Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Quirk for Ohio's two-day bonus firearms season: Day Two's harvest much better than Day One's

In providing the deer kill statistics for the state’s first-ever post-Christmas two-day firearms deer-hunting season the Ohio Division of Wildlife had to make an apples-to-oranges comparison rather than a more direct apples-to-apples examination.

Consequently, the Wildlife Division utilized the deer kill from the 2012 two-day weekend firearms deer-hunting season. This season was sandwiched between the general firearms deer-hunting season and Christmas when 14,365 whitetails were shot. That figure represented approximately six percent of the 2012 all-seasons’ deer kill.

This year’s December 28th and 29th post-Christmas hunt yielded a deer kill of 9,447 animals; the translation of which probably will mean this two-day hunt will account for just over five percent of the projected all-seasons’ total deer kill, says , Clint McCoy, a Wildlife Division white-tail deer management  biologist.

In taking note of how many deer were shot during each of the two days, McCoy also pointed out a rather interesting quirk: The second day of the season actually well out-performed the first day in terms of the number of animals taken.

For the Monday, December 28th season opener hunters shot 3,739 deer while for the second day hunters bagged 5,708 animals; a reversal of what is seen with nearly every other deer-hunting season, McCoy said.

“That is certainly a unique situation, and it was obviously weather driven,” McCoy said. “Pretty much everywhere in the state saw lousy weather.”

Indeed, heavy doses of rain pummeled nearly every nook and cranny of Ohio while in the northeast corner deer hunters saw a brew of rain that was mixed with sleet as well as freezing rain.

McCoy commented too that with the addition of the season’s second day totals the final figure comes pretty close to the 10,000 deer kill estimate the Wildlife Division’s game biologists internally had speculated would be taken.

As for the to-date deer kill, the weekly update – which includes the results from the two-day “bonus” firearms deer-hunting season – the tally records 165,361 animals as being taken up through December 29th.

By comparison the to-date deer kill up through December 22nd was 155,340 animals. Extrapolated further, 10,021 deer were thusly taken between the two inclusive dates.

Broken down even more, subtracting the 9,447 deer taken during the two-day “bonus” firearms deer-hunting season from the 10,021 deer shot between December 22nd and December 29th reveals that statewide, archers contributed just 574 additional animals during that seven-day period.

Of another interesting element that McCoy pointed out is the uptick in the to-date number of antlered bucks as having been shot. That figure stands at 70,534 animals.

Placed alongside the mostly parallel 2014 to-date antlered deer kill figure of 59,720 animals or even the 2013 to-date antlered deer figure of 61,594 animals, and the 2015-2016 to-date antlered deer kill figure of 70,534 animals becomes worthy of a follow-up look, McCoy says.

And the agency believes it has an answer for the antlered deer kill growth, McCoy also says, commenting that antlered deer kill “is traditionally our best indicator of population size.”

“But such a huge bump this year has as much to do with outside influences as the population itself: Poor mast crop and early crop harvest made deer much more vulnerable to harvest, “ McCoy said.

In terms of what will happen during the up-coming statewide muzzle-loading deer-hunting season – set for January 9th through January 12th - McCoy declined to offer an opinion.

“You’ll have to use a crystal ball on that one,” McCoy said.

For the record, the weather-tortured January 2015 muzzle-loading season saw a deer kill of just 13,724 animas while its 2014 twin encountered a not-much-better deer kill of 16,464 animals, McCoy said.

“Those two previous muzzle-loader seasons saw really poor weather,” McCoy said.

Here is the Ohio Division of Wildlife county-by-county list of all white-tailed deer checked by hunters using firearms during the 2015 two-day deer-gun hunting season. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for 2015, and the 2012 numbers are in parentheses.

Adams: 209 (267); Allen: 21 (78); Ashland: 142 (234); Ashtabula: 305 (372); Athens: 212 (279); Auglaize: 38 (90); Belmont: 216 (387); Brown: 162 (220); Butler: 51 (101); Carroll: 211 (375); Champaign: 41 (77); Clark: 21(63); Clermont: 95 (182); Clinton: 37 (63); Columbiana: 196 (320); Coshocton: 349 (489); Crawford: 59 (102); Cuyahoga: 1 (6); Darke: 19 (66); Defiance: 74 (142); Delaware: 60 (102); Erie: 21 (41); Fairfield: 85 (169); Fayette: 10 (16); Franklin: 24 (26); Fulton: 16 (58); Gallia: 165 (230); Geauga: 77 (106); Greene: 21 (60); Guernsey: 263 (382); Hamilton: 21 (47); Hancock: 34 (77); Hardin: 53 (89); Harrison: 228 (390); Henry: 25 (64); Highland: 147 (239); Hocking: 203 (213); Holmes: 209 (286); Huron: 107 (195); Jackson: 194 (235); Jefferson: 169 (312); Knox: 236 (356); Lake: 21 (27); Lawrence: 147 (176); Licking: 236 (444); Logan: 86 (143); Lorain: 98 (181); Lucas: 10 (20); Madison: 26 (45); Mahoning: 107 (102); Marion: 55 (75); Medina: 83 (135); Meigs: 229 (259); Mercer: 18 (61); Miami: 37 (49); Monroe: 156 (203); Montgomery: 14 (23); Morgan: 181 (226); Morrow: 71 (133); Muskingum: 284 (474); Noble: 202 (235); Ottawa: 7 (9); Paulding: 34 (99); Perry: 181 (238); Pickaway: 38 (78); Pike: 140 (154); Portage: 88 (90); Preble: 29 (86); Putnam: 19 (47); Richland: 150 (194); Ross: 185 (214); Sandusky: 29 (54); Scioto: 164 (174); Seneca: 84 (139); Shelby: 34 (99); Stark: 124 (171); Summit: 26 (31); Trumbull: 166 (248); Tuscarawas: 296 (483); Union: 32 (81); Van Wert: 15 (64); Vinton: 201 (221); Warren: 44 (83); Washington: 210 (266); Wayne: 109 (115); Williams: 51 (123); Wood: 31 (70); Wyandot: 72 (117). Total: 9,447 (14,365).


