Ohio deer rifles are quickly catching up

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deer in woods
(Farm and Dairy file

Move over slug shooters: There’s a new gun in town and it is looking more and more like a real player.

That’s right, the recent change in deer hunting regulations adding straight wall cartridge rifles to the list of permitted gun styles for Ohio deer hunters, has interest in that type of long guns — right smack in the crosshairs of Buckeye hunters.

When the door for rifles first opened in time for the 2014 deer gun season, many hunters jumped at the opportunity. In general, straight-wall cartridges, although seemingly far more accurate, more capable of long distance kills, and superior in every way possible when compared to shotguns, muzzleloaders, and even pistols, are in reality, not much if any better, in any way, than sabotted slugs, and other permitted firearms.

But they can and do renew interest in deer hunting. For some it might be the romance of shooting and owning a real deer rifle, something Ohio hunters have previously not been allowed to do.

Another gun

To others, it may be an excuse to buy another gun or any other reason. One thing for sure is that manufacturers are busy producing what buyers want and that means some really nifty looking and great shooting deer rifles, which fit within the new regs.

Indeed, the use of rifles is increasing quickly. This year (2016 gun season) hunters reported 10,470 rifle kills, representing an 80.9 percent increase over the 5,787 deer tagged during the 2015 gun season, leading to another anticipated increase, perhaps not as significant, next season.

Of the 88 counties in Ohio, just two reported a negative number, with 86 counties showing an increase in deer killed by rifle and several counties topping 100 percent. The increase is impressive considering the recent decrease in overall deer numbers.

There’s no accurate way to guess what caliber is the top choice but it is probably the 45/70 or .44 magnum.

Fishing season

Yes, spring is just around the corner and that means fishing season. Walleye anglers who feel the urge to see how they stack up with other serious fishermen need to connect with the Ohio Walleye Federation, a group that sponsors several walleye tournaments, some on popular northeast Ohio inland lakes and still other events on Lake Erie.

Top places will earn winners the opportunity to fish the prestigious Cabela’s National Team Championship. Contests start early in the fishing year and continue on lakes including Mosquito, Berlin, Milton, Pymatuning and Lake Erie.

At least 40 two-angler teams registered for each event last summer, which, considering $150 entry fees paid the top 5 teams in each event from $450 to $2,500.

The tournament big fish pays an additional $200. For more information log on to www.fishowf.club.

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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.

2 COMMENTS

  1. I think you miss the most important thing is reloading and multiple bullet weights for different game
    But more than that the ability to tune a load that is very accurate in your rifle.
    In case you haven’t noticed those fancy sabot rounds are expensive no there damn expensive. 3rdly
    Most rifles on average are a couple of pounds lighter and given cartridges have no recoil compared to a 12 ga. Slug loads.

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