The latest to-date deer-harvest totals for Ohio continue to demonstrate that either the state's white-tails are giving hunters the slip or else there simply aren't as many animals.
As of December 18 and for the first 81 days of deer hunting activity, the Ohio Division of Wildlife reports a harvest of 164,897 animals. That figure represents slightly more than a 12-percent decline for the same 2012 81-day harvest figure of 187,537 deer.
Broken down, the to-date antlered deer harvest is down 13.85 percent while the to-date antlerless deer harvest is down just shy of 11 percent.
However – and maybe this is a bit interesting – the to-date archery-only harvest for antlered deer is actually up 2.38 percent.
Meanwhile, the to-date archery-only harvest of antlerless-only deer is off a statistically insignificant 0.56 percent.
Thus one could speculate that the early antlerless-only muzzle-loading season in October has not hampered the archery kill of either bucks or does.
In terms of county harvest, only nine of Ohio's 88 counties have registered to-date deer harvest gains.
Any number of Ohio's high-profile deer-hunting counties have experienced deep to-date deer-harvest declines, too.
Among them being Washington County (down 21.36 percent); Tuscarawas County (down 15.28 percent); Noble County (down 11.53 percent); Meigs County (down 14.09 percent); Muskingum County (12.82 percent); Harrison County (down 14.73 percent); Jackson County (down 18.91 percent); Jefferson County (down 21.03 percent); Licking County (down 18.03 percent); Adams County (down 6.42 percent); and Guernsey County (down 12.33 percent).
Up here in Northeast Ohio, Ashtabula County's to-date deer harvest is actually up: 2.72 percent along with Trumbull County whose to-date deer-harvest is up 4.3 percent, and Erie County which is up 15.93 percent.
Down, though, is the to-date deer harvest for Lake County (off 16.69 percent); Geauga County (off 9.01 percent); and Lorain County (off 2.57 percent).
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn