Ohio’s recent week-long, gun-deer season produced a noticeable increase in harvest numbers.
According to the results released by the Ohio Division of Wildlife, hunters reported 72,814 deer killed including both bucks and does. The recently concluded season totals top that of last year when 66,758 deer were reported, by nearly 10 percent.
Add to that nearly 5,000 whitetail deer taken by young hunters, accompanied by an adult, during the special two-day weekend youth season, and a solid archery kill harvest, and anyone can begin to see how significant hunting is to the management of the overall Ohio deer herd.
And there is still more deer hunting to go.
This weekend, gun hunters can once again head to the woods for a bonus two-day opportunity, followed by the annual black powder season in early January, plus several more weeks of archery hunting.
Ohio gun hunters and now Michigan deer hunters in non-high power rifle areas, are allowed to use straight-wall cartridge rifles in addition to shotguns, muzzleloader and certain handguns.
The move to rifles shooting cartridges performing much the same as shotguns, measured in range, accuracy, and overall power, is a popular change which in turn, has created more than a bit of interest by shooters.
I suspect the interest might be much the same as crossbows and non-primitive, in-line muzzleloaders did when they were added to the acceptable deer hunting weapon list.
Game management is all about hunter harvest. Deer herds such as the statewide Ohio herd, if allowed to grow unchecked, can cause major problems.
Ohio’s game managers, just like those in neighboring states, are constantly juggling hunting opportunities, daily and season limits, and county-by-county harvest goals.
This year, overall limits, while still generous, have been reduced in some counties, increased in others, and stayed the same in many other of the state’s 88 counties.
Does the nearly 10 percent increase during the recent gun season tell us that the number of deer overall is growing?
A quick check of the county-by-county numbers indicates that indeed, almost every Ohio county claimed a larger number than a year ago. A number of factors may have driven the upswing, just as it may have affected the downswing in the handful of down counties.
Intentional lowering and increasing of season limits, deadly diseases that can and do drastically reduce numbers locally, changes in habitat and opportunities, hunter interest, and more could have caused harvest numbers to trend up or down.
And, too, the most significant game changer is probably the weather, something no one can predict or change.
This year, opening day deer hunters were greeted to a perfect day and they tagged over 22,000 deer, just slightly below a third of the week-long total.
Hunters need to be especially aware of the over-abundance of ticks. As a hunter, I continue to be amazed and threatened by the tick problem. Lyme Disease is nothing to fool with.
My hunting companions have all found ticks on themselves after days afield and some instances have had to forcibly remove ticks that have already latched on to their skin.
Experts suggest that if you have questions about a tick bite, it is smart to see a doctor. The most mentioned early warning is a bulls-eye rash around a tick bite.
Here’s a short list that might do the trick:
- Inflatable bed for an aging camper
- Add to that a packable pillow
- Pocket knife sharpener
- Tactical flashlight
- Dash mount for cell phone (not for talking but for using the map feature just like a stand-alone GPS)
- Floor mats
- A flannel shirt that will fold nicely for a spot in the back of the closet while the recipient continues to wear the ratty one.
Merry Christmas to all.
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