Local deer numbers are down


Water and Wings by Ken Parrott



Hunters checked 18,776 white-tailed deer on Monday, Nov. 28, the opening day of Ohio’s deer-gun hunting season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

In 2015, 22,253 deer were reported the first day of the deer-gun season. Locally, numbers were down in Morrow, Crawford, and Richland counties compared to last year and last year’s numbers were down compared to previous years. Only Knox county hunters showed a significant increase locally. As of December 4th, only 66,759 have been tagged in Ohio with all of the seasons combined.

Ohio’s deer-gun season remained open through Sunday, Dec. 4. Two additional days of deer-gun season (Saturday, Dec. 17, and Sunday, Dec. 18) are available for people to hunt with firearms. Deer-muzzleloader season is Saturday, Jan. 7, through Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017. Deer-archery season is open now through Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017. Find more information about deer hunting in the Ohio 2016-2017 Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at wildohio.gov. Past years’ harvest summaries and weekly updated harvest reports can be found at wildohio.gov/deerharvest.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife remains committed to properly managing Ohio’s deer populations. The goal of Ohio’s Deer Management Program is to provide a deer population that maximizes recreational opportunities, while minimizing conflicts with landowners and motorists.

Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has a more than $853 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.

Ohio’s young hunters braved less than ideal weather conditions over the weekend and checked 5,930 white-tailed deer during the two-day youth gun season, Nov. 19-20, according to the ODNR. During last year’s youth gun season, 7,223 white-tailed deer were checked.

Youth hunters could pursue deer with a legal shotgun, muzzleloader, handgun or specific straight-walled cartridge rifle and were required to be accompanied by a non-hunting adult during the two-day season. The youth deer-gun season is one of four special youth-only hunting seasons designed to offer a dedicated hunting experience for young hunters. Youth hunting seasons are also available for small game, wild turkey and waterfowl.

Youth hunters can commemorate their hunt with a First Harvest certificate, available at wildohio.gov. Participants can upload a photo and type in their information to personalize the certificate. Hunters can also share photos by clicking on the Photo Gallery tab online.

• Hunters harvested 2,168 wild turkeys during Ohio’s 2016 fall wild turkey season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Ohio’s 2016 fall wild turkey hunting season was open in 56 counties Oct. 8-Nov. 27. During the 2015 fall wild turkey season 1,535 turkeys were harvested.

Wild turkeys were extirpated in Ohio by 1904 and were reintroduced in the 1950s by the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Ohio’s first modern day wild turkey season opened in the spring of 1966 in 9 counties, and hunters checked 12 birds. The wild turkey harvest topped 1,000 for the first time in 1984. Spring turkey hunting opened statewide in 2000. Fall turkey season first opened in 19 counties in 1996.

Very few local hunters take advantage of this fall season. Only 82 birds were checked in for Morrow, Knox, and Richland counties. Crawford county does not have a fall season. For summaries of past turkey seasons, visit wildohio.gov/turkeyharvest.

Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!

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Water and Wings by Ken Parrott

Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.

Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.