Thanks to more favorable weather, Ohio’s young hunters had a successful weekend and checked 6,563 white-tailed deer during the two-day youth gun season, Nov. 17-18, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
During last year’s youth gun season, 4,958 white-tailed deer were checked. Locally, all the counties, with the exception of Crawford, were way up compared to last year as well.
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.
Ohio offers many more opportunities for hunters of all ages to pursue deer. The deer-gun season is Monday, Nov. 26, through Sunday, Dec. 2, and Dec. 15-16. Deer-muzzleloader season is Saturday, Jan. 5, through Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019. Deer-archery season is open now through Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019. Find complete details in the 2018-2019 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at wildohio.gov.
Youth hunters can commemorate their hunt with a First Harvest certificate, available at wildohio.gov and then clicking on “My First Harvest” under the Hunting, Trapping and Shooting Sports tab on the left. 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.
For summaries of past deer seasons, visit 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.
• As Ohio’s duck and goose seasons continue, hunters are encouraged to familiarize themselves with waterfowl identification before heading out. Ohio waterfowl hunters frequently encounter a variety of species of birds when in the field and marsh, and some species of ducks, geese and swans may look similar.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife would like to remind hunters that it is important to identify birds before pulling the trigger. Some species, like the state-threatened trumpeter swans and occasionally migrating tundra swans, are protected and may be encountered. To tell the difference between geese and swans:
Trumpeter swan (threatened and protected species); mature birds: pure-white plumage (sometime stained heads) young birds: more gray, long necks relative to the body size; body length: 54-62 inches, wingspan: 80 inches, weight: 271-448 ounces (17-28 lbs).
Tundra swan (protected species): mature birds: pure- white plumage/young birds: more gray, long necks relative to the body size, body length: 47-58 inches, wingspan: 66 inches, weight: 134-370 ounces (8.3-23 lbs).
Canada goose (legal game species): black-necked plumage with chin strap, black head, tan breast, brown back, long necks, body length: 30-43 inches, wingspan: 50-67 inches, weight: 106-224 ounces (6.6-14 lbs).
Snow goose (legal game species): white with black wing tips, short necks relative to the body size, body length: 27-33 inches, wingspan: 54 inches, weight: 56-117 ounces (3.5-7.3 lbs).
It seems like every year we get a report or two of swans being shot because they are confused with snow geese when in reality there isn’t even a close comparison in size. Save yourself a hefty fine and don’t confuse the two.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.