Expanded Youth Hunting Opportunities Approved
A new, statewide deer gun hunting season for young hunters, an expansion of the existing youth spring turkey hunting season, and the use of two-way radios for hunter safety highlighted proposals approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council last night, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
Young hunters in Ohio will have increased hunting options with the approval of a new youth deer gun season on Saturday, November 22 and Sunday, November 23, 2003 for both private and public lands.
“These special hunts provide young outdoor enthusiasts with a chance to experience our state’s great deer hunting during a prime time before the regular deer gun season,” said Steven A. Gray, chief of the ODNR Division of Wildlife. “We hope adult hunters will take a new, young hunter and introduce them to the excitement and challenge of deer hunting.”
Young hunters will be permitted to bag one deer of either sex in any county of Ohio. Any deer taken will be part of the young hunter’s total season limit.
The Ohio Wildlife Council also approved an extension of hunting hours for the two-day spring youth wild turkey season, which will begin in 2004. This extension will allow the spring youth turkey hunt to open from sunrise to sunset on both private and public land. For 2003, the season will continue to open at sunrise and close at noon.
Two-way radios will now be permitted for safety-related and personal communication while deer hunting. They will not be allowed to aid in the hunting of deer.
Following Ohio’s record 204,652 deer taken this past season, the 2003-2004 deer season will expand the two deer limit in many Ohio counties. However, there will be no three deer limit counties. The regulations call for 54 counties in Zone B, mostly in southern and eastern Ohio, to have a two deer limit. Zone A will consist of 29 northern and western counties, which would have a one deer limit. And a restricted zone, Zone R, will encompass five northwest Ohio counties with a one deer limit with special restrictions.
The statewide deer gun season will be held from December 1 through December 7. The increasingly popular archery season will open October 4, 2003 and last through January 31, 2004. The statewide primitive or muzzleloader season will open on the traditional date of December 27 and run four days through December 30. The special area primitive hunts will be open October 20 - 25 at Salt Fork, Shawnee and Wildcat Hollow state wildlife areas for antlered deer only.
The legal hunting hours for rabbit, pheasant and quail is now from sunrise to sunset. This change brings legal hunting hours in line on both private and public land. Squirrel season will now open on September 1 to coincide with the opening of several other seasons.
“Hunters should look forward to September 1 as opening day of hunting season for the year,” according to Gray. “On that one day the season will begin for doves, squirrel and Canada geese. It is also the Labor Day holiday, a great day to kick off the hunting season.”
Additional hunting and trapping rules and season dates will reflect those now in effect with only slight changes next fall in opening season dates.
The following changes were also approved for the Ginseng Management Program: Opening day has been set for September 1 and diggers are required to immediately replant seeds at the place where the plant was collected. The fee for certifying ginseng will be $3 a pound.