Posts Tagged ‘deer hunting’

Sportsmen often quote Theodore Roosevelt’s comments on hunting and conservation, but his views on sporting life went far beyond his spoken words. Through his writings and actions, Roosevelt laid down fundamental guidelines that every hunter can learn from, if not totally agree with.

TR's Rules to Hunt By

In The Wilderness Hunter and Hunting Trips of a Ranchman, Roosevelt expressed his opinions on hunting big game across North America. In African Game Trails, he visited the Dark Continent and blended local opinions with his views from the American West. Though some of his viewpoints were colored by his time period, many are timeless lessons that every hunter can draw wisdom from.

The Cardinal Sin

“On this day I got rather tired, and committed one of the blunders of which no hunter ought ever to be guilty; that is, I fired at small game while on ground where I might expect large.”

— T. Roosevelt, Hunting Trips of a Ranchman

Roosevelt was after bighorn sheep when three jackrabbits crossed his path. He had previously written about the wariness a hunter needed to pursue sheep, but not seeing game for some time had left his trigger finger itching badly.

He wrote that one rabbit practically begged to be shot, being “perched on a bush, and with its neck stretched up.”

He knelt, fired, missed, and instantly regretted his hasty decision—off in the distance an animal stirred and disappeared without Roosevelt or his companion ever learning if it was a sheep or not.

When you target a species to hunt, stick to that animal.

Never Give Up

“I fired into the bull’s shoulder, inflicting a mortal wound; but he went off, and I raced after him at top speed, firing twice into his flank; then he stopped, very sick, and I broke his neck with a fourth bullet.” 

— T. Roosevelt, The Wilderness Hunter

Elk are infamous for absorbing lead like a sponge and offering no visible reaction in return. In this 21st Century age of one-shot kills and long-range shooting, many hunting guides are frustrated by their clients’ refusal to anchor elk with follow-up shots. The first shot hits perfectly behind the shoulder and the shooter takes a victory lap, leaving the guide to watch as the bull races off to parts unknown.

Roosevelt had poor eyesight and sometimes reached beyond his effective shooting range, but if he had cartridges left and the animal was still in sight he never stopped firing till the animal was secured.

There’s always hope as long as there’s lead in the air.

Measure Distances Accurately

“Distances are deceptive on the bare plains under the African sunlight. I saw a fine Grant[‘s gazelle], and stalked him in a rain squall; but the bullets from the little Springfield fell short as he raced away to safety; I had underestimated the range.”

— T. Roosevelt, African Game Trails

Theodore Roosevelt didn’t have mil-dots, rangefinders, or computerized scopes, but if he had he might have chosen to use them. Some hunters disdain technology and feel it has no place in the grand tradition of hunting, but within reason it can a blessing and not a curse. Make small changes to your equipment list, like a rangefinder, and see if the accuracy is worth the electronic convenience.

Hunting with or without modern devices is a personal choice. However, don’t let nostalgia rob you of the chance at more, and more ethical, shots.

Don’t Play The Numbers Game

“The mere size of the bag indicates little as to a man’s prowess as a hunter, and almost nothing as to the interest or value of his achievement.”

— T. Roosevelt, African Game Trails

Roosevelt and his son Kermit kept only a dozen or so of the 512 African animals they killed while on safari. The vast majority of the animals went to museums as exhibit specimens or were used for meat. He wrote that the two had not killed even a hundredth of the animals they could have if they had been willing.

As a foreign dignitary and arguably the most popular man in the world at the time, the only bag limit imposed on him in colonial Africa was the one within his own conscience. Roosevelt knew a full bag limit doesn’t necessarily mean a full day.

Judge your days afield on the memories made, not the shots fired.

Be Sure of Your Target

“The cowboy’s chapfallen face was a study; he had seen, in the dim light, the two ponies going down with their heads held near the ground, and had mistaken them for bears … He knew only too well the merciless chaff to which he would be henceforth exposed; and a foretaste of which he at once received from my companion.”

