Opening Day stories from around the Buckeye State

There are lots of great stories being published this week about opening day for Ohio deer-gun season, and we're happy to bring you excerpts from and links to a few of our favorites.

Chillicothe Gazette: Photo caption - "It's not just for the boys"

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    For the next several days, hunters with shotguns will replace speedy motorists as the top fear of area deer.

    There are approximately 475,000 licensed deer hunters in the state, of which 400,000 use a shotgun, said Jim Marshall, Ohio Department of Natural Resources Wildlife Division District 4 manager. And from Monday through Sunday it's the season they've all been waiting for. (photo by Frank Robinson/ Chillicothe Gazette)

Dayton Daily News: Hunters open fire, deer season begins

    When Burell Hall began hunting Monday morning on his farm in eastern Greene County, he saw a big buck chasing a doe.

    "I spooked it up when I was driving in and watched it for a bit," Hall said. "I watched it until it bedded down over by a fence row on the other side of a bean field. So I got down on my hands and knees and crawled all the way across the field."

    Hall crawled for about an hour and a half, watching the deer all the while.

    "The wind was in my face, so I knew he couldn't hear me or get my scent. The bean stubble hurt my hands and I had mud up to my elbows and all over my gun," Hall said. "And while I was crawling I must have had four of five does come within 20 yards of me."

    But Hall didn't crawl in the mud for more than hour to shoot a doe. He had the buck's rack in his sight all the way. And when he had crawled within 30 yards of the 11-point whitetail, he stood up and took his shot. And he didn't miss.

    Hall was one of an estimated 400,000 hunters who will hunt deer this week in Ohio. The annual deer gun season opened Monday and will run through Sunday. By that time, the Ohio Division of Wildlife estimates hunters will have taken about 125,000 deer statewide.

    "It always depends on the weather," said Todd Haines, manager of the Division of Wildlife's District 5, southwest Ohio. "But we are expecting a lot of activity."

Click on the "Read More..." link below for many more.

Bucyrus Telegraph Forum: Gun season opens with bang

    Terry Cole wasted no time Monday.

    The Galion man shot an 11-point buck in Richland County on the first day of deer gun season. When the weather turned cold 10 days ago, he saw the does in his area moving about, even hiding under his tree stand.

    He wasn't expecting much Monday morning because of the conditions, but the sound of guns firing had the does moving with the buck.

    "As soon as the booming started, they all ran in with him. I was only sitting back there an hour at the most," Cole said.

    With the wind howling and temperatures soaring above 60 degrees, it wasn't a typical opening day.

    Mark Delaney of Crestline also had a quick morning. He shot the biggest deer of his life on his property off Ohio 314.

    "I had been scouting him a long time. I put 20 hours a week in the woods, but it's all about being in the right place at the right time," Delaney said.

    The buck was 4 1/2 and had a stout 11-point rack.

    "I was a little lucky because I was set up to the right," Delaney said. "I got a feeling that I should look the other way and so I looked. If it was 10 seconds later, I wouldn't have got him. I looked and had to take the shot."

Cleveland Plain Dealer: Warm day drops deer-gun numbers

    Beautiful hunting weather is definitely in the eye of the beholder.

    The weather was just perfect on Monday for a stroll through the woods on opening day of Ohio's popular week-long deer gun season.

    Sportsmen across the state certainly found sweaty success, although many cut short the hunting day because it was too hot for hunting clothes or the deer were hunkered down.

    Because of the warm weather, Ohio Division of Wildlife officials were pleased with opening day results. Hunters checked 38,695 deer, a 3.9 percent decline from last year's 40,398 on the first day. With colder weather on the way, hunters are still expected to come close to last year's deer gun season harvest of 123,041 deer.

    Northeast Ohio's District 3 was a bright spot with 11,109 deer, a 6.4 percent increase.

    The opening day success around Cleveland included Cuyahoga (15 deer), Lake (88), Lorain (276), Summit (163) and Geauga (297) counties. There were big county gains in Summit (150 percent), Cuyahoga (66 percent), Lorain (63 percent), Ashtabula (42 percent), Trumbull (40 percent), Portage (34 percent), Wayne (30 percent) and Ashland (23 percent).

    Topping the 1,000 mark were more rural Tuscarawas (1,565), Harrison (1,224), Holmes (1,170) and Ashtabula (1,005) counties.

Marietta Times: Young hunter nabs albino deer

    Shortly after 5 a.m. Monday morning, while eating a hearty breakfast of eggs, sausage and toast with his grandpa, 12-year-old Derek Waterman mused about the day before him.

    His mood was bright with hopes of bagging his first deer on the year’s first day of gun hunting. Waterman, a seventh-grader at Warren Elementary, took to the woods with his grandpa, Robert O’Brien, and a 16-year-old cousin.

    As the day wound down, his spirits dropped, particularly after witnessing his cousin nail an eight-point buck.

    “I was jealous,” Waterman said.

    After a short break with his grandpa, he returned to the woods and discovered what looked like a white goat or cow. His grandpa told him not to shoot, but Waterman knew better. He had heard his cousin talk about this albino deer before; grandpa gave the go-ahead.

Toledo Blade: It was longest day of year for Ohio wildlife officers

    His day - opening day of the gun-deer hunting season in Ohio yesterday - began at oh-dark-thirty, a.m., and went till well-past-dark-thirty, p.m.

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    In between were a couple of hundreds of miles of patrolling, countless radio and cell-phone messages, interviews with orange-clad hunters, and maybe not quite a gallon of coffee.

    If he is lucky, no one gets hurt (as in shot) and any misbehavior in the ranks is uncommon, minor and incidental, not rude, arrogant and willful.

    So goes the biggest opening day of the year for a state wildlife officer such as Kevin Newsome, who is assigned to Lucas County. A hunter himself, he spends the state's biggest opening day watching out and watching others.

    "I'll work till I'm sure everybody's out of the woods," said Newsome.

Click on the Ohio Division of Wildlife logo to get all the opening day stats broken down by county.

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