The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

November 26, 2012

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Youth deer harvest up 5.7 percent

By DALE SUNDERLIN
For the Star Beacon

— The 10th annual youth deer-gun season proved successful for many hunters across the state, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

“This excellent youth deer-gun season is a tribute to our young hunters as well as the non-hunting adults who accompanied them this weekend,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “Offering special hunting seasons encourages families to spend time together outdoors, and we are glad so many young Ohioans participated this year.”

Youth hunters checked 9,178 white-tailed deer during the two-day season, Nov. 17-18. The harvest total represents a 5.7-percent increase from 2011 (8,681) and is the highest total since 2009 (9,269). Youth hunters have checked at least 8,300 deer every year since 2005.

Counties reporting the highest number of deer checked: Tuscarawas (317), Coshocton (295), Muskingum (280), Licking (262), Knox (247), Holmes (235), Belmont (234), Guernsey (232), Harrison (225) and Washington (196). These were also the top 10 counties in 2011, although the order was different. Ashtabula came in at (166) deer harvested.

Ohio’s youth deer-gun season was open in all 88 counties. All participants were required to wear hunter orange, possess a valid Ohio youth hunting license and youth deer permit and also be accompanied by a non-hunting adult.

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

The youth deer-gun season is one of four special youth-only hunting seasons designed to offer a safe and excellent early hunting experience for young hunters. Special seasons are also set aside for upland game, wild turkey and waterfowl hunting.

All hunters will have a chance at bagging a white-tailed deer during the statewide deer-gun season, which is open Monday through Sunday, Nov. 26-Dec. 2, and an additional weekend, Dec. 15-16. More information can be found in the 2012-13 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations and at wildohio.com.



’Tis the season!

Ohio’s weeklong deer-gun season began today statewide, and runs through Sunday, Dec. 2, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The season again includes an extra weekend of gun hunting Dec. 15-16.

“Deer-gun season is a great Ohio tradition and an opportunity for hunters to spend time with friends and family in the outdoors,” ODNR Director James Zehringer said. “I encourage everyone to take proper safety precautions, such as using a safety harness while in a tree stand, wearing hunter orange and being aware of their surroundings.”

Deer can be hunted with a muzzleloader, handgun or shotgun from one half-hour before sunrise to sunset during the gun season. ODNR Division of Wildlife anticipates 80,000-85,000 deer will be checked and tagged during the weeklong hunt. Approximately 420,000 hunters are expected to participate in this year’s season, including many out-of-state hunters.

“Ohio has long managed our deer with the goal of producing both a high-quality herd balanced by a tolerable quantity of animals for all to enjoy,” Scott Zody, chief of ODNR’s Division of Wildlife, said. “I greatly appreciate the awareness of both our resident and non-resident hunters recognizing quality deer management means harvesting does and not just bucks. As a result, Ohio is a top 10 whitetail hunting destination.”

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

Hunters may take only one antlered deer, regardless of zone, 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.

Ohio is divided into three deer hunting zones. One deer may be harvested in Zone A (six counties) and two deer in Zone B (44 counties). Three deer may be harvested in Zone C (38 counties).

Those hunting in urban units and at Division of Wildlife-authorized controlled hunts will have a six-deer bag limit, and those deer do not count against the hunter’s zone bag limit. Antlerless deer permits can be used for the entire season in urban deer units or Division of Wildlife authorized controlled hunts. Antlerless deer permits will not be sold after Nov. 25, and these permits are not valid after that date unless used in an urban deer unit or a Division of Wildlife authorized controlled hunt.

Hunting licenses are no longer printed on weatherproof paper. Protect licenses and permits from the elements by carrying them in a protective pouch or wallet.

More information can be found in the 2012-13 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations and at wildohio.com. Hunters can share photos by clicking on the Photo Gallery tab online.



At the wire

Ohio offers many licenses and permit options for white-tailed deer hunters as they take to the field in the coming weeks, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

Hunters are reminded that antlerless permits are not valid after Sunday, except in urban units and ODNR Division of Wildlife controlled hunts. ODNR Division of Wildlife is ceasing the sale of antlerless permits after Tuesday, Nov. 20 to avoid confusion at license vendors.

Hunters may still purchase an either-sex deer permit to pursue bucks and does until Feb. 3, 2013. However, hunters may take only one antlered deer, regardless of zone, hunting method or season. Either-sex permits can be purchased online at wildohio.com or at a license vendor.