— T. Roosevelt, Hunting Trips of a Ranchman

– See more at:

Ohio’s archery season starts in two weeks.

That means you’ve only got two weeks left to target shoot.

You should be shooting at first and last light as much as possible,and wearing the clothes you will wear hunting.

Get out in the woods,check your stand/blind set-ups-you picked your stand/blind locations and cut shooting lanes back in August right?

You already cleared debris and sticks/branches from the trails to your blind/stands right?

You already know the distances to the most likely areas the deer will approach from right?

You can already put all 6 arrows into 6″ or less from those distances,right?

You already know where all the food and water sources and bedding areas are in relation to your stands/blinds,right?

You know what stands/blinds to hunt depending on wind direction right?

You know which stands/blinds you can NOT hunt in early morning or late evening because the sun will be in your eyes,right?

Where it’s legal,you already have salt/mineral blocks out right?

Where it’s legal,you have corn in feeders already setup and filled,right?

You already planted fall/winter food plots with a variety of grains and brassicas right?

You already washed all your hunting clothing and let them hang outside for a day,right?

Then you put said clothing in a clean plastic bin(s) with some pine cones,and pine,oak, or cedar branches in several small paper bags spread out among the clothes in the bin(s),right?

Your early-season hunting boots are in the same bin,right? Already waterproofed and aired out for a few days,right?

Your day pack is in the same bin(s) too,right?And your rain gear?

Got a map of the area you plan to hunt,a compass,fire starting kit,first aid kit, etc. in your day pack right?

Along with all the stuff I wrote about last year in this post,right?

If for whatever reason,you made a bad shot on a deer,you do know how to track a wounded deer,right? If not,read this I wrote that last year also.

You know how to process your deer like I wrote about Here, and Here ,right?

Get out in the woods-scout your hunting area,find all the deer trails,water and food sources,bedding areas,and the trails between bedding area and water source,food source and water source,food source,water source and bedding areas. Pay attention to what the deer eat at what time of year,plant winter food plots where legal-and you’ll have a shot at a late season buck as his body is seriously nutrient depleted  from the rut,and he’ll be drawn to high quality food after the rut has ended. The same food plot will attract does as well,so you have no excuse for not filling your freezer with venison this year !

If you want the local deer herd to remain at optimum numbers of deer-shoot every coyote you see during deer season-shoot enough of them,and the furs will cover your hunting costs for the year!

Fewer ‘yotes mean more deer,studies have shown coyote predation can kill up to 90% of whitetail fawns in areas with a lot of ‘yotes-eastern coyotes are an invasive species,as such,they need to be extirpated.

If there are feral hogs in your area-shoot every one of those you see as well-they eat many of the same foods deer eat.

Feral hogs are an invasive species as well-extirpate them-look at them as bacon on the hoof !

Get out in the woods,get your blinds/stands ready,clear debris from trails you use to and from your blinds/stands-shoot arrows every day,make sure your broadheads are razor sharp,use a safety harness if you hunt from a treestand!

Hunt safely,hunt smart,know your quarry’s habits-if you want to take a big buck,you have to get out in the woods and work for it-it ain’t like the hunting shows on the tee-vee!




Do more PT!

I wrote about this last year Here and Here and Here

*since I wrote those posts last year,I’ve seen 8-10 bucks raking antlers on branches above their scrapes-was too busy hunting to write up a new post on the subject during last year’s rut.*

I’m putting lots of hunting info up long before deer season gets underway.

It’s now September 12th-Ohio’s archery season for deer starts on September 26th-that’s two weeks away people-get out there and get set up,only a month or so away from the time to be making fake scrape lines-so read up on it…

Via Field & Stream Here

Minnesota whitetail nut Billy Jerowski is a fair-minded, modern husband—one whose manhood isn’t threatened by doing dishes or hanging laundry. But he never imagined his domestic experience would improve his deer hunting. That is until after he’d been watching numerous bucks work scrapes, when it dawned on him that the licking branch doesn’t have to be parallel to the ground. “I realized that bucks love getting their antlers up into anything—a deadfall or a vine—whether it hangs vertically or horizontally,” he says. “That got me to thinking.”

