MOUNT VERNON — While the 2008-09 hunting and fishing seasons are winding down, area residents can begin to gear up for the 2009-10 seasons. Sales of the 2009-10 hunting and fishing passes began Sunday at several area locations.
Last year’s licenses are still good through Feb. 28, and the new licenses are valid March 1 through Feb. 28, 2010. While it is not required to buy the licenses early, it could save some time when the spring itch begins to hit.
“You have to have your new licenses by March 1,” said Knox County Wildlife Officer Mike Miller. “All of last year’s [licenses] expire at the end of February. If you are thinking about fishing or doing a little bit of hunting, you are going to have to make sure you have your new licenses by March 1. … Nothing has changed. Fishing licenses are still $19; it is one of the best investments you can spend money on. It gets you a whole year of unlimited outdoor recreation. In Ohio, we are pretty fortunate because we don’t have a tremendous number of bag limits and size limits. We have some pretty good fisheries around the state. It is a good way to spend some time together as a family; it is a good way to spend time outdoors and entertain yourself.”
Prices remain unchanged for this coming year, with deer and turkey permits available for an additional cost. Youth hunters (17 and under) and some senior citizens are eligible for discounted licenses. There is also an option for a one-day Ohio fishing license for a reduced rate, an amount that can later be applied to the purchase of an annual license.
Miller would like to stress that the licenses are not valid until March 1.
“If you buy your fishing license now, you are still required to have this year’s license to go out and do any fishing before March 1,” said Miller. “You can’t go buy a new license now and expect to be able to use it. It wouldn’t be right to cheat if you didn’t buy a license last year, but have been fishing, then, go buy a license this year and think that is going to work for you. It happens, and I’ve written tickets to people who were ice fishing. You’ve got to have the license that is appropriate at that time of the year.”
For Miller and his counterparts, they remain diligent in patrolling the area waters, even up until the last day of the license year.
“We are still checking because it is kind of rewarding,” Miller said. “I think the average fisherman that has had his license the whole year likes to know we still get out and check licenses. We do that all the way up until the end of February. People do cheat unfortunately, and it is hard to believe someone would actually only go fishing a couple of times in February and not throughout the last year.”
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources would like to remind hunters, especially those gearing up for the popular spring wild turkey season, that licenses purchased now are also valid during the 2009 fall hunting season.
Also, the 2009-10 licenses are not printed on weatherproof paper. Hunters and fishermen should protect their licenses and permits from the elements by carrying them in protective pouch or wallet.