Ohio hunters checked 10,904 white-tailed deer during a snowy and rainy opening day of the gun hunting week, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. Over the last three years, hunters took an average of 17,145 deer on opening day. Last year, there were 15,513 deer taken during the gun opener. The deer-gun season was open until Sunday, Dec. 6, and again Dec. 19-20.
Despite the difficult weather hunters were faced with the first two days, the rest of the week was ideal and I am confident that once the harvest numbers are released, the numbers will bounce back nicely. There were a lot of nice deer harvested over the weekend.
Ohio is known as a quality deer hunting state, and as a result attracts many out-of-state hunters. The top five states for purchasing a nonresident hunting license in Ohio include: Pennsylvania (6,639 licenses sold), Michigan (4,634), West Virginia (3,567), North Carolina (2,814), and New York (2,168). Deer hunting participation remains high for all hunters, with 353,539 deer hunting permits sold or issued through Monday, Nov. 30.
Ohio archery hunters have taken 78,607 deer through Monday, Nov. 30. Plus, Ohio’s young hunters checked 5,909 white-tailed deer during the 2020 two-day youth gun season, Nov. 21-22.
Deer hunters are reminded to download the HuntFish OH mobile app, which allows hunters to check in their deer while in the field, even without a Wi-Fi connection. When a hunter checks in game without a clear signal, harvest information is recorded and stored until the hunter moves to a location with better reception. Users can also purchase licenses and permits and view wildlife area maps through the app. HuntFish OH is free and available for Android and iOS users through the app store.
Ohio offers more opportunities for hunters to pursue deer. Deer-muzzleloader season is Saturday, Jan. 2, through Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. Deer-archery season is open now through Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021. Find complete details in the 2020-2021 Ohio Hunting Regulations or at wildohio.gov.
• Ohio hunters checked 1,063 wild turkeys during the 2020 fall hunting season, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The 2020 fall wild turkey season was open in 70 counties from Oct. 10-Nov. 29. The 2020 total represents a 1% decrease from the average harvest during the past three years, which is 1,078 wild turkeys.
Wild turkeys were extirpated from Ohio by 1904 and were reintroduced in the 1950s by the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Ohio’s first modern day wild turkey season opened in the spring of 1966 in nine 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. More information on previous wild turkey seasons can be found in the Turkey Harvest Summary.
• Ohio’s largest public shooting range, located at Delaware Wildlife Area in northern Delaware County, will open Friday, Dec. 4, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The shooting range was previously closed for repairs while major enhancements and renovations were completed, as well as construction of a new indoor Archery Training Center.
The $8 million range improvements include 96 total pistol and rifle shooting stations as well as upgraded backstops, making it the largest public shooting facility in Ohio. Along with a new entrance and parking lot, other additions include restroom facilities, range master building, and three new archery ranges. The renovated shotgun range features target launchers and six designated shooting stations.
The new range entrance is located at 1110 State Route 229, Ashley, Ohio 43003, about 5 miles north of Delaware. Hours of operation are Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visitors are required to have a valid Division of Wildlife range permit upon arrival to use the gun ranges. All archery ranges are open to public use during regular business hours free of charge.
The renovations to the shooting range were paid for by excise taxes on firearms, ammunition, and archery equipment appropriated through the Wildlife Restoration Program. This program is administered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and funds are distributed to states based on the number of paid license holders.
All persons age 18 and older shooting on Division of Wildlife Class A, B, and C ranges are required to purchase a shooting range permit. Permits are not sold at the shooting ranges. These permits partially offset the cost of operations, maintenance, trash removal, and improvements. Shooters age 17 and under do not need a permit but are required to be accompanied and directly monitored by an adult (age 18 years or older) holding a valid shooting range permit.
Purchase an annual or daily shooting range permit through the online store at wildohio.gov, on the HuntFish OH app, or any location where hunting and fishing licenses are sold. An annual shooting range permit costs $24 and a daily permit is $5. An annual shooting range permit and hunting license combo is available to Ohio residents for $29.12.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.