If Ohio deer hunters stay on the same track of their efforts the last two years, they should take 16,000 or 17,000 deer this coming weekend during the bonus deer-gun season.
Two extra weekend days were added to deer-gun hunting beginning in 2006 in response to comments received from hunters for more weekend time to hunt. Hunters took 25,390 deer that first season, with the numbers tapering off to the mid teens since, perhaps because of loss of novelty, according to Mike Tonkovich, state deer biologist.
"There's no reason to expect anything less than 16,000 or 17,000 deer," the biologist said. He noted that the bags in the various seasons so far this year closely tracked that of the record 2008 seasons.
A statewide muzzleloader season is set for Jan. 9 through 12, fully two weeks later than last year, and Tonkovich still is unsure how that will turn out. But, he added, "I'm going to go out on a limb and say that if there is snow on the ground, the bag will be 25,000." That would be up sizably from the 20,000 or so of the season when it was held between Christmas and New Year's.
Ohio's pre-hunting season population was estimated at 650,000 white-tailed deer, and so far this season 178,633 deer have been taken.
A total of 53,959 deer was killed during the first six weeks of the statewide archery season, which began Sept. 26 and continues through Feb. 7. The special youth season, held Nov. 21-22, totaled a bag of 9,331 deer. Hunters checked 114,633 deer during the statewide deer-gun season, Nov. 30 through Dec. 6, and 474 deer were taken during the early muzzleloader season in October at Shawnee, Salt Fork, and Wolf Creek state wildlife areas.
Ohio is divided into three deer hunting zones. After Nov. 29, a limit of one deer may be taken in Zone A [20 northwest counties] and two deer in Zone B [30 central-northeast counties]. Since Dec. 7, the bag limit is three deer in Zone C [38 southeast counties] and the $15 antlerless deer permits are no longer valid and no longer available. Only the $24 either-sex permit is valid for the rest of the season except in urban deer zones and Ohio Division of Wildlife controlled hunts.
Those hunting in urban units and the division's controlled hunts will have a six-deer bag limit, and those deer will not count against the hunter's zone bag limit. Antlerless deer permits can be used for the entire season in urban deer units or division-authorized controlled hunts.
Hunters may take only one antlered deer, regardless of zone, hunting method, or season. Hunter orange is required. Only deer, coyote, and waterfowl can be hunted during the extra deer-gun weekend.
Donations of extra deer will be accepted through the entire deer season, the archery portion of which ends on Feb. 7. Hunters who give their deer to a food bank are not required to pay the processing cost as long as the deer are taken to a participating processor and funding for the effort lasts. Counties being served by this program can be found online at fhfh.org.
For every overnight reservation at an Ohio state park lodge made this month through a central reservations toll-free telephone number operated by Xanterra Parks & Resorts, Xanterra will donate $2 to Sugartree Ministry Center's food bank and soup kitchen in Clinton County, Ohio. Guests may book their stays up to 12 months in advance.
On behalf of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Xanterra operates seven state park lodges - Burr Oak, Hueston Woods, Mohican, Maumee Bay, Salt Fork, Shawnee, and Punderson Manor.
"Clinton County has been especially hurt by the recent economic downturn, and we support Xanterra Parks & Resorts' efforts to provide local community assistance during these times," said John Hunter, interim Ohio parks chief.
To reserve rooms at any of Ohio's State Park lodges, guests must call the central reservations office at 1-800-ATAPARK [282-7275]. Visit online at ohiodnr.com or atapark.com to learn more about each lodge.
Ohio's fall wild turkey season resulted in a bag of 2,180 birds, up slightly from 2,120 a year ago.
During the seven-week season, Tuscarawas County led the state with 135 birds taken, the Ohio Division of Wildlife said.
Before the start of the fall hunting season, Ohio's wild turkey population was estimated at 200,000. As many as 20,000 people, not counting private landowners hunting on their own property, participated.
The top 10 counties for fall turkey kills were: Tuscarawas-135; Ashtabula-127; Jackson-91; Trumbull-73; Guernsey-72; Coshocton-70; Hocking-68; Medina-67; Ross-65; and Knox-63.
Controlled trout-fishing opportunities on Cold Creek, one of Ohio's most unique streams, again await fishing enthusiasts who enter a special lottery conducted by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
A half-mile section of the creek, located at the Castalia State Fish Hatchery in Erie County, again will be open to a limited number of anglers on selected dates between March 29 and Oct. 29, 2010.
To apply, submit an application form and a nonrefundable $5 application fee before Jan. 31. Application forms can be obtained by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE or apply online at wildohio.com for $3.
Three seasons are planned, two for adults [March 29 through June 3 and Aug. 23 through Oct. 29], and one for youths age 16 and under [June 7 to Aug. 20]. Approximately 90 adult and 50 youth permits will be issued.
Individuals selected to participate will be allowed to bring two adults and three youths under the age of 16 [no more than six people total]. Participation is determined by a computer-generated random drawing, which is held in early March. Successful applicants will be notified by mail of their fishing dates.
Contact Steve Pollick at: