Numbers show Ohio a top deer hunting state

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Ohio is a top deer hunting state, and without question, the numbers validate the claim.

In dollars and cents, Ohio ranks an impressive fifth in resident participation and 11th nationally in the number of jobs associated with hunting in general, with deer hunting being the No. 1 driver.

Hunting has an estimated $853 million impact on the state’s economy, again with deer hunting certainly providing the lion’s share of that input which includes pieces and parts like equipment and gear, food, lodging, fuel, etc.

Last year, deer hunters, including nonresidents who travel here in hopes of downing one of the states reputed giant bucks, checked in 72,814 whitetail deer during just the annual week-long gun season which traditionally kicks off on the Monday following Thanksgiving.

Deer checked

Adding up the months-long archery season, a special two-day youth hunting, the gun hunt mentioned above, a weekend bonus gun hunt, and a popular muzzle loader hunt held each year in early January, one comes up with an impressive number of 186,247 deer checked during the 2017 seasons.

That harvest number very’s slightly surpassing the total for the 2016 by just single digits.

If one looks at and compares the numbers, it becomes clear that the current strategies, which are annually tweaked county by county, for managing the overall Ohio herd is effective if not popular with all stakeholders.

Youth hunting

Accompanied by a nonhunting adult, young boys and girls will probably take a several thousand whitetail deer including bucks and does. Last fall the total was just shy of 5,000, a thousand less than the year before.

Because deer hunting success is heavily weather effected, and because last year’s youth season was greeted by some rather ugly weather, the lower harvest numbers could be expected.

Largest harvest numbers are nearly always held by the same deer-rich counties of Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Licking, Ashtabula, Guernsey and Holmes.

Last year, Coshocton topped the scale with 6,559 deer reported. Last year’s deer season was dismal at best for Jefferson County hunters, as well as for those in nearby eastern border counties.

This following the recent deer-killing plague-like presence of EHD felt worst in that region and it may take several years for the deer herds there to fully recover.

State-wide, the overall 2017-18 harvest included 78,099 bucks, 88,954 does and 19,194 button bucks.

Archery

It’s interesting to note that interest by deer hunters in archery hunting has grown steadily in the last several years. So much in fact, now more than 70 percent of gun hunters also hunt with archery equipment including crossbows, compound bows and other traditional vertical bows.

Of the varied archery choices and success rates attributed to each, crossbows take the largest percentage of the last year total 79,000 total archery kills.

It’s also noted that the overall archery kill is now greater than the week-long gun season take.

It looks like that trend is here to stay. There is also a significant and growing interest in straight-wall cartridge rifles now allowed for Ohio deer hunters.

Watch as gun makers answer the call by producing new models of these allowable rifles.

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Mike Tontimonia has been writing weekly columns and magazine features about the outdoors for over 25 years, a career that continues to hold the same excitement for him as it did at the beginning. Mike is a retired educator, a licensed auctioneer and marketing consultant. He lives in Ravenna, Ohio and enjoys spending time at his Carroll County cabin. Mike has hunted and fished in several states and Canada from the Carolinas to Alaska and from Idaho to Delaware. His readers have often commented that the stories about his adventures are about as close to being there as possible. He is past president of the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and a member of the Outdoor Writers Association of America. Mike is also very involved in his community as a school board member and a Rotarian.

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