State Senator Joe Uecker (R-Miami Township) joined Representative Jonathan Dever (R-Madeira) to introduce companion legislation (senate bill 257) aimed at better serving sportsmen and women by improving access and affordability of Ohio’s fishing and hunting licenses.
Under the proposed legislation, fishing licenses will be valid for one year from the date of purchase, while also removing the requirement to purchase a license every year by establishing a three year, five year and lifetime hunting and fishing license. Current law states that fishing licenses are only valid from the first day of March of the current year and expire the last day of February the following year.
The bill also takes measures to promote additional family participation by expanding the apprentice hunting license, granting the Chief of Wildlife the ability to create license packages i.e. a husband and wife package, and allowing those with disabilities to hunt with an all-purpose vehicle on both private and public land.
The Chief of the Division of Wildlife is also granted discretion in requiring people to have fishing licenses to better accommodate veterans and those with disabilities. In the past, veteran organizations have run into roadblocks when hosting charitable events due to participants not having an Ohio fishing or hunting license.
Both bills are currently making their way through the house and senate.
• Preparing for the boating season couldn’t be any easier! During the week of March 18-24, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators are encouraging boaters to Spring Aboard by enrolling in a boating education course. This national boating safety campaign was created to help educate boaters and reduce the number of serious boating accidents.
According to the U.S. Coast Guard, statistics show that when the level of operator education was known, 77 percent of boating deaths occurred on boats where the boat operator had never received boating education instruction.
In Ohio, a boater education course is required for anyone wanting to operate a boat over 10 horsepower who was born after Jan. 1, 1982. Ohio’s boater requirement can be met by taking and passing an approved boating education course (classroom, online or home study), or by taking and passing a proficiency exam. For a summary of Ohio’s regulations and available courses, go to: watercraft.ohiodnr.gov/coursesearch.
To kick off the boating season, free classroom courses are being offered around the state on Saturday, March 24: The nearest course In Central Ohio will be at Alum Creek State Park, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.. Call 740-548-5490 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your place.
Working in partnership with the states, many course providers, including Ace Boater, BoatEd and BoaterExam, will be offering course discounts for students who enroll in or complete a course during the Spring Aboard campaign. Course providers and offerings vary between states so individuals should check with their local course provider or state boating agency to find out which courses are accepted in their area. Ohio requires that completed courses meet the national boating education standards for powerboat rental or operation, as verified by NASBLA. To ensure a course qualifies, look for the NASBLA-approved logo.
• More than 100,000 rainbow trout are expected to be released this spring in 64 Ohio public lakes and ponds, creating excellent fishing opportunities for anglers all across Ohio, according to the ODNR.
Rainbow trout releases will take place across Ohio from March 2-May 19 as long as areas are ice-free and accessible to anglers. Information about the trout releases, including updates to the schedule due to weather and stocking locations, is available at wildohio.gov or by calling 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).
By stocking these water areas throughout the state, opportunities are created for anglers of all ages to get out and enjoy quality spring trout fishing in a family-friendly environment. Many stocked locations will feature special angler events, including youth-only fishing on the day of the trout release.
Rainbow trout are raised at Ohio’s state fish hatcheries and measure 10-13 inches before they are released by the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The daily catch limit for inland lakes is five trout.
Anglers age 16 and older must have an Ohio fishing license to fish in state public waters. The 2018-2019 fishing license is now available and is valid through Feb. 28, 2019. An annual resident fishing license costs $19. A one-day fishing license costs $11. The one-day license may also be redeemed for credit toward the purchase of an annual fishing license. Licenses and permits can be purchased online at wildohio.gov and at participating agents throughout the state.
For a list of trout stocking dates and locations, go to wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/fishing/trout-stocking-dates.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.