Wednesday, Oct 17, 2018
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The Blade's Hunting Report: 11/30

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■ Ohio Opening Day: Monday signaled the start of the seven-day deer gun season in the Buckeye State, and before this first phase closes a half-hour after sunset on Sunday, upwards of 400,000 hunters are expected to take part. A second phase of the gun season takes place Dec. 16-17. On opening day, there were 22,366 whitetails harvested by hunters in Ohio, a 22 percent increase over the 2016 opening day total of 18,776 deer. The top counties for the 2017 opening day were mostly from the Ohio hill country: Coschocton 924 deer, Ashtabula 821, Tuscarawas 768, Muskingum 780, Knox 705, Guernsey 657, and Holmes 648. For a look at past years’ deer harvests, consult the wildohio.gov/deerharvest website.

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■ Ohio archery & muzzleloader: The archery season, which opened on Sept. 30, continues through Feb. 4, 2018. The muzzleloader season runs from Jan. 6-9.

■ Ohio wild turkey: The wild turkey harvest for the fall season dropped considerably from last year, with 1,053 birds taken this fall, compared to 2,168 in the 2016 fall season. Biologists from the Ohio Division of Wildlife had been anticipating a decline, since the 2016 crop of birds had feasted on the massive spring cicada hatch. That hatch of high protein food allowed for both higher than average turkey production and lower than usual young turkey mortality, biologists reported.

■ Michigan firearm: The season closed a half-hour after sunset on Thursday, wrapping up 16 days of firearm deer hunting across the state. Michigan’s late antlerless firearm season runs Dec. 18-Jan. 1. The archery season resumes Friday and runs through Jan. 1.

■ Michigan muzzleloader: Michigan’s muzzleloader deer season opens Friday in all zones, and runs through Dec. 10 in Zones 1 & 2, and through Dec. 17 in Zone 3. Consult the 2017 Michigan Hunting and Trapping Digest for an explanation of the firearm restrictions, and for a map outlining the hunting zones, and a chart displaying the legal hunting hours.

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■ Michigan big buck: Frank Schmaltz from Osceola County took a 25-point buck with a crossbow several days before the opening of the firearm season. There is considerable speculation that the buck with the huge rack might have escaped from a nearby deer farm, since it had an ear tag, but that has not been confirmed. Osceola County is located northwest of Mount Pleasant, and adjacent to Manistee National Forest.

■ Michigan special hunt: There were 83 hunters who got to take part in an unusual opportunity about a month ago — hunting the 15,000 acres of wilderness on North Manitou Island. The island, which is part of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and is located in Lake Michigan, west of Grand Traverse Bay, is about eight miles long and more than four miles wide. The hunters were dropped off by ferry and picked up a week later. They harvested 47 deer, which included 32 bucks and 15 doe. The largest buck was a 13-pointer. The National Park Service conducts the hunt to control the size of the deer herd and preserve the natural vegetation on the island. There is no bag limit during the hunt on the number or sex of the deer, and any deer taken do not count against the hunter’s bag limit on the mainland.

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