More than a million hunters will be afield starting tomorrow as both Ohio and Pennsylvania begin their deer firearms seasons.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife expects a harvest of from 105,000 to 110,000 deer during the gun season this year, an increase over the 2000 total of 96,290 deer.
For Ohioans going after deer with a firearm, the season will be open seven days and close at sunset Dec. 2. During this period, regulations dictate that hunters may shoot a deer of either sex except in the 11-county Zone A, where a deer of either sex may be taken during the first two days of the season and an antlered buck only during the remaining five days. This area is primarily in northwestern and western Ohio.
For safety concerns, Ohio mandates that hunters wear a vest, coat, jacket or coveralls that are either solid hunter orange or camouflage hunter orange. Wearing a hat or cap alone in this color is no longer sufficient under Ohio law.
Hunters are required to have a deer permit as well as a valid hunting license and all harvested deer must be properly tagged before being taken to a check station.
Hunters are also reminded that all game other than deer, waterfowl (in season), wild boar and coyote are off-limits during gun season.
For more information, call 1-800-WILDLIFE or check the Internet at www.dnr.state.oh.us.
Pennsylvania: Deer hunting is a bit different this year across the border in Pennsylvania.
This year marks the state's first modern-day concurrent antlered and antlerless deer season, which runs through Dec. 8. The last time the seasons ran concurrently was 1906. Due to few deer and deer hunters, antlerless deer were prohibited to be hunted again until 1923 and had their own season after that.
Hunters possessing the appropriate general and county-specific antlerless deer licenses may participate in harvesting either a buck or doe during this period.
Hunters who have purchased a general hunting license may shoot one antlered deer per year. Further deer harvests require applying for and receiving one county-specific antlerless deer license for each antlerless deer to be harvested.
Antlerless licenses are allocated by the Game Commission to the county treasurers, who distribute the licenses. Few of these tags remain.
Pennsylvania hunters must also don hunter orange garments. During the regular deer seasons and any extensions of these seasons, all hunters must wear at least 250 square inches of fluorescent orange clothing on the head, chest and back combined. Camouflage fluorescent orange may satisfy this regulation if the total orange content is at least 250 square inches.
As in Ohio, hunters must tag their deer immediately after harvest and before the carcass is moved.
The tag must be attached to the ear and remain there until the deer is processed or prepared for mounting.
Advice: Above all, hunters going deer hunting in either state should let someone know where they are going hunting and when they plan on returning.
Also, if you haven't already gotten permission to hunt on private property, it's probably too late to go attempting to get it now. Hunting private property without prior written permission is a violation of state law and just a bad move all around.
Hunting on property without permission puts all hunters in a bad light.
Following the rules and adhering to accepted safety standards is simply the best move hunters can make, for themselves and for the future of the sport.
For more on Pennsylvania's hunting seasons access the internet at http://sites.state.pa.us/PA_Exec/PGC/index.htm.