“Four and no more” was the mantra I fell unto when I used up my forth Ohio either-sex tag on January 22.
It also was my third deer shot in Lake County, a former Ohio Division of Wildlife-considered Urban Deer Zone stronghold.
Even with intense municipal allowances to permit the taking of deer in such urban environments the numbers of animals either remains stubbornly strong or else may even be growing. At least in some locations, as my detailed and extensive daily hunting activity reports show, anyway.
For several years – and almost immediately after each hunt situation – I record the various morning or afternoon hunt observations. This data tabulation includes such topics as the hunt date, whether it was an a.m. or a p.m. hunt, hours spent, along with how many adult bucks, adult does, fawn bucks and fawn does, and “unknown antlerless” deer are seen.
Besides these notations the sheet also enfolds such requests as the number of coyotes (two this past year) and wild turkeys (three this past season) seen while on stand along with “comments.”
That last one I use to record details about weather conditions and if there was any nearby human activity (an important detail when hunting in an urban environment where it could impact a deer making an approach to the baiting station.)
I’d like to take credit for this sheet’s thoroughness but it was developed by the wildlife management unit of the Kirtland-based (Ohio) Holden Arboretum. I have long been one of about 80 to 100 people granted permission to deer hunt at the arboretum, which in some cases includes jumping through a number of additional hoops required by the location’s local police chief.
Anyway, a look back this past all-hunting-seasons’ tabulations shows I hunted one location in Geauga County, two locations in Ashtabula County and four sites in Lake County (one location in one township and three sites in one village). A further look shows that of the seven locations, four failed to produce a single deer sighting.
And at all but one of these seven sites I maintained feeding stations. Also, I helped with the other by periodically dropping off bags of apples for the hunting landowner to use too.
The number of hunting trips to each location varied from one and two to as many as 23 visits. The bulk of these visitations were late afternoon/early evening events (30) with the remaining 22 trips being morning hunts.
Hunts lasted from as few as one hour to as many as 11.5 hours.
Perhaps telling is the increasing number of morning hunts; likely the result of my retirement not quite two years ago.
Note as well that of the four deer I shot (one fawn doe, two adult does, and one buck that had lost both antlers) the number taken was equal between morning and evening hunts (two each).
A further look shows that all four deer were taken with my Wicked Ridge crossbow, though I did take an unsuccessful poke at an antlered buck with a newly acquired single-shot .45-70 caliber rifle during Ohio’s general firearms deer-hunting season.
Perhaps one more noteworthy number is that 19 of the 29 deer observed were seen during morning hunts. So too the bulk of the antlered deer observed (eight) were noted in the morning as well (five).
Yeah, eight is not a whale lot of antlered deer seen but, then again, 29 deer for 52 trips totaling 156.5 hours is not an especially large figure, either.
Broken down even further the number of observed deer were eight antlered animals, 11 adult does, and 10 fawns/button bucks.
It must be noted here as well that I hunt exclusively from a fabric ground blind. This condition is mandated by my wife, a physical therapist and all of the several doctors/specialists I have to see.
I suspect that if I had hunted from a tree ladder stand the number of deer observed would have increased significantly.
Maybe one of these days I’ll also keep track on the number of 50-pound sacks of shelled corn I buy from the Rome (Ohio) Feed Mill and the number of bags containing second-grade apples I purchase from Sage’s Apples in Chardon Township.
Then again, probably not as I’m sort of afraid to know just how much money I sink into this “hobby” when I also factor in the need each season to buy at least one replacement ground blind and at least one replacement trail camera, $15 for each mechanical broadhead I launch, the accompany arrow plus a bundle of other necessities needed to get the job done.
Oh, and if you’re going to complain that I shot four deer, you have to remember that three of them were taken in urban areas where landowners maintain a love/mostly hate, relationship with deer.
Besides, not only do my wife and I benefit in having a bunch of venison in our freezer we also have a daughter, son-in-law and their five children that we help by supplying them with wild game.
On that score if the Ohio Division of Wildlife ever issues hunting tags for woolly mammoths I’ll be first in line to buy one.
Of course this would mean I’d have to go and sell my current 4x4 ATV and buy a proper low mileage Hummer H1. Oy vey.
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 100 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.