The Scrape Line
Always ready to experiment, Jerowski drove to his hunting area and strung a wire tightly between two trees, like a clothesline. To this wire, he hung short lengths of rope, a green tree branch, even a section of grapevine. “I roughed up some dirt below the wire to start the scrape,” he says. “But I doubt I needed to. The bucks just hammered those overhanging ‘branches.’ When I came back to check my experiment, the little scrapes I started under each had been hit so many times they’d melded into one giant scrape.”

Jerowski feels his technique trumps the standard mock scrape for several reasons. “First, I can put it wherever I need it—no need to find the right tree, with the perfect overhanging branch,” he says. Second, hanging several different “branch” materials seems to ensure that a buck will become interested in at least one. “Bucks are curious, and once one starts getting his antlers up into one branch and pawing the ground, it isn’t long before other bucks are in on the action, and hitting all of them.”

Hang Tight
When it comes to constructing this mock scrape line, the keys are “tight and strong,” says Jerowski. Bucks can pull down a light line easily, so use strong wire, cable, or a stout rope. Stretch it tightly between two trees, and tie it securely. “To attach the hanging vines or branches, I use zip-ties and I make sure they’re cinched down tight or bucks will pull them off,” he says. “You can scrape up the ground to get bucks started, but I don’t think it’s necessary. Once they start working those hanging ‘branches,’ the scraping comes naturally. In a couple of weeks you’ll have a super scrape right where you need it to be.”

Sit Tight

Where you hang your “scrape line” should be determined by the best possible stand location. Start by picking a tree that offers a good combination of cover and shooting lanes. Then look for another similarly good stand tree nearby that will allow you to hunt a totally different wind. If you position your mock scrape line so you can shoot to it from either tree, you’ll have a buck magnet you can hunt in almost any breeze, and one that’ll stay hot right through the start of the rut.




Do more PT !

Via Outdoor Life

Photograph by Ron Spomer

The proliferation of rifles and scopes that make a 1,000-yard shot a genuine possibility in a hunting scenario suggests to me that many hunters have given up on the very thing that separates hunting from target shooting: the stalk.

The range at which you stop stalking and start shooting is determined by your confidence and your desire for a rush of adrenaline. Getting close to game produces a buzz akin to that of skydiving or your first kiss. Stalking close can be the biggest thrill of the hunt, so why deny yourself? Here are the keys to getting closer to game:

1) Work the wind 
Scent will always give you away, but that doesn’t mean you must work straight into the wind. Crosswinds are fine, and quartering winds are okay if they’resteady enough. Pay attention to landforms that block and funnel currents. Cold breezes hug the ground and drift down draws and around ridges. Hot air rises. Hills and cliffs block wind and redirect it. Pay attention to moving grasses, leaves, plant down, and spiderwebs riding the currents. Don’t start a stalk if the wind isn’t in your favor.

2) Note what your quarry is doing
Sleeping? Time is on your side. Feeding? It’s at least momentarily distracted. Walking? It could soon be out of range, so move quickly.

3) Plan your approach
Study the lay of the land. You might find that if you backtrack a mile to get behind a ridge, it might then cover you to within spitting distance. Or you might be able to to crawl behind a series of rocks and shrubs, one leading safely to the next.

Read the rest @ Outdoor Life

Here in Ohio,bow season starts Sept.29th,other states have similar starting dates,most by mid Oct. at the latest.

Ohio deer  seasons-

White-tailed Deer Hunting

Species Opening Date Closing Date Daily Bag Limit
Archery September 26, 2015 February 7, 2016 Refer to the Deer Hunting Section for details on zone and bag limits.
November 30, 2015 December 6, 2015
December 28, 2015 December 29, 2015
January 9, 2016 January12,2016

More info @

W. Va deer seasons-

Archery-Sept 26th-Dec 31st

More info-

Click to access Deer_Season.pdf

Pa deer seasons-

DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) WMUs 2B, 5C and 5D: Sept. 19- Nov. 28 and Dec. 26-Jan. 23, 2016. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license. One antlered deer per hunting license year.

