Ohio Wildlife Council hears hunting proposals


The Ohio Wildlife Council heard proposals on the 2023-24 small game, waterfowl, and wild turkey hunting seasons at its regularly scheduled meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 11, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.

Proposed 2023-24 dates are similar to current hunting seasons. No changes were proposed for daily and season limits. Proposals on white-tailed deer hunting will be heard at the Ohio Wildlife Council’s next meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

A complete list of proposed rule changes and proposed hunting and trapping seasons dates for 2023-24 are available at wildohio.gov. Everyone who would like to comment on Division of Wildlife proposals can do so online at wildohio.gov from Feb. 10-March 8.

• Hunters checked 13,617 white-tailed deer during Ohio’s muzzleloader season that concluded on Tuesday, Jan. 10, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. This total accounts for all deer taken with a muzzleloader or archery equipment during the four-day season.

Over the last three years, an average of 11,429 deer were taken during the muzzleloader season. In 2022, hunters checked 12,912 deer in the same period. Deer hunters found success in all 88 of Ohio’s counties during the muzzleloader season. During the 2023 muzzleloader season, hunters took 3,154 bucks (23% of deer taken), 8,421 does (62%), and 1,532 button bucks (11%). Bucks that shed their antlers and bucks with antlers less than 3 inches in length accounted for 510 deer, or 4% of the total harvest.

Gun hunters have checked 110,935 deer in the 2022-23 deer seasons, including 9,515 deer taken in the youth season, 71,932 deer taken in the seven-day gun season, and 15,163 deer taken in the two-day gun season. Ohio’s archery hunters have harvested 90,357 deer through Tuesday, Jan. 10, bringing the season total for all implements to 201,292. The 2022-23 season marks the first time since 2012 that the total deer harvest has gone above 200,000. Archery season is open until Sunday, Feb. 5.

As of Jan. 10, 406,919 permits have been issued for deer hunting in Ohio. Many nonresident hunters purchase deer permits and a hunting license and travel to Ohio for the opportunity to harvest a Buckeye State whitetail. Pennsylvania (7,401 licenses sold), Michigan (5,301), West Virginia (3,657), North Carolina (3,290), and New York (3,162) represent the most popular states that hunters traveled from. Sportsmen and women from 50 different states tried their hand at deer hunting in Ohio this year.

• People have been spending a lot of time outdoors in Ohio, whether it’s kayaking, camping, hiking, fishing, or swimming. There are just two weeks left to let the ODNR know what you want to see more of in the great outdoors. The statewide survey to contribute to Ohio’s State Comprehensive Outdoor Recreation Plan is available through the end of this month.

Feedback from the survey will help determine outdoor recreation priorities of Ohioans. The survey results will be included in the five-year SCORP, which provides information on recreation trends and serves as a reference document for state officials distributing federal and state grants for public park facilities around the state. To have your opinion heard, take the survey at www.odnr.gov. The survey closes Jan. 31.

• The ODNR Division of Wildlife stocked 52.3 million fish of 11 species in Ohio waters throughout 2022. Fish were stocked during spring, summer, and fall at 203 locations statewide. The total represents a 15% increase over the annual production and stocking goal of 44 million fish, thanks to excellent production conditions that resulted in surplus walleye, saugeye, and yellow perch fry.

The Division of Wildlife operates six state fish hatcheries that raise sport fish for stocking in Ohio waters, enhancing recreational opportunities for anglers. Ohio’s hatcheries raise saugeye, walleye, yellow perch, rainbow trout, steelhead trout, brown trout, muskellunge, hybrid-striped bass, blue catfish, channel catfish, and bluegill.

Ohio’s state fish hatcheries are open to the public and offer activities such as birding, hiking, and target shooting. Find fishing reports and forecasts, species specific information, and learning modules through wildohio.gov. Anglers ages 16 and older are required to hold a valid Ohio fishing license on all public waters. Check the current fishing regulations booklet before your next trip.

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.

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