Ohio Division of Wildlife considers opening deer hunting to certain center-fire rifles

Outdoor writer Jeffrey L. Frischkorn recently publicized discussions at the Ohio Division of Wildlife to open deer hunting to firearms other than certain handguns, shotguns and muzzle-loading rifles.

From the article:

As for the future of deer management in Ohio, that is a subject under review, said [Mike Tonkovich, the Ohio Division of Wildlife's deer management administrator].

The biologist is in the process of sending out a random survey of all licensed Ohio hunters. One of the questions being asked is whether hunters would support an antlerless-only muzzle-loading season in October.

Also being explored is whether to liberalize the regulations more by allowing certain types of rifles for use in deer hunting during the firearms hunting season.

A potential problem with such a change would be a hunter would simply switch from using a shotgun to a rifle, rather than drawing in new hunting recruits.

"There are good arguments on both sides of this issue, and I'm happy we are discussing this topic," Tonkovich said. "We have an obligation to go to the table. That's progress, frankly."

Buckeye Firearms Association leaders Larry Moore, Aaron Kirkingburg, and "Buckeye" Dan Allen have been participating in discussions on this issue with the Division of Wildlife for some time now. Following is the proposal submitted by BFA:

Rifle Hunting Proposal for Ohio

  • Any cartridge currently legal to hunt with in a handgun, would be legal in a rifle.

    No complex or confusing regulations or list of “rifle only” cartridges. The parameters for handgun cartridges would be kept exactly as they are, so there will be no additional “layer” of regulation specific to rifles.

  • Black powder cartridge rifles would be legal during regular gun season.

    Not to be confused with muzzle loaders, and no inclusion in any of the primitive weapon seasons. Caliber requirements remain the same as pistols in that anything .357 or larger in a black powder cartridge would be legal.

  • Compliance for 3 shot rule using dummy rounds, or similar "simple" fix.

    Find a system of compliance for the three shot rule that does not require costly permanent, or semi permanent modifications to the firearm.

  • Sunset provision giving DNR an "out" in 4-6 years if unforeseen problems result.

    Include a time frame for the "trial period" in which a field assessment of the new regulations can take place. Thus giving the Division of Wildlife, and the Wildlife Council an intact system for returning things to the way they were. Include parameters for allowing the regulation to sunset vs. become law.

  • Make these changes effective state wide if possible.

    At least the pistol caliber cartridges should be state wide. If any "zoning" is to occur, limit the black powder cartridges to "foothill" counties. Leaving Glaciated Ohio, or "the flatland" counties closed to the use of black powder cartridges.

Buckeye Firearms Association will continue to provide updates to this effort as new information becomes available.

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