Month: April 2012

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Ohio Free Fishing Days May 5-6

The Black River at its mouth at Lake Erie in L...

The Black River at its mouth at Lake Erie in Lorain, Ohio (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

COLUMBUS, OH – Ohioans are encouraged to take advantage of “Free Fishing Days” on May 5-6 and experience the great fishing Ohio has to offer. For these two days only, Ohio anglers may fish in any of the state’s public waters without having to buy a fishing license.

During the rest of the year, anglers 16 years and older are required to have a valid fishing license to take fish, frogs or turtles from Ohio waters. An Ohio fishing license is one of the best recreation bargains available, costing only $19 a year for residents.

Ohio residents born on or before Dec. 31, 1937, can obtain a free fishing license at any license vendor. Residents age 66 and older who were born on or after Jan. 1, 1938, are eligible to obtain a reduced cost senior fishing license for $10. A one-day fishing license is also available for $11, an amount that later can be applied toward the cost of an annual fishing license. Fishing licenses are available at bait and tackle stores, outdoor outfitters, major department stores, as well aswildohio.com.

Ohio’s Free Fishing Days were established in 1993 to promote fishing and allow Ohioans to experience fishing before buying a license. The offer is open to all Ohio residents and extends to all of Ohio’s public waters including Lake Erie and the Ohio River.

Great fishing exists around the state and throughout the year. An estimated 1.3 million people fish each year in Ohio. In late winter and early spring, anglers reel in excellent catches of steelhead trout and walleye from northern Ohio streams. Spring also means great saugeye and crappie fishing. During the summer months, the fishing heats up on Lake Erie for yellow perch, walleye and smallmouth bass, while anglers on the Ohio River enjoy excellent striped bass fishing.

The “Free Fishing Days” weekend offers Ohioans of all ages the chance to experience the fun of fishing. For anyone taking a young angler, there’s nothing more rewarding than teaching a kid to fish. Here are some helpful tips:

  • Keep it simple. Consider the child’s age and skill level. If this is their first time, shore fishing is recommended.
  • Kids like to catch fish. The size of fish doesn’t matter to kids. But catching a fish—any fish—does. Choose a pond, lake or stream where they will easily be able to catch a few fish.
  • Use simple tackle. A good rod and reel for kids costs between $15 and $30. A spin-cast reel is easy to use and, after a few practice casts, kids usually have mastered it.
  • Bring along a camera. Children love to show off pictures of their “big catch.”
  • Keep the trip fun and short. Let the child have a good time, even if it means taking a break. Take time out to enjoy the time together.
  • Be patient. Plan on spending some time untangling lines, baiting hooks, landing fish and taking pictures of big smiles and wiggling fish. When people concentrate all of their attention on their young angler, they will likely be developing a fishing buddy for a lifetime.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at www.ohiodnr.com.

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Ohio Fishing Licenses Available By Phone

COLUMBUS, OH – With spring fishing heating up, anglers can now purchase one-day and three-day fishing licenses over the telephone according the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

Customers have two telephone options to purchase a “last-minute” fishing license by using a credit card:

Calling 866-703-1928 between 5 a.m. and midnight to reach a live operator who will walk the customer through the transaction; a $5.50 convenience fee is included with this option.

Calling 855-764-3474 any time for an Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system. Callers should be sure and have their nine-digit customer identification number, which can be obtained at no cost from the Wild Ohio Customer Center at www.wildohio.com. The IVR option includes a $3.25 convenience fee.

In both cases, the customer is issued a 10-digit license number and instructed to carry it along with a picture ID as proof that the angler is properly licensed. A printed copy of the license is not included. Convenience fees in either option can be avoided by purchasing licenses early at license agent outlets or online at www.wildohio.com. Customers should note $10 of the one-day fishing license can be exchanged for credit toward the purchase of an annual fishing license at any time within the license year. All license purchases include a $1 writing fee.

Also new this year, anglers have the option of buying in advance an $11 “Lake Erie Charter 1-Day Fishing License” allowing them to wait and validate the license at the dock the day of the trip. Waiting to sign and date the license allows for its future use in case the original fishing trip is cancelled due to weather or other circumstances. This license is not available for purchase over the telephone.

