Numbers trending downward in Ohio deer hunting kills
After trailing all season in the weekly to-date deer kill tally, Ohio saw the last 2016 installment creep nearly 700 animals ahead for the equivalent 2015 to-date head count.
However, that dash sputtered pretty poorly with the release of the current to-date numbers through Dec. 27. In fact, the decline from the to-date 2016 figure and the equivalent 2015 was a fall of 8,004 animals.
Worse for more than a few hunters is that mind-boggling steep declines are occurring in some of Ohio’s most fabled trophy deer counties.
The current to-date kill for the 2016-2017 season is 157,357 animals while the comparable to-date statistic for the 2015-2016 season was 165,361 animals.
For each year the totals from the two-day so-named “bonus” firearms deer season are included in the respective statistics.
Still not factored in yet for either running scores are the numbers from their respective four-day muzzle-loader seasons. And though hunters may yet enjoy a stellar blackpowder hunt Jan. 7 through Jan. 10, the odds of not only equaling the 12,505 deer taken during the Jan. 9 through Jan. 12, 2015, muzzleloading season but adding another 10,000 animals to that figure is, well, about impossible.
What we do see, however, are still some impressive county-by-county numbers, even if they are not as large as the ones that hunters compiled one year ago. There are still 12 counties with to-date deer kills of at least 3,000 animals each, including five with 4,000 or more deer killed to-date each.
And 31 of Ohio’s 88 counties are showing to-date deer harvest gains when compared to their 2015 – season statistics. While many of these gains are relatively small – number just a few deer – several others are showing increases that might beg a questioning response by hunters.
For instance: Lorain County shows a 107 deer kill increase (2,207 deer to-date this season compared to 2,100 deer to-date in 2015); Mahoning County shows a 111 deer kill increase (1,690 deer to-date this season compared to 1,579 to-date in 2015); and Trumbull County with a whopping increase of 270 animals (3,239 to-date this season and 2,969 to-date in 2015).
The opposite is happening also where the to-date kill has slipped, and measurably so, too. Among them: Adams County with a massive 864 season-to-season to-date shortfall (3,692 to-date this season compared to 2,828 to-date in 2015); Clermont County with a 411 season-to-season to-date drop (1,925 to-date this season compared to 2,336 to-date in 2015), and Brown County with a numbing 300 to-date deer decline (2,085 to-date this year compared to 2,385 to-date in 2015).
These last three counties were picked as illustrations because national hunting magazines have been touting southwest Ohio as the state’s go-to trophy deer hunting destination. Should their respective harvest declines continue through the rest of the season, however, then perhaps a reevaluation of their big deer status and possible over-harvesting of their respective deer herds would be in order