Wednesday, February 1st, 2023
Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

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Sportsmen Since 1967

Gun deer kill down nearly 10,000

Columbus — Any attempt by the DNR Division of Wildlife to put a good spin on the just concluded statewide firearms deer-hunting season will likely be seen by at least some participants as nothing more than an agency trying to gain traction with bald tires.

A total seven-day count nearly 10,000 animals smaller than for last year’s deer gun season is not sitting well with some hunters who fruitlessly sought venison for the freezer and a trophy for the wall.

The preliminary total kill figure for Ohio’s 2014 seven-day firearms deer-hunting season is 65,485 animals. For the 2013 firearms deer-hunting season, the figure was 75,408 animals.

Down as well is the to-date deer kill. For the 2014 header, the figure stands at 148,830 animals while the comparable 2013 to-date statistic was 162,720 animals.

A quick look at the county-by-county breakdown shows that nearly 60 of Ohio’s 88 counties posted declines. And the really heavy-hitting counties, such as Guernsey, Ashtabula, Morgan, Harrison, Coshocton, Gallia, and Washington, are all in the deficit column when their 2014 deer gun season stats are placed alongside their comparable 2013 deer gun season figures.

In announcing the 2014 firearms deer-hunting season the Ohio DNR was quick to note that the slashes in the county-by-county harvest rates is something to crow about.

“Until recently, the populations in nearly all of Ohio’s counties were above their target numbers,” the natural resources department’s press release says.

Continuing the agency’s explanation, it reads: “In the last few years, through increased harvests, dramatic strides have been made in many counties to bring those populations closer to their goal, and the effectiveness of these herd management efforts is reflected in the number of deer checked this season.

“Once a county’s deer population is near (its) goal, harvest regulations are adjusted to maintain the population.”

Yet not every Ohio deer hunter is buying into that line of white-tail management strategy. Among these dissenters is Dennis J. Malloy Jr., a former wildlife division officer who now toils away as an official with Whitetails Unlimited.

In an email sent to Mike Tonkovich – the wildlife division’s point-man on deer management in the state – Malloy wrote that the state “has to stop the bleeding.”

“I have never seen so many hunters apathetic and discouraged about our deer herd and deer hunting tradition,” Malloy wrote.

Continuing and adding that two of his uncles have thrown “in the towel,” Malloy writes he saw but three deer in Trumbull County on opening day and zero in Harrison County on Sunday.

Further, Malloy writes in his email to Tonkovich, at the several rural gas stations he stopped at the bucks he observed were all small; their owners shooting them “because they were the only deer they saw.”

“They couldn’t be too picky after not seeing deer all week,” Malloy writes.

Malloy chides the wildlife division for taking a wrong approach to deer management, in the process alienating the constituency base that could abandon the field all-together in no small way.

“… the natives are restless,” Malloy writes in conclusion. “…Please stop the bleeding before opening another wound.”

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