By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 125 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Little gain in weekly deer kill while heavy rains may impact up-coming two-day bonus gun season

With just five days until Ohio’s first-ever two-day/late-session firearms deer-hunting season, hunters have arrowed and shot a to-date combined kill of 155,340 animals and as reported today, December 23rd.

For comparison purposes the weekly tally as noted with the December 15th on-line report recorded a deer kill of 154,157 animals. Thus we see an additional deer kill of 1,183. That figure is slight (318 deer) increase from the 865 animals taken between the weekly December 8th and December 15th reporting period.

Continuing with the comparisons, the 2013 approximate same to-date time frame showed a deer kill of 165,940 animals while its close-enough 2014 figure was 151,598 animals.

As for some current to-date trivia; Twelve of Ohio’s 88 counties have each recorded deer kills of at least 3,000 animals. They are (with their respective current to-date figure followed by their respective to-date December 15th reporting figures in parentheses): Adams County – 3,474 (3,435); Ashtabula County – 3,986 (3,951); Athens County – 3,188 (3,207); Coshocton County – 4,644 (4,624); Guernsey County – 3,591 (3,575); Harrison County – 3,127 (3,120); Hocking County – 3,027 (3,011); Holmes County – 3,103 (3,092); Knox County – 3,717 (3,688); Licking County – 4,367 (4,317); Muskingum County – 4,067 (4,050); Tuscarawas County – 3,930 (3,898).

Also, of Ohio’s 88 counties, 47 have to-date deer kill totals numbering between 1,000 and 3,000 animals. The December 15th weekly to-date report also listed the same 47 counties.

Counties with to-date deer kill totals of 500 or fewer animals are (with their respective December 15th to-date weekly reporting figures in parentheses): Madison County – 412 (410); Ottawa County – 333 (323); and Van Wart County – 448 (446).

All of Ohio’s 88 counties showed an increase in the number of deer killed between the December 15th and the December 22nd to-date reporting periods. That is an improvement over the three counties that showed no deer kill increases between the December 8th and December 15th to-date reporting periods.

Granted, several of these counties showed the slimmest of increases. Henry County – for instance – showed an increase deer kill of only one animal: 622 deer as indicated with the December 22nd to-date reporting period verses its December 8th to-date reporting period figure of 621 deer.

And three counties saw an increase of only two deer killed each between the December 15th and December 22nd to-date reporting periods. They are (with their December 22nd figures only being shown):  Madison County – 412 deer; Mercer County – 553 deer; Van Wert County – 448 deer.

Just how much Monday (December 28th) and Tuesday (December 29th) “bonus” two-day general firearms deer-hunting season will contribute to any additional deer kill lies largely in the field of uncertainty.

All sorts of variables are in place. Such items as so-called hunter fatigue, who is on vacation or has holiday time-off from work will come into play, and who still has unfilled deer tags potentially will impact the deer kill tally sheet.

So too will the weather. And with this month already in the books as being the warmest December on record, Ohio’s deer hunters are also expected to confront above average temperatures statewide for the two-day season with a better than 50-50 chance of additional rain.

In fact, some weather forecasts are projecting that from one to three inches or rain may fall between Friday (December 25th) and the bonus season’s December 28th opener. Such a deluge could impede access to choice sitting stumps or possibly restrict conducting the always-popular deer drives.

And some forecasters are saying that rain also is likely for Monday and Tuesday.

In terms of temperatures, day time highs for each day may range from near 50 degrees in the southern reaches of the state, the mid- to upper-40s in the state’s middle, and the low 40s in the north.

Lows for the period are projected to stay just shy of the freezing point to even around the 40-degree mark throughout Ohio.

So with a mixed brew of unknowns even the scientists entrusted with managing Ohio’s deer herd are uncertain as to what will appear for the next weekly to-date reporting period, due for public review Wednesday, December 30th.

“There are a lot of unknowns and variables,” said Scott Peters, the wildlife management supervisor for the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s District Three (Northeast Ohio) Office in Akron. “It’s a new season for everyone.”

By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A slow week for Ohio's deer hunters; three counties saw no gains for past seven days

Maybe it’s because guys had to put up Christmas lights or endure their kids’ elementary school holiday concerts but between the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s December 8th and December 15th reporting periods, only 865 additional deer were shot.

That’s one of the smallest – maybe the smallest – weekly reported increases in the number of deer being killed by the state’s hunters. Given that we’re between firearms seasons, none of this should come as a surprise.

Just as a for-instance, between the Wildlife Division’s October 6th report that marked 9,473 deer as having been taken and the agency’s October 13th report where 14,206 deer were noted as being shot, the difference in that one-week period was an additional 4,733 animals as having been killed.

And of Ohio’s 88 counties three of them saw no additional deer as having been killed within the past reporting week. They are Mercer County – both reporting weeks of 551 animals; Putnam County – both reporting weeks of 643 animals; and Van Wert County – both reporting weeks of 446 animals.

Even so, 154,157 is still a passel of deer, which is the to-date reporting number of deer as having been killed by Ohio’s white-tail hunters. Last week’s total was 153,292 animals.

For comparison purposes, 2014’s close to-date deer kill total was 150,663 animals and its 2013 counterpart was 164,897 animals.

It must be remembered, of course, that the autumn and winter of 2014 was both colder a snowier than the long-term average. Meanwhile, the weather thus far has taken on the aspects of a serious El Nino-influenced warming trend.

