Monday, February 13, 2017

Ohio's proposed game laws could include use of AR-platform rifles for deer

Ohio’s hunters will all but assuredly encounter more of the same for the up-coming 2017-2018 hunting season.

 
The Ohio Division of Wildlife presented its laundry list of game law proposals to the eight-member Ohio Wildlife Council on February 8th. The following day various agency officials presented the same during a tele-conference with outdoors writers from around the state.

 
Much of what was presented were boilerplate/house-keeping duties involving the starting and ending dates for various seasons as well as bag limits for small game, waterfowl and wild turkeys. In the middle the Wildlife Division is proposing that the daily bag limit on canvasback ducks be increased to two from the present one while the daily bag limit on black ducks shrink from the current two to one.

 
Also, the age for participating in the youth-only two-day waterfowl hunt could rise from the present 15 to 17 in order to conform to federal law.

 
For turkey hunting the state is proposing adding another 11 counties to the fall season with the season bag limit still entrenched at one bird of either sex.

 
The arena of questioning and answering pretty much focused on Ohio’s proposed deer seasons, deer-hunting regulations and the status of Ohio’s deer herd. On those scores the agency is shuffling the deck chairs as to which counties will see increased or decreased bag limits.

 
For this the Wildlife Division’s troupe of law enforcement agents, wildlife biologists and paper-shuffling administrators all of these officials agree that while tweaking the rules is necessary a wholesale and game-changing series of new regulations is not necessary.

 
At least not until the ink on a work-still-in-progress/10-year deer management plan is finalized. That effort is not expected to be completed until May with a potential host of major rule shifts more than likely to appear sometime around 2020.

 
What is needed now, says the Wildlife Division, is for everyone – biologists, wildlife law enforcement, farmers, hunters and other stake-holders – to begin looking at the long view in terms of deer harvest trends and not so much at comparing one hunting season’s kill numbers against another.

 
“We (all) need to step back and look at the larger picture and not get so hung up on year-to-year (harvest) differences,” said Mike Tonkovich, the Wildlife Division’s deer management administrator.

 
Tonkovich did say that while no one portion of Ohio is seeing any “worrisome” decline in deer herd strength, the Wildlife Division is proposing some “adjustments” to all-seasons’ bag limits in northwest Ohio. This, in order to “give a boast” to that region’s deer herd which remains in the deer population shadow of the rest of the state, Tonkovich says.

 
“We’re in a good place by and large in the state, and it seems that folks are generally happy,” Tonkovich said. “I definitely feel that we are moving in the right direction.”

 
Even so, the Wildlife Division admits that most deer hunting license sales have either remained stagnant or else have declined of late. Sales of the resident either sex tags were down 5.45 percent while those for non-residents showed a moribund increase of 0.22 percent, for instance.

 
Other proposed deer-hunting regulatory moves would include allowing the use of any straight-walled rifle cartridge of at least .357 caliber but not greater than .51 caliber. Such a change would permit the use of such cartridges as the .450 Bushmaster and the .50 Beawolf, among many others.

 
Both of these calibers have a strong presence in AR-platform rifles; the kind frequently cited in the media as being “assault weapons.” A point that Ken Fritz – the agency’s law enforcement administrator – said was of no concern to the agency since type-casting a firearm is not what drives hunting laws.

 
Fritz noted that the agency has long-recognized a wealth of different shotgun styles and has not seen any ill effects by doing so, either.

 
As for eventually allowing the use of large caliber air rifles or the futuristic-looking “air bow,” Fritz said the agency has not even discussed the topic in-house. The reason is because few proponents of these implements have stepped up to the plate and approached the Wildlife Division regarding any rule change on them.
 
