Thursday, April 13, 2006

OHIO NEWS: Extended deer season in 2006

Dave Golowenski

Deer and many deer hunters traditionally have faced quiet time between the end of the weeklong gun season in early December and the beginning of the four-day muzzleloader season between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

However, December 2006 will bring, as the Monty Python troupe used to say, something completely different: an additional weekend of the gun season, set for Dec. 16-17.

Proposed by officials from the Ohio Division of Wildlife to increase hunter opportunities at a time when the state is teeming with deer, the extra Saturday-Sunday hunt was approved last week by the Ohio Wildlife Council.

The regular gun season will run Nov. 27 through Dec. 3; the statewide muzzleloader season Dec. 27-30.

Bowhunters get a few extra days in the 2006 package as well. The archery deer season kicks off a half-hour before sunrise Sept. 30 and ends a half-hour after sunset Feb. 4.

Deer hunters tagged 209,513 whitetails during the 2005-06 hunt — the second-highest harvest recorded and down only about 3 percent from the record kill of 216,443 tallied a year earlier.

During those last two deer campaigns, the youth-only deer gun seasons contributed significantly to the end-of-season totals. In 2006, youth again will be served with a weekend hunt Nov. 18-19.

The early muzzleloader season — open only to those holding special permits for Salt Fork, Shawnee or Wildcat Hollow — will be held Oct. 23-28.

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