Regulations and season dates have been set by the Ohio Wildlife Council for the 2002 hunting season, which includes new deer hunting zones, a five-week extension of the fall turkey season for archery hunting, and an increase in the squirrel hunting bag limit.
This spring's wild turkey season opens April 22 and hunters will have new flexibility in purchasing permits. For the first time, a hunter who has harvested a first turkey will have the option to then purchase an additional turkey permit to hunt a second turkey. Previously, turkey hunters had to purchase a 'double permit' if they thought they might want to hunt a second bird.
"This provides better customer service, " said Budzik. "If a hunter gets his bird and wants to continue hunting, a second permit can be purchased at that time. He or she doesn't have to spend the additional money up front on the speculation of getting the first gobbler," he said.
Archery turkey hunters will have an additional five weeks in which to bag a bird following the October 12 through October 27 regular fall turkey hunting season. A new five-week archery-only turkey season will open October 28 and run through December 1. Ashland, Richland and Scioto counties have also been added to the 32 counties previously open for fall turkey hunting.
A fourth deer hunting zone (Zone R), consisting of 10 western and northwestern Ohio counties, will be added this year to allow for better management of deer populations.
Zone R (10 counties) Hunters can take only one deer, which could be a deer of either sex during archery or primitive seasons, or during the first two days of the statewide gun season or a buck only during the last five days of the gun season.
Zone A (35 counties) Hunters can take only one deer, which could be a deer of either sex.
Zone B (19 counties) Hunters can take no more than two deer, of which only one can be an antlered deer.
Zone C (24 counties) Hunters can take no more than three deer, of which only one could be an antlered deer.
Deer hunters must possess the proper permits, and regardless of zone, method of taking or season, hunters may take only one antlered deer.
The deer archery season will run from October 5, 2002 through January 31, 2003, and the statewide gun season from December 2 through December 8, 2002. Deer permits cost $20 and can be used to tag either an antlered or antlerless deer during any season or at a controlled hunt anywhere in the state.
Urban deer permits cost $10 and can be used to tag only antlerless deer taken in urban units or at special controlled hunts. Hunters must purchase a deer permit before they can purchase and use an urban deer permit. Urban deer units will remain the same and the bag limit of four additional deer will be unchanged.
The statewide primitive weapon season opens December 27 and runs through December 30 for deer of either sex. A special area primitive hunt will be open October 21 - 26 at Salt Fork, Shawnee and Wildcat Hollow state wildlife areas for antlered deer only.
The daily bag limit for squirrels increased from four to six.