Deer hunting in Ohio draws the most interest from hunters, far exceeding any other hunting activity.
While serious deer hunters have been thinking about their favorite pasttime for months, the real thing starts this weekend with the opening of archery season. That means dreams, scouting, shooting practice, gear prep, shopping, and talking about it ends now and the action starts well before daylight Saturday as archers smear their faces with colored paint, spray themselves with various unpleasant smells, and take positions well above ground level.
Ohio archers are lucky to have one of the nation’s longest deer seasons, a marathon that runs from Sept. 28 through Feb. 2, 2014.
State generated guesses put the number of bow hunters at 205,000 which includes the use of long bows, compound bows, and cross bows. Over half of Ohio deer hunters are archers of one style or another.
Beside archery season, Ohio offers several other opportunities to hunt deer including a new early muzzleloader season to be held Oct. 12 and Oct.13.
This new special season is obviously intended to reduce the number of whitetail deer next year by targeting does before the mid-November breeding season. No bucks may be killed during this two day doe only hunt and that rule applies to archers also.
Deer hunters must report their harvest this year via the one of the automated systems and they must tag their kill before moving it by attaching a tag they have made. The hand fashioned tag must include the hunter’s name, date, time of kill, and county. Once reported, the hunter will receive a number to use as proof of his or her report.
The three automated checking methods include on-line at ohiogamecheck.com; by phone at 877-824-4864; or by locating a license agent that can be found by calling 800-945-3543. It is recommended that all hunters add the phone numbers to their cell phone directory.
Deer hunters can kill nine deer this year but only one buck. Each Ohio county has been assigned a maximum number as the limit. Many counties have a four deer limit while a few are limited to either three or two.
To kill nine deer, a hunter must fill his or limit in a four deer county, a three deer county, and a two deer county. Another new rule is a real bonus to hunters. Now hunters can hunt until a half hour after sunset.
Given liberal bag limits, less expensive doe tags, extra time afield, a special early muzzleloader season, and quick cell phone game checks, and good weather, Ohio hunters are being encouraged to tag more deer than ever, a management move to reduce the overall number of deer in the state and especially in areas where deer numbers far exceed their habitat.
Last year, hunters killed a reported 218,910 deer including 37,936 by bow and 47,496 by crossbow.
All deer hunters should carry material to make a temporary tag, a pen or pencil, and a method of attachment such as rubber band, large safety pen, or plastic zip tie. It’s also a good idea to carry a small piece of plastic or a sandwich bag to protect the tag from weather.