Deer harvest increases in area
The harvest from this season’s deer gun season is up in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.
According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife, 3,311 deer were checked this fall in Columbiana County, up from 3,227 in 2011.
In Trumbull County, the number was 3,010, up from 2,760. Mahoning County hunters checked 1,680 deer, up from 1,559.
The week-long deer gun season opened on Nov. 26. An extra weekend was added in 2006.
Ohio hunters checked 14,365 white-tailed deer on Saturday and Sunday.
Columbiana hunters checked 320 deer, down from last year’s 324. In Mahoning County, the count was 102, down from 176.
“It’s impossible to say why,” said ODNR spokeswoman Jamie Graham of the lower tallies. “Weather is the biggest factor. Sometimes properties that were used become inaccessible.”
In Trumbull County, the weekend count was 248, up from last year’s 242.
The ODNR said Ohio’s weekend total declined 14.3 percent from 2011, when hunters harvested 16,766 deer. In 2010, hunters bagged 20,916 deer over the same time period.
“The overall size of the deer herd is smaller, and the harvest is aligned with that decrease,” said Mike Tonkovich, ODNR Division of Wildlife deer project leader. “We anticipated the 2012-13 deer season harvest would be down 5 to 10 percent from last year.
“Most of Ohio’s counties are above their target deer harvest number, and we have worked to get those numbers closer to the target through generous harvest regulations.”
The counties reporting the highest numbers of deer checked during the weekend were Coshocton (489), Tuscarawas (483), Muskingum (474), Licking (444), Harrison (390), Belmont (387), Guernsey (382), Carroll (375), Ashtabula (372) and Knox (356). The top five counties remained unchanged from last year.
The extra gun-hunting weekend was first offered in 2006 in response to hunters’ request for an increase in the amount of weekend days to pursue deer.
Hunters still have opportunities to pursue deer this winter. Archery season remains open through Feb. 3.
The statewide muzzleloader season will be Jan. 5-8.
The white-tailed deer is the most popular game animal in Ohio, frequently pursued by generations of hunters. Ohio ranks eighth nationally in annual hunting-related sales and 10th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries.