New deer regulations proposed

By Dan Armitage, Buckeye Sportsman

Next autumn’s deer hunting seasons and bag limits have been proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council. Notably, bag limits were proposed to increase in six counties and decrease in one. Beyond that, the proposed deer hunting seasons are similar to last year and likely to be approved as written.

As in years past, only one antlered deer may be harvested, regardless of where or how it is taken, and hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. The proposed deer hunting dates for 2023-24 include:

• Deer archery: Sept. 30, 2023-Feb. 4, 2024

• Youth deer gun: Nov. 18-19, 2023

• Deer gun: Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 2023; Dec. 16-17, 2023

• Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 6-9, 2024. 

Bag limit increases from two to three deer were proposed in six counties: Belmont, Gallia, Geauga, Harrison, Jefferson, and Monroe. A bag limit decrease from three to two deer was proposed for Butler County. A proposed bag limit map is available at

The proposals also included separate deer hunting regulations in the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance area of Hardin, Marion, and Wyandot counties. The proposed 2023-24 disease surveillance area deer hunting regulations are similar to last season, with an earlier start to the archery hunting season and an additional early firearms season.

In addition to the statewide hunting seasons, hunters in Hardin, Marion, and Wyandot counties will have opportunities to participate in disease surveillance area seasons: 

• Deer archery season: Sept. 9, 2023-Feb. 4, 2024

• Early gun season: Oct. 7-9, 2023. 

A disease surveillance area was established following the discovery in 2020 of CWD-positive deer in Wyandot County. Monitoring is ongoing and the Division of Wildlife has proposed additional measures to increase the deer harvest, decrease the possibility of disease transmission, and limit the spread of CWD in Hardin, Marion, and Wyandot counties. CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects deer and other similar species.

The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that was first formed in 1949. It approves all Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. Council meetings are open to the public. Individuals interested in providing comments are asked to call 614-265-6304 at least two days prior to the meeting to register. All comments are required to be three minutes or less. 

Small game, waterfowl, and wild turkey hunting season proposals for the 2023-24 seasons were presented in January. A complete list of proposed rule changes for 2023-24 are available at Anyone who would like to comment on Division of Wildlife proposals can do so online at through March 8 for the statewide hearing on all proposed rules held on March 15.

Bowhunters’ Expo

The Ohio Bowhunters Association (OBA) will hold its 2023 Annual Awards Banquet on March 4 at the Cherry Valley Hotel, Newark Ohio. Banquet doors open at 5:30 p.m. Banquet tickets are $50 for single and $75 for couples. Add $25 dollars to your dinner ticket to become a member. There will be all kinds of door prizes and raffles, $600 Dollar table purchase of 8 people special Gun Raffle and door prize tickets for $600 table, Hunt Raffles, silent and live actions. Come out and enjoy dinner and music by Paul Allen & The Whiskey Ridge Ban. Also enjoy guest speaker Fred Eichler, Author and owner of Fulldraw Outfitters and Bowhunting Western Big Game TV Show Host.  For more info, visit or call/text 216-536-7414. 

2022 Fish Ohio pins awarded

The ODOW awarded 9,723 Fish Ohio pins depicting a crappie to anglers meeting the requirements of certain catches in 2022. The popular program has awarded more than 400,000 catches being noticed since 1976. Qualifying anglers receive the Fish Ohio pin for the first entry, then a Master Angler pin for four different species in the same year from 25 species of fish. 

This year, the Fish Ohio program will feature a walleye pin — and the best spot to catch a Fish Ohio-qualifying walleye is at Lake Erie. Anglers caught 1,348 Fish Ohio walleye with length at least 28 inches long just last year. Lake Erie’s largest Fish Ohio walleye was measured at 34 inches.

According to Fish Ohio records, the three of the most popular species entered from inland lakes across the Buckeye State are largemouth bass, saugeye and crappie.

ODNR announces new administrative appointments 

Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Director Mary Mertz recently announced the selections of Theresa White as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Stephanie O’Grady as Chief of Communications. As COO, Theresa White will oversee numerous operational divisions at ODNR and lead agency-wide initiatives.

“Theresa brings a wealth of management and public policy experience to the department,” said Mary Mertz, ODNR Director. “I am confident that her addition to our leadership team will further strengthen our ability to serve Ohioans and better manage the state’s natural resources.”

Prior to coming to ODNR, White served in multiple roles with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio, most recently as Executive Director of the Ohio Power Siting Board. She has also worked as an attorney in the private sector with Kastner Heritage Group, Reliability First Corp., and Weltman, Weinberg & Reis Co. White holds a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University, a master’s degree in Public Policy and Management from The Ohio State University’s (OSU) John Glenn College of Public Affairs, and a J.D. from the OSU Moritz College of Law.

Stephanie O’Grady will lead ODNR’s communication efforts, including media relations, marketing, and public information and outreach.

“It’s critical to keep communities and stakeholders across the state informed about the work we do,” Mertz said. “Stephanie’s experience and skills in this field are an excellent fit for what ODNR needs to effectively communicate with the public.”

O’Grady has worked as ODNR’s Media & Outreach Specialist since April 2020, serving as the primary contact for statewide media. Before ODNR, O’Grady spent 13 years at WBNS-10TV where she won multiple Regional Emmy Awards for her production work and storytelling. O’Grady holds a bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from Pennsylvania State University.

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One comment

  1. Amazing write up! Thanks for this submit

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