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Views sought on hunting changes

Potential change for deer hunters includes increasing bag limit from 2 to 3

By Peyton Neely

The Marietta Times

pneely@mariettatimes.com

The Ohio Division of Natural Resources released its 2017-2018 hunting season proposal this month and is asking for the public’s opinion on changes that may be made.

One of the new proposals is increasing the bag limit from two deer to three. This proposed change is designed to slow the rate of growth but still allow the herds to increase.

“If you’ve been following deer hunting, there was a time around 2006 where the bag limit was six deer,” said Ryan Harris, assistant wildlife management supervisor at the Wildlife District Four office in Athens. “We don’t want to keep the limit low and allow for so much growth that we have to increase that number way up there again.”

Washington County will be joined by Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Fairfield, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Tuscarawas and Vinton Counties for these proposed changes.

“The deer population is beginning to increase again,” said Harris. “We need to go to a third deer to moderate the herd.”

The Ohio DNR is asking the public to voice concerns they may have, regardless of whether or not someone is a hunter.

“Surveys indicate that hunters want more deer to prevent the herd from sky rocketing,” said Harris. “We don’t have to make a drastic bag change.”

Harris said statistics show it’s common for hunters to not kill the bag limit.

“Adding one deer isn’t going to damage the herd,” said Harris. “Only about a third of hunters are successful and around 70 to 75 percent kill just one deer.”

In Washington County, Wildlife Officer Ryan Donnelly said he doesn’t expect a small change to make a huge impact.

“With a small change like this, it’s a balance,” he said. “We’ve seen a higher percentage in the entire country itself of herd growth. I don’t see this being an issue by any means.”

The open house for public comments will be on March 4 from noon to 3 p.m. It will be at the Wildlife District Four office located at 360 East State St. in Athens.

There will also be online commenting available at wildlife.ohiodnr.gov. This will run through March 5.

If you go

¯What: The public is invited to comment on Ohio’s 2017-2018 hunting season proposals.

¯Where: Wildlife District Four office, 360 East State St., Athens.

¯When: March 4, between noon and 3 p.m., and online comments will be accepted through March 5.

¯For information: wildlife.ohiodnr.gov or call 740-589-9930.

Source: Ryan Harris, assistant wildlife management supervisor for the Ohio Division of Natural Resources.

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