Sunday, February 5th, 2023
Sunday, February 5th, 2023

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Archery kill boosts deer season totals

Staff Report

Columbus — The final harvest numbers coming in from Ohio’s deer
archery season will likely make this another near record breaking
year although harvests were down in both the muzzleloader and deer
gun season.

Bowhunting season ended Jan. 31 and preliminary totals show that
58,770 whitetails were harvested since Oct. 1, putting the final
deer harvest number at 207,628. Those numbers could be adjusted
slightly during the week of Feb. 6 when the official count is
registered but the 2005-2006 deer season is expected to rank second
only to the record 2004-2005 total of 217,505.

The gaining popularity of bowhunting in the Buckeye state
becomes apparent with each passing year. The bow harvest first
topped 50,000 in 2003-2004 and the past two years have topped that
mark as well. There’s no reason to believe that will change.

The 2005-2006 archery harvest, combined with an extraordinary
youth hunt, is expected to effectively wipe out lower than usual
numbers in both deer gun season and the muzzleloader hunt.
Unusually warm weather at the start of deer gun week Nov. 28 to
Dec. 4 followed by a sudden cold snap limited the harvest to
116,855, down seven percent from the 125,681 taken in the previous
year. During muzzleloader season, Dec. 27 through Dec. 30,
primitive weapons hunters harvested 23,056 deer compared to 27,749
in the 2004-2005 muzzleloader season. The two-day youth hunt a week
prior to deer gun season produced a harvest that was 31 percent
higher than the 2004-2005 number of 6,673. Young hunters this past
season, the third annual such hunt, harvested 8,722 deer.

According to the preliminary numbers, Tuscarawas County led the
way in the number of deer checked overall. The total harvest in the
northeast Ohio county stood at 8,245. Licking County recorded the
highest bow kill with 2,409 checked in the central Ohio county.
Those numbers could also change slightly as deer aren’t always
checked in the same county in which they are killed.

The DNR Division of Wildlife is currently putting together
season and bag proposals for next year and an extra weekend of
firearms hunting is expected to be among the proposals. That could
come as soon as Feb. 8 when the Ohio Wildlife Council meets in
Columbus. An open house on the regulations intended for public
discourse is scheduled for March 5 at all five wildlife district
offices. A statewide hearing will be held at 9 a.m. March 9 at
District 1 headquarters, 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus. Hunting
regulations for all species and all seasons will be voted on by the
Ohio Wildlife Council on April 5 at District 1 headquarters.

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