COLUMBUS — Ohio hunters checked 75,408 white-tailed deer during the weeklong gun hunting season, Dec. 2-8, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
"With the muzzleloader season and almost two months of archery hunting yet to come, Ohio hunters have many more opportunities to harvest a deer,” said Scott Zody, chief of the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
Hunting is the best and most effective management tool for maintaining Ohio’s healthy deer population. Hunters have harvested 162,720 deer so far in the 2013 hunting seasons, compared to 171,867 at the same point last year, a 5 percent difference.
Until recently, the populations in nearly all of Ohio’s counties were well above their target numbers. In the last few years, through increased harvests, dramatic strides have been made in many counties to bring those populations closer toward their goal. Once a county’s deer population is near goal, harvest regulations are adjusted to maintain the population near that goal.
Archery season remains open through Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014. The muzzleloader season is Jan. 4-7, 2014.
Counties reporting the highest number of checked deer during the 2013 gun season were Coshocton (2,658), Muskingum (2,604), Tuscarawas (2,604), Guernsey (2,401), Ashtabula (2,334), Harrison (2,133), Carroll (2,019), Knox (1,966), Licking (1,887) and Belmont (1,851).
Coshocton County also had the most deer checked in the 2012 deer gun season (3,119).
Last week's take in Hocking County was 1,456, a 26 percent decrease from 1,966 in 2012, according to ODNR figures.
Totals for other area counties were Athens (1,745), Fairfield (827), Franklin (113), Gallia (1,420), Jackson (1,156), Meigs (1,482), Pickaway (343), Ross (1,167), Vinton (1,424) and Washington (1,606).
Hunters are encouraged to donate deer to help the needy in their area. The ODNR Division of Wildlife is working with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) to help pay for the processing of donated venison. Hunters who donate a deer to a food bank are not required to pay the processing cost as long as funding for the effort is available. More information about this program can be found online at fhfh.org.
More information about Ohio deer hunting can be found in the 2013-2014 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at wildohio.com.