New muzzleloader season stresses no-buck law

Hunters might as well call next weekend, Oct. 12-13, the “no buck weekend.” That’s because the Ohio Division of Wildlife is stressing its antlerless-only regulation during the new two-day muzzleloader deer season.

It doesn’t matter if you are hunting with a muzzleloader or a bow, wildlife officers will strictly enforce the antlerless-only law. Does and small bucks with antlers less than three inches in length can be legally killed.

Brian Goldick of the division said penalties will differ in each county, but the maximum fine is $500 with 60 days in jail. Technically, the season on antlered deer will be closed for those two days. So taking a buck would be considered killing a deer out of season.

“But the restitution is the big thing, especially if someone shoots a trophy buck,” Goldick said. “That can be very expensive.”

In addition, all hunters are required to wear a vest, coat, jacket or coveralls that are either solid hunter orange or camouflage hunter orange. You can bet wildlife officers will be handing out plenty of tickets for hunters not wearing orange.

Phone check: Keeping up with technology, the Division of Wildlife has created an enhanced website that offers Ohio hunters a quick way to check in deer with their smart phones.

The site is ohiogamecheck.com and it is available now.

The site is available for all hunters to check deer, including landowners not required to purchase a deer permit. A valid email address and phone number are required to use the website on a mobile device.

The new tagging procedure 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 then report their deer harvest using the automated game-check system. Hunters have three options to complete the game check: online at ohiogamecheck.com; by phone at (877) TAG-ITOH (824-4864); at a licensed agent.

Game-check transactions are available online and by telephone 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 phone option.

Last year, hunters checked 218,910 deer in Ohio.

Crappie catchers: The Miami County team of Mike and Derak Walters finished third in the Crappie Masters National Championship at Granada, Miss. last weekend.

Of the 192 teams competing only seven finished with the maximum of 14 fish. The father-son team weighed 14 at 25.21, good for a $5,000 prize.

“That will help us pay for next year’s tournaments,” said Mike Walters, 52, a Troy City Schools employee.

“It was a very difficult bite. You might go one to one-and-a-half hours between fish,” he said. “We really had to concentrate.”

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