Here are the proposed specifics as to what the Ohio Division of Wildlife is requesting as to all-seasons’ deer bag limits for Ohio’s 88 counties:
 
It shall be unlawful to hunt or take more than two deer per license year from the following counties: Allen, Athens, Auglaize, Belmont, Butler, Carroll, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Coshocton, Darke, Defiance, Erie, Fairfield, Fayette, Fulton, Gallia, Geauga, Greene, Guernsey, Hancock, Harrison, Henry, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Madison, Meigs, Mercer, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Ottawa, Paulding, Perry, Pickaway, Preble, Putnam, Sandusky, Shelby, Tuscarawas, Van Wert, Vinton, Warren, Washington, Williams, or Wood counties, provided further,
(a) It shall be unlawful to hunt or take more than two deer per license year under the authority of a deer permit outside of a division of wildlife authorized controlled hunt, from the following counties: Allen, Athens, Auglaize, Belmont, Butler, Carroll, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Coshocton, Darke, Defiance, Erie, Fairfield, Fayette, Fulton, Gallia, Geauga, Greene, Guernsey, Hancock, Harrison, Henry, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Madison, Meigs, Mercer, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Ottawa, Paulding, Perry, Pickaway, Preble, Putnam, Sandusky, Shelby, Tuscarawas, Van Wert, Vinton, Warren, Washington, Williams, or Wood counties.
(b) It shall be unlawful to hunt or take any deer under the authority of an antlerless deer permit, outside of a division of wildlife authorized controlled hunt, from the following counties: Allen, Athens, Auglaize, Belmont, Butler, Carroll, Champaign, Clark, Clinton, Coshocton, Darke, Defiance, Erie, Fairfield, Fayette, Fulton, Gallia, Geauga, Greene, Guernsey, Hancock, Harrison, Henry, Hocking, Jackson,Jefferson, Lawrence, Madison, Meigs, Mercer, Miami, Monroe, Montgomery, Morgan, Morrow, Muskingum, Noble, Ottawa, Paulding, Perry, Pickaway, Preble, Putnam, Sandusky, Shelby, Tuscarawas, Van Wert, Vinton, Warren, Washington,Williams, or Wood counties.
(4) It shall be unlawful to hunt or take more than three deer per license year from the following counties: Adams, Allen, Ashland, Ashtabula, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Carroll, Clermont Columbiana, Coshocton, Crawford, Defiance, Fulton, Fairfield, Gallia, Guernsey, Hardin, Henry, Harrison, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Huron, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Lake, Lawrence,
Licking, Logan, Lorain, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Paulding, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Portage, Putnam, Richland, Ross, Scioto, Seneca, Stark, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Union, Vinton, Washington, Wayne, Williams, and Wyandot counties, provided further,
(a) It shall be unlawful to hunt or take more than three deer per license year under the authority of a deer permit, outside of a division of wildlife authorized controlled hunt, from the following counties: Adams, Allen, Ashland, Ashtabula, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Carroll, Clermont,
Columbiana, Coshocton, Crawford, Defiance, , Fulton, Fairfield, Gallia, Guernsey, Hardin, Henry, Harrison, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Huron, Jackson, Jefferson, Knox, Lake, Lawrence, Licking, Logan, Lorain, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, , Paulding, Meigs, Monroe,
Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Portage, Putnam, Richland, Ross, Scioto, Seneca, Stark, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Union, Vinton, Washington, Wayne, Williams, and Wyandot counties, and
(b) It shall be unlawful to hunt or take more than one antlerless deer per year under the authority of an antlerless deer permit, outside of a division of wildlife authorized controlled hunt, from the following counties: Lake, Lorain, Portage and Stark, counties.

(c) It shall be unlawful to hunt or take any deer under the authority of an antlerless deer permit, outside of a division of wildlife authorized controlled hunt, from the following counties: Adams, Allen, Ashland, Ashtabula, Athens, Belmont, Brown, Carroll, Clermont, Columbiana, Coshocton, Crawford, Defiance, Fulton, Fairfield, Gallia, Guernsey, Hardin, , Henry, Harrision, Highland, Hocking, Holmes, Huron, Jackson, Jefferson, , Knox, Lawrence, Licking, Logan, Mahoning, Marion, Medina, Paulding, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Pike, Putnam, Richland, Ross, Scioto, Seneca, Trumbull, Tuscarawas, Union, Vinton, Washington, Wayne, Williams, and  Wyandot counties.
 
