The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 17, 2013

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Ohio youth season coming soon

For the Star Beacon

— Ohio’s young hunters have the opportunity to pursue white-tailed deer during the states 11th annual youth white-tailed deer hunting season Saturday and Sunday, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

The youth deer-gun season is open statewide to hunters holding a valid youth hunting license and a deer permit. Deer can be hunted with a plugged shotgun using slugs, a muzzleloader .38 caliber or larger, a handgun .357 caliber or larger and bows during these two days.

Youth hunters checked 9,178 deer in 2012 and at least 8,300 deer in the two-day season every year since 2005.

New this year, hunting time is extended 30 minutes for all deer seasons, including the youth deer season. Deer can be hunted from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

All participants must wear hunter orange, possess a valid Ohio youth hunting license as well as a deer permit, and they must be accompanied in the field by a non-hunting adult. One adult may accompany no more than two youth hunters.

Youth hunters can commemorate their achievement with a First Harvest certificate, available at Parents can upload a photo and type in the hunter’s information to personalize the certificate. Hunters can also share photos by clicking on the Photo Gallery tab online.

Deer bag limits are now determined by county. The statewide bag limit is nine deer, but a hunter cannot exceed a county limit. Hunters may take only one antlered deer, regardless of hunting method or season. A deer permit is required in addition to a valid Ohio hunting license. Hunters must purchase an additional permit to hunt more than one deer.

A new tagging procedure administered by the ODNR Division of Wildlife requires hunters to make their own game tag to attach to a deer. Game tags can be made of any material (cardboard, plastic, paper, etc.) as long as it contains the hunter’s name, date, time and county of the kill. Go to the Deer Hunting Resources page at for more information on changes to the game check process.

All other regularly scheduled hunting seasons will continue during the two-day youth deer season. All hunters (except waterfowl hunters) are required to wear hunter orange during this time. More information can be found in the 2013-14 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations and at

Deer hunting in Ohio continues to be a popular activity for many who enjoy the outdoors. Ohio hunters checked 218,910 deer during the 2012-2013 season. Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has a more than $853 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.


Permits city

Ohio white-tailed deer hunters can still purchase and use antlerless deer permits through Sunday, Dec. 1, according to the ODNR.

Hunters can tag and check antlerless deer with an antlerless permit through Dec. 1. After Dec. 1, hunters must possess or purchase an either-sex deer permit to pursue bucks and does until Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014. Either-sex permits can be purchased online at or at a license vendor.

Deer bag limits are now determined by county. The statewide bag limit is nine deer, but a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit. Hunters may harvest only one antlered deer in Ohio regardless of hunting method or season. Only one antlerless deer may be checked per county using an antlerless permit. Ohioans are again reminded that antlerless permits will not be valid after Dec. 1.

Ohio offers many opportunities to deer hunters in the coming months. The youth deer-gun season is Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 23-24. The deer-gun season is Monday, Dec. 2, through Sunday, Dec. 8. Deer-muzzleloader season is Saturday, Jan. 4, through Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014. Deer-archery season is open through Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014.

Find complete details in the 2013-2014 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations or online at Hunters with questions can also call 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).

Hours extended

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife’s toll-free 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) general hunting information hotline will offer extended hours during the youth deer-gun season and prior to and during the deer-gun season.

The white-tailed deer-gun hunting seasons are when many of Ohio’s hunters have last-minute questions, and Division of Wildlife staff will be ready and available to assist. Special call center hours include:

Ohioans are encouraged to help enforce state wildlife laws by reporting violations to the division’s Turn-In-a-Poacher (TIP) hotline by calling 800-POACHER (762-2437). Established in 1982, the TIP program allows individuals to anonymously call toll-free to report wildlife violations. The 800-POACHER hotline is open for calls 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

Tips concerning wildlife violations can also be submitted at Tipsters may be eligible to receive a cash award.

First Ohio buck

Vicki Caruthers got into the woods about 2:15 on the afternoon of Nov. 4, 2013 and had her stand set on the tree she was going to climb and sit in. It was a triple poplar that her husband Tim and she had sat in before. Vicki had talked to him about where they thought she should go the day before and that set up determined to be a good one.

Gettin’ ready

She got settled in after climbing up, pulling up her bow and backpack, then getting everything ready took about a half hour. Climbing tree stands may be versatile but they take some time and work to set up correctly and safely. Whoever says hunting is a lazy mans sport; well let’s just say they’ve never really been hunting.

Mundane day, then!

The weather was fairly clear and the sun was out with a little wind from the southeast. It seemed like any other day with the squirrels busy all around her as they always are in that area. She sat until about 4:30 without seeing anything other than the squirrels and a huge flock of blackbirds that were all around her making an ungodly amount of racket for about 10 minutes.

As she looked toward the open field to the west of her she saw what looked to be a really big bodied deer cross the middle of the field and disappear into the thick grass in front of him. Shortly after that there was a decent sized buck chasing a doe around the field. Things were looking up.

All gone!

Next, the buck chased the doe across the corner of the woods about 80 yards in front of her. They kept going around to her left and down into the creek bed where she finally lost sight of them behind a bunch of thick brush. She could still hear him grunting at his doe but couldn’t see where they were going.

Excited texting

About the time that Vicki lost track of them, Tim text her wanting to know if she was seeing anything. Needless to say she was excited to tell him about what she had just seen and he said he hoped they came back. Just as she finished telling him her too, Vicki caught a glimpse of what looked like an even nicer buck following along where the other deer had just gone.

