Don’t forget that your Ohio hunting and fishing licenses are about to expire. On Thursday, March 1, outdoorsmen and women will be able to purchase their 2018-2019 licenses at wildohio.gov and at hundreds of participating agents throughout the state, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Licenses are also available for purchase on many mobile devices.
A new purchasing system, launched last year, makes it easier for hunters, anglers and conservationists to obtain licenses, permits or other products. Licenses and permits are grouped by category, such as hunting or fishing. Anyone with an online account can also go to wildohio.gov and obtain a free reprint of a valid license or permit (this option is not available at participating agents).
Ohio’s 2018-2019 licenses are valid immediately upon purchase through Feb. 28, 2019. For the costs of licenses and specific permits, go to wildohio.gov.
Deer and fall turkey permits will be available for purchase in June after the Ohio Wildlife Council votes on the upcoming seasons and dates.
For people who want to support Ohio’s wildlife in other ways, the ODNR Division of Wildlife offers the Ohio Wildlife Legacy stamp. The idea for the Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp began as a grassroots effort to inform the public about the need to fund wildlife conservation. Offering the stamp to the public has continued with the positive support of individuals and conservation groups throughout the state. To learn more, visitwildohio.gov/support.
• Ohioans are invited to offer public comment regarding the proposed and future hunting, trapping and fishing regulations at open houses scheduled across the state. The open houses will be held on Saturday, March 3, between noon and 3 p.m., and online comments will be accepted from now through Sunday, March 4.
Open houses provide opportunities for anyone interested in sharing input and participating in Ohio’s professional fish and wildlife management process. ODNR Division of Wildlife biologists and law enforcement officers will be available to answer questions and receive comments. Those unable to attend an open house can provide comments online at wildohio.gov. All interested Ohioans are encouraged to participate.
Open house location information for March 3: Central Ohio: Wildlife District One office, 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus 43215; 614-644-3925; Northwest Ohio: Wildlife District Two office, 952 Lima Avenue, Findlay 45840; 419-424-5000; Northeast Ohio: Wildlife District Three office, 912 Portage Lakes Drive, Akron 44319; 330-644-2293; Southeast Ohio: Wildlife District Four office, 360 E. State Street, Athens 45701; 740-589-9930; Southwest Ohio: Greene County Fish and Game, 1538 Union Road, Xenia 45385; 937-372-9261.
Directions to the open houses can be found at wildohio.gov or by calling 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543). Public input gathered at these open houses and online is critical and will be considered during the formation of future hunting and fishing regulations.
A statewide hearing on all of the proposed rules will be held at the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s District One office on Thursday, March 15, at 9 a.m.
The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all ODNR Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. The council will vote on the proposed rules and season dates during its meeting on Wednesday, April 11, after considering public input.
• This is the time of year when Ohio residents begin gathering deductions and receipts to file their taxes before the April deadline. The ODNR is asking Ohioans to consider showing their love of nature by donating a portion or all of their state income tax refund to support Ohio’s state nature preserves and wildlife.
Many Ohioans may want to consider donating to the “Wildlife Diversity Fund.” The ODNR Division of Wildlife was originally created during a time when wildlife populations were vanishing at an alarming rate across Ohio. The mission of the division was and still is to manage, protect and restore wildlife populations to improve quality of life for Ohioans. Nearly all wildlife conservation in Ohio is funded by people who hunt, fish and trap. The tax donation program is an important way for all wildlife enthusiasts to help restore and manage endangered and threatened wildlife and other species of special interest.
Donations to the “Wildlife Diversity Fund” benefit wildlife projects across the state, like introducing peregrine falcons and reintroducing some native Ohio species, such as trumpeter swans and Karner blue butterflies, as well as increasing numbers of rare species such as Lake Erie watersnakes, bald eagles and hellbenders. The Wildlife Diversity Fund also allows ODNR to form partnerships with Ohio’s zoos to help create exhibits and displays, as well as educational products and publications for students, teachers and wildlife enthusiasts.
Ohioans may also want to consider giving a donation to support Ohio State Nature Preserves. The ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves oversees a statewide system of 136 unique state nature preserves that are open year-round for people to visit and explore. These beautiful natural areas protect a variety of habitats, such as wetlands, prairies and old growth woods, as well as geologic features and endangered species. Tax refund donations are used to support new trails, educational signage and land conservation.
When individuals make a tax donation to Ohio’s State Nature Preserves when filing their taxes, they are helping to ensure the biodiversity of habitats, such as Ohio’s prairies, old growth forests, wetlands and rare geologic formations, are protected. For more information on Ohio State Nature Preserves and how to make a tax donation to support them, visitnaturepreserves.ohiodnr.gov/support. For more information on the ODNR Division of Wildlife and the Wildlife Diversity Fund, visit wildohio.gov/support.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.