Ohio bowhunters again are on a record pace in filling the season's archery bag with deer, having taken 41,859 animals during the first six weeks of the season.
The bag is two percent above last year's record pace of 40,966 deer. About 80 percent of the total archery harvest tyypically occurs in the first six weeks, according to Mike Tonkovich, a deer biologist with the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
"It's right where it needs to be," the biologist said of the pace in the bowhunting bag. It puts the archery season, which ends Jan. 31, on pace for another overall record, surpassing the 2004-2005 mark of 60,626.
Top bowhunting counties in the first six weeks include Holmes, 1,710 deer taken; Licking, 1,532; Tuscarawas, 1,397; Coshocton, 1,324 and Knox 1,025.
Bowhunting accounts for about 28 percent of the overall deer seasons' harvest, the biologist said. State deer managers are forecasting an all-seasons bag of between 204,000 and 216,000 deer this year.
Some 250,000 hunters are expected to participate at some time in the four-month archery season.
The gun-deer season, which runs Nov. 28 through Dec. 4, is expected to bring in about 125,000 animals, compared to about 123,000 a year ago. Prior to the seasons the state herd was estimated at 650,000 deer, down from 700,000 a year ago. In 2004 an all-seasons record bag was set of more than 216,000.
In related news, some young hunters already have collected deer during the archery and special-hunt seasons, these in advance of the special statewide youth gun-deer season on Saturday and Sunday.
Justin Tippie, 14, son of Donna and Joe Tippie, of Metamora, bagged an eight-point buck while hunting recently on private land in Williams County with his grandfather, Paul Krajicek, of Swanton.
It is Justin's first year hunting said Krajicek. "He decided he wanted to go. I got him his hunter-safety certificate a couple of months ago." Justin, a freshman at Evergreen High School, took the buck, 145 pounds field-dressed, with a 20-yard shot.
"He was just shaking," Krajicek said in describing the after-hunt excitement. "I told him, 'don't think you're going to do this again next year, first thing.'●" Indeed.
Another first-deer hunter is Morgan Seymour, 10-year-old son of Tracy Seymour, of Jerusalem Township. Mom gave son permission to hunt under the supervision of a neighbor, Matt St. John, at the Mosquito Creek State Wildlife Area youth hunt in Warren County, southeast of Cleveland.
With a 50-yard shot from a 12-gauge shotgun, Morgan bagged an eight-point buck weighing 160 pounds.
Seymour said that her son, a fifth grader at Jerusalem School, hunted last year but did not bag a deer.
Last and not least is the tale of another eight-point buck, bagged not by a youth with bow or shotgun, but by an alert motorist, according to Jay Romanoff, of Romanoff Industries on Woodville Road.
"My shop manager, Mark Simmons, was driving north down Dover Street in East Toledo when a southbound motorist hit a large buck. The buck landed in front of his truck."
The deer was badly injured but got up and ran down Hurd Street.
Simmons tracked it to a yard on Nevada, "where it fell and his antlers were caught between a house and the gas meter."
In the end, "the Toledo police arrived and with permission from the game warden, he [Simmons] retrieved the deer. Who says you need to go to the woods for a prize buck?" said Romanoff. He adds:
"Of course we have been giving him a lot of grief since he goes hunting as much as possible Now I have to worry how he will be spending his lunch hour during hunting season!"
The 2005 edition of Pennsylvania's annual three-day black bear hunting season, which opens Monday, has the potential to be one of the best on record, according to the Pennsylvania Game Commission.
The state's bear population has been between 14,000 and 15,000 the last three years and in four of the last five years the harvest has been around 3,000 bears. Bears were taken in 51 of 67 counties in 2004.
Bear biologists suggest hunters search for areas with good mast [nut crops] and scout for bear sign. Apple and corn crops also attract bears. Also watch for thick cover in areas where hunting pressure is substantial.
In 2004 hunters took 56 bears that weighed 500 pounds or more. Bears weighing 800 pounds are uncommon but three were taken in 2003.