OH: Deer gun harvest drops 14 percent
Columbus – Ohio hunters took 90,282 white-tailed deer during the state's popular, week-long deer gun season, which ran Nov. 28 through Dec. 4, according to the DNR Division of Wildlife. In 2010, hunters checked a total of 105,034 deer during the same time period.
"Hunters clearly took advantage of the weather as the week progressed. They trimmed the deficit from last season from 39 percent on opening day to 14 percent by the close of the season on Sunday, "said Mike Tonkovich, Division of Wildlife deer project leader. "While other factors may have been at work, it is clear that extreme weather – good or bad – on key harvest days can have a significant impact on the bottom line."
Counties reporting the highest numbers of deer brought to Ohio check stations last week included Coshocton-3,690, Muskingum-3,223, Tuscarawas-3,180, Guernsey-2,982, Harrison-2,772, Licking-2,678, Knox-2,480, Belmont-2,431, Carroll-2,252, and Washington-2,225.
Hunters must still report their deer harvest, but they are no longer required to take their deer to a check station for physical inspection. Instead, hunters have three options to complete the new automated game check:
• On the Internet at wildohio.com.
• By telephone at 1-877-TAG-ITOH (1-877-824-4864). This option is only available to those who are required to have a deer permit to hunt deer.
• At all license agents. A list of these agents can be found at wildohio.com or by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE.
All three check-in methods are being used during the deer gun season, with 41 percent of hunters using the phone method. Hunters checking in via the Internet are second at 36 percent followed by those traveling to a license agent's location (23 percent) to check in their game.
Hunters still have one weekend of deer gun hunting, Dec. 17-18, and nine weeks of archery hunting in Ohio. Archery season remains open until Feb. 5, 2012. The statewide muzzleloader deer-hunting season will be held Jan. 7-10.
Donations of extra venison are encouraged and will be accepted through the entire deer season to organizations assisting Ohioans in need. The Division of Wildlife is collaborating with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry to help pay the processing cost as long as the deer are taken to a participating processor. Counties being served by this program can be found online at www.fhfh.org.
Hunters who wish to share their success can submit a photo of themselves and the deer they killed this year to www.wildohio.com or to Ohio Outdoor News at www.ohiowww.outdoornews.com.
The white-tailed deer is the most popular game animal in Ohio, frequently pursued by generations of hunters. Ohio ranks 8th nationally in annual hunting-related sales and 10th in the number of jobs associated with the hunting-related industry. Each year, hunting has a $859 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more.
Ohio's first modern day deer-gun season opened in 1943 in three counties, when hunters harvested 168 deer. In 1956, deer hunting was allowed in all 88 counties and hunters killed 3,911 deer during that one-week season.
A detailed listing of deer-hunting rules is contained in the 2011-2012 Ohio Hunting Regulations, available where licenses are sold. It may also be viewed online at www.wildohio.com.