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New antlerless-only deer muzzleloader season is this weekend

Ohio hunters may participate in a new antlerless-only deer muzzleloader season Saturday and Sunday, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

“October is a great time to hunt deer in Ohio. This new antlerless muzzleloader weekend is a chance for Ohio hunters to enjoy the outdoors and help manage the state’s deer herd,” said Scott Zody, chief of the ODNR Division of Wildlife. “Hunters should be aware that no antlered deer may be killed during this weekend, regardless of hunting implement.”

In addition to this added antlerless season, an extra half hour of prime hunting time after sunset was added to all gun seasons this year to give hunters more golden opportunities in the field. Hunting hours are now 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

It is legal to hunt antlerless deer statewide with a muzzleloader or bow during this two-day season. No antlered deer may be harvested regardless of hunting implement. Antlerless deer include deer without antlers and deer with antlers less than three inches in length. All hunters, excluding waterfowl hunters, are required to wear a vest, coat, jacket, or coveralls that are either solid hunter orange or camouflage hunter orange.

Hunters will be able to use antlerless permits and either-sex permits during this two-day season. A new tagging procedure administered by the ODNR Division of Wildlife requires hunters to make their own game tag to attach to a deer. Game tags can be made of any material (cardboard, plastic, paper, etc.) as long as it contains the hunter’s name, date, time, and county of the kill. Go to the Deer Hunting Resources page at wildohio.com for more information on changes to the game check process.

All hunters must report their deer harvest using the automated game-check system. Hunters have three options to complete the game check:

• Online at ohiogamecheck.com;
• Call 877-TAG-ITOH (824-4864);
• Visit a license agent. A list of agents can be found at wildohio.com or by calling 800-WILDLIFE.

The license agents in Logan County include Bellefontaine Walmart, Rushsylvania One Stop, Lakeside Pro Bass, Lakeview Hardware, and Bud's Marine.

Game-check transactions are available online seven days a week, including holidays. Landowners exempt from purchasing a deer permit, and other people not required to purchase a deer permit, cannot use the 877-TAG-ITOH option.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife remains committed to properly managing Ohio’s deer populations through a combination of regulatory and programmatic changes. Progress toward reducing locally abundant herds can be expected. Strides have been made to reduce deer herds in many counties closer to target levels.

Ohio hunters are encouraged to hunt more does this season to help the needy in their area. The ODNR Division of Wildlife is working with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) to help pay for the processing of donated venison. Hunters who donate their deer to a food bank are not required to pay the processing cost as long as funding for the effort lasts. More information about this program can be found online at fhfh.org.

Deer hunting in Ohio continues to be a popular activity for many who enjoy the outdoors. Ohio hunters checked 218,910 deer during the 2012-2013 season. Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has a more than $853 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.

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