Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Comments on deer hunting rule changes

Ohio Department of Natural Resources -- Nearly 30 state lawmakers have written Ohio Division of Wildlife Chief Scott Zody in opposition to proposals for more stringent deer hunting rules.  In their letter, the legislators challenged the scientific basis for the changes, which among other things would eliminate urban deer zones and shorten the December hunting season, according to a release from Sen. Chris Widener.
"The elimination of the late-December gun weekend for deer will take away the opportunity for hunters to harvest nearly 15,000 deer, according to recent figures," Sen. Widener said in a release. "Furthermore, the elimination of urban hunting poses a danger to communities already on edge about the risk of car accidents and property damage caused by deer."  The senator added that some of the reduced bag limits are "unreasonable," and the elimination of the special muzzleloader hunts in southeast Ohio is "not compatible" with reports heard by legislators of an increased deer population in the area.

So far, 28 lawmakers from both chambers and parties have signed onto the letter, including the majority and minority leaders from both the House and Senate and members of the bipartisan Sportsmen's Caucus, the release stated. Sen. Widener said additional members have also contacted his office to sign onto the letter, which was sent Thursday.  The agency removed the proposed changes from a legislative committee vote last week because the rules had not been ratified by the Ohio Wildlife Council, Sen. Widener's office said.  The senator said the Ohio Department of Natural Resources has pushed the rules even though the department has received a number of comments from hunters by email and during a series of open houses.

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