With the woods of Ohio full of fat-rich white oak acorns, the state's deer herd has been making itself scarce for archery hunters.
Animals are bunched up in oak stands that are dropping their acorns. Consequently, the state's deer - said to number around 750,000 animals before the start of the hunting season - are not moving much. Which means archery hunters are seeing fewer animals to shoot at, Ohio Division of Wildlife officials are saying.
Not surprisingly then, Ohio's first six-week preliminary archery season deer kill is off 8 percent; 49,384 animals for the archery season's early portion and compared to the 53,959 animals killed during the same period in 2009.
Off specifically is the archery deer harvest in Northeast Ohio. However, even though the early portion deer kill in Ashtabula County fell the numbers were still strong enough that the county is ranked 6th in the state.
The first six-week kill for Ashtabula County was 1,247 animals. This compares to the 1,348 deer shot there during 2009's first six weeks of the archery hunting season.
Down proportionately even more was Lake County. Here, 390 deer were killed during the first six weeks. Last year for the same time frame the harvest was 504 deer.
Not impacted as much was Geauga County. The first six-week deer kill for Geauga County stands at 727 deer; off only 40 animals from the same season segment in 2009.
Trumbull County's deer kill was down also: 1,074 deer checked in for this season's first six weeks and compared to the 1,251 deer killed during the same six week unit in 2009. Still, Trumbull County is ranked 8th in 2010's first six-week deer kill.
Cuyahoga County was one of the lone exceptions, seeing its archery harvest increase instead of decrease. In Cuyahoga County for the first six weeks, archery hunters shot 417 deer, up from the 362 animals reported in 2009.
Lorain County saw a nearly identical first six-week deer kill this year when compared to last year. For the first six weeks of the 2010 archery deer hunting season, Lorain County bowmen shot 763 deer, a very small drop from the 774 deer shot there in 2009.
Other northern Ohio counties were (with their 2009 first six week deer kill in parenthesis): Medina - 519 (666); Erie - 243 (359); Huron - 529 (598); Ashland - 962 (1,139); Sandusky - 165 (216).
Other notable Ohio counties were: Tuscarawas - 1,897 (1,770) and ranked 1st.; Coshocton - 1,352 (1,451) and ranked 4th.; Guernsey - 1,029 (1,134) and ranked 9th.; Holmes - 1,537 (1,969) and ranked 3rd.; Licking - 1,779 (2,334) and ranked 2nd.; Harrison - 1,274 (1,278) and ranked 5th.
Ohio's archery deer hunting season runs through Feb. 6. Hunting hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset, excluding the general firearms season and the statewide muzzle-loading season.
Last year the state's estimated 345,000 archery hunters killed 91,546 deer.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
All figures are preliminary. They are based on where the deer were checked in and not necessarily were actually killed. However, the figures do help illustrate year-to-year harvest trends.