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Published: Sunday, 2/22/2009

Reduced-cost deer tags gain acclaim

Reduced-cost antlerless deer permits have been enough of a success at encouraging Ohio deer hunters to take more does that they will be available in 2009-2010 if a plan to offer them again is approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council.

"For the second year in a row, the effectiveness of the reduced-cost antlerless deer permit can be seen," said Dave Risley, who oversees wildlife management and research for the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

"The reduced-cost permit provided an incentive for hunters to take more does during the early portion of the deer season and during gun week in Zone C [southeast Ohio]. This has helped our deer population management plan to reduce the overall deer population."

During the 2008-2009 deer seasons, which concluded Feb. 1, hunters took a record 248,515 deer, far eclipsing the former high bag of 237,316 in 2006. Some 475,000 hunters were afield during the seasons, the wildlife division said.

As proposed, antlerless deer permits would be available for $15 each for hunting in urban zones, participating in division-sponsored controlled hunts, or archery hunting during the Sept. 27 to Nov. 30 portion of the deer season. The division also proposed allowing the $15 antlerless permits to be used in Zone CD during shotgun week, which runs through Dec. 6.

The permits, however, would have to be bought by Nov. 30 and could be purchased only after a hunter already has bought a regular deer permit for $24.

In other deer proposals, counties in the hunting zones, A, B, and C, would remain the same with bag limit at two in Zone A [northwest] until Nov. 30 if a $15 permit is used on one of the deer. Zone B [central] would have a four-deer bag till Nov. 30, using two of the $15 tags, and a two-deer bag thereafter. Zone C would have a six-deer bag, including three $15 tags that would be good through Dec. 6.

Another proposed change would allow hunters to take six deer in urban zones or on division-controlled hunts, and those deer would not count against a hunter's zone bag-limit.

A hunter is allowed only one antlered buck per license-year, regardless of season or zone.

Archery season would run Sept. 26 through Feb. 7, with the youth deer-gun season Nov. 21 and 22.

The regular deer-gun season would be Nov. 30 through Dec. 6 with an extra gun weekend Dec. 19 and 20.

As announced in an earlier proposal, the statewide muzzleloading rifle season would be moved back from the holidays to Jan. 9 through 12, and the special muzzleloader season at Shawnee, Salt Fork, and Wildcat Hollow areas would run Oct. 19 through 24.

Open houses are set for noon to 3 p.m. next Sunday in each of the state's five wildlife district offices to allow public comment and discussion of the deer and other hunting and trapping proposals. Wildlife District 2 for northwest Ohio is at 952 Lima Ave., Findlay. For directions call 1-800-WILDLIFE or visit wildohio.com.

A statewide hearing on the proposals is set for March 5 at 9 a.m. in Wildlife District 1 headquarters, 1500 Dublin Rd., Columbus. The Ohio Wildlife Council is to make final decisions on the proposals at its meeting April 1.

In other Ohio news, hunting and fishing licenses for the 2009-2010 license-year, which begins next March 1, are on sale at vendors throughout the state and online at wildohio.com. Any 2008-2009 licenses expire on Saturday.

Annual resident hunting or fishing licenses are $19 each and regular deer and turkey permits are $24 each. Hunters ages 17 and younger and some Ohio seniors are eligible for discounted licenses.

A one-day fishing permit costs $11, and the cost later can be applied to a full license.

The 2009-2010 licenses will not be printed on weatherproof paper, so a protective pouch or wallet is suggested.

Similarly, new Michigan hunting and fishing licenses for the 2009-2010 license-year, which begins April 1, will be available for sale at michigan.gov/dnr, at local retailers, and at Michigan Department of Natural Resources offices across the state starting on Sunday, March 1. License prices remain the same as 2008.

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The 19th annual fund-raising dinner of the Wood/Lucas Chapter of Pheasants Forever is scheduled for Saturday at the Glass City Boardwalk, 27820 East Broadway, Moline.

Doors open at 5 p.m. and a New York strip steak dinner will be at 6:45 p.m., followed by raffles and auctions. No tickets will be sold at the door. For tickets call Emily Chabra, 419-241-5522, between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, or Norma Best, 419-353-3171, or e-mail woodlucaspf@yahoo.com.



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