Ohio hunters on pace to harvest 188,000 deer

With just one abbreviated five-day reporting period left, Ohio’s deer hunters are closing in on a total all-seasons’ kill approaching 188,000 animals.

Overall, the current weekly deer kill – as of Jan. 30 – stands at 184,951 animals. That’s 5,072 more deer than were taken for last year’s comparable weekly reporting period (179,879).

If the 2016-2017’s last (and also shortened) reporting period is any indication (an additional 2,290 deer were recorded), than an all-seasons’ deer kill for 2017-2018 may approach 188,000. Such a figure would run to the high end of what Ohio Division of Wildlife biologists were guessing for the final tally, to use the agency’s official terminology.

Likewise, should the 188,000 figure come about, it will fall into fourth place in total kill over the past six deer-hunting seasons. The total deer kills for that period: 2012-2013 – 218,910; 2013-2014 – 191,503; 2014-2015 – 175,801; 2015-2016 -188,335; 2016-2017 – 182,169.

Interestingly enough, however, is that while the current total deer kill figures for all implements used show increases, the to-date numbers for deer taken with archery tackle are revealing declines. To date for this current season, archers have taken 37,949 antlered deer and 40,609 antlerless deer. The 2016-2017 to-date archery-associated kill numbers were 40,109 antlered deer and 40,924 antlerless deer.

As for why the archery kills are down, one possibility that I’ve mentioned before is that, in many of the urban counties, respective deer kills are down. This may suggest that efforts to reduce deer numbers through controlled hunts by cities and villages are working as intended.

Following are counties with to-date deer kills exceeding 4,000, with their respective 2016-2017 to-date numbers in parentheses: Ashtabula – 5,040 (4,969); Coshocton – 6,505 (5,885); Guernsey – 4,717 (4,517); Holmes – 4,076 (3,682); Knox – 4,637 (4,455); Licking – 4,961 (4,883); Mukingum – 5,259 (5,063); and Tuscarawas – 5,669 (4,966).

Only three counties remain with to-date deer kills of fewer than 500 animals each: Fayette – 355 (310); Ottawa – 478 (443); Van Wert – 499 (457).

And three counties saw no additional deer taken between the previous to-date reporting period of Jan. 23 and the current reporting period of Jan. 30: Clinton – 808; Fayette – 355; Putnum – 781. One other Ohio county – Madison – saw a weekly reporting gain of just one animal to 506 deer.

Also, 65 of Ohio’s 88 counties have recorded to-date deer kill increases when compared to their respective and comparable 2016-2017 to-date numbers.

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