Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Youthful deer hunters (Good, but not great)

As we await the results of Monday's Ohio firearms deer hunting season opener the tally of the recent youth-only deer gun hunt may prove revealing.

In that Nov. 21 and 22 hunt, youthful gunners age 17 and under killed 9,331 deer. That compares to the 9,852 deer taken during the special youth-only 2008 hunt.

Ohio's deer biologists believe that hunters will ultimately kill fewer deer, which is the goal of the agency. That is because the Ohio Division of Wildlife is trying to manage the state's herd of about 650,000 animals in such a ways as to reduce conflicts with humans and their activities.

Those efforts may be paying off. This year's herd is a projected 50,000 fewer animals than for the 2008 herd estimate.

Consequently the various hunts may be experiencing reductions in total harvests.

Locally, this is how youth hunters fared with 2008 kills in parentheses:

Lake County - 14 (20), Geauga County - 38 (48), Ashtabula County - 117 (147), Trumbull County - 96 (115), Cuyahoga County - 6 (5), Lorain County - 61 (89), Huron County - 105 (132), Medina County - 72 (65), Sandusky County - 18 (26).

The three alleged deer poachers who were believed responsible for the Oct. 30 shooting at an occupied state Wildlife Division vehicle were charged with various felony and misdemeanor violations.

Those charged included 34-year-old Tood M. Noel of Urbana, 37-year-old Jesse W. Coffey of Paris, Ohio and 18-year-old Jacob E. Shephard of Somerset, KY.

Among the charges all three face are hunting without permission (a misdemeanor of the third degree).

Among some of the other charges were prohibiting jacklighting (a misdemeanor of the third degree and faced by Noel and Coffey), as well as complicity to prohibiting jacklighting (a misdemeanor of the third degree and faced by Shepherd).

The most serious charges include improperly discharging a firearm in a motor vehicle (a felony of the forth degree and faced by Noel), and complicity to improperly discharge a firearm in a motor vehicle and faced by Coffey and Shepherd).

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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