- By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

 

Saturday, February 11, 2017

A lackluster Ohio's deer season highlighted by some significant county declines

A statistically insignificant drop in Ohio’s 2016-2017 all-seasons’ deer kill still remains highlighted by some serious drops in any number of counties.
However, deer harvest gains occurred in enough of Ohio’s other counties to have helped compensate for such shortfalls.
In all, Ohio deer hunters shot 182,169 whitetails for the 2016-2017 all-seasons’ deer kill total, representing a 3.27 percent decline from the 2015-2016 all-seasons’ total deer harvest of 188,329 animals.
And of Ohio’s 88 counties fully 55 of them registered declines, of which 17 each saw a shortfall of 10 percent or more. One of the counties taking on the biggest hits was Adams. Adam County  posted a whopping 21.29 percent decline: from a total of 4,157 deer killed during the 2015-2016 season to 3,272 deer for the 2016-2017all-seasons’ total.
Other significant declines were seen in such stalwart and deer-harvest giants as Hocking County (down 12.13 percent from 3,727 animals to 3,275 animals); Vinton County (down 12.78 percent from 3,059 animals to 2,668 animals); Clermont County (down 16.94 percent from 2,821 animals to 2,343animals); and Scioto County (down 18.29 percent from 3,034 animals to 2,479 animals).
Buffering such severe drops was noted in the state’s remaining 23 counties, a few of which saw marked gains. Among them was the standout Cuyahoga County which saw its all-seasons’ harvest climb more than 38 percent from a total deer kill of 814 animals in 2015-2016 to 1,124 deer for the 2016-2017 total tally.
In Cuyahoga County the near unanimous belief for the increase stems from the fact that in 2015 voters in five communities there approved allowing controlled archery deer hunting. Thus such a tool is evidence that archery hunting is a positive deer management tool, state biologists believe.
“With the addition of several cities in the western part of Cuyahoga County allowing archery hunting for the first time this past season, there is likely a strong correlation to that and the significant harvest increase in that county,” said Geoff Westerfield, the assistant wildlife management administrator for the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s District Three (Northeast Ohio) Office in Akron.
Other counties gaining deer-harvest ground included Erie (up 15.73 percent at 868 and up from 750); Trumbull (up 12.33 percent at 3,699 and up from 3,293); and Ashtabula (up 4.05 percent at 5,040 and up from 4,844).
And as a region, Northeast Ohio appears to have demonstrated the most consistent rise in the county-by-county deer harvest when stacked next to their respective 2015-2016 all-seasons’ numbers. Of the 19 counties associated as being inclusive of Northeast Ohio, 15 posted harvest gains.
Granted, some of the drops and some of the gains in Northeast Ohio and elsewhere in the state number less than one percent (plus-0.65 percent in Stark County and minus-0.63 percent in Harrison County as two such examples) a wide range of contributing unknowns almost certainly come into play and which may well be beyond wildlife management influence, let alone, wildlife management control, says Westerfield
“While this year counties such as Medina and Trumbull saw fairly large increases over last year, variables such as mast crop, crop removal, harvest regulations, and current herd trend can play into those changes,” Westerfield said.
Perhaps in some cases – particularly in highly urbanized Northeast Ohi , Westerfield says also, fragmentation of land use and “no hunting areas” likely creates refuges that combine with a still-growing deer herd that has probably helped increase any potential harvest.
“Even stuff like the number of hunters who must stay closer to home because land where they once had permission to hunt on they no longer have access to can drastically affect a particular county’s harvest,” Westerfield said.
This could be true for any Ohio county that saw an increase or a decrease in its respective all-seasons’ deer harvest, says Westerfield.
“In the end, what is most important is not what the number is doing on a county level but locally what is going on; not only for that year but over the last seven or eight years,” Westerfield said. “Keep in mind, too, that hunter desires for herd growth and herd structure can vary from one side of the fence to the next.”
A list of all white-tailed deer checked by hunters during the 2016-2017 deer season is shown below. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest number for the 2016-2017 season, and the 2015-2016 season number is in parentheses.

