Send in those deer hunter surveys

The remaining efforts of a handful of cold-hardy bowhunters
aside, the Ohio deer seasons are over, except for the shouting.

No doubt, as sessions of the winter’s Hot Stove League convene,
deer management doubtless will be fodder for the woodburner. I have
gleaned some of the debate points already, aired during the shotgun
and muzzleloader seasons in overheard conversations at processers
and in noontime lunch gatherings of deer-drive crews:

“We’re shooting too many does. I’m just not seeing deer like I
used to.” Or, “there are too many bucks. We’re going to be like
Pennsylvania if we keep this up. We ought to go back to bucks only,
like Pennsylvania used to be. I’d see 100 deer a day back then.”
(Forget the fact that 90 of those deer were collie-size does and
the bucks were barely legal spikes or scraggly like four- and
six-pointers.) And so on.

Invariably, somebody is unhappy, no matter what. Mike Tonkovich,
the state deer biologist, admits as much. But, he says of
2011-2012, “it’s been a pretty typical year.” He, of course, is
looking at the Big Picture in that assessment and he acknowledges
that local deer shortages may exist. Those seeming shortfalls may
be the result of many things, even simply a redistribution of
animals because of increased local pressure in select areas, or
slowly changing habitat, local business, industrial, residential
development, or, even heavy gunning in past years, or unfavorable
weather.

Surveying the kills by season – most of them respectively were
down somewhat from 2010-2011 counterparts, Tonkovich notes: “We
don’t need to apologize for lower harvests, even two years in a
row. We’re not on a mission to create (or maintain) a herd of
750,000 deer with record kills (250,000-plus) every year.”

For the rest of this story, see the Jan. 20 issue of Ohio
Outdoor News.

Categories: Ohio – Steve Pollick

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