Thursday, February 2nd, 2023
Thursday, February 2nd, 2023

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Ohio deer harvest sees slight uptick

Athens, Ohio — In trolling the 2017 to-date Ohio deer kill figures as of Nov. 28, the tally is ever so slightly ahead of where the comparable 2016 to-date figures were back then on Nov. 29.

In each case the end-of-the-week running numbers included the first two days of their respective firearms deer hunting season.

So, what we have is that as of Nov. 28 this year the Ohio Division of Wildlife has tabulated a kill of 107,113 deer. For the comparative period in 2016 the total stood at 106,969. Thus we see an almost imperceptible increase of only 144 animals.

And one county – Jefferson – is in a world of hurt, too, both in terms of its deer population as well as its to-date deer kill.

The current data includes that, as of Nov. 28 to-date this season, 46 of Ohio’s 88 counties have deer kills exceeding a minimum of 1,000 animals each. And among this 1,000-plus number, 13 have kills exceeding 2,000 animals each, of which four have kills greater than 3,000 animals each.

These “Magnificent Four” (with their respective 2015 to-date numbers in parentheses) and in alphabetical order are: Ashtabula County – 3,032 (2,901); Coshocton County – 3,963 (3,557); Muskingum County – 3,081 (2,895); and Tuscarawas County – 3,144 (2,817).

In all – and this may be interesting because the raw to-date overall kill for 2017 is higher than is its comparable 2016 to-date kill – is that 49 counties are recording decreases when the two to-date numbers are laid side by side.

Among the most disturbing of these is Jefferson County. Here, the 2017 to-date kill stands at 957 animals. And its comparable 2016 to-date number? Try 1,537 animals, for a huge to-date decline of 580 deer.

This issue is so disconcerting that Ohio Division of Wildlife deer management biologist Clint McCoy says that his agency “will take a long, hard look” at Jefferson County’s deer kill numbers when we discuss deer-hunting regulations for the 2018-2019 season to see if any adjustments are necessary.”

McCoy says the most obvious issue that impacted Jefferson County’s shrunken deer kill was almost certainly the result of an epizootic hemorrhagic disease outbreak that ran rampant throughout much of the county this past summer.

While other Ohio counties saw outbreaks of EHD, McCoy said they were confined to localized areas. That situation was unlike Jefferson County, which saw the viral disease spread throughout the county’s 411 square miles, says McCoy.

In other matters associated with the to-date figures, four of Ohio’s 88 counties still have not seen to-date deer kills exceeding 300 animals each: Fayette – 192; Madison – 295; Ottawa – 268; and Van Wert – 268.

Perhaps not surprisingly these are the same four counties that also had not topped their respective comparable 2016 to-date 300 deer kill figures.

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