Ohio Bills Will Make Fishing, Hunting Easier and Cheaper for Active Military, Veterans

Two bills currently being considered by the Ohio state legislature could make it easier for both active military personnel and veterans to enjoy the outdoors in the Buckeye State.

According to an article on Vindy.com, HB 47, proposed by state Rep. Zach Milkovich (Akron, D-35) would waive license fees for honorably discharged veterans, while HB 65 would allow active military on leave to hunt deer or turkey without purchasing a permit from the state's Department of Natural Resources. Ohio already allows active military members to fish, hunt small game and trap fur-bearing animals without a license, but currently require hunters to purchase deer or turkey permits.

"If active-duty military members on leave or furlough choose to hunt fur-bearing animals [the list includes badgers, fox, skunks and raccoons] current law allows them to do so without obtaining from ODNR a hunting license and fur-taker permit," said Rep. Doug Green of Mount Orab, R-66th. "With the passage of HB 65, the same individuals would simply be able to hunt deer or wild turkey ... without obtaining the requisite permit from ODNR."

Both bills received their first hearing on Tuesday, but there was some concern over the $3.5 million the state would lose in license and permit fees.

"I am aware that the Division of Wildlife is expected to bring in a record $11.3 million due to the increase of gun and ammunition sales in the state," Milkovich said. "Perhaps this is an area we can consider as a funding source for this project."