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
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.