DNR may pull fall antlerless gun deer hunt

Columbus — In the DNR Division of Wildlife’s words, it is “suspending” the October antlerless muzzleloader season for this hunting year.

In its place will be the youth gun hunt for deer, which was moved out of its typical November calendar space.

The dates for the youth hunt are now Oct. 10-11, 2015, if the regulations are approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council.

Division of Wildlife biologists say the move was out of necessity due to a growing chorus of unhappy hunters with the youth season’s position on the calendar.

“Obviously, with the placement of the youth season where it currently is in the middle of the rut we have seen a growing discontent with some of our hunters,” said Dave Kohler, wildlife management administrator for the Division of Wildlife. “By moving it into October, the weather will be better. We saw significant declines in the youth deer gun harvest the last couple of years. And, what we saw was about a 50 percent increase in youth harvest during the early antlerless muzzleloader season. So, we already had youths gravitating toward that time frame.”

Archers will still be able to hunt during the youth weekend with the stipulation that he or she wear hunter orange.

The Ohio Wildlife Council will consider all of the deer changes at a meeting in early March.

“These are proposals that have been put in front of the Wildlife Council,” said Scott Zody, chief of the Division of Wildlife. “ … Things can change. Things have changed in the past.”

Zody urged Ohio’s sportsmen and women to make their opinions known before the Ohio Wildlife Council votes on these proposals. 

“Apathy is the sportsman’s greatest enemy,” he said. “Show up. Speak up. Be heard. It’s critical.”

Comments may be submitted to the Division of Wildlife online at the following link: wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/stay-informed/proposed-rule-changes-csi-review.

The Division of Wildlife will also host its annual open houses in all districts on March 7 from noon until 3 p.m.

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