Hunter feedback helps modify two season proposals

By Al Smith - Guest Columnist

Hunters played a role in a pair of amended proposals for 2022-23 hunting seasons approved Wednesday by the Ohio Wildlife Council.

Hunter concerns helped change the beginning of the special bow season opener in a local disease surveillance area, which includes Hardin, Marion and Wyandot counties. Hunter feedback also played a part in limiting the fall wild turkey hunting season to 37 days.

Originally the Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) proposed Sept 1 as the opening day of bow season for the three-county CWD surveillance area. The start date was modified and will be Sept. 10.

The surveillance area was established following the 2020 discovery of CWD in two deer in Wyandot County. Further testing revealed eight more CWD-positive deer in 2021. The DOW has implemented 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 white-tailed deer and other similar species.

Hunter feedback also helped in this fall’s wild turkey season, which was reduced from 52 to 37 days. The season will run from Oct. 8-Nov. 13. The DOW had proposed a season of Oct. 15-Nov. 13. The season limit is one wild turkey of either sex. In the Lima area, Allen, Hancock, Hardin, Logan and Putnam counties are among the 70 counties statewide open for fall turkey hunting.

Six Lima area counties had are among 15 counties that will move from two to three-deer counties, They are: Allen, Auglaize, Mercer, Putnam, Shelby and Van Vert counties.

In a minor hunting change, the definition of a crossbow was updated to include new limb configurations and stock lengths. This will allow newer crossbow designs that are shorter and have differing limb configurations. A shoulder-mount stock is still required for a crossbow.

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A lousy day weather-wise last Saturday may have played a role in the youth season turkey harvest being down more than a year ago. Following blustery weather with rain and snow showers Saturday, Sunday’s weather was much nicer.

Youth hunters (17 and under) in the Lima area harvested 38 wild turkeys during the two-day event, which was below the three-year average of 48, according to raw numbers form the DOW.

Numbers were down in five area counties, up in two and the same in two. Harvest numbers with the three-year average number in parenthesis were: Allen 5 (9), Auglaize 4 (4), Hancock 3 (3), Hardin 9 (7), Logan 8 (10), Mercer 1 (2), Putnam 3 (8), Shelby 2 (3), and Van Wert 3 (2).

The two-day season was open to hunters 17 years old and younger. Participants were required to be accompanied by a nonhunting adult. As of April 10, the DOW issued 5,707 youth wild turkey permits, which can be used for the remainder of the 2022 spring hunting season. The regular spring season opens April 23 in the south zone and runs through May 22.

The 2022 spring season limit is one bearded turkey for all hunters.

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Talk about Murphy’s Law. Lima area bass pro Kyle Weisenburger wishes there was a “do over” button he would definitely push following a few days in South Carolina and Ohio.

Things did not go his way last week in Summerton, South Carolina, in the Toyota Series event on Santee Cooper.

He thought his chance of competing in the tournament was over when he had problems with his boat during practice. There wasn’t a service crew on-site and the local shops weren’t able to help him. When he called Freedom Outdoors in St. Marys to let them know the situation, they said if he could get the boat back to Ohio, they would diagnose, try and find parts and see if they could get him back up and running so he could get back to the event.

“I literally drove overnight back to Ohio and they were able to pinpoint the problem, replace the parts, and get me on my way back to South Carolina,” the Columbus Grove bass angler said.

On the opening day, he landed only two keeper bass, which weighed 7 pounds, 10 ounces. He did not get a chance to fish again as strong winds and inclement weather forced MLF tournament officials to cancel Day 2 and Day 3 of competition. Originally scheduled as a three-day tournament, anglers were able to get in only the first day of competition. With the strong winds remaining in the forecast for Saturday and no end in sight, tournament officials declared the tournament over and announced that the final standings would be determined by the Day 1 catch.

Thus, Weisenburger finished 120th and fell to 50th in the points standings after two tourneys in the Southern Division. He had been 38th going into the Santee Cooper event.

“Not getting a second day at Santee to rebound slides me down in points more than I had hoped,” Weisenburger said. “I haven’t decided if I’ll fish the final event in the division.”

He is focusing on the next MFL Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit event that takes place Thursday, April 21, through Sunday, April 24, on Pickwick Lake in Counce, Tennessee.

By Al Smith

Guest Columnist

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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