Obviously with a difference of fewer than 1,000 deer being killed, county totals did not inch up by very much.

The counties with December 15th to-date deer kills of at least three thousand animals are (with their respective December 8th report to-date kills in parentheses) are: Adams – 3,435 (3,423); Ashtabula – 3,951 (3,933); Athens – 3,188 (3,162); Coshocton – 4,624 (4,602); Guernsey – 3,575 (3,566); Harrison – 3,120 (3,113); Hocking – 3,011 (2,990); Holmes – 3,092 (3,078); Knox – 3,688 (3,677); Licking – 4,317 (4,292); Muskingum – 4,050 (4,034); Tuscarawas – 3,898 (3,879).

Much of this will change within the next couple of weeks. Ohio firearms deer hunters will have a two-day “bonus” gun deer hunt, the dates being December 28th and 29th, a Monday and a Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the statewide muzzle-loading deer-hunting season is scheduled for January 9th – a Saturday, to January 12th – a Tuesday.

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn


Monday, December 14, 2015

The Top 20 states with highest odds for a deer-motor vehicle accident

Of the 50 states where wild animals roam – sometimes onto busy highways, much to the chagrin of motorists, transportation officials, law enforcement, insurance companies, and likely the deer themselves – some 20 are standouts.

To this Rouge’s Gallery the State Farm Insurance Company has compiled a “Top 20” list of those states which are the most likely for a motorist to smack, crunch, pow, and ding a white-tailed deer.

In a report State Farm Insurance noted that the chances of experiencing a deer-motor vehicle accident are one in 169. Ah, but the rub is that not all states are created equal when it comes to deer messing up someone’s commute.

With that in mind, State Farm’s list of the 20 states with the greatest odds of a motorist and a deer meeting on the “no passing” centerline of the highway - in descending order, with the odds followed by the likely percentage of insurance rates increasing after an incident - are :

Twenty: Nebraska – 0.685; 3%

Nineteen: Kansas – 0.73%; 3%

Eighteen: Georgia – 0.75%; 22%

Seventeen: Ohio and Alabama (tie) – 0.79%; 18% and 16%, respectively.

Sixteen: Missouri – 0.81%; 21%

Fifteen: Maryland – 0.83%; 14%

Fourteen: North Dakota – also 0.83%, though State Farm lists the two states separately; 7%

Thirteen: Wyoming – 0.91%; Zero %

Twelve: Arkansas and Kentucky (tie) - 0.93%; 3% and 23%, respectively

Eleven: North Carolina – 0.97%; 39%

Ten: Michigan – 1.06%; 16%

Nine: South Carolina: 1.08%; 24%

Eight: Virginia and Minnesota (tie): 1.14%; 22% and 30%, respectively

Seven: Wisconsin – 1.18%; 22%

Six: Mississippi – 1.19%; 11%

Five: South Dakota – 1.22%; 4%

Three: Montana – 1.33%; 4%

Two: Pennsylvania: 1.14%; 15%

One: West Virginia – 2.56%; Zero percent

By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
 Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 125 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

2015's to-date deer kill better than in 2014, not as good as 2013

With Ohio’s general firearms deer-hunting season now boxed up and ready for biologists to decipher, the state still has a fair number of opportunities left to tease sportsmen.

Fuel for the fire includes the spark  that the as-of the December 8th deer kill figure of 153,292 animals is above the similar 2014 to-date kill total of 149,590 animals, representing a 3,702-animal increase.

However, this year’s combined deer-hunting season to-date number still lags behind that tallied to-date in 2013 when hunters took 163,598 deer. Thus, the somewhat close apples-to-apples comparison reflects a debit of 10,306 deer for to-date 2015 when placed alongside 2013’s to-date set of numbers.

What we see further in studying this season’s to-date statistics and comparing them with at least those compiled last year is how the cream really does rise to the top. At least in terms of those counties which consistently poll well in the numbers of deer being killed by eligible hunters.

We see, for instance, that Ashtabula County’s current to-date score card reflects a kill of 3,933 animals. That figure is exactly 100 more deer that were recorded as the comparable 2014 to-date total, though still less than 2013’s to-date number of 4,470 deer being killed.

Same for Coshocton County where this year’s to-date deer kill is recorded at 4,602 animals. In 2013 the comparable number was 4,836 dead deer and in 2013 the like number was 5,343 deer.

So far this year the only two counties other than Coshocton to streak above the 4,000 deer-kill horizon are Licking County, which has recorded 4,292 animals as being taken, and Muskingum County with a to-date kill of 4,034 deer being killed.

In 2014 these same three counties also led the to-date deer kill, each -  again – with totals above 4,000 deer; Coshocton County – 4,836 deer; Licking County – 4,454 deer; Muskingum County – 4,016 deer; Plus Tuscarawas County – 4,192 deer.

The 2013 to-date deer kill listed no fewer than six counties as having exceeded the 4,000 threshold: Ashtabula County – 4,470 deer; Coshocton County – 5,343 deer; Guernsey County – 4,432 deer; Licking County – 4,740 deer; Muskingum County – 4,728 deer; Tuscarawas County – 4,852 deer.

Consequently, a casual overview shows that for Tuscarawas County, this year’s to-date deer kill is lagging far enough behind so as not to rub elbows with the other consistent leader board contenders. Then again, a to-date deer kill of 3,879 animals is not too shabby either, and which is Tuscarawas County’s to-date figure.

Even so, of Ohio’s 88 counties, 29 of them have each experienced a to-date deer kill of fewer than 1,000 animals. In 2014 that figure was 31 counties. Meanwhile in 2013, 30 of Ohio’s 88 counties had each posted a to-date deer kill of fewer than 1,000 animals.