Adams: 3,272 (4,157); Allen: 1,039 (1,102); Ashland: 2,954 (3,026); Ashtabula: 5,040 (4,844); Athens: 3,646 (3,979); Auglaize: 751 (828); Belmont: 3,236 (3,205); Brown: 2,448 (2,754); Butler: 1,231 (1,382); Carroll: 3,586 (3,557); Champaign: 1,118 (1,242); Clark: 661 (759); Clermont: 2,343 (2,821); Clinton: 719 (789); Columbiana: 3,189 (3,299); Coshocton: 5,929 (5,700); Crawford: 1,113 (1,165); Cuyahoga: 1,124 (814); Darke: 679 (738); Defiance: 1,675 (1,767); Delaware: 1,527 (1,684); Erie: 868 (750); Fairfield: 1,800 (1,955); Fayette: 312 (310); Franklin: 837 (817); Fulton: 826 (802); Gallia: 2,720 (2,914); Geauga: 1,871 (1,886); Greene: 816 (835); Guernsey: 4,565 (4,435); Hamilton: 1,589 (2,007); Hancock: 1,179 (1,185); Hardin: 1,220 (1,270); Harrison: 3,763 (3,787); Henry: 708 (684); Highland: 2,587 (2,919); Hocking: 3,275 (3,727); Holmes: 3,731 (3,717); Huron: 2,279 (2,204); Jackson: 2,870 (3,194); Jefferson: 2,800 (2,663); Knox: 4,495 (4,465); Lake: 961 (908); Lawrence: 1,942 (2,113); Licking: 4,971 (5,364); Logan: 1,919 (2,071); Lorain: 2,511 (2,458); Lucas: 755 (759); Madison: 482 (497); Mahoning: 1,933 (1,835); Marion: 886 (892); Medina: 2,109 (1,872); Meigs: 3,476 (3,592); Mercer: 661 (603); Miami: 774 (833); Monroe: 2,571 (2,598); Montgomery: 591 (684); Morgan: 2,992 (3,096); Morrow: 1,486 (1,437); Muskingum: 5,118 (4,966); Noble: 2,855 (2,970); Ottawa: 450 (424); Paulding: 954 (1,064); Perry: 2,787 (2,867); Pickaway: 724 (803); Pike: 2,083 (2,382); Portage: 2,211 (2,178); Preble: 847 (965); Putnam: 709 (704); Richland: 3,246 (3,189); Ross: 3,029 (3,425); Sandusky: 862 (874); Scioto: 2,479 (3,034); Seneca: 1,842 (1,785); Shelby: 961 (1,050); Stark: 2,778 (2,760); Summit: 1,572 (1,487); Trumbull: 3,699 (3,293); Tuscarawas: 5,039 (4,921); Union: 842 (932); Van Wert: 458 (492); Vinton: 2,668 (3,059); Warren: 1,095 (1,266); Washington: 3,402 (3,526); Wayne: 2,020 (1,971); Williams: 1,687 (1,836); Wood: 857 (841); Wyandot: 1,484 (1,515). Total: 182,169 (188,329).


- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Ohio's Division of Wildlife employs "Plan B" for its steelhead stocking program


For the past two years Ohio has drafted Wisconsin steelhead eggs after Michigan’s trout eggs went AWOL.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife found it necessary both in 2015 and 2016 to obtain fertilized eggs from Wisconsin when Michigan was unable to supply the same from its  Little Manistee River. And the Wildlife Division might find it necessary to again seek out Wisconsin's assistance if Michigan’s Little Mainistee strain of steelhead trout remain uncooperative.

For several years the Wildlife Division has obtained fertilized steelhead eggs from the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Michigan’s fisheries biologists would strip live-net-captured female steelhead of their eggs and males of their sperm, or milt.
The fishes came from that state’s Little Mainistee River, located on the upper west coast of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and also a Lake Michigan tributary.

