Ohio DNR to stop selling non-resident hunting, fishing licenses
Columbus — The Ohio DNR will temporarily stop selling non-resident hunting and fishing licenses in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, ODNR Director Mary Mertz said Monday.
Travelers coming into Ohio from other states are now required to voluntarily self-quarantine for 14 days, according to Gov. Mike DeWine’s order.
That makes it problematic for out-of-state hunters and anglers to abide by the order, said Mertz.
“People entering the state are being asked to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days, making recreational travel unfeasible,” Mertz said. “We look forward to reopening license sales when hunters and anglers can safely return.”
This temporary suspension goes into effect at midnight on April 6. Sales will resume when COVID-19 guidelines change or are lifted, the ODNR said.
While individuals who currently possess a non-resident hunting or fishing license may hunt or fish in Ohio, they are asked to abide by ODH guidance and self-quarantine for 14 days before they do so.
“If I sell a license to somebody and they have to come here and sit in a hotel room for 14 days, that doesn’t make a lot of sense,” Mertz said. “We’re not trying to take people’s money when they can’t use (their licenses). So, we’re going to suspend sales temporarily … and hope this is over in a month.”
The new action is partly in response to the situation over the weekend when anglers – a percentage of them with non-resident license plates – congregated on the Maumee River and Lake Erie, Mertz said.
“I went up myself this weekend because I’ve been to those (boat) ramps and the Maumee and I wanted to see what was going on,” the director said. “ … What I saw was full parking lots. We had officers on duty and they weren’t letting people overpark … The moment that I was there, people were doing what they needed to do.
“With that being said, cars were being turned away because the lots were full,” Mertz said. “We know that at some of the boat ramps, 20% or so (of anglers) were from out of state and I appreciate the local community’s concern. But, really a lot of this just comes back to the governor’s order. I don’t see how you can have a 14-day quarantine and make use of a hunting permit or a fishing license right now.”