Ohio is divided into three deer hunting zones. Hunters may harvest up to six deer in Zone C, three of which must be tagged with an antlerless permit prior to Nov. 26; up to four deer in Zone B, two of which must be tagged with an antlerless permit prior to Nov. 26; and up to two deer in Zone A, one of which must be tagged with an antlerless permit prior to Nov. 26.

Find complete details in the 2012-13 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations or online at wildohio.com. Hunters with questions can also call 800-945-3543.

The deer-gun season is open Monday, Nov. 26 through Sunday, Dec. 2 and Dec. 15-16. Deer-muzzleloader season is open Jan. 5-8, 2013. Deer-archery season is open through Feb. 3, 2013.

Hunting licenses are no longer printed on weatherproof paper. Protect licenses and permits from the elements by carrying them in a protective pouch or wallet.



Extended hours

Hunters and other individuals seeking information about white-tailed deer-gun hunting seasons or wanting to report state wildlife law violations may take advantage of extended call center hours, according to the Division of Wildlife.

The 800-945-3543 general hunting information hotline will be open from to answer calls prior to and during the deer-gun season, Nov. 26-Dec. 2 and Dec. 15-16.

The deer-gun season is when many of Ohio’s hunters have last-minute questions, and ODNR Division of Wildlife staff is ready and available to assist them. Special call center hours prior to and during the state’s deer-gun season include:

n 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 23 to Sunday, Dec. 2.

n 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15-16.

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

Tips concerning wildlife violations can also be submitted at www.wildohio.com. and tipsters may be eligible to receive a cash award.



Hot tip: Give it a rest

Whether its buck fever, heavy breathing from walking or just the weight of the gun, holding steady for a shot on a bruiser buck is just plain hard.

While there are times when every hunter is forced to take a free-hand shot, far too many fail to take advantage of potential rest objects or habits.

I carry my favorite rest with me all the time or maybe I should say it carries me. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve taken a deer with the gun resting on my knee. Your knee is a natural when sitting on the ground, and I’ve been known to drop to my backside in open-field or a power line situation to make a knee available and prepare for a quick shot.

If you’re in the timber, make use of a tree. You don’t need a horizontal branch; just rest the gun or your support arm against the side of the tree.

If you know you’ll be taking long shots, shooting sticks are light, portable and effective. They also work well in ground-blind situations where you can’t sit on the ground and still see out the windows.

Finally, practice taking free-hand shots. Just like everything else, you get better the more you do it. Looping your arm through the sling also helps, but that, too, is something you need to practice.

In most cases, your first shot is your only opportunity to take a buck. Use a rest to make it your best shot, too.



Datebook

n The Lyme Disease Support Group, Lyme Bites, is hosting a lecture on Dec. 8 at 11 a.m. by Dr. J. Joseph, a Lyme disease specialty physician who will be speaking on the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease followed by a question and answer session. Medical personnel and support givers are encouraged to attend.  The lecture will be held at the Jefferson Health Care’s (Jefferson Geriatric) conference room located at 222 East Beech St, Jefferson. Park in the back and enter through the Dialysis doors. This event is free of charge and open to the public. Reservations are not required but appreciated.  For more information, contact Janine Kirby at 858-2614.

n Share a Christmas — The Jefferson Conservation Club presents their annual Share a Christmas Dinner and Live Auction. It will be held on Dec. 8 at the Dorset Community Center, located at 2681 State Route 193, Dorset. Doors will open at 5 p.m. and dinner will be serves at 6:30. Admission is any non-perishable food item, preferably canned goods. All proceeds go to support local families who have fallen on hard times. Examples of how the funds have been used in the past are: providing fuel oil, paying an electric bill, purchasing food and or gift cards for families so they can provide a Christmas for their children. RSVP by Dec. 1 to Dave at 812-5837. It is essential that you RSVP so they know how much food to prepare.



Oh, deer!

As of Nov. 20, 2012 the deer harvest stats for Ashtabula County and some surrounding counties are as follows:

n Ashtabula — Bucks taken 681, does taken 898, button bucks 235, 2012, total 1814.

n Geauga —Bucks taken 302, Does taken 526, button bucks taken 123, total, 951.

n Lake — Bucks taken 178, does taken 260, button bucks taken 59, total 497.

n Trumbull — Bucks taken 538, does taken 647, button bucks taken 250, total 1435.

Sunderlin is a freelance writer from Geneva. Reach him at djss@roadrunner.com.