Of course a lot of hunting ground remains for these 29 counties to play catch up and also for the leaders to keep racking up the score on the tally sheet.

Ohio’s archery deer hunters have until February 7th (the first Sunday in February) to use their deer tag.

New this year – or better stated, - moved this year is a “bonus” two-day general firearms deer-hunting season, and which is set for December 28th and 29th, a Monday and a Tuesday.

The statewide muzzle-loading deer-hunting season is pegged for January 9th (a Saturday) through January 12th (a Tuesday).

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Monday, December 7, 2015

UPDATED THROUGHOUT: Good weather being credited for good Ohio 2015 gun deer-hunting season

The deer kill figures for Ohio’s 2015 firearms deer-hunting season didn’t set any records but they did wave good-bye in the rearview mirror to their comparable – but still “ho-hummish” - 2014 statistics.

In all for the 2015 seven-day firearms deer-hunting season, held November 30th through December 6th, participants killed 73,399 animals. That figure compares to the 64,484 white-tails that hunters shot during the 2014 seven-day gun deer season. The difference resulted in a harvest uptick of 8,915 animals.

Taking it one step further, the 73,399 gun deer-hunting season 2015 total is only 2,009 fewer deer killed than were taken during the 2013 gun deer-hunting season (75,408 deer).

The flipside, though, points to 34 of Ohio’s 88 counties having posted deer kills of 1,000 or more animals. And of this 34-county figure, three jurisdictions saw at least 2,000 deer killed during this year’s firearms deer-hunting season: Ashtabula – 2,002; Coshocton – 2,420 animals; and Muskingum – 2,283 animals.

An honorable mention goes to Tuscarawas County which missed the Two-Thousand Deer Kill Club by just one animal (1,999 deer, to be exact).

 “I’m not terribly surprised by the harvest,” opined Mike Tonkovich, the Wildlife Division’s deer management administrator. “We generally had good weather for deer hunting during the gun season, unlike last year when we had poor weather for deer hunting.”

In looking to explain this year’s general gun deer-hunting season largesse, Tonkovich said that one possibly is that Ohio’s deer herd may or may not have shrunk due to the youth-only gun deer-hunting season as well as the first couple of months of the statewide archery deer-hunting season, Tonkovich says

“This is just anecdotal, I know, but I heard from any number of hunters and check station operates that it’s been a long while since they’ve seen so many good buck,” Tonkovich said also. “”They’re calling it ‘the year of the big bucks.’”

Clearly, too, says Tonkovich, Ohio’s deer-hunting possibilities still have a lot of gas left in the tank. New this year is a two-day, post-Christmas “bonus” firearms deer-hunting season. This hunt is slated for December 28th – the Monday following Christmas – and December 29th.

A prior and short-lived two-day bonus season was held up until 2012. During that last two-day gun deer hunt participants knocked off 14,365 animals, or approximately 6.5 percent of that year’s total combined all-seasons’ harvest, Tonkovich said.

The issue this year, however, is the two-day season’s timing: just a few days after Christmas. As such, perhaps many would-be hunters will have returned to work after having expended all their vacation time or else are on a long holiday but locked in with family obligations that will curtail any deer-hunting time-out, Tonkovich says.

 “If we see 10,000 to 12,000 animals taken that would be a great harvest, actually,” Tonkovich said.

As for the to-date deer kill figures, Ohio Division of Wildlife spokesman John Windau, said hunters have tele-checked in 152,554 deer

 Last year for approximately the same period, hunters had taken a total of 148,821 deer, said Windau.

“Given that the year-to-date harvest is only slightly higher, the significant increase in this year’s deer-gun season can most likely be attributed to better weather conditions compared to the 2014 deer-gun season,” Windau said.

Last year for approximately the same period, hunters had taken a total of 148,821 deer, said Windau.

“Given that the year-to-date harvest is only slightly higher, the significant increase in this year’s deer-gun season can most likely be attributed to better weather conditions compared to the 2014 deer-gun season,” Windau said.

 Here is the list of all white-tailed deer checked by hunters during the seven-day  2015 firearms deer-hunting. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for 2015, with their respective 2014 numbers  in parentheses:

Adams: 1,585 (1,134); Allen: 387 (348); Ashland: 1,232 (1,160); Ashtabula: 2,002 (1,730); Athens: 1,666 (1,360); Auglaize: 299 (278); Belmont: 1,516 (1,428); Brown: 1,055 (940); Butler: 338 (308); Carroll: 1,577 (1,477); Champaign: 419 (434); Clark: 207 (195); Clermont: 776 (685); Clinton: 292 (285); Columbiana: 1,458 (1,245); Coshocton: 2,420 (2,308); Crawford: 576 (515); Cuyahoga: 46 (24); Darke: 282 (241); Defiance: 865 (871); Delaware: 418 (422); Erie: 192 (219); Fairfield: 761 (708); Fayette: 125 (142); Franklin: 133 (124); Fulton: 361 (336); Gallia: 1,523 (1,220); Geauga: 508 (470); Greene: 220 (213); Guernsey: 1,995 (1,788); Hamilton: 252 (165); Hancock: 487 (443); Hardin: 542 (487); Harrison: 1,664 (1,491); Henry: 365 (334); Highland: 1,189 (1,004); Hocking: 1,592 (1,195); Holmes: 1,362 (1,349); Huron: 1,006 (921); Jackson: 1,323 (968); Jefferson: 1,170 (1,120); Knox: 1,755 (1,727); Lake: 160 (138); Lawrence: 1,021 (779); Licking: 1,865 (1,655); Logan: 765 (672); Lorain: 637 (646); Lucas: 113 (105); Madison: 147 (154); Mahoning: 556 (555); Marion: 363 (340); Medina: 545 (567); Meigs: 1,544 (1,270); Mercer: 235 (206); Miami: 235 (250); Monroe: 1,316 (1,056); Montgomery: 128 (130); Morgan: 1,418 (1,207); Morrow: 584 (671); Muskingum: 2,283 (2,084); Noble: 1,333 (1,031); Ottawa: 97 (121); Paulding: 523 (509); Perry: 1,340 (1,160); Pickaway: 345 (330); Pike: 954 (701); Portage: 553 (451); Preble: 284 (272); Putnam: 304 (315); Richland: 1,222 (1,159); Ross: 1,264 (1,106); Sandusky: 258 (261); Scioto: 1,164 (761); Seneca: 779 (710); Shelby: 387 (397); Stark: 863 (759); Summit: 167 (122); Trumbull: 1,142 (983); Tuscarawas: 1,999 (2,074); Union: 336 (313); Van Wert: 237 (283); Vinton: 1,440 (1,031); Warren: 319 (321); Washington: 1,738 (1,409); Wayne: 683 (639); Williams: 823 (831); Wood: 293 (389); Wyandot: 696 (749). Total: 73,399 (65,484).


