Deer-archery season ended Sunday, Feb. 2, bringing all deer hunting seasons to a close. Ohio hunters checked 191,459 white-tailed deer during the 2013-2014 hunting season for all implements.
Hunters checked 218,910 deer during the 2012-2103 hunting season. This expected decline in the deer hunter harvest comes following several years of liberal bag limits and deer regulations, which helped bring Ohio’s white-tailed deer population closer to target levels.
“This year’s white-tailed deer harvest indicates we are on target to maintain a high-quality deer herd,” said Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife Chief Scott Zody. “Ohio remains one of the best deer hunting states in the nation.”
The ODNR Division of Wildlife remains committed to properly managing Ohio’s deer populations through a combination of regulatory and programmatic changes. The goal of Ohio’s Deer Management Program is to provide a deer population that maximizes recreational opportunities, while minimizing conflicts with landowners and motorists. This ensures that Ohio’s deer herd is maintained at a level that is both acceptable to most, and biologically sound.
Until recently, the populations in nearly all of Ohio’s counties were above their target numbers. In the last few years, through increased harvests, dramatic strides have been made in many counties to bring those populations closer toward their goal. Once a county’s deer population is near goal, harvest regulations are adjusted to maintain the population near that goal.
The Ohio counties that reported the most checked deer for all implements during the 2013-2014 season: Coshocton (6,270), Tuscarawas (5,774), Licking (5,711), Muskingum (5,547), Guernsey (5,307), Ashtabula (4,981), Harrison (4,533), Knox (4,529), Carroll (4,203) and Athens (4,053). Coshocton County also reported the most deer harvested in 2012-2013 (7,413).
Hunters continue to utilize various methods to report deer kills. Since the deer season began on Sept. 28, 2013, 47 percent of hunters phoned in their report, 32 percent reported online, 11 percent traveled to a license agent’s location, and 10 percent used the new mobile-friendly website.
Ohio’s first modern day deer-gun season opened in 1943 in three counties, and hunters checked 168 deer. Deer hunting was allowed in all 88 counties in 1956, and hunters harvested 3,911 deer during the one-week season.
Logo courtesy Ohio Department of Natural Resources