The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

December 24, 2012

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Bonus weekend numbers down

For the Star Beacon

— Hunters checked 14,365 white-tailed deer during Ohio’s extra gun-hunting weekend, Dec. 15-16, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

That total is a decline of 14.3 percent from 2011, when hunters harvested 16,766 deer. In 2010, hunters bagged 20,916 deer over the same time period.

The overall size of the deer herd is smaller, and the harvest is aligned with that decrease,” said Mike Tonkovich, ODNR Division of Wildlife deer project leader. “We anticipated the 2012-2013 deer season harvest would be down 5 to 10 percent from last year. Most of Ohio’s counties are above their target deer harvest number, and we have worked to get those numbers closer to the target through generous harvest regulations.”

The counties reporting the highest numbers of deer checked during the 2012 deer-gun hunting weekend: Coshocton (489), Tuscarawas (483), Muskingum (474), Licking (444), Harrison (390), Belmont (387), Guernsey (382), Carroll (375), Ashtabula (372) and Knox (356). The top five counties remained unchanged from last year.

The extra gun-hunting weekend was first offered in 2006 in response to hunters’ request for an increase in the amount of weekend days to pursue deer. Hunters still have opportunities to pursue deer this winter. Archery season remains open through Feb. 3, 2013. The statewide muzzleloader season is Jan. 5-8, 2013.

More information about Ohio deer hunting can be found in the 2012-13 Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at Hunters can also share photos by clicking on the Photo Gallery tab online.

Note: A list of white-tailed deer checked by hunters during the 2012 deer-gun hunting weekend, Dec. 15-16, is shown below. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for 2012, and the 2011 numbers are in parentheses.

Adams: 267 (323); Allen: 78 (122); Ashland: 234 (252); Ashtabula: 372 (387); Athens: 279 (332); Auglaize: 90 (82); Belmont: 387 (416); Brown: 220 (261); Butler: 101 (102); Carroll: 375 (442); Champaign: 77 (128); Clark: 63 (76); Clermont: 182 (226); Clinton: 63 (84); Columbiana: 320 (324); Coshocton: 489 (593); Crawford: 102 (91); Cuyahoga: 6 (2); Darke: 66 (71); Defiance: 142 (174); Delaware: 102 (143); Erie: 41 (31); Fairfield: 169 (180); Fayette: 16 (23); Franklin: 26 (47); Fulton: 58 (85); Gallia: 230 (233); Geauga: 106 (160); Greene: 60 (74); Guernsey: 382 (446); Hamilton: 47 (91); Hancock: 77 (147); Hardin: 89 (103); Harrison: 390 (477); Henry: 64 (95); Highland: 239 (267); Hocking: 213 (281); Holmes: 286 (303); Huron: 195 (198); Jackson: 235 (215); Jefferson: 312 (369); Knox: 356 (373); Lake: 27 (46); Lawrence: 176 (205); Licking: 444 (483); Logan: 143 (200); Lorain: 181 (173); Lucas: 20 (30); Madison: 45 (50); Mahoning: 102 (176); Marion: 75 (80); Medina: 135 (157); Meigs: 259 (269); Mercer: 61 (57); Miami: 49 (70); Monroe: 203 (281); Montgomery: 23 (18); Morgan: 226 (242); Morrow: 133 (130); Muskingum: 474 (499); Noble: 235 (272); Ottawa: 9 (33); Paulding: 99 (124); Perry: 238 (228); Pickaway: 78 (93); Pike: 154 (161); Portage: 90 (167); Preble: 86 (72); Putnam: 47 (77); Richland: 194 (290); Ross: 214 (265); Sandusky: 54 (60); Scioto: 174 (224); Seneca: 139 (159); Shelby: 99 (97); Stark: 171 (175); Summit: 31 (44); Trumbull: 248 (242); Tuscarawas: 483 (541); Union: 81 (73); Van Wert: 64 (86); Vinton: 221 (231); Warren: 83 (110); Washington: 266 (330); Wayne: 115 (184); Williams: 123 (197); Wood: 70 (76); and Wyandot: 117 (160). Total: 14,365 (16,766).