The statewide archery season runs through February 7th.  A revamped two-day firearms deer-hunting season is set for December 28th and 29th (a Monday and a Tuesday) while the statewide four-day, muzzle-loading-only deer-hunting season is on tap for January 9th through 12th (a Saturday through the following Tuesday).

However, 23 of Ohio’s 88 counties did see slippage in their 2015 seven-day, firearms deer-hunting season when stacked up to their 2014 gun deer season kill totals.

Yet while all of these figures are interesting to hunters what intrigues the Wildlife Division’s game biologists the most is what the tally sheets will say at the conclusion of all the various deer hunting sessions.

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 125 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.


Friday, December 4, 2015

Ohio's deer kill numbers make it through traditional mid-week slump

Ohio’s wildlife officials have begun showing the on-going/to-date tally of deer killed during the state’s seven-day firearms deer-hunting season.

What the data suggests is the huge difference in deer kill numbers from, say, Opening Day Monday through to the mid-week “Beggar's Day” Wednesday and Thursday.

For example, the scorecard as assembled by the Ohio Division of Wildlife via the agency’s cold and heartless - but analytically sound - electronic game-check system says that statewide on Monday, November 30th, the total Opening Day deer kill was 22,256 animals.

In refining the math further by comparing the to-date kills on a daily basis we see that on Tuesday, December 1st, hunters had killed 10,341 animals, or less than one-half of what hunters shot on Monday, November 30th.

And the figures continue to demonstrate an easing of hunting pressure as Ohio’s deer kill drops daily by mid-week.

Figures compiled and released by the Wildlife Division say that as of Thursday, December 3rd, Ohio’s hunters had killed a total to-date figure of 46,576 deer. Thus, on Wednesday, December 2nd and Thursday, December 3rd, Ohio hunters had killed an additional 13,979 animals for this entire two-day/mid-week period.

Typically, Wednesday and Thursday of Ohio’s seven-day general firearms deer-hunting season record the lowest daily kill numbers, almost certainly due to their low point in the numbers of deer hunters in the field.

 What happens between today through Sunday, December 6th when the books close on the 2015 general firearms deer-hunting season will be determined – as always – on hunting pressure.

Influencing that pressure will be a compilation of things like the weather, the approach of the holidays, hunter fatigue and all of the other factors that can make or break a sportsman’s desire to be afield.
Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Ohio's 2015's to-date deer kill lags behind 2014's and 2013's to-date numbers

This is where Ohio’s on-going deer kill scorecard gets a little more complicated.

Today the Ohio Division of Wildlife released the to-date deer kill as of December 2nd. That figure includes the tally for the archery season up to this point, the results of the recently held two-day/youth-only firearms deer-hunting season, and the number of deer killed during the first two days of Ohio’s seven-day general firearms deer-hunting season, which began Monday.

That stew of deer seasons has been simmering since the archery season began September 26 and now the entire pot stands at 111,752 dead deer.

By comparison one must do a dumpster dive into the Wildlife Division’s electronic data repository since the agency no longer provides side-by-side comparisons. The Wildlife Division’s officials say such numbers are not germane for wildlife management purposes.

Yeah, I know, such thinking hardly seems rational or makes sense, but that’s the Wildlife Division for you and whose motto seems to be straight out of a quote by cartoon character Foghorn Leghorn: “Go away, boy, you’re bothering me.”

But I digress.  In any event, the comparable 2014 to-date deer kill was 113,093 deer. And for 2013 the commensurate figure was 124,290 deer.

Thus, when laid side-by-side, this year’s to-date deer kill is 1,341 fewer animals than were shot for the near identical 2014 to-date time frame. And placed alongside the 2013 figure the difference is 12,538 fewer deer killed up to December 2nd this year.

Some of the other interesting points detailed in the most recent deer kill is that three of Ohio’s 88 counties have so far surpassed the 3,000 deer kill figure. They are Ashtabula County – 3,010 animals; Coshocton County – 3,433 animals; and Licking County – 3,158 animals.

In 2014, five of Ohio’s 88 counties had achieved the 3,000-plus to-date total. Meanwhile, in 2013 the number of counties achieving the to-date 3,000-plus mark was six, including Coshocton County which actually had leapt tall buildings by recording a then to-date kill of 4,035 deer.

A continued glance at this combined deer seasons’ to-date figures show that 12 counties fall in the 2,000 to 3,000 deer kill range. Another 35 counties are tucked into the to-date 1,000 to 2,000 deer kill group.

