Friday, February 06, 2009

OHIO NEWS: Record Deer Harvest, Yet Falls Short of Management Goal

Ohio hunters set a record by harvesting 248,515 white-tailed deer during the 2008-09 seasons, according to preliminary reports from the Division of Wildlife.

The deer kill topped the 237,316 white-tails checked in 2006-07, and was 1,485 short of the division's goal of hunters taking a quarter-million bucks and does.

The seasonal deer harvest was reported to the Ohio Wildlife Council at its monthly meeting Wednesday. The total could increase slightly before it becomes official, with a few check slips yet to be counted.

Game management supervisor Dave Risley outlined for the council recommended changes for next year's deer season to be voted on in April. Included is moving the four-day muzzleloading rifle season from a post-Christmas event to Jan. 9-12, and expanding the deer bag limit for sportsmen hunting in Ohio's three deer zones during the early archery season.

During the early archery season (Sept. 26-Nov. 30) that leads to the statewide gun season, discounted $15 antlerless deer permits again will be available and deer zone limits will apply only to deer killed in that zone. With an early archery season limit of two deer in Zone A, four in Zone B and six in Zone C, a traveling sportsman could legally take 12 deer by hunting in all of the zones.

That could jump to 18 deer if a hunter takes advantage of the five urban deer zones around Ohio's major cities, where the season limit is six antlerless deer. The limit of one antlered deer, or buck, per season would still be in force. A regular either-sex deer tag is $24, and must be purchased before buying discount antlerless deer permits. An earlier proposal to allow hunters to kill an unlimited number of antlerless deer in the urban deer zones has been scrapped.

"This past season, we had about 5,000 hunters who killed three or more deer," said Risley. "We wanted the changes in order to simplify the limits."

Source: Cleveland Plain Dealer

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