COLUMBUS — The Ohio Wildlife Council received regulation proposals for fishing and white-tailed deer processing at its regularly scheduled meeting Wednesday, July 8, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. If approved, these regulations will take effect Jan. 1, 2021.
Hunting and fishing season dates, bag limits and other wildlife regulations are proposed by the Division of Wildlife to the Ohio Wildlife Council. Included in the proposals are aligning the walleye daily bag limit on all of Ohio’s portion of Lake Erie, removing restrictions on channel catfish on small inland lakes as well as updating how white-tailed deer are handled by processors and taxidermists.
“We are proud of our work protecting fish and wildlife through our inclusive regulations process,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “These proposals are designed to make it easier for people to enjoy our wildlife resources while ensuring these populations remain healthy and sustainable.”
Division of Wildlife fisheries biologists recommended removing the daily bag limit restriction of four walleye in the Sandusky River and Sandusky Bay from March 1 to April 30, annually. The proposal would change the daily bag limit to six walleye, aligning the Sandusky River and Sandusky Bay with the rest of Ohio’s Lake Erie regulations.
Fisheries biologists also recommended removing the daily bag limit of six channel catfish at inland lakes and reservoirs less than 700 acres in surface area. The proposal includes no daily bag limit on channel catfish less than 28 inches statewide, and one channel catfish 28 inches or larger. Separate regulations for Hoover Reservoir channel catfish are not included in this proposed rule change. Removing the statewide channel catfish bag limit increases angler opportunities, promotes harvest, increases the growth rates of the remaining fish and improves the overall health of these populations.
A third regulation proposal updates how white-tailed deer and other cervids are handled by Ohio taxidermists and processors. This rule was proposed to provide certified Ohio taxidermists and processors the ability to accept out-of-state cervid carcasses legally harvested by Ohio hunters. This proposal was designed to ensure certified processors and taxidermists receive information about properly handling cervid carcasses to limit the spread of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), a debilitating disease that affects deer and other cervids.
A complete list of proposals is available at wildohio.gov. A statewide public hearing on the proposed rules will be held on Thursday, Sept. 17, at 9 a.m. For those unable to attend the hearing, comments will also be accepted via email. Comment submission information will be available in August at wildohio.gov.
The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. The council will vote on the proposed rules and season dates after considering public input at their meeting on Wednesday, Oct. 7.
Council meetings are open to the public. Individuals who want to provide comments on a topic that is currently being considered by council are asked to register at least two days before the meeting by calling 614-265-6304.