Bringing up the rear are Van Wert County – 299 deer to-date; Madison County – 291 deer to date; and the ever-so-always-lagging-behind Fayette County with just 197 deer killed to-date.  Just for fun, let’s look at Fayette County’s to-date 2014 deer kill, which was 239 animals while the county’s 2013 to-date deer kill was 186 animals.

Yes, Fayette County was in last place those years as well.


Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 125 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.


Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Going Up: Both Ohio's 2015 Opening Day gun deer season kill and total fall turkey season kill

Based on figured supplied through Ohio’s electronic game-check system, Ohio’s deer hunters killed a whopping 22,256 deer for Monday’s start of the statewide firearms deer-hunting season.

That 22,256 figure represents an increased kill of 4,744 animals. Even so, the 2015 opening day kill closely mirrors the 2013 opening day kill of 22,619 deer.

Here is the 2015 firearms deer-hunting season’s county-by-county opening day kill:

Adams: 373; Allen: 116; Ashland: 483; Ashtabula: 772; Athens: 420; Auglaize: 99; Belmont: 429; Brown: 248; Butler: 66; Carroll: 571; Champaign: 104; Clark: 52; Clermont: 154; Clinton: 79; Columbiana: 522; Coshocton: 888; Crawford: 177; Cuyahoga: 7; Darke: 74; Defiance: 316; Delaware: 110; Erie: 66; Fairfield: 219; Fayette: 33; Franklin: 31; Fulton: 140; Gallia: 372; Geauga: 167; Greene: 54; Guernsey: 647; Hamilton: 44; Hancock: 135; Hardin: 149; Harrison: 556; Henry: 125; Highland: 300; Hocking: 521; Holmes: 552; Huron: 367; Jackson: 377; Jefferson: 386; Knox: 619; Lake: 44; Lawrence: 224; Licking: 563; Logan: 249; Lorain: 195; Lucas: 27; Madison: 28; Mahoning: 165; Marion: 120; Medina: 152; Meigs: 418; Mercer: 76; Miami: 52; Monroe: 334; Montgomery: 28; Morgan: 387; Morrow: 184; Muskingum: 722; Noble: 352; Ottawa: 20; Paulding: 157; Perry: 399; Pickaway: 107; Pike: 209; Portage: 157; Preble: 80; Putnam: 90; Richland: 462; Ross: 320; Sandusky: 76; Scioto: 207; Seneca: 273; Shelby: 97; Stark: 248; Summit: 24; Trumbull: 468; Tuscarawas: 658; Union: 97; Van Wert: 63; Vinton: 401; Warren: 61; Washington: 490; Wayne: 211; Williams: 327; Wood: 87; Wyandot: 227. Total: 22,256.

Now, for comparison purposes (and, again, the only meaningful use of statistics) here are the 2014 county-by-county opening day firearms deer-hunting season kill figures with their respective 2013 figures in parentheses and as provided by the Ohio Division of Wildlife:.

Adams: 219 (375); Allen: 98 (77); Ashland: 353 (318); Ashtabula: 586 (880); Athens: 305 (529); Auglaize: 77 (99); Belmont: 329 (530); Brown: 183 (262); Butler: 38 (92); Carroll: 451 (698); Champaign: 103 (137); Clark: 39 (56); Clermont: 131 (160); Clinton: 51 (68); Columbiana: 372 (584); Coshocton: 793 (940); Crawford: 161 (140); Cuyahoga: 4 (2); Darke: 53 (44); Defiance: 280 (269); Delaware: 119 (100); Erie: 45 (43); Fairfield: 186 (228); Fayette: 25 (24); Franklin: 19 (25); Fulton: 125 (127); Gallia: 282 (382); Geauga: 124 (153); Greene: 57 (66); Guernsey: 512 (742); Hamilton: 29 (42); Hancock: 127 (89); Hardin: 141 (142); Harrison: 455 (738); Henry: 98 (112); Highland: 230 (294); Hocking: 284 (382); Holmes: 477 (521); Huron: 296 (338); Jackson: 222 (325); Jefferson: 303 (448); Knox: 573 (645); Lake: 35 (30); Lawrence: 142 (276); Licking: 501 (572); Logan: 183 (186); Lorain: 174 (157); Lucas: 17 (27); Madison: 28 (26); Mahoning: 157 (227); Marion: 83 (76); Medina: 139 (146); Meigs: 251 (435); Mercer: 57 (72); Miami: 66 (53); Monroe: 203 (364); Montgomery: 24 (34); Morgan: 272 (387); Morrow: 184 (176); Muskingum: 652 (831); Noble: 234 (402); Ottawa: 17 (25); Paulding: 151 (158); Perry: 326 (419); Pickaway: 78 (102); Pike: 140 (198); Portage: 104 (150); Preble: 46 (73); Putnam: 85 (72); Richland: 337 (314); Ross: 227 (307); Sandusky: 61 (60); Scioto: 113 (264); Seneca: 205 (199); Shelby: 98 (111); Stark: 183 (243); Summit: 18 (23); Trumbull: 331 (482); Tuscarawas: 667 (853); Union: 77 (82); Van Wert: 69 (42); Vinton: 248 (397); Warren: 66 (78); Washington: 350 (497); Wayne: 170 (190); Williams: 286 (340); Wood: 95 (59); Wyandot: 207 (178). Total: 17,512 (22,619).

Take the time to note some of the increases. They are huge in more than a few circumstances. In Ashtabula County, for instance, the opening day deer kill pole-vaulted some 186 animals from 2014 to 2015 while both Belmont County saw a 100-animal kill increase.

Meanwhile, Adams County saw its opening day deer kill rise some 154 deer with Guernsey County showing a 135 deer kill increase.

