Deer numbers still down for Ohio hunters in 2013

Ohio hunters checked 75,408 white-tailed deer during the weeklong gun hunting season, Dec. 2-8, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

”With the muzzleloader season and almost two months of archery hunting yet to come, Ohio hunters have many more opportunities to harvest a deer,” said Scott Zody, chief of the ODNR Division of Wildlife.

Hunting is the best and most effective management tool for maintaining Ohio’s healthy deer population. Hunters have harvested 162,720 deer so far in the 2013 hunting seasons, compared to 171,867 at the same point last year, a 5% difference.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife remains committed to properly managing Ohio’s deer populations through a combination of regulatory and programmatic changes. The goal of Ohio’s Deer Management Program is to provide a deer population that maximizes recreational opportunities, while minimizing conflicts with landowners and motorists. This ensures that Ohio’s deer herd is maintained at a level that is both acceptable to most, and biologically sound.

Until recently, the populations in nearly all of Ohio’s counties were well above their target numbers. In the last few years, through increased harvests, dramatic strides have been made in many counties to bring those populations closer toward their goal. Once a county’s deer population is near goal, harvest regulations are adjusted to maintain the population near that goal.

Archery season remains open through Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014. The muzzleloader season is Jan. 4-7, 2014.

Counties reporting the highest number of checked deer during the 2013 gun season: Coshocton (2,658), Muskingum (2,604), Tuscarawas (2,604), Guernsey (2,401), Ashtabula (2,334), Harrison (2,133), Carroll (2,019), Knox (1,966), Licking (1,887) and Belmont (1,851). Coshocton County also had the most deer checked in the 2012 deer gun season (3,119).

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