Nothing impacts Ohio’s deer kill quite like the weather ; not even how many tags are sold, where the heart of the usual kill is records, and not even a state’s deer management program.
In the end it all comes down to what the meteorologists and their computer modeling projections point to in the way of sunshine verses snow or rain, unseasonably warm temperatures that keep deer hunters on their stumps, or colder temperatures that kick the hunters in their collective butt to get a move on and do some walking.
Though Ohio is still several days away from the state’s November 30th general firearmsdeer- hunting season opener, the meteorologists are not at a loss to say what their early projections are pointing toward.
Not that they all agree, mind you, but they are going out on a limb as Ohio moves one day at a time closer to the season opener.
What is setting up early on is a sinuous low pressure system that stretches none-too-thinly from southern Texas and north into Ontario.
What will be hit first on Thanksgiving Day is a major chunk of the mid-Continental United States. Here, heavy rains and thunderstorms will prevail south, tapering slowly and curving slightly toward the east the further north the frontal boundary extends.
Rain is forecasted to enter Ohio’s picture either late Thursday or more likely, early Friday, depending on the low pressure system’s speed.
Here is where the computer models - and thus the interpreting meteorologists’ best guesses - begin to diverge.
Though all of the forecasts I’ve seen call for rain, possible thundershowers and unseasonably warm temperatures for Friday, and generally rain and cooler temperatures for Saturday and into Sunday, they all are not in accord for the start of Ohio’s gun deer season on Monday.
Instead, AccuWeather – the world’s largest private weather forecasting service – says Monday will be dull gray and consequently gloomy but no rain. Oh, and temperatures will spike much above the seasonable average, perhaps flirting with 60 degrees.
With only some modifications as to the possible temperature differentials and the potential for rain intensity, AccuWeather’s current forecast holds true from the Ohio River to Lake Erie.
Looking at the Weather Channel’s 10-day forecast this private weather-forecasting entity also has rainfall occurring statewide beginning on Friday. Along with mostly unseasonably warm temperatures.
Where the Weather Channel parts company with AccuWeather is what will happen on Opening Day Monday. It’s not pretty for deer hunters, either.
The Weather Channel is currently projecting rains to begin in Ohio on Friday and not end until Tuesday, December 1st, or Day Two of Ohio’s general firearms deer-hunting season.
In fact, the Weather Channel is saying at the moment that the odds of rain falling over Ohio on Opening Day Monday are greater than 90 percent.
Meanwhile, Weather Underground agrees with the Weather Channel in projecting rain for Opening Day. The private weather forecaster is going so far as to say that some parts of Ohio may experience up to .17 inches of rain falling on Opening Day Monday. This will be on top of the Weather Underground’s prediction that portions of the state will/could receive around 0.62 inches of rain between Friday and Opening Day Monday.
The government’s National Weather Service similarly is suggesting that rain will dominate the weather picture beginning on Friday and - like AccuWeather and Weather Underground – says will dampen Opening Day Monday and lingering into Day Two Tuesday.
Indeed, Northeast Ohio may even see some wet snow falling on Saturday with temperatures possibly falling to around the freezing mark of 32 degrees.
The National Weather Service doesn’t include snow showers for points south of Northeast Ohio. However, the agency does say rain will pretty much cover the state beginning on Friday and – once again – continuing clear through Day Two Tuesday.
So of the four weather forecasting services only AccuWeather is forecasting a dry but gloomy Opening Day Monday.
At least all four entities do agree on one thing; that being, no snow showers of any consequence are on the horizon through when Ohio’s seven-day, general firearms deer-hunting season ends December 6th.
Indeed, AccuWeather’s climatologists have gone way out on that limb we spoke about earlier to say no significant snows are anticipated until at least January 1st; just in time for Ohio’s “bonus” two-day general firearms deer-hunting season, December 28th and 29th.
Bottom line: Make sure you have a leak-proof rain suit, you hunt from a ground blind, or just roll over in your deer camp bunk bed and trust the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s biologists that plenty of deer will remain for the on-the-horizon’s statewide muzzle-loading season, the new two-day “bonus” firearms deer-hunting season, and of course, the remainder of Ohio’s ever-so-long archery deer-hunting season.
- 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.