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Process for changing Ohio Deer & Turkey Hunting Laws
Rules that control deer and turkey hunting in Ohio are determined by the Ohio Wildlife Council.  They face a delicate task of balancing hunter desires with the management of wildlife.  Annual changes to the Ohio hunting regulations are based on state wildlife management assessments and the interest of the public. The public is afforded an opportunity each year to comment on proposed rule changes before the new year’s hunting regulations are published.


In January/February, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife presents its proposed regulations for the next year to the Ohio Wildlife Council which may get revised slightly after reviewing data at the end of the deer season.  The ODNR Division of Wildlife releases the change proposals to the public by publishing them on their website.  Around the first week of March, an open house meeting is held in each of the state’s five wildlife districts to allow the public a chance to comment on the proposed hunting regulations.  If you want to show support for or against these changes, you may want to mark your calendar and attend this meeting which is open to the public.  About three weeks later, a state wide hearing is held at the wildlife district One Office in Columbus.  The Ohio Wildlife Council considers the public’s input and determines the new rules.


Proposed Changes to Regulations for 2017-2018 

During the 11 January meeting, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife presented its proposals for turkey hunting regulation changes for the next year to the Ohio Wildlife Council.  The information below reflects those changes.  The most significant change being proposed that will impact turkey hunting is the addition of 11 counties to the 2017 fall turkey season.  The fall turkey season is being proposed to start on 14 October and end on 26 November 2017.  The youth spring turkey hunt is proposed for April 21-22 followed by the regular spring turkey season running April 23 through May 20, 2018 for the south zone and April 30 through May 27, 2018 for the northeast zone.  The ODNR Division of Wildlife released the proposed 2017-2018 season dates and proposed changes to hunting rules (except deer) to the public on their website at http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov.


On the 8th of February, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife presented its proposals for deer hunting regulation changes to the Ohio Wildlife Council.  Few changes impacting deer hunting are being proposed for the 2017-2018 hunting season.  The most significant are changes to bag limits and the allowing of any straight-walled cartridge rifle with a minimum caliber of .357 to a maximum caliber of .50 be used for hunting deer in Ohio.  An increase in the bag limit from two to three deer was proposed for 21 counties to slow down the rate of growth for the herds but still allow them to increase.  The counties are Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Fairfield, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Tuscarawas, Vinton and Washington. 


A reduction in the bag limit was proposed for 7 counties. They are Allen, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding, Putnam and Williams counties. The statewide limit of 6 deer by hunting various counties and only one antlered deer would still remain in effect.


Archery season is proposed to start on the 30th of September and continue through the 4th of February 2018.  Youth deer gun season is to be 18-19 November 2017.  The regular gun season is scheduled to be 27 Nov - 3 Dec 2017 with two extra days during 16 - 17 December 2017.  The statewide muzzleloader season is planned to start on the 6th of January and go through the 9th of January 2018.


The ODNR Division of Wildlife released the proposed deer hunting changes to the public on 9 February in a news release article on their website at http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov.   You are given an opportunity to comment on the proposals in person or in writing.  Open houses to receive public comments will be held on Saturday, March 4 at the ODNR Division of Wildlife District One, District Two, District Three and District Four offices and the Greene County Fish and Game Association clubhouse in Xenia. Directions to the open houses can be found at wildohio.gov or by calling 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543). For Ohioans who are unable to attend an open house, comments will be accepted online at wildohio.gov.


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 16, at 9 a.m. The council is expected to vote on the proposed deer and turkey hunting rules and season dates during its meeting on Wednesday, April 12, after considering public input.


The new official hunting regulations, when finalized and published, will be available online from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  Be sure to review or obtain a copy of them prior to your hunting trip to ensure you are aware of any changes that get approved.  If you want to learn more about hunting white tail deer and wild turkey in southeastern Ohio visit http://hunt-ohio-deer-and-turkey-on-public-land.com.






















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