Customers should be aware that Social Security Numbers (SSN) will be required of all individuals, youth and adults, who plan to buy licenses and permits. United States Federal Statute 42 requires the collection of SSN of any individual to whom the state issues a recreational hunting or fishing license. When buying a license, customers are also required by law to give their full name, date of birth, gender, declaration of residency, mailing address, height, weight and hair and eye color.

For questions or clarification, contact the Division of Wildlife at 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) or visit our website at www.wildohio.com.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at www.ohiodnr.com.

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Ohio 2012-2013 Hunting Regulations Approved

COLUMBUS, OH – The Ohio Wildlife Council approved hunting and trapping regulations for the 2012-13 hunting seasons, during the April 4 meeting,

Raches (and a greyhound) pursuing the hart fro...

Raches (and a greyhound) pursuing the hart from Livre de la Chasse, a 15th century MS of Gaston Phoebus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

Seven west-central Ohio counties will move from deer Zone A to Zone B; those counties are Auglaize, Darke, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Shelby. Madison County, currently in Zone B, will move to Zone A.

Antlerless deer permits will no longer be valid the first week of deer-gun season in Zone C. The antlerless permits will be valid until Nov. 25 in deer Zones A, B and C. This is a return to regulations adopted in 2007.

Deer hunters will have until noon the following day to complete the automated game check process. The only exception will be on the last day of any season when automated game check must be completed by 11:30 p.m.

A hunter may take only one buck in Ohio, regardless of zone, hunting method or season. Either a $15 antlerless deer permit or $24 either-sex deer permit and a valid hunting license are required to hunt deer in Ohio.

Seasons and Dates for 2012-13:

  • Archery season – Sept. 29 through Feb. 3, 2013
  • Special area muzzleloader hunts – Oct. 15-20
  • Youth deer-gun season – Nov. 17-18
  • Statewide deer-gun season – Nov. 26 through Dec. 2 and Dec. 15-16
  • Statewide muzzleloader season – Jan. 5-8, 2013

Bag Limits –

Deer bag limits are zone specific by permit type. A hunter may take one deer from Zone A, two deer from Zone B and three deer from Zone C during the entire 2012-2013 season using the either-sex deer permit. Only one antlered deer may be taken regardless of zone.

Additionally, a hunter may take one antlerless deer from Zone A, two antlerless deer from Zone B and three antlerless deer from Zone C during the archery season from Sept. 29 to Nov. 25 using the antlerless deer permit.

Those hunting in urban units and at Division of Wildlife-authorized controlled hunts may use the antlerless deer permits during all deer hunting seasons. Urban units and controlled hunts will again have a six-deer bag limit, and those deer will not count against the hunter’s zone bag limit.

Deer Hunting Zones –

Zone A — The zone includes six counties: Erie, Fayette, Madison, Ottawa, Sandusky and Wood.

Zone B — The zone includes 44 counties: Allen, Ashland, Ashtabula, Auglaize, Butler, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Darke, Defiance, Fulton, Geauga, Greene, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Huron, Lake, Logan, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Paulding, Portage, Preble, Putnam, Seneca, Shelby, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Union, Van Wert, Warren, Wayne, Williams and Wyandot.

Zone C — The zone includes 38 counties: Adams, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Carroll, Clermont, Columbiana, Coshocton, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Gallia, Guernsey, Hamilton, Harrison, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Lawrence, Licking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pickaway, Pike, Richland, Ross, Scioto, Tuscarawas, Vinton and Washington.

Hunting seasons for rabbit, pheasant, quail, squirrel, crow and wild turkey were approved as proposed. In addition, trapping seasons for beaver, mink, muskrat, and river otter, along with the hunting and trapping seasons for fox, raccoon, skunk, and weasel, were also approved.

