COLUMBUS -- Ohio hunters braved record-setting cold temperatures and howling winds to harvest 16,464 white-tailed deer during the state's four-day muzzleloader season, Jan. 4-7, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
The extreme cold that moved across the state during the final two days of the season did not deter some hunters as more than 3,800 deer were checked on Monday and Tuesday.
Counties reporting the highest number of deer checked during the 2014 muzzleloader season include: Guernsey (652), Coshocton (630), Muskingum (593), Tuscarawas (592), Belmont (561), Harrison (513), Licking (511), Athens (485), Jefferson (472) and Carroll (458).
Muzzleloaders are traditional hunting implements that emphasize accuracy and the value of the first shot. The popularity of muzzleloading rifles for hunting and target shooting continues to grow. Types of muzzleloaders include flintlock, percussion cap, in-line percussion and muzzleloading shotgun. Hunting is the best and most effective management tool for maintaining Ohio's healthy deer population. Hunters have harvested more than 185,000 deer so far in the 2013-2014 hunting seasons. Ohio's deer-archery season is open through Sunday, Feb. 2.
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 well 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.
More information about Ohio deer hunting can be found in the 2013-2014 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at wildohio.com.
Hunters who received a 2013-2014 Ohio deer hunter effort and harvest survey are encouraged to complete it when the season ends. This survey is an important tool in Ohio's deer management program, and information provided in the survey is vital for establishing deer hunting regulations. The survey is conducted with a random sampling of hunters to help eliminate bias.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR web site at ohiodnr.gov.