BFA applauds latest OH Div. of Wildlife proposal re: straight-walled rifle cartridges for deer hunting

The Ohio Division of Wildlife has started the annual process of proposed rule changes for hunting and trapping seasons. The Division leadership presented the first proposals to the Ohio Wildlife Council on January 11. Buckeye Firearms Association sportsmen leader Larry Moore regularly attends the Wildlife Council meetings.

Many of the proposals involved various small game, waterfowl and trapping regulations. Much of the proposed changes are to align Ohio rules with US Fish and Wildlife requirements on migratory game birds. Other proposals are simply to get the correct 2017 season dates into the rules.

However one proposal quickly caught our eye. It deals with the straight-walled cartridges (SWC) for deer hunting.

Law Enforcement Supervisor Ken Fitz presented the proposed rule change. It involves the Ohio Administrative Code (OAC) section 1501:31-15- 11 Deer Regulations. Currently the legal SWC deer cartridges are listed. This has led to some confusion and constituent requests for additional calibers to be listed. Fitz made a much simpler proposal.

The proposal simply states:

It is proposed that this rule be amended to reflect that any straight-walled cartridge rifle, with a minimum caliber of .357 to a maximum caliber of .50 be allowed for hunting deer in Ohio. There have been three seasons of hunting deer with straight-walled cartridge rifles in Ohio and we have had no biological impacts to the herd or additional hunter incidents as a result. By defining the allowable rifles in the proposed manner it makes the rule easily understood and easily enforced; in addition it is inclusive of a great number of options in rifles.

Fitz presented a PowerPoint presentation to the Wildlife Council highlighting the history of the SWC effort and the safe deer seasons since the initial list was adopted. The proposal received positive comments from the Wildlife Council members. He expanded upon the proposal with key comments including:

  • SWC is popular with hunters.
  • The Division has received requests for additional cartridges.  Mostly these requests are cartridge specific.
  • He acknowledged Buckeye Firearms Association for our initial work and continued working relationship.
  • Wildlife Officers are seeing a few more rifles in the field. Current estimates are about 10% or slightly more rifle use.
  • Wildlife Officers report no issues.
  • The proposal presented is a good balance of hunter opportunity without any safety issues.
  • It is easy to understand for the hunter and for the Wildlife Officer to enforce.

The rule review process will continue with proposals for deer management to be presented at the February Wildlife Council meeting. All of this will be followed by the annual Division of Wildlife Open Houses an March 4. There will be additional review and statewide open house held in Columbus prior to the official vote of the Wildlife Council in April. More information on the open house process and the Wildlife Council can be found online here:

We hope supporters will attend the Open Houses to show support for this proposed change and to thank the Division of Wildlife. Those unable to attend the open houses may also submit comments online here.

Buckeye Firearms Association thanks Fitz and the Division of Wildlife for responding to constituent requests and providing additional rifle hunting for deer opportunities.

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, the 2010 National Wild Turkey Federation/ Women in the Outdoors Hunter Education Instructor of the Year and the 2014 Ohio NWTF Outdoor Writer of the Year.

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