GALLIA COUNTY — As temperatures begin to drop and the leaves change colors many outdoorsmen store away their fishing poles for guns and bows.
In Ohio, two hunting seasons are currently underway with several more coming. Squirrel and deer archery season both opened in September.
A large portion of the local population participates in hunting for various reasons, enjoying the outdoors and the thrill harvesting wildlife. There are many public lands in Gallia County that anyone can hunt on as long as they obey the regulations for that area.
Crown City Wildlife, Tycoon Lake Wildlife Area, and a small area south of Vinton are all state managed wildlife areas open to the public for hunting, fishing, and trapping. Crown City is the largest area, covering 13,000 acres in Gallia and Lawrence County. Wayne National Forest is also large area open to the public.
“It would be great if people could read the whole book (on regulations) before they go out,” said Roy Rucker, State Wildlife Officer in Gallia County. “If they read the pertinent parts of this book it will keep them out of any trouble and answer most of their questions.”
Being aware of the current regulations and laws associated with hunting and trapping will prevent many issues for hunters, according to Rucker.
“Folks have to have written permission to hunt private property and it’s the hunters’ responsibility to know where they are,” said Rucker.
He advises hunters to go out with the landowner and physically walk the boundaries of the area they are hunting to prevent issues with trespassing; one of Rucker’s most common problems.
The two largest problems related to firearms and hunting are often people not being sure of their shot and resting their finger on the trigger when they are not ready to shoot. When preparing to take a shot at an animal, Rucker suggests hunters be very clear and certain of what they are shooting at, and beyond the target.
“Hunters should be very careful about resting their finger on the trigger, they should not do it until they are ready to fire,” said Rucker.
This leads to a significant number of misfires and incidents that Rucker becomes involved with. Most incidents that involve firearms would not happen if hunters were careful in these two ways, explained Rucker.
“The other way that people most often get hurt hunting is tree stands,” stated Rucker. “People need to use a harness climbing in and out.”
Falling out of a tree-stand can result in serious injury, and the distance from help often increases personal harm due to the response time by emergency personnel. Hunters should always tell someone when and where they are hunting in case of an accident.
For tenants on hunt-able land, proper licensure and permission should be obtained before hunting the land.
“Many people that rent property try and hunt without a license under the farm tenant regulation, but that only applies to tenants that earn their primary income from farming on the property.” said Rucker.
While landowners and farming tenants do not have to have a license to hunt the property, all others do. All deer harvested must be tagged and checked in as well.
“If anyone has any questions they can call the district office or my number that is in the regulation book,” said Rucker.
Gallia County is part of District 4, which can be reached at 740-589-9930. The community of hunters can also help prevent poaching by reporting it to the district office, as well as any suspected deer with what is known as “bluetongue.” EHD is a naturally occurring illness in deer that has no connection with humans. If it is found, call the district office and Rucker can come and test the deer.
Reach Morgan McKinniss at 740-446-2342 ext 2108.