Deer season is off to a great start for Ohio archers.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife, as of Oct. 11, hunters in Ohio have harvested 20,487 white-tailed deer so far this hunting season. This includes 7,101 antlered and 13,386 antlerless. Coshocton currently has the highest harvest at 809 deer. The early arrival of cool fall weather has helped with some of the early success so far.
• During its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 5, the Ohio Wildlife Council voted to approve a proposal to allow a maximum of three fishing lines statewide, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The rule will take effect on Jan. 1, 2023.
Wednesday’s vote aligns statewide fishing regulations with those already in place in the Lake Erie Sport Fishing District, Ohio River fishing units, and Pymatuning Lake by increasing the limit to three lines per person.
Additionally, the council voted to remove site-specific catfish regulations for Hoover Reservoir and align the popular central Ohio fishing destination with statewide rules for blue and channel catfish. Beginning Jan. 1, 2023, catfish anglers can harvest one blue catfish 35 inches or longer and one channel catfish 28 inches or longer, with no restrictions on shorter fish.
The decision to amend catfish regulations at Hoover Reservoir was based on research indicating that the reservoir’s catfish fishery meets angler and agency expectations. Removing the special regulations currently in place will improve fish growth, reduce the time for fish to reach trophy length, and simplify harvest regulations by returning them to statewide rules.
• The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife will release ring-necked pheasants at public hunting areas in late October and November. Releases will begin Saturday, Oct. 22 during Ohio’s youth small game hunting season.
Each fall, the Division of Wildlife releases male pheasants (roosters) at 25 public hunting areas throughout Ohio. More than 14,000 pheasants are scheduled to be released this fall.
The Division of Wildlife will release pheasants for the following dates: Saturday Oct. 22 (first youth weekend), Saturday Oct. 29 (second youth weekend), Friday, Nov. 4 (opening day), Friday, Nov. 11, and Thursday, Nov. 24 (Thanksgiving Day).
Pheasants will be released in the following locations: Central Ohio: Delaware Wildlife Area; Northwest Ohio: Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area; Oxbow Lake Wildlife Area; Resthaven Wildlife Area; Ringneck Ridge Wildlife Area (by permit only, find additional information from the Sandusky County Park District); Tiffin River Wildlife Area; and Wyandot Wildlife Area (no youth releases); Northeast Ohio: Camp Belden Wildlife Area; Charlemont Metro Park; Berlin Wildlife Area; Grand River Wildlife Area; Highlandtown Wildlife Area (no youth releases);
Spencer Wildlife Area; West Branch Wildlife Area (no youth releases); and Zepernick Wildlife Area (no youth releases); Southeast Ohio: Appalachian Hills Wildlife Area; Pleasant Valley Wildlife Area (no youth releases); Salt Fork Wildlife Area (no youth releases); and Tri-Valley Wildlife Area; Southwest Ohio: Caesar Creek Wildlife Area; Darke Wildlife Area; Fallsville Wildlife Area (no releases for Oct. 22-23, or Nov. 11); Indian Creek Wildlife Area (no youth releases); Rush Run Wildlife Area; and Spring Valley Wildlife Area.
Ohio’s ring-necked pheasant hunting season is open from Friday, Nov. 4, 2022, until Sunday, Jan. 8, 2023. The daily harvest limit is two male birds; no hens (females) may be harvested. A valid Ohio hunting license is required to pursue pheasants and other game birds.
Small game hunting is a great way to introduce someone to hunting and create lasting memories in the field. For more information on getting started, explore the interactive Introduction to Upland Game Birds online learning module and related resources through the Wild Ohio Harvest Community. Additional details on Ohio’s fall pheasant releases can be found at wildohio.gov, along with maps of public hunting areas, the current hunting and trapping regulations, and more.
• As I mentioned in my last article, two Lake Erie Walleye Tournament fishermen were caught cheating at the season’s ending tournament stuffing weights and walleye fillets into the five fish they weighed in. The entire world seemed to cover the story and I am sure many of you have seen the videos covering the event that are all over social media and news outlets.
Just to give you a quick update, the boat that they fished the last tournament in has been confiscated by the Division of Wildlife and the Cuyahoga county prosecutor. They have also been formally charged with four counts, three of them are felonies. Jacob Runyan and Chase Cominsky, were indicted in Cleveland on felony charges of cheating, attempted grand theft, possessing criminal tools and misdemeanor charges of unlawfully owning wild animals. They face up to a year in prison and a $2,500 fine on each of the three felonies. The misdemeanor is punishable by up to 30 days in jail and a $250 fine.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!