Northwest Ohio hunters killed 2,804 deer on Monday's opening day of the week-long gun-deer season for a bag that is just three per cent lower than the 2,895 in 1999.
The regional take closely follows the statewide pattern, in which 34,866 deer were taken on opening day, according to preliminary check-station totals. That figure is just five fewer than the 1999 opener.
“We expected it to be higher, but it didn't show up on the opening day results,” said John Wisse, a spokesman for the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Weather was not a factor in opening-day results. The season continues through Sunday.
Gibsonburg hunter Jim Krotzer, featured in this space Sunday, said he came close on opening day, but not close enough. He is camped in southeast Ohio and still was in pursuit of venison yesterday. Up to 500,000 hunters are expected to be afield during the week.
State deer biologists were predicting a gun-week kill of between 90,000 and 100,000 deer, compared to the 84,107 in 1999. The prediction is based on the fact that the state deer herd was up between 10 and 13 per cent over a year ago. About 40 per cent of gun-week deer typically are taken opening day.
The season so far has been marred by seven shooting accidents, one fatal.
On Monday, William Jones, 67, of Grove City (near Columbus) was struck in the chest and killed by a deer slug after it apparently ricocheted off a deer's body, the wildlife division said. The shot was reportedly fired by a 17-year-old family member. The case remains under investigation.
Three of the other accidents - one each Monday, Tuesday and yesterday - involved minor self-inflicted wounds. Monday's involved a 15-year-old who shot himself in the hand while hunting without adult supervision, which is a violation, in Jefferson County. Tuesday an Adams County hunter shot himself in the foot, as did a 16-year-old in Franklin County yesterday.
In the 1999 season there were five accidents, all nonfatal, in the first three days of the season.
The top 10 deer-kill counties statewide on opening day were led by Muskingum, 1,373, compared to 1,720 in 1999. Other top counties included Guernsey, 1,256; Coshocton, 1,203; Tuscarawas, 1,198; Athens, 1,173; Washington, 1,168; Jackson, 1,131; Gallia, 1,123; Meigs, 1,099, and Ross, 1,096.
The northwest Ohio/Wildlife District 2 totals, with 1999 figures in parentheses, include the following:
Lucas, 100 (96); Wood, 83 (59); Ottawa, 53 (36); Sandusky, 57 (91); Fulton, 108 (100); Henry, 100 (74).
Also, Allen, 124 (124); Crawford, 135 (129); Defiance, 131 (172); Erie, 80 (74); Hancock, 84 (85); Hardin, 134 (173); Huron, 292 (310); Paulding, 129 (153); Putnam, 104 (71); Richland, 328 (293); Seneca, 182 (241); Van Wert, 23 (32); Williams, 386 (417); Wyandot, 171 (165).
Additional hunts and trail closings are scheduled for Dec. 29 and 30 and Jan. 5, 6, 12 and 13. The refuge office will be open normal business hours, 8 a.m. through 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. Call for other details, 419-898-0014.
Steve Pollick is The Blade's outdoor writer. E-mail him at email@example.com.