Columbus – Buoyed by an opening day harvest that was nearly 70
percent better than last year, Ohio hunters bagged 116,798 during
the recently completed gun week.
In 2007, hunters killed a preliminary total of 103,195 deer
during the same time period, according to the DNR_Division of
State deer biologist Mike Tonkovich said the total harvest for
all of the gun seasons needs to be around 120,000 to reach the
preseason projection of 250,000 for the entire season.
Counties reporting the highest numbers of deer brought to Ohio
check stations included Tuscarawas – 5,862; Harrison – 4,136;
Coshocton – 4,043; Guernsey – 4,017; Washington – 3,753; Licking –
3,597; Holmes – 3,138; Athens – 3,068; Knox – 3,067; and Jefferson
Ohio hunters were on the mark for opening day of the 2008 deer
gun season. Hunters took 33,034 deer on Monday, Dec. 1, according
to the Division of Wildlife. The preliminary figures from deer
check stations throughout the state showed a significant increase
from last year’s opening day total of 19,391 that came during a
soaking rainstorm through much of the state.
This year’s opener was a stark contrast to 2007 in 17 Ohio
counties which showed more than double the number of deer checked
in 2008. Only five of the state’s 88 counties (Hancock, Ottawa,
Mercer, Montgomery, and Preble) checked fewer deer on this year’s
opener compared to 2007.
“That’s a little misleading, and folks need to understand that
we were down 51 percent on the opening day of last season so the
only place you could go was up,”_Tonkovich said.
The biggest gainers on the opener were check stations in Knox,
Defiance, Cuyahoga and Washington counties. Hunters in Knox County
checked 954 deer on Dec. 1 compared to 304 on 2007’s opener.
Defiance County stations reported checking 323 deer this year
compared to just 93 a year ago. Though a modest number overall, the
32 deer checked in Cuyahoga County was 300 percent better than the
8 checked on last year’s opener.
Combining the results of the gun season harvest with those from
the early muzzleloader season, the first six weeks of archery
season, and the recent youth deer gun season, a preliminary total
of 178,838 deer have been killed so far this deer hunting season.
That number compares to 167,965 harvested last year at this time.
In all, hunters took a total of 232,854 deer during all of last
year’s hunting seasons.
Tonkovich specifically mentioned Knox and Richland counties as
big movers this year, owing the success in those two counties and
others to the $15 antlerless tags. Hunters tagged 3,067 deer in
Knox County for the week compared to 2,011 last year. In Richland
County, 1,288 deer were checked during the gun week in 2007
compared to 2,384 this year.
Approximately 400,000 hunters were expected to participate in
the statewide deer gun season. Ohio’s deer population was estimated
to be 700,000 prior to the start of the fall hunting seasons.
Deer gun season will pick up again for two days on Saturday and
Sunday, Dec. 20-21. Bow season runs through Feb. 1.
Hunters who give their deer to a food bank are not required to
pay the processing cost as long as the deer are taken to a
participating processor and funding for the effort lasts. Counties
being served by this program can be found online at www.fhfh.org.