These fertilized eggs were then transported to Ohio Division of Wildlife’s Castalia Trout Hatchery. There the eggs hatched in steelhead fry, growing and fattening up for eventual release into several Northeast Ohio streams.

However, for reasons associated with nature and egg availability and not politics or college football, Ohio was unable to obtain Michigan/Little Manistee River steelhead eggs.

Consequently, the Wildlife Division turned to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. And here Wisconsin plumbed its Lake Michigan tributaries for Chamber Creek and Gaharaska River strains of steelhead. The former stream is found in Washington State and the latter stream in the Province of Ontario.

Importantly for Ohio’s steelhead fisheries program the fish that develop from the Wisconsin-supplied eggs are scarcely different from those trout that develop from Michigan’s Little Manistee-supplied eggs, says Phil Hillman, the fish management administrator for the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s District Three (Northeast Ohio) office.

“Our first priority is to obtain eggs from Little Manistee steelhead but we had to look elsewhere so that was Wisconsin,” Hillman also said. “It’s good to have a back-up.”

In fact, says Hillman, when the Wildlife Division was first angling for a replacement for its home-grown London-strain of rainbow trout the agency looked at the possibility of utilizing the Chamber Creek-strain found in Wisconsin.

“That strain has been a very solid performer wherever it’s been stocked,” Hillman said of the Chamber Creek steelhead strain.

Hillman said the Wildlife Division even offered an exchange of some sort for the eggs but Wisconsin was happy to oblige.

So what Ohio obtained in both 2015 and 2016 were all ready fertilized eggs; enough in each case to fuel the state’s Castalia Hatchery to raise and then release 450,000-plus steelhead for stocking into five Northeast Ohio Streams: the Vermilion, Rocky, Chagrin, and Grand rivers along with Conneaut Creek, says Hillman.

And possibly for this year as well: the Ashtabula River, which might see a planting in April of around 50,000 six-inch to eight-inch long steelhead, Hillman also says.

For Ohio’s trout anglers, Hillman quickly points out, the deviations between Little Manistee steelhead and the trout raised from the Wisconsin-supplied eggs are negligible in terms of what to expect fishing-wise.

“The timing of the runs is much the same, and the lengths and weights will be similar (too),”” Hillman said.

Asked if it might make sense for the Wildlife Division to capture its own steelhead stock from one of the Northeast Ohio streams, Hillman said such an effort is technically achievable but less practical than simply knocking on the door of a neighboring Great Lakes state natural resources department.

“That would likely require us to close off a portion of one stream during the run and also require us to perform extensive testing for disease,” Hillman said. “It’s a whole lot less expensive to obtain eggs elsewhere.”

And if Little Manistee-strain fish are once again unavailable, well, then, Wisconsin has become a dependable partner, says Hillman.
“We’re happy to get the eggs from Wisconsin, and we very much appreciate that state’s willingness to help us; we don’t want to see any interruption in our successful steelhead fisheries program,” Hillman said.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Friday, February 3, 2017

Fish Ohio/Master Angler programs sees huge growth in 2016


Last year the state’s Fish Ohio trophy catch awards program reeled in the most eligible entries since 2009.

In all, the Ohio Division of Wildlife received and electronically processed 13,138 Fish Ohio applications. That figure is 999 more applications than the agency processed in 2015 but still 862 fewer than in 2009.

The most Fish Ohio honors ever awarded by the Wildlife Division since the program began in 1976 were the 37,132 entries the agency processed in 1988.

Meanwhile the program’s Master Angler component saw the second greatest number of qualifying participants since this phase began in 1982: 613 qualifying anglers compared to 517 qualifying anglers in 2015. The most Master Angler honorees were the 691 recipients in 1988.

The Fish Ohio program is handled by a five-person Wildlife Division in-house team, led by Vicki Farus.

Annually, Farus said, the program costs the agency about $6,800 for the pins themselves and another $20,000 or so to ship them to their respective recipients.  Consequently, says Farus, it costs more to ship a pin than it does to buy the badge.

Yet the pins and the program continue to remain an important component for anglers of all stripes and not just those fishers who seek out the state’s most heralded big-game species but also the most humble of fishes.

Thus, hand it to the lowly sunfish which saw 61 more all-waters’ entries in 2016 than did the otherwise perennial Fish Ohio program entry leader – the walleye. Last year the Wildlife Division processed an all-waters’ total of 1,963 entries for the sunfish category and an all-waters’ total of 1,902 entries for the walleye category.

The basic Fish Ohio awards program honors anglers who submit in an on-line format an eligible specimen from one of 20 recognized categories (which grows to 25 this year) with length being the sole determining criteria. For a Master Angler eligible honor an angler must catch a qualifying specimen from at least four different recognized categories.

These requirements are different than the Ohio state record fish program. Here, the list is maintained by the Outdoor Writers of Ohio and which honors the largest specimen by weight only in each of the organization’s recognized species categories.

Fish Ohio award winners submit an entry via the Wildlife Division’s web site and then can print a certificate of the catch. The agency will subsequently send a collectable oval-shaped/multi-colored hat/lapel pin to an applicant for the first entry only.

For a qualifying Master Angler recipient the Wildlife Division sends a “souped-up” collectable pin along with a certificate that recognizes the honoree’s distinctive accomplishment.

“We actually ran out of Master Anglers pins and had to order another batch since we typically buy only 600 of them,” said Farus. “Only once before have we seen more than 600 Master Anglers. I was delighted - but surprised – by the number last year.”

In both cases the pins annually feature a different Fish Ohio eligible species. In 2016 that species was the channel catfish. This year’s motif will feature a muskie, and the last time that species appeared on a Fish Ohio pin was 1994, Farus said.

“The committee thought it was time for the muskie to appear again,” Farus said.

Farus said too that the expanded list of eligible species now includes the bullhead, long-nosed gar, bowfin, sucker, and the spotted bass.

Besides compiling lists of eligible species and their respective number of submissions by anglers, the Wildlife Division also dissembles the data in order to reconstruct other useful platforms of information. Among these planks are such items as lists illustrating where the Fish Ohio entries came from in any given year.

Among the findings for 2016 was that Lake Erie far and away was at the head of the leader board with a  total of 3,987 Fish Ohio entries for just that body of water and for all eligible species. Leading the way on Lake Erie was – not surprisingly – the walleye with 1,769 entries.

And more Lake Erie angler submitted entries for freshwater drum (sheepshead) than they did for yellow perch: 707 entries for the former and 561 entries for the latter. It may be telling as well that the number of qualifying yellow perch has fallen sharply since 2013 when the number was 1,166, perhaps another sign of the species’ state-of-affairs on Lake Erie.

As for private lakes and ponds – excluding pay-to-fish lakes which are not accepted into the program - the sunfish clearly was the crowning champion last year with 1,289 entries though the largemouth bass saw more entries (732) than for either the crappie (502) or the channel catfish (293). Again, those figures are for fish taken just in private ponds and lakes.

Down along the Ohio River the hybrid striped bass was on top with 120 entries while the flathead catfish was in second with 50 qualifying entries. The total number of entries for the Ohio River last year numbered 372.

The list of the Top Ten lakes and rivers in 2016 - excluding Lake Erie, private ponds and the Ohio River - were the Maumee River (284 entries), Hoover Reservoir (215), Portage Lakes (205), Alum Creek Reservoir (199), Scioto River (197), Mosquito Creek Reservoir (196), Great Miami River (159), Indian Lake (155), West Branch Reservoir (148), and Buckeye Lake (115).

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Ohio's 2016-2017 deer hunting season end just days away


Ohio’s 2016-2017 all-inclusive deer-hunting season kill is nearing its February 5th final round-up and it is a given that the conclusion won’t match its 2015-2016 counterpart.

The to-date total deer kill number as of the second-to-last reporting period (ending January 31st) stands at 179,879 animals. This figure includes the all-harvest antlered take of 75,028 animals and an all-harvest take of 104,851 antlerless deer.

For comparison purposes, the 2015-2016 to-date figure (as of February 2nd, 2016) was an all-deer harvest of 186,332 animals. Broken down this number was comprised of an all-harvest take of 76,167 antlered deer and 110,165 antlerless deer.

Thus, hunters during the current 2016-2017 all-deer harvest have shot both fewer antlered deer as well as fewer antlerless deer, though as a percentage a smaller number of the latter is seen.

Looked at from a different angle, the to-date archery deer kill is currently made up of 40,109 antlered animals and 40,924 antlerless animals: very nearly identical. Their respective 2015-2016 to-date archery deer kill figures were 39,480 antlered deer and 43,057 antlerless deer.

If deer harvest history repeats itself expect roughly that around two thousand additional animals will be taken during the 2016-2017’s all-inclusive deer-hunting season final days. That addition would peg the final all-harvest number for the 2016-2017 deer-hunting season at around 182,000 animals.

Here is a look at randomly selected Ohio counties and their 2016-2017 to-date all-harvest kills with their respective 2015-2016 to-date numbers in parentheses:
Adams – 3,239 (4,122); Ashland – 2,920 (2,996); Ashtabula – 4,969 (4,805); Athens – 3,613 (3,950); Auglaize – 748 (817); Belmont – 3,219 (3183); Brown – 2,408 (2,721); Carroll – 3,534 (3,523); Clark – 648 (742); Coshocton – 5,885 (5,650); Crawford – 1,111 (1,160); Cuyahoga – 1,046 (768); Darke – 674 (734); Defiance – 1,669 (1,759); Fayette – 310 (308); Franklin – 816 (795); Gallia – 2,705 (2,904); Geauga – 1,827 (1,855); Guernsey – 4,517 (4,389); Hamilton – 1,522 (1,951); Harrison – 3,735 (3,757); Henry – 703 (681); Highland – 2,566 (2,896); Hocking – 3,229 (3,687); Holmes – 3,682 (3,685); Huron – 2,262 (2,191); Knox – 4,455 (4,427); Lake – 938 (891); Licking – 4,883 (5,266); Lucas – 743 (739); Madison – 477 (491); Mahoning – 1,907 (1,812); Marion – 877 (887); Medina – 2,065 (1,848); Meigs – 3,430 (4,567); Mercer – 657 (601); Monroe – 2,562 (2,578); Morgan – 2,971 (3,074); Montgomery – 576 (664); Muskingum – 5,063 (4,926); Noble 2,830 (2,950); Ottawa – 443 (412); Perry – 2,765 (2,841); Pike – 2,068 (2,364); Richland – 3,207 (3,150); Ross – 2,991 (3,388); Scioto – 2,454 (3,010); Shelby – 951 (1,044); Summit – 1,513 (1,438); Trumbull – 3,653 (3,271); Tuscarawas – 4,966 (4,867); Van Wert – 457 (489); Vinton – 2,651 (3,043); Warren – 1,070 (1,247); Washington – 3,369 (3,496); Williams – 1,673 (1,826); Wood - 851 (834).

Some other random highlights include that 18 of Ohio’s 88 counties have to-date deer kills of at least 3,000 animals each and of which two have to-date deer kills of at least 5,000 animals.  Their respective 2015-2016 numbers were 23 counties had to-date deer kills of at least 3,000 animals each and of which two also had to-date deer kills of at least 5,000 animals.
Also, to-date 27 of Ohio’s 88 counties has not yet seen deer kills of at least 1,000 animals. For the 2015-2016 season that to-date number was 26 counties.

Here are the final deer kill figures for the previous 11 deer-hunting seasons:
Season           Total Harvest
2015-2016       188,335
2014-2015       175,801
2013-2014       191,503
2012-2013       218,910
2011-2012       219,748
2010-2011       239,475
2009-2010       260,261
2008-2009       252,017
2007-2008       232,854
2006-2007       237,316
2005-2006       209,513

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
JFrischk@Ameritech.net