Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Ohio's 2015-2016 total deer kill finish line in sight

Ohio’s deer hunters are breaking new ground here, relatively speaking.

With just four days left in Ohio’s four-plus-month-long archery deer-hunting season, that’s six days longer at the tail end than what archers saw at the conclusion of the respective 2014-2015 deer-hunting season.

So, we’ll look at the to-date kill as of Tuesday, February 2nd and reported Wednesday, February 3rd.

This latest report notes that the total to-date deer kill stands at 186,332 animals while the previous January 31st report noted a then to-date kill of 184,791 deer.  Simple math says that an additional 1,541 deer were taken between these two reporting periods.

Included in this 1,541 figure is an antlerless kill of 1,174 antlerless deer. Given that some hunters are reporting seeing or shooting bucks that have dropped their antlers it would be reasonable to suggest that not all of these antlerless deer were does or even button bucks.

And given that last year the final weekly report was dated February 2nd, the ultimate kill for the 2015-2016 all-inclusive deer seasons will trump that seen for 2014-2015. Then again, all along this has been a more successful deer hunting season than what archers and gunners encountered last season.

The total 2014-2015 deer kill was 175,745 animals while its 2013-2014 counterpart was 191,455 animals. Taking it all in, a total 2015-2016 all-inclusive deer kill could conceivably reach 188,000 animals, give or take a few hundred whitetails.

On a county-by-county basis not much positioning has changed. The two counties with kills of at least 5,000 deer are still Coshocton County at 5,650 deer (the January 26th report noted 5,603 deer) and Licking County at 5,266 deer (the January 26th report noted 5,204 deer).

Only one other county is statistically close enough to possibly leap over the 5,000-deer threshold in time for the final count next week. That is Muskingum County with a to-date deer kill of 4,926 animals. The next closest is Ashtabula County with a to-date count of 4,805 deer.

Given Muskingum County saw an additional 31 deer killed between the two reporting periods it just might reach that 5,000 summit. A long shot, though still doable.

Unfortunately for Ashtabula County, just 41 deer were killed during this same period so its chances of breaking the 5,000 ceiling are next to none.

Oh, and the only one of Ohio’s 88 counties not to see any deer killed between the January 26th and the February 2nd reporting periods was Van Wert County. Each report for Van Wert County noted a kill of 489 deer.

Along those same lines, there still remain 26 counties with deer kills of fewer than 1,000 animals each.

 And even though Preble County has a to-date kill of 954 deer and Union County has a to-date kill of 925 deer it is highly unlikely that either of them will see a deer kill of at least 1,000 animals.

For comparison purposes the 2014-2015 season saw 24 counties with total deer kills of less than 1,000 animals each. That figure for the 2013-2014 season was 25 counties.

At the bottom – still – is Fayette County with a total to-date deer kill of 308 animals. Fayette County likewise holds the dubious honor of having the smallest deer kill for the 2013-2014 and the 2014-2015 all-inclusive seasons, too.

Hey, someone has to be in last place.

By Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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