2010-03-06 / News

Hunters harvest more than 260,000 deer for first time

COLUMBUS – A total of 261,314 deer were killed during Ohio’s 2009-10 hunting season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. This season’s total surpasses the 2008-09 record total of 252,017.

“Ohio deer hunters had another great year and continue to play a vital role in managing Ohio’s deer herd. They’ve embraced regulation changes which increased the harvest of antlerless deer and they’ve donated a significant amount of venison to feed the less fortunate in Ohio through the Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry program,” said David M. Graham, chief of the Division of Wildlife.

Counties reporting the highest number of deer checked during the season were: Coshocton 9,635, Tuscarawas-9,009, Licking-8,571, Guernsey-8,289, Harrison-8,043, Muskingum- 7,864, Knox-7,174, Holmes- 6,211, Belmont-6,160, and Jefferson 5,888.

The deer-gun season resulted in the greatest portion of the overall harvest with 114,281 deer taken. Archery hunters took a total of 91,521 deer. Deer killed during the early muzzleloader season (491), at controlled hunts (690), youth-gun season (9,270), the extra deer-gun weekend (20,054), and the statewide muzzleloader season (25,007) added to the overall total.

The white-tailed deer is the most popular game animal in Ohio, frequently pursued by generations of hunters. Ohio ranks 8th nationally in annual hunting related sales and 10th in the number of jobs associated with the hunting-related industry. Each year, hunting has an $859 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more.

Ohio’s first modern day deergun season opened in 1943 in three counties, when hunters harvested 168 deer. In 1956, deer hunting was allowed in all 88 counties and hunters killed 3,911 deer during that one-week season.

Hunters were encouraged to kill more does this season and donate extra venison to organizations assisting Ohioans in need. The Division of Wildlife collaborated with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) to help pay for the processing of donated venison. Hunters who gave their deer to food banks were not required to pay the processing cost as long as the deer were taken to participating processors. Counties being served by this program can be found online at http://fhfh.org/. Anyone interested in forming a chapter in an area not served should contact FHFH directly.

Open houses will be held on Saturday, March 6 in each of the state’s five wildlife districts to provide the public an opportunity to view and discuss proposed hunting and trapping regulations with state wildlife officials. Directions to the open houses can be obtained by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE or visiting wildohio.com .

Deer checked by lake area hunters during the four-month deer-hunting season are listed below. Numbers for 2008-09 are listed in parentheses ( ).

Fairfield –3,324 (3,009); Licking –8,571 (7,967); Muskingum –7,864 (7,245); and Perry –4,556 (4,683).

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