Even urban counties posted increases. Lake County (Greater Cleveland) saw its deer kill jump nine animals; Clermont County (Greater Cincinnati) displayed a 23 deer kill rise; Franklin County (Columbus) saw a 12 deer kill increase; and Lucas County (Toledo) gained a 10-deer kill figure.

Yet six of Ohio’s counties saw slippages. They include Delaware County – down nine deer from opening day 2014 to opening day 2015; Greene County – down three deer; Miami County – down 14 deer; Tuscarawas County – down nine deer; Van Wert County – down six deer; Warren County – down five deer; and Wood County – down eight deer.

Along similar lines two counties posted identical 2014 and 2015 opening day deer kills. They are Madison County – both 28 deer; and Morrow County – both 184 deer.

Ohio’s general statewide firearms deer-hunting season continues through Sunday, December 6th. A new two-day “bonus” statewide firearm deer-hunting season is set for December 28th and 29th, or the Monday and Tuesday following Christmas.

The well-established statewide muzzle-loading (primitive weapons) deer-hunting season is scheduled for January 9th through January 12th, or a Saturday through the following Tuesday.

Legal shooting times for the remainder of the general firearms deer-hunting season, the two-day “bonus” firearms deer-hunting season, and the statewide muzzle-loader are all one-half hours before sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.

 Now on to wild turkeys and Ohio’s 2015 fall hunting bird kill numbers.

As for how many wild turkeys were killed during Ohio’s fall season on the species, the Wildlife Division says that 1,536 birds were taken during the October 10th to November 29th season.

By comparison – the most meaningful yardstick necessary to determining relevance – fall turkey hunters killed 1,239 birds. Thus, this fall season turkey hunters killed 297 more birds in the 56 of Ohio’s 88 counties that were open to such hunting.

The record fall wild turkey kill was in 2001. In that year 3,331 birds were shot, and taken in just 32 counties. Thus, this year’s fall turkey kill is almost one-half that of 2001 and even though this year 24 more counties were open to such hunting than what existed 14 years ago.

Here are the 2015 county-by-county fall wildlife turkey kill numbers with their respective 2014 figures in parentheses:  Adams: 44 (23); Ashland: 27 (14); Ashtabula: 73 (54); Athens: 31 (21); Belmont: 33 (23); Brown: 26 (16); Butler: 13 (11); Carroll: 21 (24); Clermont: 43 (29); Columbiana: 43 (29); Coshocton: 43 (45); Cuyahoga: 2 (8); Defiance: 18 (20); Delaware: 9 (17); Fairfield: 14 (8); Franklin: 1 (3); Gallia: 50 (30); Geauga: 45 (36); Guernsey: 35 (45); Hamilton: 10 (7); Harrison: 32 (23); Highland: 40 (27); Hocking: 52 (18); Holmes: 27 (35); Huron: 6 (7); Jackson: 43 (25); Jefferson: 30 (36); Knox: 34 (35); Lake: 11 (14); Lawrence: 31 (23); Licking: 36 (30); Lorain: 29 (18); Mahoning: 23 (27); Medina: 22 (7); Meigs: 33 (23); Monroe: 21 (15); Morgan: 13 (19); Morrow: 17 (12); Muskingum: 27 (26); Noble: 35 (26); Perry: 29 (26); Pike: 35 (17); Portage: 38 (19); Richland: 21 (also 21); Ross: 24 (22); Scioto: 27 (20); Seneca: 6 (12); Stark: 27 (21); Summit: 12 (18); Trumbull: 50 (32); Tuscarawas: 23 (35); Vinton: 34 (21); Warren: 9 (also 9); Washington: 23 (14); Wayne: 13 (12); Williams: 20 (31); Unknown 2 (this category was not listed by the Ohio Division of Wildlife for 2014). Total: 1,536 (1,239). 

-          Jeffrey L. Frischkorn



-          Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 125 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.


Friday, November 27, 2015

Nothing fishy about Mentor, Ohio firm's scent-impregnated polymer film for hard-bait use

As humans, we stink.

One only needs to see the reaction from a white-tailed deer as it takes a whiff of human odor left behind on the ground, a tree branch, or some object to understand that it doesn’t much care for what its sensitive nose has detected.

And fishes might even do a better job of sniff out human odors left behind on live-bait and – perhaps, especially - artificial lures.

Indeed, some fish species’ olfactory rosettes (the hard-wired organ that a fish uses to smell with) can detect odors as little as one part in one billion.

Obviously if a fish is hanging out in water current that doesn’t take scent past a fish the critter is not going to smell it. Ditto with a deer; this is why hunters check wind direction and set up downwind of where they hope to hunt.

Over the past couple of decades any number of anglers and fisheries scientists have experimented with ways to trick a fish’s nose, or “nares,” if you want to be biologically accurate.

A recent entry into the hide human odor/attract fish compounds is a product called FISH Allure, says Mentor professional angler Mike McCoy.

McCoy recently hooked up with Mentor-based Chemsultants International, a specialized manufacturing firm that acquired patent-pending rights to the Fish Allure’s unique technological signature.

At the heart of the original technology – the work of a now-defunct St. Paul, Minnesota-based company – was a means to develop a polymer film that possessed the potential for what is called “transdermal drug delivery.”

That’s a fancy way of saying that a chemical or chemical compound can be infused to a piece of polymer which then dispenses the pharmaceutical product at a measured rate.

Somewhere in the scheme of things was born the idea of using a slice of polymer plastic film imbedded with some fish-attracting chemical compound, McCoy says as well.

“In searching for other applications, the technology’s inventor-scientist looked to the sport fishing marketplace and conceived a patch that could deliver certain scents to artificial hardbait lures,” McCoy says.

 Scientists have shown that amino acids are the essence responsible for the smell; an odor that fish can’t resist, McCoy says also.

