Ohio’s deer kill continues with a total to-date animal count that’s ahead of where the tally stood at the same point in 2017.
Based on data provided via the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s electronic-based tele-check system, 165,392 deer were killed as of Tuesday, January 2nd. That figure is 6,443 more animals than were taken for the same period ending January 3rd, 2017 which was 158,949 animals.
Take note, too, that the immediate previous reporting period ending December 26th, 2017 showed a then-to-date deer kill of 163,638 animals. Thus, only 1,754 deer were taken by hunters between the December 26th reporting end-date and the January 2nd reporting end-date.
For comparison purposes – and for statistics to be meaningful comparisons are the holy grail – the 2016-2017 season spread from its December 27th, 2016 and January 2nd, 2017 reporting deadlines was even fewer deer; 1,592 animals, to be exact.
Which might be surprising given the deep chill virtually all of Ohio’s been under since about Christmas. You’d have thought the cold and the snows of the past 10 or so days would have kept deer hunters at home in front of the hearth. And in some cases that explanation appears to be true, though apparently not in the case of every one of Ohio’s 88 counties.
Let’s look at the current to-date deer kill figures from a couple of different angles, shall we.
A few of Ohio’s 88 counties saw deer kill increases of fewer than 10 animals each between the December 26th and January 2nd reporting periods. Among them (with their January 2nd reporting period number followed by their December 26th reporting period figure in parentheses) were: Shelby County – 896 (889, for a gain of seven animals); Henry County – 698 (695, for a gain of three animals); Huron County – 2,219 (2,210, for a gain of nine animals); Marion County - 819 (811, for a gain of eight animals); Morrow County – 1,400 (1,391, for a gain of nine animals); Clinton County -730 (728, for a gain of two animals); and Gallia County – 2,353 (2,344, for a gain of nine animals).
One county – Fayette – failed to record a single additional deer killed between the December 26th and January 2nd reporting periods: 318 animals for each week-ending reporting period.
Even so, a few counties bucked the cold/snow-hampering weather conditions. Consequently, they each saw their respective deer kills produce modest gains. Among them (with their January 2nd reporting period number followed by their December 26th reporting period figure in parentheses) were: Ashtabula County – 4,568 (4,532, for a gain of 36 animals); Coshocton County – 5,823 (5,756, for a gain of 67 animals); Guernsey County – 4,097 (4,040, for a gain of 57 animals); Lake County – 769 (739, for a gain of 30 animals); Licking County – 4,384 (4,319, for a gain of 65 animals); and Tuscarawas County – 5,054 (4,988, for a gain of 66 animals).
Going into the present to-date tally as of January 2, there are five counties with deer kills of at least four thousand animals each. These counties (with their respective 2016-2017 to-date season numbers in parentheses) are: Ashtabula – 4,568 (4,394); Coschocton – 5,823 (5,110); Guernsey – 4,097 (3,945); Licking – 4,384 (4,264); Muskingum – 4,639 (4,355); and Tuscarawas – 5,064 (4,326).
Ohio still has four counties with to-date deer kills of fewer than 500 animals each. These counties (with their respective 2016-2017 to-date season numbers in parentheses) are: Fayette – 318 (286); Madison – 473 (433); Ottawa – 422 (400); Van Wert – 473 (431).
How the next weekly to-date deer kill reporting period – which ends January 9th – will shake out is unknown, of course. Yet given that the first two days of the statewide four-day muzzle-loading deer-hunting season is forecast to feature sub-freezing and even sub-zero temperatures it is entirely possible - and probably likely - that at least some hunters will skip the activity. Such a decrease in participation would certainly lend itself to a decreased deer kill for the season.
This season begins Saturday (January 6th) and ends the following Tuesday (January 9th.) Last year the four-day muzzle-loading season saw a total statewide kill of 15,483 deer. In 2016 that figure was 12,503 animals, and in 2015 the like-statistic was 13,724 animals.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn