Wildlife Council hears deer season proposals

Water and Wings by Ken Parrott

The Ohio Wildlife Council heard proposals for Ohio’s 2019-2020 white-tailed deer hunting season dates and bag limits at Wednesday’s meeting, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The proposed season dates are nearly identical to previous seasons.

Overview of proposed deer hunting seasons for 2019-2020: Deer archery: Sept. 28, 2019-Feb. 2, 2020, Youth deer gun: Nov. 23-24, 2019, Deer gun: Dec. 2-8, 2019; Dec. 21-22, 2019, and Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 4-7, 2020.

Deer bag limits were proposed to remain the same for all counties. The statewide bag limit was proposed to remain at six deer, only one of which may be antlered, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit.

As the first step toward electronic permitting in the future, it was proposed that hunters be allowed to carry either a printed or electronic version of their valid deer or turkey permits. Hunters are currently required to invalidate printed deer and turkey permits by filling them out. It was also proposed to allow hunters to transport their deer or turkey to their residence or temporary lodging without a game tag being attached to the animal, as long as their permit is properly filled out and the hunter remains with the animal.

It was also proposed to change the name of the antlerless deer permit to deer management permit. Another proposal is to require hunters who harvest a deer within a disease surveillance area to deliver the head to an inspection station only during the seven-day gun season rather than all firearm seasons.

Other proposals being considered were presented to the council at the January meeting. A complete list of the proposed rule changes can be found at www.wildohio.gov.

The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all of the ODNR Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. The Ohio Wildlife Council will vote on the proposed rules and season dates after considering public input.

Council meetings are open to the public. Individuals who want to provide comments on a topic that is currently being considered by council are asked to register at least two days before the meeting by calling 614-265-6304. All comments are required to be three minutes or less.

Open houses to receive public comments about hunting, trapping, and fishing regulations and other wildlife issues will be held on Saturday, March 2. Open houses will be held at the ODNR Division of Wildlife District One, District Two, District Three and District Four offices, as well as the Greene County Fish and Game Association clubhouse in Xenia.

Open houses give the public an opportunity to view and discuss proposed fishing, hunting and trapping regulations with ODNR Division of Wildlife officials. For Ohioans who are unable to attend an open house, comments will be accepted online at www.wildohio.gov beginning on Thursday, Feb. 14, and will remain open until Monday, March 4. Directions to the open houses can be found at www,wildohio.gov or by calling 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).

A statewide hearing on all the proposed rules will be held at the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s District One office on Thursday, March 21, at 9 a.m. The office is located at 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus 43215.

The council will vote on the proposed rules and season dates during its meeting on Wednesday, April 10, after considering public input. Small game, migratory bird and wild turkey hunting season dates were proposed at the January council meeting and will also be voted on by the council on April 10.

• As Ohio residents are gathering receipts and deductions to file their taxes before the April deadline, the ODNR is asking Ohioans to consider investing in nature by donating a portion or all of their state income tax refund to support Ohio’s state nature preserves and wildlife.

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, land conservation and educational signage.

When individuals make a tax donation to Ohio’s State Nature Preserves when filing their taxes, they are working to ensure that unique habitats, such as Ohio’s prairies, old growth forests, wetlands and rare geologic formations, are protected. By protecting these natural areas and preserves across the state, visitors can enjoy activities, such as hiking, photography and birdwatching.

Many Ohioans may also 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 has always been 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, such as introducing peregrine falcons and reintroducing some native Ohio species, such as lake lake sturgeon, trumpeter swans and Karner blue butterflies, as well as increasing numbers of rare species such as bald eagles, Lake Erie watersnakes and hellbenders.

By making a tax donation to either Ohio State Nature Preserves or the Wildlife Diversity Fund, Ohioans are helping us ensure the future of Ohio’s many plant and animal species and ecosystems for years to come. Individuals may donate all or part of their state income tax refund by entering a dollar amount for “Wildlife species” on line 26c or “State nature preserves” on line 26f of the 2018 IT 1040 tax form. Contributions made on the 2018 tax return, filed in 2019, are considered deductible charitable donations made in 2019.

Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!


Water and Wings by Ken Parrott

Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.

Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.