Ohio’s archery deer hunting-season alarm clock is set to go off at 6:50 a.m., Sept. 29.
That buzzing will awaken some 205,000 men, women and youngsters, each of whom will make their way in the predawn inkwell of night to either a tree stand or else a ground blind.
They will carry either a vertically held bow (longbow, recurve or compound) or else horizontally held archery tackle (crossbow).
Able to enjoy one of the nation’s longest archery deer-hunting seasons - Ohio’s extends to Feb. 3. - these archery hunters stand a good chance of killing an animal.
At least as good as last year, anyway, wildlife officials say.
Last year, the state’s archery deer hunters killed 82,732 animals. That figure represented a three-percent decrease from the 2010-2011 archery deer-hunting season.
In all during the 2011-2012 Ohio archery deer-hunting season, crossbow hunters took 44,979 deer while longbow archers took 37,753 deer. Overall, archers accounted for 38 percent of the 219,748 total deer taken during Ohio’s combined 2011-12 archery, muzzleloader and gun seasons, says the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
“I think that judging from the fact that we’ve seen two consecutive declines in the total harvest, we’ll likely see another dip this year; maybe five to 10 percent,” says Mike Tonkovich, the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s deer-management administrator.
And a few counties - such as Jefferson County - “may see a more dramatic decline,” Tonkovich said.
“Like 10 to 15 percent,” Tonkovich said.
In terms of whether an expectation that Mentor’s new controlled archery-only deer hunt may skewer the bow-kill figures for Lake County, Tonkovich says that any anomaly in the harvest figures will raise a red flag.
“Then I’ll do a little more research and log it accordingly,” Tonkovich says.
“These situations are unique but they are not the same as the controlled hunts at Ravenna Arsenal or Plumbrook. With this issue I’m going to depend on the advice of our district offices.”
Licking County was the state leader in both the vertical bow and crossbow harvests, with 1,447 animals and 1,738 animals killed, respectively.
Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Ashtabula and Guernsey rounded out the top five counties in crossbow harvest. Also, Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Muskingum and Hamilton completed the list of top five counties in vertical bow harvest.
For Northeast Ohio, the 2011-2012 harvests for vertically held bows and the horizontally held crossbows, respectively, with the percentage change from the 2010-2011 archery deer-hunting season in parenthesis) were: Lake County - 169 (minus-3.4 percent) and 385 (plus-18.1 percent); Geauga County - 540 (minus-7.5 percent) and 859 (plus-9.8 percent); Ashtabula County - 712 (minus-8 percent) and 1,191 (plus-6.3 percent); Trumbull County - 523 (minus-8.2 percent) and 1,023 (plus-12.4 percent); Lorain County - 380 (minus-4.5 percent) and 873 (minus-8.9 percent); Huron County - 358 (plus-6.9 percent) and 442 (minus-2.4 percent); Medina County - 369 (minus-2.6 percent) and 738 (plus-0.3 percent); Richland County - 643 (minus-9.3 percent) and 928 (minus-8.1 percent).
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn