Ohio's young hunters bagged 9,331 deer during their special deer-gun weekend last year, and they aim to repeat the performance Saturday and Sunday.
The Ohio Division of Wildlife anticipates 40,000 young hunters, accompanied by nonhunting adults, will participate in this weekend's hunt.
They also can participate in a new wildlife division feature, the First Harvest certificate program, which is new online at wildohio.com.
To participate, upload a photo and type in the young hunter's information and a certificate will be e-mailed within a few days for downloading and printing. Hunters can also share photos of their success in the field online by visiting wildohio.com and clicking on “photo gallery.” The photo submission process is easy and posted photos may be shared via e-mail.
The youth deer-gun season is open statewide to hunters 17 years old and younger. Hunters may take one deer of either sex during this season, in accordance with existing bag and deer-zone limits. Plugged shotguns [three-round capacity], muzzleloaders, handguns, and bows are legal. All participants must wear hunter orange, possess a valid Ohio hunting license and a $12 youth-deer permit, and be accompanied by a nonhunting adult.
All other regularly scheduled hunting seasons will continue during the two-day youth season. However, other hunters, including deer-archery hunters, are required to wear hunter orange during this period.
This year, Ohio's deer-gun season runs November 29 through December 5, the week after Thanksgiving, and also the weekend of December 18-19. Details regarding Ohio's various hunting seasons, including those exclusively for young hunters, can be found in the digest, 2010-11 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations, available where licenses are sold, or by visiting wildohio.com.
Youth hunters who want to donate venison to the needy can do so free. The wildlife division is collaborating with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry to help pay for the processing of donated venison.
All hunters who donate their deer to a food bank are not required to pay the processing cost as long as funding for the effort lasts. More information about this program can be found online at fhfh.org.
Note also that 2010-2011 licenses are not be printed on weatherproof paper. So protect licenses and permits from the elements.
In related news, Ohio bowhunters killed 49,384 deer during the first six weeks of the state's archery season, according to the division of wildlife. This year's early archery season harvest is 8 percent lower than last year's kill of 53,959 deer.
Bowhunting continues to grow in popularity among Ohio hunters, especially with the increasing popularity of the crossbow. Approximately 345,000 bow hunters are expected to participate in the statewide deer-archery hunting season The season started Sept. 25 and will continue through Feb. 6.
Counties reporting the highest numbers of bow-killed deer brought to check stations were: Tuscarawas – 1,897, Licking – 1,779, Holmes – 1,537, Coshocton – 1,352, Harrison – 1,274, Ashtabula – 1,247, Clermont – 1,196, Trumbull – 1,074, Guernsey – 1,029, and Stark – 1,027.
“A big acorn year has led to varied hunting success throughout the state,” said Mike Tonkovich, deer biologist for the division of wildlife. “I expect that any deficits we see now will be made up by the close of gun season when the acorns are nearly gone.”
The statewide deer population was estimated to be 750,000 in early October.
Bow hunters harvested a record 91,546 deer during last year's four-month Ohio archery season.
As with youth hunters this weekend, all hunters can share photos of their success in the field online by visiting wildohio.com and clicking on photo gallery. Other hunt details also are available at the Web address.
• On the weekend — Turkey shoot, Sunday, Fostoria United Sportsmen's Club, 115 North U.S. 23, Fostoria. Traps open at 10 a.m. with 10 bird shoots, still-target shoots, protection shoots, and Annie Oakley shoots. For other details call 419-435-4953.
Contact Steve Pollick at: email@example.com or 419-724-6068