The 2017-2018 hunting and trapping seasons were among the regulations approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council at its scheduled meeting on Wednesday, April 12, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
White-tailed deer hunting changes include modifications to bag limits for several counties throughout the state.
Overview of deer hunting seasons for 2017-2018:
Deer archery: Sept. 30, 2017-Feb. 4, 2018
Youth deer gun: Nov. 18-19, 2017
Deer gun: Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 2017; Dec. 16-17, 2017
Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 6-9, 2018
An increase in the bag limit, from two deer per county to three deer per county, was approved for Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Fairfield, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Tuscarawas, Vinton and Washington counties. These changes are designed to slow the rate of herd growth, while still allowing herds to increase.
A reduction in the bag limit, from three deer per county to two deer per county, was approved for Allen, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding, Putnam and Williams counties. These changes are designed to encourage herd growth in these counties.
All other county bag limits remain the same. The statewide bag limit remains at six deer. Only one deer may be antlered, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit.
In other rule changes, any straight-walled cartridge rifle with a minimum caliber of .357 to a maximum caliber of .50 is now allowed for hunting deer in Ohio. There have been three seasons of hunting deer with straight-walled cartridge rifles in Ohio with no biological impacts to the herd or additional hunter incidents. Defining the allowable rifles makes the rule easily understood and easily enforced, while also being inclusive of a great number of rifle options.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) oversees all migratory bird regulations, including Ohio's hunting seasons. A recent change in the USFWS process now allows Ohio to propose fall waterfowl regulations in January and vote on them in April, more than six months earlier than in previous years. Changes to the migratory bird regulations include increasing the canvasback bag limit to two per day and decreasing the pintail bag limit to one per day. The waterfowl bag limit for ducks and geese is consistent statewide and does not change by zone.
The youth waterfowl age limit has been lowered to include more young hunters. Anyone who is 17 or younger may now participate in the youth waterfowl hunts. The previous age limit was 15 or younger. The youth waterfowl weekend is Oct. 7-8.
Wild Turkey Hunting
Fall turkey hunting will be expanded to 11 additional counties for the first time: Allen, Champaign, Crawford, Fulton, Hardin, Henry, Logan, Paulding, Preble, Putnam and Wyandot. Harvest records and research indicates wild turkey populations have increased in these areas to a point where a fall harvest will not impact the overall numbers. Fall wild turkey hunting is Oct. 14Nov. 26. The season will now be open in 67 of Ohio's 88 counties.
Download a complete list of season dates and bag limits at bit.ly/OH1718HuntingTrapping.
The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all of the ODNR Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. The council votes 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.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.