chambered in pistol calibers has been suggested. This would allow more hunting opportunities for individuals who already own these types of rifles or who wish to begin hunting with them. Several calibers that would be allowed should the proposal pass include but are not limited to .357 Magnum, .44 Special, .45 ACP, and .45-70.

The Ohio Wildlife Council will vote on these proposed changes when they meet on April 9, 2014. Public input will factor into their decisions.

For more information on these proposed changes and for ways you can have your voice heard on the issues, go here.

Do these proposals sound like positives for Ohio’s deer season? Sound off in the comment section below.

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Ohio Wildlife Council Considering Changes to Ohio Deer Regulations