Please come my way

She was still standing after watching where the other deer had gone, so she hurriedly stuffed her phone back in her pocket and began checking out what the big guy was doing.

Vicki surmised the situation and figured the only way she would be able to get him off the other deer’s track and closer to her was to try to call him in. She grabbed the grunt call and grunted at him twice then tossed it in her seat. Unfortunately he kept following their tracks down to where she had just lost sight of the other deer.

She thought for sure he was going to just keep following them right on down their trail and out of sight like the others.

He’s back

Just as quickly as he was gone suddenly he reappeared, Vicki almost couldn’t believe it when she saw him coming back up the creek toward her. She had already grabbed her bow when she first saw him coming so she was already somewhat prepared. When he was heading back toward her, she hooked up her release and waited.

He stopped behind a tree in the flat of the creek below her and looked around for a second. Then he started moving again up the bank and around to the trail behind her. Vicki was so excited; “Was this really happening?” was her thought.

Stoppin’ the big guy

He started to trot by on the trail right beside her. Now all she had to do was get him to stop. She made the bawl sound that Tim had taught her that will usually get them to stop, but he kept going. She gave it another try and when she did it again he stopped, giving her a perfect quartering away shot.

Her heart was pounding and Vicki said she actually tried pulling the trigger on her release twice before she even put her finger on it. As calmly as she could she took a breath settled her aim and squeezed the trigger.

She heard a thump and the big guy let out a hellacious grunt and ran off. Vicki kept a keen eye on him and watched as he ran straight away from her at somewhat of an angle until she couldn’t see him anymore.

A rush of emotions

As Vicki stood there shivering, all kinds of thought were going through her head, the main one being, “Did that really just happen? Did I really just shoot my first Ohio buck?”  She tried to call Tim right away, but he didn’t answer. So she had to send him a text. It didn’t take long before he called her back and they came up with a plan of action as to what Vicki should do.

Call for reinforcements.

Vicki eased her climber down and left the woods to get some extra help tracking him. A few of their close friends met Vicki back at her hunting spot a couple hours later and they proceeded to look for him. They went to the spot where she had taken the shot and found the blood trail.

It was a good hit, plenty of sign. The tracking led them to the area where Vicki had seen him last, into the field where she had seen him run. As they progressed about 40 yards into the tall grass, there he was, a beautiful 11-point. What an awesome feeling.

Thanks to all

Vicki wanted to make sure she said, “Thank you to all of you for your help and to Tim for teaching me what I needed to know over the years to be able to do this on my own.”

Vicki’ s stats

Vicki Caruthers harvested her first Ohio buck, an 11-pointer, weighing in at 190 pounds field dressed with a green antler score of 132 or better on Nov. 4, 2013 at 5 p.m. in Austinburg, where she checked him in over the Internet. She was using a Matthews DXT, 52 pound draw compound bow sporting Carbon Express Maxima Hunter 250 arrows at a length of 27.5 inches.

Her broadhead of choice was a Muzzy fixed blade 100 grain. She arrowed her bruiser at 5 yards and he went another 150 yards before expiring. She was wearing Realtree AP camo hunting from a Summit climber at a height of 25 feet. She used a Primos grunt call to stop him which lead to his demise.

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


The Ashtabula County Wildlife Conservation League (ACWCL) in conjunction with Whitetails Unlimited will be hosting their annual “Buck Fever Night” on November 29, 2013 at the Ashtabula County Fairgrounds Expo Building in Jefferson.

50 percent of all net proceeds will go directly back to our local area for conservation-related activities. Proceeds from this event will benefit youth programs in cooperation with Ashtabula County Conservation League.

Single non-membership Ttcket cost $25 and include dinner. Purchase your Buck Fever tickets by Nov. 15 and be automatically entered into a drawing for a chance to win a $100 book of gun-raffle tickets!

Table Captain Package includes 10 buck-fever tickets, entry in table captain-only gun drawing, free WTU cap, Seats reserved in your name and Recognition as a special WTU guest.

Raffles, $100 hunters raffle package, 9 gun-board raffle tickets, 30 bucket raffle tickets, WTU gift, WTU 1-year membership.

Purchase a $100 raffle package before Nov. 25 and also receive a bonus gun ticket and a free $50 hunters raffle book (3 gun board raffle tickets 10 bucket raffle tickets). This item is picked up at event, buck fever ticket NOT included.

Become a sponsor, donate $150 in cash or merchandise, and receive our WTU sponsor Browning knife with case and decal, two buck-fever tickets, and entry into a sponsor-only gun drawing! Please call for merchandise sponsorship opportunity.

Membership, purchase a 1-year associate membership for $25, not necessary to purchase to attend event, and is included with $100 hunters package.

For more information and to purchase tickets, call Dale Sunderlin at 466-2223, Tim Starkey at 992-2195 or WTU headquarters, Denny Malloy at (330) 507-9489.

Orwell Gun Club will be holding its Thanksgiving Turkey shoot on Nov. 24 at 1 p.m. Allowable firearms are all modern standard shotguns in good working order, no scopes are allowed and all shotguns must have a minimum choke .672 diameter or larger. FMI, call Bob Lewandowski at 281-7351.

Sunderlin is a freelance writer from Geneva. Reach him at