COLUMBUS -- Seven west-central Ohio counties are proposed to move from deer Zone A to Zone B, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW).
Auglaize, Darke, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Preble and Shelby counties would make the transition from deer Zone A to deer Zone B. Also, Madison County, currently in Zone B, would move to Zone A.
Also proposed, antlerless deer permits could no longer be used the first week of deer gun season in Zone C. The antlerless permits would be valid until Nov. 25 in deer Zones A, B and C. This is a return to regulations adopted in 2007.
Deer hunters would have until 12 p.m. the following day to complete the automated game check process. The only exception would be on the last day of any season when automated game check must be completed by 11:30 p.m.
A hunter may take only one buck in Ohio, regardless of zone, hunting method or season.
Either a $15 antlerless deer permit or $24 either-sex deer permit and a valid hunting license are required to hunt deer in Ohio.
Proposed bag limits --
Deer bag limits are zone specific by permit type. A hunter may take one deer from Zone A, two deer from Zone B, and three deer from zone C during the entire 2012-2013 season using the either-sex deer permit - only one antlered deer may be taken regardless of zone.
Additionally, a hunter may take one antlerless deer from Zone A, and two antlerless deer from Zone B, and three antlerless deer from Zone C during the archery season from Sept. 29 to Nov. 25 using the antlerless deer permit.
Those hunting in urban units and at Division of Wildlife-authorized controlled hunts can use the antlerless deer permits during all deer hunting seasons.
These hunters would again have a six-deer bag limit, and those deer would not count against the hunter's zone bag limit.
Proposed seasons and dates for 2012 --
Archery season -- Sept. 29 through Feb. 3, 2013
Special area muzzleloader hunts -- Oct. 15-20
Youth deer-gun season -- Nov. 17-18
Statewide deer-gun season -- Nov. 26 through Dec. 2 and Dec. 15-16
Statewide muzzleloader season -- Jan. 5-8, 2013
Proposed deer hunting zones --
Zone A -- The zone includes six counties: Erie, Fayette, Madison, Ottawa, Sandusky and Wood.
Zone B -- The zone includes 44 counties: Allen, Ashland, Ashtabula, Auglaize, Butler, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Darke, Defiance, Fulton, Geauga, Greene, Hancock, Hardin, Henry, Huron, Lake, Logan, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Mercer, Miami, Montgomery, Paulding, Portage, Preble, Putnam, Seneca, Shelby, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Union, Van Wert, Warren, Wayne, Williams and Wyandot.
Zone C -- The zone includes 38 counties: Adams, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Carroll, Clermont, Columbiana, Coshocton, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Gallia, Guernsey, Hamilton, Harrison, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Lawrence, Licking, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pickaway, Pike, Richland, Ross, Scioto, Tuscarawas, Vinton and Washington.
Open houses will be held on Saturday, March 3, in each of the state's five wildlife districts to provide the public an opportunity to view and discuss proposed hunting and trapping regulations with state wildlife officials. For directions to the open houses, call 800-WILDLIFE or visit wildohio.com.
A statewide hearing on all the proposed rules will be held at 9 a.m. on Thursday, March 8, at the DOW's District One office, located at 1500 Dublin Road in Columbus.
After considering public input, the Ohio Wildlife Council will vote on the proposed rules and season dates during the April 4 meeting.