County comparison

The numbers below are based on the selected date of check in between Sep 24, 2011 and Dec 17, 2011 and between Sep 29, 2012 and Dec 17, 2012. The first number representing 2011 and the second being 2012, the percentage at the end a minus sign indicating that the harvest is below the 2011 level and a positive number indicating the that harvest level is above the 2011 total.

Adams 3,607 3,611-0.11 percent, Allen 978 862 13.46 percent, Ashland 2,761 2,417 14.23 percent, Ashtabula 4,354 3,941 10.48 percent, Athens 3,747 3,648 2.71 percent, Auglaize 899 592 51.86 percent, Belmont 3,812 3,887-1.93 percent, Brown 2,496 2,556-2.35 percent, Butler 1,287 1,303-1.23 percent, Carroll 3,955 3,999-1.10 percent, Champagin 1,274 1,345-5.28 percent, Clark 753 780-3.46 percent, Clermont 2,659 2,760-3.66 percent, Clinton 881 867 1.61 percent, Columbiana 3,311 3,227 2.60 percent, Coshocton 6,311 6,780-6.92 percent, Crawford 1,108 957 15.78 percent, Cuyahoga 520 513 1.36 percent, Darke 916 710 29.01 percent, Defiance 1,754 1,504 16.62 percent, Delaware 1,552 1,551 0.06 percent, Erie 563 599-6.01 percent, Fairfield 2,278 2,329-2.19 percent, Fayette 254 234 8.55 percent, Franklin 698 , 73 3.71 percent, Fulton 900 727 23.80 percent, Gallia 2,984 2,925 2.02 percent, Geauga 1,755 1,956-10.28 percent, Greene 936 909 2.97 percent, Guernsey 5,071 5,445-6.87 percent, Hamilton 1,696 1,796-5.57 percent, Hancock 1,170 961 21.75 percent, Hardin 1,141 912 25.11 percent, Harrison 4,519 4,777-5.40 percent, Henry 702 590 18.98 percent, Highland 2,843 2,817 0.92 percent, Hocking 3,600 3,699-2.68 percent, Holmes 3,967 4,153-4.48 percent, Huron 2,081 1,913 8.78 percent, Jackson 2,960 2,736 8.19 percent, Jefferson 3,389 3,366 0.68 percent, Knox 4,558 4,566-0.18 percent, Lake 789 657 20.09 percent, Lawrence 2,373 2,582-8.09 percent, County YR 2012 YR 2011 percent Change, Licking 5,812 6,010-3.29 percent, Logan 1,813 1,939-6.50 percent, Lorain 2,055 1,975 4.05 percent, Lucas 532 548-2.92 percent, Madison 399 451-11.53 percent, Mahon1ng 1,680 1,559 7.76 percent, Marion 828 718 15.32 percent, Medina 1,665 1,626 2.40 percent, Meigs 3,262 3,328-1.98 percent, Mercer 744 539 38.03 percent, Miami 840 690 21.74 percent, Monroe 2,864 3,093-7.40 percent, Montgomery 654 552 18.48 percent, Morgan 3,045 3,004 1.36 percent, Morrow 1,705 1,642 3.84 percent, Muskingum 5,444 5,586-2.54 percent, Noble 2,988 3,328-10.22 percent, Ottawa 313 333-6.01 percent, Paulding 1,096 935 17.22 percent, Perry 3,006 3,040-1.12 percent, Pickaway 916 888 3.15 percent, Pike 1,973 1,998-1.25 percent, Portage 1,895 2,217-14.52 percent, Preble 1,029 848 21.34 percent, Putnam 744 627 18.66 percent, Richland 3,327 3,460-3.84 percent, Ross 3,028 3,082-1.75 percent, Sandusky 691 633 9.16 percent, Scioto 2,442 2,394 2.01 percent, Seneca 1,729 1,346 28.45 percent, Shelby 1,154 841 37.22 percent, Stark 2,144 1,730 23.93 percent, Summit 1,056 1,066-0.94 percent, Trumbull 3,010 2,760 9.06 percent, Tuscarawas 5,745 5,872-2.16 percent, Union 833 854-2.46 percent, Van Wert 589 495 18.99 percent, Vinton 2,926 2,724 7.42 percent, Warren 1,332 1,325 0.53 percent, Washington 3,538 3,514 0.68 percent, Wayne 1,847 1,643 12.42 percent, Williams 1,925 1,783 7.96 percent, Wood 762 594 28.28 percent, Wyandot 1,490 1,285 15.95 percent. Statewide Totals: year 2012 year 2011 percent change, 187,032 184,007 1.64 percent.

Pheasant workshop

The Division of Wildlife, in cooperation with Ohio Outdoors-Woman Inc. and Cherrybend Pheasant Farm, is hosting a one-day pheasant-hunting workshop on March 16, 2013.

A random drawing will be held to select 20 participants. Registrations must be received by Jan. 10, 2013, and the random drawing is Jan. 11, 2013. The program will be held at Cherrybend Pheasant Farm, located at 2326 Cherrybend Road, Wilmington, Ohio 45177.

Registrations are available at by clicking on the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman tab. Registrations can be submitted via email to or mailed to: Becoming an Outdoors-Woman, 2045 Morse Road, Building G-1, Columbus, Ohio 43229-6693

The event costs $50. The program includes classroom instruction, guide fees, firearms, ammunition, clay targets and lunch. All participants must provide proof of completion of a hunter education course and possess a valid Ohio hunting license.

Cole’s cool doe

Cole Hartman and his dad George Hartman got to their stand at 7:15 a.m. It was a clear morning and it wasn’t long before they spotted a couple deer. Around 7:50 or so they saw 2 deer coming from the south. Cole was very quiet, he raised his 20 guage Mossburg youth model shotgun, picked out the biggest one, eased off the safety and let one fly, then followed with a back up shot. His first deer harvest ever was now on the ground.

A job well done!

With his dad sitting right next to him it was now time for some merriment, a couple of high five and even a hug. From there they tagged Cole’s doe, got the four-wheeler and hauled her out. A job well done!

Cole’s stats

Cole Hartman harvested his first deer, a doe, on Dec. 1, 2012 at 7:51 a.m. while hunting with his father, George Hartman. Nine-year-old Cole attends Pymatuming Valley Primary School, where he is in the fourth grade. He dropped his doe whit a Mossburg 20 gauge youth model pump shotgun powered by 2.75-inch Remington Sluggers. Cole’s doe was at 25 yards when he shot it and only went another 5 before dropping. Cole and Dad George were hunting from a 2-man buddy ladder stand up 14 feet. They were wearing the prescribed amount of hunter orange with camo clothes underneath. Cole’s deer field dressed in at about 175.

The Felt’s fellowship

I received this from Jennifer Felt and after reading it decided with very little editing it was pretty well fine the way it was. So here’s Jennifer’s story:

My name is Jennifer Felt. Dale, you have been so kind in the past to share mine and my families hunting stories that I would like to share another one with you.

In the beginning

My husband and I have been married for a little over 18 years and in the beginning of our relationship I myself was not a hunter but my husband hunted every year. I guess you would have called me the “hunter’s widow.” When bow season started and until late muzzleloader, I barely saw my husband and at times, it truly upset me. Later on in our relationship I decided to either stop complaining or join him. I made the choice to join him and even though it took me about 3 years to harvest my first deer I have been hooked ever since. I have been so lucky to have shared many memories of hunting seasons with my family.

Buck lucky

This year on Dec. 1 , 2012 my husband, myself and a friend of ours started our day at 4:30 am. We entered the woods around 6:00am and proceeded  to our tree stands. Now mind you we hunted most of the week with no success whatsoever.

The only time we saw anything was when we pushed through a thicket on our hunting grounds, but once presented with a shot we would miss. Shooting at running deer is not at all an easy task. Now prior to our Dec. 1hunt my husband hunted Pa. as he tries to do every year and harvested an 8-point buck. The guys at the camp picked on him because it seems he is always successful at getting a buck and asked him where his horseshoe was!

Well anyhow, Dec. 1, 2012 came around and we were sitting in our stands. My husband was about 80 yards from my stand and around 8 a.m. or so, I heard a shot then another. I jumped up and saw a huge buck running towards me. The buck did his confused dance and then died instantly. My husband and I both shouted for joy over and over again. I then proceeded to climb down from my stand to congratulate my husband on his success at harvesting yet another buck, a big 8-pointer with 2 kickers on his pedicles.

