Grant Heilman will never forget his first deer. Last week, the seven year old harvested a gigantic nine point buck with a crossbow while hunting on his family’s property in Perry County. He used a decoy and grunt call to lure the buck about 28 yards away from him before taking the shot. His father, Glen, said, “This was Grant’s first deer and every hunter knows that he will spend his entire life trying to top it.”
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, it’s been a great season for bow hunting all around. For the fourth straight year, Ohio bow hunters set a record harvest during the first six weeks of the state’s deerarchery season, taking 53,982 whitetails; this year’s early archery season harvest is 18 percent higher than last year’s record of 45,733 deer.
Bow hunting for deer is popular in Ohio. The season started in September and will continue through February 3.
So far, Licking County is reporting the highest numbers of deer brought to check stations. Some statewide county totals are: Licking – 2,239; Tuscarawas – 2,202; Holmes – 2,185; Harrison – 1,561; Guernsey – 1,517; Ashtabula – 1,344; Trumbull – 1,303; Ashland – 1,237; Clermont – 1,134; and Knox – 1,101. In Perry County, bow hunters have checked 684 deer this year, and FairfieldCounty hunters have checked 1,095.
The statewide deer population was estimated to be 675,000 in early October. Approximately 300,000 bow hunters are expected to participate in the statewide deer-archery hunting season.
Last year, bow hunters harvested a total of 67,912 deer during the four-month Ohio archery season.