Ohio: Sportsmen’s License Bill Headed to Governor’s Desk

By John Culclasure, Central Appalachian States Manager

On June 20, legislation that would institute a number of changes to Ohio’s hunting, fishing, and trapping licenses passed the House 93-0 and is now eligible for the Governor’s signature. Senate Bill 257, sponsored by Ohio Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Chairs Senator Joe Uecker and Senator Sean O’Brien, previously passed the Senate 33-0 after an amendment that modified the discount rates for multi-year licenses was adopted.

Senator Joe Uecker said, “On behalf of the Ohio Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus, I would like to thank the Ohio’s sportsmen’s community for their input and support of this legislation that will improve license options for our state’s hunters, anglers, and trappers. The conservation funding dollars generated through this bill will help ensure that the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will be able to continue to offer important services to license buyers and manage Ohio’s fish and wildlife resources for future generations.”

SB 257 will create new license options for sportsmen and women in Ohio, with benefits that include giving anglers more license options, facilitating hunter recruitment, retention, and reactivation, and increasing access for mobility impaired hunters. This bill will also strengthen the financial stability of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Specific bill provisions include:

  • Creation of three-year, five-year, and ten-year resident hunting or fishing licenses, with specific license packages for youths and seniors;
  • Creation of resident hunting or fishing lifetime licenses, with specific license packages for youths and seniors;
  • Elimination of the three-year limitation on apprentice hunting licenses;
  • Establishment of price parity for nonresident youth hunters with resident youth hunters;
  • Creation of an apprentice senior hunting license;
  • Creation of an apprentice senior fur taker permit;
  • Creation of a nonresident Lake Erie sport fishing district permit;
  • Extension of turkey permits for the hunting license year in which the permit is purchased;
  • Change to the effective dates of fishing licenses that make fishing licenses valid one year from the date of purchase; and
  • Removal of restrictions limiting persons with mobility impairments to be issued permits only for electric-powered off highway vehicles on public land.

Ohio Legislative Sportsmen’s Caucus Co-Chair Representatives Jack Cera and Jonathan Dever sponsored a similar bill in the House this session.

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