White-tailed Deer Hunters Score on Opening Day of Gun Season
Statewide harvest up 70 percent from 2007
COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio hunters were on the mark for opening day of the 2008 deer-gun season. Hunters took 33,034 white-tailed deer on Monday, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The deer-gun season remains open through Sunday, December 7, and then reopens for two days on Saturday and Sunday, December 20-21.
The preliminary figures from deer check stations throughout the state show a significant increase from last year's opening day total of 19,391. Monday's weather was breezy with intermittent rain or snow across the state, a stark contrast to opening day 2007 when hunters were hampered by heavy rain.
Counties reporting the highest numbers of deer checked on Monday included Tuscarawas-1,821, Washington-1,456, Coshocton-1,307, Harrison-1,286, Guernsey-1,202, Licking-1,134, Ashtabula-1,089, Holmes-1,088, Knox-954, and Athens-828.
Combining the results of Monday's harvest with those from the early muzzleloader season, the first six weeks of archery season and the recent youth deer-gun season, a preliminary total of 95,074 deer have been killed so far this deer hunting season. That number compares to 84,161 harvested last year at this time. In all, hunters took a total of 232,854 deer during all of last year's hunting seasons.
Approximately 400,000 hunters are expected to participate in the statewide deer-gun season. Ohio's deer population was estimated to be 700,000 prior to the start of the fall hunting seasons.
The white-tailed deer is the most popular game animal in Ohio, frequently pursued by generations of hunters. Ohio ranks 6th nationally in annual hunting-related sales and 4th in the number of jobs associated with the hunting-related industry. Each year, hunting has a $1.5 billion economic impact in Ohio. Hunting related retail sales in Ohio total more than $700 million.
Hunters are encouraged to kill more does this season using the reduced-priced antlerless deer permit (valid in Zone C through December 7) and donate any extra venison to organizations assisting Ohioans in need. The Division is collaborating with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry to help pay for the processing of donated venison.
Hunters who give their deer to a food bank are not required to pay the processing cost as long as the deer are taken to a participating processor and funding for the effort lasts. Counties being served by this program can be found online at www.fhfh.org.
Hunters who wish to share their success can submit a photo of themselves and the deer they killed this year for publication on the ODNR Division of Wildlife's Web page.
A detailed listing of deer-hunting rules is contained in the 2008-2009 Ohio Hunting Regulations, available wherever licenses are sold, and online at wildohio.com.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR web site at www.ohiodnr.com.