8 of 10 Buckeye hunters pursue deer with a bow

Athens, Ohio – Eight out of every 10 Buckeye State hunters use
archery equipment to hunt deer.

That statistic comes straight from Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife
deer biologist Mike Tonkovich.

Ohio has between 325,000 and 350,000 archery hunters, including
vertical bow and crossbow hunters.

“That’s big. It’s a huge number,” Tonkovich said. “Archers are just
a critical component of our management program. There’s no question
about it.”

As the 2010 archery season draws closer, the Ohio deer population
stands at about 700,000 animals.

“The population is stable to slightly increasing if anything,”
Tonkovich said. “There may be some pockets where it’s up big time
and other pockets where we’ve made some progress. But, by and
large, I expect a similar harvest.”

Ohio hunters last year killed 261,000 deer with archery hunters
accounting for 91,546 of those animals, which was 7 percent higher
than the previous season.

So, how has the archery harvest fluctuated over the past few
years?

“There’s no such thing as fluctuation,” Tonkovich said. “It’s just
continued to go up.”

This past season marked the 11th straight year that the archery
harvest increased, according to Tonkovich. Archers today account
for 35 percent of the entire harvest. A decade ago, that number was
22 percent.

“I can remember not too long ago breaking the 50,000 (archery
harvested deer) barrier,” said Tonkovich.

Times have changed, indeed. Crossbow hunters alone nearly managed
50,000 harvested deer last season (49,000).

Over the past several years, Ohio has offered reduced price
antlerless permits. In 2007, just over 84,000 of those $15 permits
were sold. Last year, 133,000 of those permits were sold, thanks
largely to archery hunters who are buying them, said
Tonkovich.

One area where the state can continue to make progress, Tonkovich
said, is to reduce the number of button bucks that are harvested.
Last year, more than 34,000 button bucks were killed. It is largely
up to the bowhunters in the hunting population to change this
factor, Tonkovich said.

“They’re in a position to see their target clearly,” he said.
“Let’s do our best to pass on those button bucks. …We’re calling
on our bowhunters to help us out.”

About 22 percent of the annual antlerless harvest in Ohio is made
up of button bucks, Tonkovich said.

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