With final - though still unofficial - 2010-2011 all-seasons deer harvest numbers in the results show that fewer animals were taken this past hunting year.
Statistics compiled by the Ohio Division of Wildlife indicate that hunters shot 237,134 animals this past season. Last year the official figure was 261,840 deer. This represents a harvest decline approaching 10 percent.
It must be remembered that all figures are preliminary only and represent where deer were checked in and not actually taken. Final and official figures will come later this winter.
Each of the Wildlife Division’s five districts recorded declines; the heaviest toll was Wildlife District Four with a decline of more than 16 percent. This drop includes some of the state’s premier deer hunting counties such as Guernsey (off 22.49 percent), Hocking (off 28.58 percent), and Coshocton (off 6.26 percent).
In fact, all of District Four’s 19 counties showed declines.
Northeast Ohio is contained within Wildlife District Three and here 14 of the 19 counties showed drops. The most was Jefferson County with a 22.14 percent fall.
District Three gains were modest at best. Lorain County saw a plus of 5.67 percent with Ashtabula County observing a 1.15 percent increase. Geauga County saw a drop of 2.7 percent with Lake County noting a decline of 16.45 percent while Medina County preliminarily recording a 8.61 percent drop and Trumbull County seeing a 5.82 percent decline.
Though Wildlife District Two (northwest Ohio) saw a district-wide drop of only 0.05 percent, Erie County’s fall registered 27.43 percent and Sandusky experienced a decline of 11.24 percent.
Here are the preliminary all-seasons’ deer harvest for select counties with their respective final 2009-2010 figures in parentheses: Ashtabula - 5,178 (5,119), Lake - 1,077 (1,289), Geauga - 2,129 (2,188), Cuyahoga - 1,046 (836), Trumbull - 3,790 (4,024), Lorain - 2,947 (2,789), Erie - 873 (1,203), Huron - 2,570 (2,582), Medina - 2,081 (2,277), Guernsey - 7,197 (9,285), Coshocton - 6,756 (7,207), Hocking - 3,753 (5,255), Tuscarawas - 11,102 (12,531), Muskingum - 4,680 (5,576), Licking - 8,329 (8,942), Knox - 5,597 (5,795), Van Wert - 1,065 (637 for a 67.19 percent gain), Paulding - 1,819 (1,089 for a 67.03 percent rise), Fayette - 268 (491 for a 45.42 percent drop), and Fulton - 1,167 (848 for a 37.62 percent gain).
The state will digest these figures and brew them with other statistics and details in order to make recommendations for the various 2011-2012 deer-hunting seasons.
State biologists are not anticipating any significant changes though they may very well explore possibilities. Among them would be extending the shooting hours during the several firearms-related seasons until one-half hour after sunset instead of closing the hour at sunset daily as is the case now.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn