COLUMBUS -- Hunters checked 73,399 white-tailed deer during Ohio's 2015 deer-gun hunting season, Nov. 30-Dec. 6, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
This represents a significant increase over last year's harvest of 65,484 deer. During the 2014 deer-gun season, 75,408 deer were checked.
Locally, Coshocton County had the most deer checked in with 2,420 compared to 2,308 deer in 2014. Meanwhile, Guernsey County had 1,995 deer checked in as compared to 1,788 in 2014, and Tuscarawas County had 1,999 deer checked in this year as compared to 2,074 the year before.
To date, for the 2015 deer hunting seasons, hunters have checked 152,554 deer.
Last year at this same time, hunters had harvested a total of 148,821 deer. Given that the year-to-date harvest is only slightly higher, the significant increase in this year's deer-gun season can most likely be attributed to better weather conditions compared to the 2014 deer-gun season.
A smaller contributing element could be the fact that there was not an antlerless muzzleloader season in October this year. This year's harvest was closer to the 2013 deer-gun season harvest, which also points to last year's poor weather as the primary factor for the increase.
Two days (Monday, Dec. 28, and Tuesday, Dec. 29) of deer-gun season remain. The muzzleloader season is Jan. 9-12, 2016, and archery season remains open through Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016.
Deer Management Goals
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.
Until recently, deer populations in nearly all of Ohio's counties were well above goal.
In the last few years, through increased antlerless harvests, most counties are now at or near goal. Therefore, to help stabilize deer populations, bag limits were reduced, and antlerless permit use has been eliminated in most counties for the 2015-2016 season.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife is in the process of revising Ohio's population goals and is asking hunters that receive the survey to help by completing and returning their survey as soon as possible. Hunters for this year's survey were randomly selected from the list of hunters who purchased a license and deer permit by Nov. 16. Landowner surveys have already been completed, and hunter surveys were mailed last week. Public input is an important part of Ohio's deer management program, and survey participants are asked to complete and return their surveys to ensure that hunters have a clear voice in helping to decide the direction of deer management in Ohio.
Hunting is the best and most effective management tool for maintaining Ohio's healthy deer population. Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has a more than $853 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation's Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.
Find more information about deer hunting in the Ohio 2015-2016 Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at wildohio.gov. An updated deer harvest report is posted online each Wednesday at wildohio.gov/deerharvest.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.