Gun hunting deer season ends safely
Columbus — For the third season in a row, Ohio saw no fatalities during the recently completed gun week for deer.
In fact, only four injury incidents were reported for the week of Nov. 26 through Dec. 2.
As of this writing, Ohio gun hunters still had to navigate a weekend of hunting on Dec. 15-16 and muzzleloader season Jan. 5-8.
But so far, so good, said Ken Fitz, the DNR Division of Wildlife’s law enforcement administrator.
“I’m glad to see it,” Fitz said. “We’re really pleased that guys are paying attention and being safe and it’s paying off.”
The last fatality during Ohio’s traditional, weeklong gun season was in 2009, according to Division of Wildlife records.
This year, a hunter was injured in Carroll County by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. A hunter in Lorain County also suffered a self-inflicted wound. Hunters in Lawrence and Geauga counties were injured by others.
“At this point, those things are all still under investigation,” Fitz said.
Ohio’s wildlife officers had a busy week checking on hunters to make sure of their safety. Officers contacted 7,135 hunters statewide during the week and issued 798 citations for violations, according to Fitz. In 2011, officers contacted 7,981 hunters during gun week and issued 909 citations.
“Those numbers are pretty consistent from what we see year to year,” Fitz said. “Those are usually all in the top five but sometimes they might change positions.”
An interesting anecdote that Fitz shared is that hunting pressure seems to be shifting a bit away from the gun seasons.
“Looking at what guys are saying they’re seeing in the field, they’re seeing a lot more pressure during archery season it seems like,” he said. “And less during the gun season. It’s just a shift in hunting methods. Archery hunting is becoming more appealing.”
There are distinct advantages to archery hunting, Fitz said.
“If you use a crossbow or a compound bow it may be that it’s just a little more challenging,” he said. “It’s definitely quieter and it’s typically better weather. There’s a lot of advantages of being out hunting in November.”