The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Sports

February 11, 2013

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Nearly 219,000 white-tailed deer bagged

Deer-archery season ended Feb. 3, bringing the white-tailed deer season to a close. Hunters harvested 218,910 white-tailed deer during Ohio’s 2012-13 hunting seasons for all implements, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

Hunters checked 219,748 deer in 2011-2012, a difference of less than 1,000 deer this season.

“Ohio has become one of the nation’s top destinations for hunting white-tailed deer,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “We would like to thank the nearly 500,000 outdoorsmen and outdoorswomen that participated during this hunting season. It is their efforts in the field that help us provide some of the best outdoor recreational opportunities in the country.”

The Ohio counties that reported the most checked deer for all implements during the 2012-2013 season: Coshocton (7,413), Licking (6,928), Tuscarawas (6,813), Muskingum (6,457), Guernsey (6,151), Harrison (5,365), Knox (5,288), Ashtabula (4,974), Carroll (4,825) and Belmont (4,731). The top seven counties remained unchanged from last season.

Hunters continue to support alternate methods to report deer kills. Since the deer season began on Sept. 29, 2012, 44 percent of hunters phoned in their report, 40 percent reported online and 16 percent traveled to a license agent’s location.

Ohio’s first modern day deer-gun season opened in 1943 in three counties, and hunters checked 168 deer. Deer hunting was allowed in all 88 counties in 1956, and hunters harvested 3,911 deer during the one-week season.

The white-tailed deer is the most popular game animal in Ohio and is frequently pursued by generations of hunters. Ohio ranks eighth nationally in annual hunting-related sales and 10th in the number of jobs associated with the hunting-related industry. Each year, hunting has an $859 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more.

For more information on deer and deer hunting, visit www.wildohio.com.

New regulations

An October antlerless-only white-tailed deer muzzleloader hunting season, extended hunting hours and new bag limits were proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council on Wednesday, Feb. 6, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The proposed antlerless-only muzzleloader hunting season would be Oct. 12-13 and scheduled for the second weekend of October in subsequent years. The proposal includes making the October muzzleloader season for antlerless deer only, regardless of the method of take, and eliminating both the bonus gun weekend in December and the early muzzleloader season at three public hunting areas (Salt Fork Wildlife Area, Shawnee State Forest and Wildcat Hollow).

Hunting hours are proposed to be extended 30 minutes past sunset for all deer firearms seasons, including the weeklong deer-gun season, youth season and muzzleloader seasons. This will make the hours the same as archery season.

County bag limits are proposed to replace deer zones. Proposed bag limits will be two, three or four deer, determined by county. The proposed statewide bag limit is nine deer with additional controlled hunt opportunities, which do not count against the statewide bag limit. The nine deer bag limit is reduced from last season’s 18 deer limit.

It is also proposed that antlerless permits will only be valid until the Sunday before the deer-gun season. Urban deer zones would be eliminated. Hunters may harvest only one buck in Ohio, regardless of the method of take or location.

Proposed deer bag limits, from the following counties combined:

One either-sex permit, one antlerless permit (eight counties): Darke, Erie, Fayette, Hancock, Madison, Ottawa, Sandusky and Wood.

Two either-sex permits, one antlerless permit (23 counties): Auglaize, Butler, Champaign, Clark, Gallia, Harrison, Henry, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Logan, Meigs, Mercer, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Perry, Preble, Ross, Shelby, Van Wert and Washington.

n Three either-sex permits, one antlerless permit (57 counties): Adams, Allen, Ashland, Ashtabula, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Carroll, Clermont, Clinton, Columbiana, Coshocton, Crawford, Cuyahoga, Defiance, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Fulton, Geauga, Greene, Guernsey, Hamilton, Hardin, Highland, Holmes, Huron, Knox, Lake, Licking, Lorain, Lucas, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Paulding, Pickaway, Pike, Portage, Putnam, Richland, Scioto, Seneca, Stark, Summit, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Union, Vinton, Warren, Wayne, Williams and Wyandot.

Proposed seasons for 2013-14:

n Deer archery: Sept. 28, 2013 - Feb. 2, 2014.

n Deer antlerless muzzleloader: Oct. 12-13, 2013.

n Youth deer gun: Nov. 16-17, 2013.

n Deer gun: Dec. 2-8, 2013.

n Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 4-7, 2014.

The start of fall turkey hunting season is proposed to be moved to the Monday following the antlerless deer muzzleloader season. The proposed fall turkey hunting season is Oct. 14 - Dec. 1, 2013. Butler, Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Hamilton, Huron, Seneca and Warren counties are proposed to be added to the existing list of counties open for fall turkey hunting, which would bring the total to 56 counties. Deer and fall wild turkey permits would go on sale June 1, instead of March 1.

Changes in hunting regulations are proposed by ODNR Division of Wildlife biologists and wildlife management staff. These proposed changes, if approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council, will take effect for the 2013-2014 hunting seasons. Open houses will be held statewide March 2 for public input on the proposals, and public comments are welcome online at wildohio.com. After receiving public input, the Ohio Wildlife Council will vote at its April 17 meeting.

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