The 2016-2017 small game and migratory bird hunting seasons and the trapping seasons were proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council on Wednesday, Jan. 13, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
The hunting season date proposals prepared by the ODNR Division of Wildlife maintain many traditional opening dates. Proposals concerning Ohio’s white-tailed deer hunting season will be presented at the next Ohio Wildlife Council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 10.
Even the next year’s waterfowl season dates are already set and posted. This is a result in a change in how the Federal Flyway Councils will set season lengths and bag limits. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service oversees all migratory bird regulations, including Ohio’s hunting seasons. A recent change in the U.S. Fish and Wildlife’s process allows Ohio to now propose fall waterfowl regulations in January, more than six months earlier than in past years.
Notable changes among the proposals included adding a special northeast zone and dates to the 2017 spring turkey season, adding extra hunting days to the goose season and lowering the daily bag limit of canvasback to one.
Additional proposed rule changes include expanding the list of species permitted bait dealers may sell when acquired from aquaculture facilities, reducing the minimum carapace length of snapping and softshell turtles from 13 to 11 inches, prohibiting the taking of snapping and softshell turtles with archery equipment, prohibiting the export of live snapping and softshell turtles taken from the wild, and prohibiting the taking or possession of snapping and softshell turtle eggs from the wild.
A complete list of proposed rules changes, including season dates and bag limits, can be found at 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 council will vote on the proposed rules and season dates after considering public input.
Open houses to receive public comments about hunting, trapping and fishing regulations and wildlife issues will be held on Saturday, March 5. 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 the ODNR Division of Wildlife officials. For Ohioans who are unable to attend an open house, comments will be accepted online at wildohio.gov. The online form will be available until March. Directions to the open houses can be found at wildohio.gov or by calling 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).
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 17, at 9 a.m. The office is located at 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus, Ohio 43215.
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.
• As Ohioans begin to sort through their receipts and deductions in anticipation of the April 15 tax filing deadline, they have the opportunity to donate a portion or all of their state income tax refund to support Ohio’s wildlife and Ohio State Nature Preserves.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife was created during a time when wildlife populations were vanishing at an alarming rate. The mission then, and still is, to manage, protect and restore wildlife populations to improve Ohioans’ quality of life. The ODNR Division of Wildlife does not receive taxpayer dollars. Nearly all wildlife conservation in Ohio is funded by people who hunt, fish and trap. The tax donation program is an important way all wildlife enthusiasts can help restore and manage endangered and threatened wildlife and other species of special interest.
Donations made to the “Wildlife Diversity Fund” help support critical ecological management activities in Ohio, including: monitoring sandhill cranes, black bears and trumpeter swans; restoring native butterflies, freshwater mussels and hellbenders; creating Monarch butterfly habitat and other conservation efforts benefitting pollinators; and wildlife education efforts through the production and distribution of field guides and posters.
The ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves oversees the state’s 136 nature preserves across Ohio. These beautiful natural areas are open year-round and available to all Ohioans. The tax refund donation program directly supports facility improvements, invasive species management, land purchases, educational opportunities and scientific research. Ohio State Nature Preserves provide habitat for endangered species and promote a good quality of life within Ohio’s communities.
Donations to the “State Nature Preserves” fund help protect Ohio’s prairies, old growth forests, wetlands and rare geologic formations. Hiking, birdwatching and wildlife photography are but a few of the activities that can be enjoyed at Ohio State Nature Preserves.
People who are interested in contributing to either of these funds can make checks payable to the ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves or to the Wildlife Diversity Fund. Donations should be addressed to the ODNR Division of Natural Areas and Preserves or the ODNR Division of Wildlife, both located at 2045 Morse Road, Columbus, Ohio 43229.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.