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Published: 9/25/2012

Season nears for region's bow hunters

BY MATT MARKEY
BLADE OUTDOORS EDITOR

The opening of the archery seasons in Ohio and Michigan are less than a week away. The preliminary work should be completed, with anticipation of the heavy-lifting following a successful hunt commencing soon.

Hunters in the Buckeye State will be in the field early Saturday morning in pursuit of white-tailed deer, while the Michigan bow hunters wait until Monday for their season to start.

Wildlife officials in Ohio expect upwards of 200,000 bow hunters to take part in the more than four-month long season, which ends on Feb. 3, 2013.

In the previous season, archery hunters took 82,732 deer, which was down about three percent from the 2010 harvest. Crossbow hunters accounted for 44,979 deer in the harvest, while vertical bow hunters took 37,753 deer.

Ohio's archery hunters were responsible for 38 percent of the total white-tailed deer harvest of 219,748 deer that were taken in the gun, muzzleloader, and archery 2011-12 seasons combined.

The archery take from last season broke down to 35,239 bucks, 39,008 does, and 8,485 button bucks.

Bow hunters did the best overall in Licking County in central Ohio, with Coshocton, Turcarawas, Ashtabula, Guernsey, Muskingum, and Hamilton counties also providing the top harvest figures for crossbow and vertical bow hunters.

Since a rule change was instituted last year, Ohio bow hunters no longer need to transport the animal to a check station for a physical inspection, but they are still required to report their deer.

There are three options for reporting: on the Internet at wildohio.com, or by telephone at 877-TAG-ITOH (877-824-4864), or at any license agent. The list of license agents is posted at wildohio.com or available by calling 800-WILDLIFE.

The countdown to the start of the Michigan archery season has bow hunter Mike Hogan of Temperance a bit on edge. He has been refining his skills at regular competition shoots at the Tomahawk Archers facility over the last couple of months and has his tree stands and trail cameras in place on the private land he will hunt in Lenawee County.

"Bow hunting is my passion, so I'm anxious for the start of the season to get here," Hogan said Monday. "I'll be at work on opening day, but I hope to be out there in the woods in the mornings and early in the evenings the first opportunity I get."

Hogan prefers to use permanent stands and have all of his mounting work and site preparation done well in advance.

"I don't like all of the racket involved with putting up climbing stands," he said. "It's just a personal preference thing, but I want to get into the woods during hunting season as quietly as I can."

Hogan, who has been bow hunting for more than 40 years, said his stand is located near the edge of a bean field, in a grove of wild apple trees.

"There's a corn field on the other side, so this is a good spot with a lot of deer sign, but things change from year to year, so as a bow hunter you have to be aware of those things and adjust your location, if the circumstances change much," he said.

Hogan says that during past archery seasons, from his vantage point above the floor of the woods in the stand, he has seen wild turkeys, coyotes, a flock of 50-some bluebirds migrating through, a covey of about 25 quail, and even a rogue wild boar.

"As much as anything, that's the lure of bow hunting," he said. "You are out there in the woods, you put the stress of the job behind you, and you see all kinds of wildlife. And no matter how long you have been at this, the big bucks still make your heart flutter and your knees knock a little."

In the 2011-12 season, Michigan hunters harvested almost 422,000 white-tailed deer. Some 131,615 deer were harvested by archery hunters, with 70,148 of those being antlered bucks and 61,466 antlerless deer. Crossbow hunters took 54,900 of the deer in Michigan's previous archery season.

HUNTER EDUCATION: A hunter education course conducted by Ohio Division of Wildlife certified instructors will be held on Oct. 27 from 9 a.m. until noon at the American Legion Hall on South Main Street in Gibsonburg. Participation in the course is a requirement for first-time hunters. Students must pre-register for the course by calling the Division of Wildlife at 1-800-WILDLIFE. The format for this hunter education course involves home study in advance of the course meeting date. All participants will need to read and complete the review material in the Hunter Education Manual before attending the course on the 27th. This manual can be obtained online or will be sent to you when you register for the course. For more information on the course or directions to the location where it will be held, call certified instructor Charlie Nopper at 419-637-7565.

Contact Blade outdoors editor Matt Markey at: mmarkey@theblade.com or 419-724-6068.



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