Progress in efforts to allow pistol cartridge rifles for deer hunting in Ohio
by Larry S. Moore
I attended the annual Division of Wildlife open house in District 5 and left my comments. I thought the room was more crowded than in past years. It was thinking perhaps driven by the number of proposed changes in the deer hunting regulations and seasons. I was certain these changes would grab the attention of hunters. Initial conversations and sportsmen forums indicated a diverse set of opinions on the changes.
I was surprised in several areas. My projections and anticipations were way off the mark. The attendance at District 5 was exactly the same as in 2012. Overall the statewide attendance was only up by about 20 visitors. This was disappointing news to me. Total visitors, at least the ones who bothered to sign-in, were 416. There were an additional 329 online comments regarding the deer regulations. This is truly an example of where the vocal minority has the greatest influence on our hunting regulations.
So now I began to get concerned that the numbers may not be good for the pistol cartridge rifle (PCR) survey. It's been a long effort to get the Division to include the PCR survey at an open house. Would the numbers here be disappointing and possibly mean the end of the road for our efforts to bring at least some rifle hunting to Ohio?
Well, I got another surprise at the number of comments received and the numbers that went in our favor. The following breaks down the comments:
Written comments at the open houses:
- 197 or 67% support
- 80 or 27% oppose
- 15 or 6% no opinion
Online survey was hugely in our favor. I'm guessing our forums and articles drove these comments.
- 577 or 81% support
- 199 or 17% oppose
- 14 or 2% no opinion
The Division made no formal comments or recommendations regarding the use of PCR for deer hunting. It was a survey to gauge hunter support for the concept. The Division is recommending to the Ohio Wildlife Council that the other proposed deer regulation and season changes be adopted for the 2013 deer hunting season. The Ohio Wildlife Council will vote on those changes April 17. The Ohio Wildlife Council is a citizens board that actually has final approval on any changes to wildlife regulations the Division proposes (For more information on the Ohio Wildlife Council see: http://www.dnr.state.oh.us/Default.aspx?tabid=5724)
The effort to bring PCR hunting to Ohio received a boost with the survey numbers. There will be additional meetings with the ODNR leadership. Some Buckeye Firearms Association volunteers have already reached out to other groups, especially those involved in the agriculture community. Since most of Ohio's deer hunting is on private property, it is important that those organizations understand and support the proposal. While the effort is far from over, important steps indicate progress is occurring.
Outdoor writer and hunter education instructor Larry S. Moore is a long-time volunteer leader for Buckeye Firearms Foundation and winner of the 2005 USSA Patriot Award, the 2007 League of Ohio Sportsmen/Ohio Wildlife Federation Hunter Educator of the Year and the 2010 National Wild Turkey Federation/ Women in the Outdoors Hunter Education Instructor of the Year.