Horseshoe connection

I stood with him for a bit and then proceeded to my stand hoping my turn would be next.  It took about an hour or so for my husband to field dress the deer, and to go get the deer cart. Before he left the woods he walked by my stand and threw me his pretend horseshoe wishing me luck.

I then took a moment to pray, letting God know that it would be the coolest thing if both my husband and I could get bucks together. I cannot begin to tell you all the connection you feel with your spouse when you share such a joy and passion for a sport. Even more so when your hard work, commitment and patience pays off at the end.

It paid off

My husband had only moved about 80 yards past me after the passing of the horse shoe when I saw a deer running by the left side of my stand. I jumped up shouldered my Remington 1187 with scope and put the deer in my sights when out of the corner of my eye I saw another deer running. It was a buck a really Big Buck. My heart was pounding and I could barely move.

I aimed, shot and missed but that did not stop me, or the buck. The buck ran under my stand and stopped behind it right between two trees. I took a deep breath and squeezed the trigger; the deer kicked up and ran. I began to shake and, yes, I even cried thanking God for this day and what just took place.

Wait a bit

Buddy, my husband, came running over with a big smile on his face. I was still in my stand, I signed to him putting my index fingers above my head that I had just shot a Buck. I climbed down from my stand and asked Buddy to wait a bit before we tracked the deer.  I knew I had shot the deer but it was not my average broadside shot. I shot him for behind, 20 feet up in the air. I wanted to make sure that we were giving the deer time to settle, just in case I had only injured him.

‘Just keep walking’

Twenty minutes went by and we decided to walk towards where I shot him. We saw hair, but no blood. My husband and I spread out and I walked closer to the thickets edge where the deer most likely would have laid up while Buddy walked deeper into the woods. We took our time walking a few steps and stopping for minutes. After several minutes had past there was still no blood trail, but I said, “Honey let’s just keep walking.”

‘It’s here right here!’

Five minutes later I look over to my left and I saw my buck, lying dead on the ground. I was so excited!! I tried snapping my fingers to get my husband’s attention but I was shaking so hard it didn’t work, so I yelled: “It’s here right here!” I had shot a non-typical 12 point buck that was heavily palmated! My husband expressed to me that he has been hunting since 1992 and has never seen a deer, live or dead, like the one I shot. I was so excited!


Dec.1, 2012 will be a day that my husband and I will be able to share for the rest of our lives. It is because of my husband that hunting has become my passion. He has such a desire to teach, he loves what he teaches and has been so patient with not only me but with our children. And one day all six of us will be out creating memories that will last the rest of our lives. Dale again thanks for your time and for sharing our story with your readers, Jennifer and Buddy Felt.

P.S. The picture of the Buck with the snow on the ground is Buddy’s Pa. buck.

The Felt’s stats

On Dec. 1, 2012 while hunting in Richmond Township Buddy felt harvested his 8-point buck at 7:50 a.m. and Jennifer followed up with her harvest at 10:30 a.m. with a non-typical palmated 12-point. Both weighing in at about 140 pounds Buddy harvested his with an Ithica 16 gauge, using Federal true-ball 2.75 slugs while Jen was shooting a Remington 11-87 12 gauge, with a Nikon Scope and Hornady SST Sobats.

Buddy’s was at about 45 yards when he shot it and went another 70 yards before expiring while Jens was about 30 yards out when she shot and again went about the same 70 yards before dropping. Buddy was hunting from a Summit climber and Jen was in a 20-foot stand. Both were wearing Mossy Oak scent lock clothing with hunter orange jackets.

My call

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good hunt!

God Bless each and every one of you!

Oh, deer!

As of Dec. 19, 2012 the deer harvest stats for Ashtabula County and some surrounding counties are as follows:

Ashtabula — Bucks taken 1486, doe taken 2274, button bucks 610 — Total 4370.

Geauga — Bucks taken 534, doe taken 964, button bucks taken 267 — Total, 1765.

Lake — Bucks taken 266, doe taken 425, button bucks taken 106 — Total 797.

Trumbull — Bucks taken 1013, doe taken 1468, button bucks taken 539 — Total 3020.

Remember, pass it on or it will surely pass on.

Sunderlin is a freelance writer from Geneva. Reach him at