Duck, turkey changes among regulation proposals

Columbus — The 2017-2018 small game and migratory bird hunting seasons and the trapping seasons were proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council on Wednesday, Jan. 11.

The hunting season date proposals prepared by the DNR Division of Wildlife maintain many traditional opening dates. Proposals concerning Ohio’s white-tailed deer hunting seasons will be presented at the next Ohio Wildlife Council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

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 include

• adding 11 counties to the 2017 fall turkey season;

• modifying waterfowl bag limits by increasing the canvasback daily bag limit from one to two and decreasing the pintail daily bag limit from two to one;

• allowing any straight-walled cartridge rifle with a caliber between .357 and .50 to be used for deer hunting.

Additional proposed rule changes include

• changing the age requirements for those participating in youth waterfowl season from age 15 and younger to 17 and younger;

• modifying Pymatuning Lake fishing regulations for striped, hybrid-striped, and white bass to be consistent with Pennsylvania regulations;

• moving sandhill cranes from the list of state endangered species to the list of state threatened species.

A complete list of proposed rules changes can be found at wildohio.gov.

The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that considers all of the DNR 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 Saturday, March 4. Open houses will be held at the DNR Division of Wildlife District 1, District 2, District 3, and District 4 offices, as well as at the Greene County Fish and Game Association clubhouse in Xenia (see related story, Page 10).

Open houses give the public an opportunity to view and discuss proposed fishing, hunting, and trapping regulations with DNR Division of Wildlife officials. For Ohioans who are unable to attend an open house, comments will be accepted online at wildohio.gov beginning on Thursday, Feb. 9. 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 DNR Division of Wildlife’s District 1 office on Thursday, March 16, at 9 a.m. The office is at 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus.

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. Comments are limited to three minutes or less.

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