When the cold weather hit in early November, you could certainly tell the deer rut was on.
It was like Mother Nature turned on a light switch because the big boys got really active almost overnight. I was seeing big bucks moving around morning and night. Driving was dangerous both at dawn and dusk and I was even seeing a lot of deer movement during the day. The archery hunters were definitely having tremendous success all of sudden as well. Although a lot of the big bucks have been harvested, don’t be despair if you haven’t had success yet or you are waiting on the gun season to get here.
Ohio’s deer-gun week is fast approaching! White-tailed deer hunters have the chance to pursue Ohio’s favorite big-game animal with approved firearms during the 2019 weeklong gun season, Dec. 2-8, and the additional weekend, Dec. 21-22, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.
Ohio’s deer-gun season has spanned generations of sportsmen and women and is a time when many friends and families gather to celebrate the hunt. In 2018, Ohio hunters harvested 60,557 deer during the weeklong deer-gun season, plus 9,625 deer during the following gun weekend.
Check the 2019-2020 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations for county-specific bag limits, updates on permits, and hunting on public lands. The statewide bag limit is six deer. Only one may be a buck, regardless of method of take or location. Legal hunting equipment includes specific shotguns, muzzleloaders, handguns, straight-walled cartridge rifles, and archery equipment. More information is available at wildohio.gov.
Hunters can contact the Division of Wildlife toll-free hotline at 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) with questions about hunting. In addition to normal business hours, special call center hours for deer-gun seasons include: 12 p.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23, for youth deer-gun season; 8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday, Dec. 2 to Friday, Dec. 6, for deer-gun season.
Ohio’s youth-only weekend is Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 23-24. This season is open to hunters with a valid youth hunting license and deer permit. All legal deer hunting equipment for the gun season applies during the youth season. Deer taken by young hunters during the youth deer gun season count toward the county and statewide bag limits. Young hunters harvested 6,563 deer during the 2018 youth season.
Ask a new hunter to join you this season! Your next outdoors adventure with family and friends is right here in Ohio. Hunting provides an excellent opportunity to appreciate wildlife, and remains the best way to manage Ohio’s deer population. Experienced hunters are encouraged to pass along their hunting knowledge and expertise to someone new this season. Special hunting opportunities for mentors and those new to hunting are available at the Wild Ohio Harvest Community Page at the ODNR website.
Help protect Ohio’s wildlife resources. Report any violations to the division’s Turn-In-a-Poacher hotline by calling or texting 800-POACHER (762-2437). All reports remain anonymous and tipsters may be eligible for a cash reward.
Hunters are reminded that portions of Holmes and Tuscarawas counties have been declared a Disease Surveillance Area as part of the state’s ongoing efforts to monitor Chronic Wasting Disease. Specific regulations apply to hunters, including mandatory sampling. Samples are also accepted from adult deer in Lucas, Fulton and Williams counties on a voluntary basis.
Interested in staying current on everything wildlife? Follow the Division of Wildlife on Twitter and Facebook for instant news stories, outdoor recreation ideas, local wildlife information and so much more. The Your Wild Ohio Hunter Facebook page provides hunting tips and useful information as you get outside this season. Visit wildohio.gov to find locations to hunt, fish, trap and view wildlife. And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to view the best of Ohio’s wildlife photography. ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.
• The late fall walleye bite has really turned on up at Lake Erie. There has been a lot of success on bigger fish near the shorelines and piers, especially at night. Although it can seem a little chilly to be fishing, the bite has been very good and worth your effort to get up there and try some late season walleye.
• The recent record setting cold snap has sped up the annual duck migration. Most of the shallow water marshes froze up during the frigid snap and it caused many ducks to increase their movement. This year’s season has been tremendously better than the last two seasons and things should continue to get better as long as the weather cooperates.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.