Mild weather boosts deer kill
January blinked rather than attempt its usual icy staredown during last week’s muzzleloader deer season. With encouraging weather, results followed.
Hunters checked 14,182 whitetails statewide Jan. 5-8, when thermometers read more like March than early winter. The four-day total topped last year’s muzzleloader kill by almost 7 percent.
Coshocton led Ohio counties with 485 deer checked, followed by Tuscarawas (467), Muskingum (455) and Guernsey (434).
Licking finished first among central Ohio counties with 416 whitetails reported, 53 more than a year ago. Fairfield had 144 checked, followed by Union and Delaware (79 each), Pickaway (74) and Franklin and Madison (37 each).
Since the season began in September, hunters checked 163,057 deer through Tuesday, some 9.4 percent fewer than reported at a similar point last season.
A regulation making it illegal to take an antlerless deer on public land went into effect after gun week. Though the regulation should contribute to a typically meager take in the coming weeks, the intent is to increase the number of deer on public land to enhance hunting opportunities in future years. The low take this season likely will contribute to herd growth overall, a not-so-welcome development in some circles.
Whether the Ohio Division of Wildlife deems potential herd growth to be significant would be reflected in more liberal regulations proposed for the 2019-20 deer hunting season, though there is no hint that might be the case. Deer proposals won’t be made public until after archery season ends on Feb. 3.
Originally posted by Dave Golowenski for The Columbus Dispatch on Jan 12, 2019.
Photo: TX Parks and Wildlife Department