Muzzleloader season finishes a bit below average
Columbus — The final gun hunt of the 2020-2021 deer season – muzzleloader – fizzled a little, but the overall deer harvest numbers remain on pace for an above average season, Ohio’s management authorities say.
Ohio’s white-tailed deer hunters completed the 2021 muzzleloader season with 9,708 deer checked from Saturday, Jan. 2 to Tuesday, Jan. 5, according to the Ohio DNR (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Over the last three years, an average of 12,695 deer were taken during the same four-day period.
During the weeklong and extra weekend of deer-gun season, 86,853 deer were checked by Ohio hunters. In total, 102,672 deer were harvested with a gun, including muzzleloaders, during the 2020-2021 gun hunting seasons. Over the last three years, hunters harvested an average of 90,722 deer during the three gun hunting seasons.
The total number of deer taken in Ohio during all 2020-2021 hunting seasons is 187,883, with one month remaining to hunt with archery equipment. That number has already surpassed last season’s final tally of 184,468.
“Deer hunters have taken advantage of Ohio’s abundant deer population and found success this year, and the muzzleloader season was no exception,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Hunting with a muzzleloader is rooted in history, while modern advances will satisfy even the most tech savvy hunters. We are pleased that so many Ohioans continue to enjoy this hunting season.”
Top 10 counties for deer harvested during the 2021 muzzleloader season include: Coshocton (367), Tuscarawas (344), Licking (290), Guernsey (279), Muskingum (263), Meigs (260), Knox (256), Carroll (249), Holmes (243), and Ashtabula (238).
Deer hunting occurs in all 88 counties and an estimated 310,000 hunters participated during Ohio’s deer-gun seasons. Ohio hunters have purchased 398,190 deer permits through Jan. 5. There is still time to pursue deer in Ohio, as archery season remains open through Sunday, Feb. 7. Hotspots for deer hunting are found mostly in the eastern regions, including Ashtabula, Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Muskingum, Guernsey, and Knox counties.
Each year, the number of deer taken with archery equipment continues to grow, while gun hunting also remains popular. Beginning in September, Ohio archery hunters have taken 85,211 deer, or 45% of the harvest. Muzzleloaders accounted for 9% of deer taken (15,973 deer for all gun seasons). Ohio’s youth hunters checked 5,795 whitetails during the two-day youth season, Nov. 21-22, 2020.
For more on this year’s muzzleloader hunt, pick up a copy of the Jan. 15 issue of Ohio Outdoor News.