2012-13 Hunting and/or Trapping Seasons and Dates

  • Squirrel – Sept. 1 through Jan. 31, 2013
  • Ruffed grouse – Oct. 13 through Jan. 31, 2013
  • Fall Wild Turkey – Oct. 13 through Nov. 25, in specified counties
  • Youth Upland Season – Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 27-28
  • Cottontail rabbit – Nov. 2 through Feb. 28, 2013
  • Ring-necked Pheasant – Nov. 2 through Jan. 6, 2013
  • Bobwhite Quail – Nov. 2-25, in specified counties
  • Fox, raccoon, skunk, opossum, and weasel – Nov. 10 through Jan. 31, 2013
  • Mink and muskrat – Nov. 10 through Feb. 28, 2013
  • Mink, muskrat, raccoon, skunk, opossum and weasel (Lake Erie Marsh area) – Nov. 10 through March 15, 2013
  • Beaver – Dec. 26 through Feb. 28, 2013
  • River Otter – Dec. 26 through Feb. 28, 2013
  • Youth Spring Wild Turkey Season – April 20-21, 2013
  • Spring Wild Turkey – April 22 through May 19, 2013
  • Crow (Friday, Saturday and Sunday only) – June 1 through March 10, 2013, and June 7, 2013, through March 9, 2014
  • Coyote and woodchuck – No closed season

Rules and season dates for migratory birds including mourning dove, Canada goose, rail, moorhen, snipe, woodcock and waterfowl hunting will be set in August, in compliance with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service‘s 2012-13 framework.

All hunting and trapping season dates and rules can be found at wildohio.com.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.com.

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Ohio Spring Turkey Season Opens April 23rd

COLUMBUS, OH – This year’s spring wild turkey season opens in all 88 Ohio counties on Monday, April 23 and continues through Sunday, May 20,

Despite its distinct appearance, the Wild Turk...

Despite its distinct appearance, the Wild Turkey is actually a very close relative of pheasants (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

“Ohio has again experienced a record low wild turkey hatch, with last year’s nesting season negatively impacted by rainfall and flooding,” said ODNR Wildlife Biologist Mike Reynolds. “The early onset of spring-like weather and green vegetation could make it harder for hunters to see and hear turkeys, creating challenging hunting conditions this season.”

Wild turkey breeding activity is largely controlled by the increasing amount of daylight.  Typically in southeast Ohio, hens start incubating nests on May 1.

Hunters harvested 18,162 wild turkeys during last year’s youth and spring turkey seasons. Ohio’s current wild turkey population is more than 180,000. ODNR anticipates as many as 70,000 licensed hunters, not counting private landowners hunting on their own property, will enjoy Ohio’s popular spring wild turkey season.

A special youth-only turkey hunt for those possessing a valid youth hunting license and youth turkey permit will be held April 21-22. Young hunters must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, 18 years of age or older. The young hunter’s turkey season is open statewide with the exception of Lake La Su An State Wildlife Area in Williams County, which requires a special hunting permit. Legal hunting hours are a half-hour before sunrise to sunset each day during the two-day youth season.

All hunters must report their harvest of turkeys, but they are no longer required to take their turkey to a check station for physical inspection. Hunters will have three options to complete the automated game check:

Game-check transactions will be available online and by telephone seven days a week and during holidays. Landowner hunters who are not required to purchase a fall turkey permit must use the website or a license agent to check their turkey, but cannot use the phone-in method.

Legal hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise until noon from April 23 to May 6.  Hunting hours from May 7-20 will be a half-hour before sunrise to sunset.  An incorrect start date for the all day turkey hunting hours was printed in the 2011-12 Hunting Regulations booklet. The first day for all day hunting is May 7.

Hunters are required to have a hunting license and a spring turkey-hunting permit. They can also take one bearded turkey per day. A second spring turkey permit can be purchased allowing hunters to take a limit of two bearded wild turkeys. Turkeys must be checked by 11:30 p.m. the day of harvest.

Hunters may use shotguns, longbows and crossbows to hunt wild turkeys; however, it is unlawful to hunt turkeys using bait, live decoys or electronic calling devices or to shoot a wild turkey while it is in a tree.

The Division of Wildlife advises turkey hunters to wear hunter orange clothing when entering, leaving or moving through hunting areas in order to remain visible to others.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.com.

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