COLUMBUS -- Ohio hunters took 116,798 white-tailed deer during the state's popular, weeklong deer-gun season, which ran Dec. 1 through 7, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. In 2007, hunters killed a preliminary total of 103,195 deer during the same time period.
Counties reporting the highest numbers of deer brought to Ohio check stations last week included Tuscarawas, 5,862; Harrison, 4,136; Coshocton, 4,043; Guernsey, 4,017; Washington, 3,753; Licking, 3,597; Holmes, 3,138; Athens, 3,068; Knox, 3,067; and Jefferson, 2,840.
A total of 178,838 deer have been harvested so far this season when combining the adult and youth gun seasons, early muzzleloader season, and the first six weeks of the archery season. That compares to a total of 167,965 killed last year during the same time period. Hunters took a total of 232,854 deer during all of last year's hunting seasons.
The statewide deer population was estimated to be 700,000 in late September, prior to the start of the hunting season. Approximately 400,000 hunters were expected to participate in the statewide deer-gun season.
Hunters still have a weekend of deer-gun hunting, Dec. 20-21, and nine weeks of archery hunting in Ohio. Archery season remains open until Feb. 1. The statewide muzzleloader deer-hunting season will be Dec. 27-30.
Hunters have been encouraged to kill more does this season and donate any extra venison to organizations assisting Ohioans in need. The Division is collaborating with FHFH to help pay for the processing of donated venison. Hunters who give their deer to a food bank are not required to pay the processing cost as long as the deer are taken to a participating processor and funding for the effort lasts. Counties being served by this program can be found online at http://fhfh.org/.
Hunters who wish to share their success can submit a photo of themselves and the deer they killed this year to wildohio.com.
The white-tailed deer is the most popular game animal in Ohio, frequently pursued by generations of hunters. Ohio ranks 6th nationally in annual hunting-related sales and 4th in the number of jobs associated with the hunting-related industry. Each year, hunting has a $1.5 billion economic impact in Ohio. Hunting related retail sales in Ohio total more than $700 million.
Ohio's first modern day deer-gun season opened in 1943 in three counties, where 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.
A detailed listing of deer-hunting rules is contained in the 2008-2009 Ohio Hunting Regulations, available where licenses are sold. It may also be viewed online at wildohio.com.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com.