To build upon the product’s concept the technology’s inventor-scientist “added various amino acids into our FISH Allure film to provide the scent that will actually attract fish once these scents are released from our product but only when it is in water,” says McCoy.

Water activated, the scent gradually releases over a 60-minute period, McCoy says.

“Since the clear, thin film strip is water-activated it can be applied prior to fishing,” McCoy says. “Just as importantly, the film is easily and cleanly removed without any residue. Consequently, there’s no mess and virtually no waste.”

That "no mess" is by no means an insignificant point. And angler who's ever sprayed, squeezed, dripped or lathered an oily based fish scent onto a lure understands just how oozy and slimy these products typically are, McCoy said too.

McCoy noted as well that the film strip is thin enough that it does not affect an artificial bait’s action, whether that’s a gentle wobble, a radical side-to-side motion, or a top-wait bait’s distinctive “gulp-gulp” sound.

“And it works with just about any kind of artificial lure, too; top-water, deep diver, vibrator, bottom-bouncer, whatever hard bait an angler chooses to use,” McCoy says. “This takes scent-based attractants to the molecular level, and does so without being washed off as soon as it hits the water.”

During one field study lures fitted with thin slices of Fish ALLURE out-produced strip-less hard-baits by a factor of 5.59 fish per angler using lures without the product to 9.05 fish caught with film-applied artificial baits, McCoy said too.

“This ingenious product takes scent-based attractants to the molecular level, and does so without being washed off as soon as it hits the water,” McCoy says.

Fish ALLURE is currently available through several retail venues. Among them are Internet-based AmazonPrime ( for $8.95 per 20 film tab packet; and Tackle Warehouse ( for $8.99 per 20 tab packet.

For further information about FishAllure, visit .

By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Ohio's to-date deer kill is kicking into high gear

The countdown clock to deer hunting’s Big Event in Ohio is ticking away.
And what hunters have achieved thus far shows that Ohio still has a decent crop of deer, in spite of some serious trimming by both bowmen and youthful gunners.
The as-of November 25th deer kill for Ohio stands at 76,161 animals. This figure includes the 7,223 deer that were shot during Ohio’s two-day/youth-only firearms deer-hunting season and held November 21st and 22nd.
For comparison purposes – really the only way statistics have any meaning – the similar as-of November 25th 2014 deer kill was 79,994 deer and the comparable 2013 to-date deer kill was 82,228 animals.
What must be considered for 2013 and 2014 is that their respective tallies also included deer that were killed during each of their two-day/muzzle-loading/mid-October hunts. This hunt was not held this year.
The bottom line appears to bolster arguments on the effectiveness of archery hunting tackle and the desire of hunters to spend more time in tree stands and ground blinds.
For the November 25th as-of deer kill, 25 of Ohio’s 88 counties have each seen at least one thousand deer being taken thus far.
In fact, two counties – Coshocton and Licking - have seen their respective to-date kills exceed two thousand animals. Specifically for Coshocton the to-date as of November 25th kill count is 2,106 animals.

Meanwhile, the leader board continues to be dominated by Licking County which has an astonishing count of 2,319 dead deer. I say astonishing because the comparable 2014 to-date deer kill for Licking County was 2,674 deer while the one for 2013 had a kill of 2,658.

And has been mentioned, the to-date figures for both 2013 and 2014 included deer killed during Ohio’s two-year run of a mid-October muzzle-loader-only/antlerless-only deer hunting season.
Digging into the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s deer statistics archives a little deeper, the data shows that for Licking County, 164 deer were killed during the 2013 early antlerless-only season and an identical 164 deer shot there during the 2014 early antlerless-only season.
Thus with the application of some simple math we come up with 2,674 minus 164, equals 2,510 deer. Laid side-by-side and we have for Licking County anyway: we see that a difference of only 191 deer is separating the two as-of figures.
That’s not many deer in the grand scheme of things going into Ohio’s statewide seven-day general firearms deer-hunting season which begins Monday, or November 30th.
Certainly by next week this time we’ll see several other counties easily leap over the 2,000 deer threshold. After all, the current to-date whitetail kill for Adams County is 1,763 deer; Ashtabula County is 1,876 deer; Guernsey County is 1,503 deer; Holmes County is 1,656 deer; Knox County is 1,864 deer; Muskingum County is 1,683 deer; and Tuscarawas County is 1,783 deer.
Bringing up the rear for the 2015 to-date/as of November 25th deer kill are various agricultural-dominated counties. Among them -  in alphabetical order – are: Fayette County – 137 deer; Henry County – 237 deer; Madison County – 246 deer; Ottawa County – 203 deer; and Van Wert County – 199 deer.
Even urban counties are faring better than are their country cousins. For example, Franklin County (Columbus) has a to-date deer kill of 457 animals; Cuyahoga County (Cleveland) has a to-date deer kill of 488 animals; Lucas County (Toledo) has a to-date deer kill of 472 animals; Hamilton County (Cincinnati) has an incredible to-date deer kill of 1,225 animals; Montgomery County (Dayton) has a to-date deer kill of 365 animals; and Mahoning County (Youngstown) has a to-date deer kill of 832 animals.
In my own Northeast Ohio back yard the Lake County to-date deer kill stands at 501 animals (in 2014, the comparable to-date figure was 549 deer, less the 30 whitetails shot during the now-defunct early muzzle-loading season equals 519 animals); and for Geauga County the to-date deer kill stands at 917 animals (in 2014, the comparable to-date figure was 966 deer, less the 60 whitetails shot during the now-defunct early muzzle-loading season equals 906 animals).
So there you have it, the completed math assignment. One week from today we’ll be dealing with much larger numbers all around, given that the figures will include the deer kill for the first two days of Ohio’s general firearms deer-hunting season.
Jeffrey L. Frischkorn