Liberal hunting laws, a healthy deer herd and lots of hunters still failed to result in a higher animal kill during the recently concluded early muzzle-loading deer hunting season.
This season ran Oct. 19 through 25 at three southeast Ohio locations: Salt Fork Wildlife Area and State Park, Wildcat Hollow and Shawnee State Forest.
At Salt Fork, hunters killed 271 deer last week compared to 315 deer during the same season last year.
Wildcat Hollow saw 159 deer taken. This compares to the 162 deer shot there last year.
Finally, just 44 deer were taken at very rugged Swanee State Forest. That's more than one-half the 91 deer taken there last year.
Add them all up and the figures were 474 deer this season and 568 deer last season.
Salt Fork receives particularly heavy hunting pressure and seemingly there is a black-powder hunter behind every tree. But this is only one of two locations (Cuyahoga National Park being the other place) where deer actually die of starvation during the winter.
It is one reason why the Ohio Department of Natural Resources permits the taking of any deer by any properly licensed hunter without any special restrictions such as by permit-only or bucks-only as was once the case.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn