COLUMBUS -- Hunters enjoyed great weather as they harvested 86,964 white-tailed deer during Ohio's traditional week-long deer-gun season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The harvest yielded an anticipated slight decrease of 3.7 percent from 2011, when 90,282 deer were checked.
"The traditional deer-gun week is enjoyed by thousands annually, and this year was no exception," said ODNR Director James Zehringer. "Ohio's healthy deer population offers a great source of outdoor recreation to many Ohio residents and out-of-state hunters."
Counties reporting the highest numbers of deer checked during the 2012 gun season: Coshocton (3,119), Muskingum (2,927), Tuscarawas (2,860), Guernsey (2,620), Harrison (2,370), Licking (2,271), Washington (2,163), Knox (2,159), Belmont (2,127) and Carroll (2,062). The order of the top six counties remained unchanged from last year.
Ohio's week-long gun season was Nov. 26-Dec. 2. Hunters still have one weekend of deer-gun hunting, Dec. 15-16, and archery season remains open through Feb. 3, 2013. The statewide deer-muzzleloader season is Jan. 5-8, 2013.
The white-tailed deer is the most popular game animal in Ohio, frequently pursued by generations of hunters. Ohio ranks eighth nationally in annual hunting-related sales and 10th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has an $859 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more.
More information about Ohio deer hunting can be found in the 2012-2013 Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at wildohio.com. Hunters can also share photos by clicking on the Photo Gallery tab online.
Hunters must still report their deer harvest, but they are no longer required to take their deer to a check station for physical inspection. Hunters have three options to complete the automated game check:
Online at wildohio.com.
By telephone at 877-TAG-ITOH (824-4864). This option is only available to those required to have a deer permit to hunt deer.
At all license agents. A list of these agents can be found at wildohio.com, or by calling 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).
Hunters are encouraged to donate any extra venison to organizations assisting Ohioans in need. ODNR Division of Wildlife is collaborating with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) to help pay for the processing of donated venison. Hunters who donate deer are not required to pay the processing cost as long as the deer are taken to a participating processor. To see which counties are involved in this program, go to fhfh.org.
Ohio's first modern day deer-gun season opened in 1943 in three counties, and hunters harvested 168 deer. Deer hunting was allowed in all 88 counties in 1956, and hunters killed 3,911 deer during that one-week season.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.com.