DEER, ARCHERY (Antlered and Antlerless) Statewide: Oct. 3-Nov. 14 and Dec. 26-Jan. 9. One antlered deer per hunting license year. One antlerless deer with each required antlerless license.

More info @

  • don’t forget-Pa has elk hunting!

Michigan deer seasons-

*Archery: Oct. 1 – Nov. 14 and Dec. 1 – Jan. 1

More info @,4570,7-153-10363-312005–,00.html

Kentucky deer seasons-

More info @

Indiana deer seasons-

Archery Season – Oct. 1, 2015 – Jan. 3, 2016

2 antlerless deer OR 1 antlered and 1 antlerless deer (AND bonus antlerless county quota)

More info @

That covers Ohio and surrounding states. The rest of the country has similar hunting seasons-some start earlier,some start later-but they all start in the fall.

You should have your blind/stand locations scouted out,shooting lanes cut,and your trail in and out raked clear of leaves,sticks,branches,etc. with any overhanging branches trimmed,along with any low branches from small trees,and briars and berry bushes that protrude onto the trail cut off at ground level.

Save all that stuff you trim to brush in your blind or stand. If it’s legal in your state-put out fresh mineral blocks and salt blocks now.

Increase the number of arrows you shoot each day,because as the season starts,you’ll be in the woods,and not practicing as much. I shoot a minimum of 6 groups of 6 arrows a day now,and at least 3 days a week,I shoot 12 groups of 6 arrows-6 in the morning,6 in the evening. At least 2 days a week,I shoot my 6 groups of arrows at last legal shooting light-(half hour after sunset here) Everyone needs to do this-because if there’s any issues with your sights – it’s better to find out now,and have time to fix the problem than it is to find out when you draw your bow on that big buck-and you can’t see shit.

If you hunt private land,and can get your stand/blind set up now-set it up-that way the deer get used to it,and don’t see it as a threat.

If you use trail cameras-you should have had them up in July. If you don’t have them up-get ’em up now.

I know I bring this up a lot-but until more deer hunters get it-the deer herds will continue to shrink many areas-

Shoot every coyote you see-more ‘yotes= fewer deer,in some areas,fawn predation is as high as 90%. That means the ‘yotes are killing 9 out of every 10 fawns born. Shoot the damn things-they’re not native to the eastern U.S.-they are an invasive species-plus eastern ‘yotes have a considerable amount of wolf DNA that they picked upon their way east in Minnesota,Wisconsin,the U.P.of Michigan,and parts of Ontario.

The second problem animal affecting whitetail deer are feral hogs-they eat the same foods as the deer,and while deer can have twins,even triplets,hogs can have 3 litters of 6-8 piglets-(sometimes up to 10 per litter)- per year,sometimes 4. The only way to remove a feral hog family-called a sounder-is to kill or trap every single one of them.If you leave just two,a boar and a sow-within a year,there will be 60-100 hogs in the same area,as the piglets from the first litter will be able to breed and have piglets within 6 months.

The sounders are territorial,so if you take one out-it will be at least a year before another moves in.

Feral hogs have been around from the Carolinas  to Florida,and Florida to Texas along the gulf coast since the Spanish explorers in the 1500’s released pigs in every new place they came to,because the pigs could fend for themselves,and be hunted for food when needed.

It’s impossible to eliminate feral hogs from the southeast,but it is possible to remove them from the surrounding states where they are a problem. The best the southeast can hope for is to limit the billions in crop damage by removing individual sounders.

Unless you want to see the deer herd in your area crash-start killin ‘yotes and feral hogs-remember-you gotta get the whole sounder-all of ’em- to get rid of the hogs.

Get out in the woods.




Do more PT !

I know it’s only early August,but it’s time to hit the woods,scout the local deer,pick stand/blind locations,and cut shooting lanes.

Save the cut branches to start brushing in your blind or stand.

Be sure you go with a friend,one of your kids,whoever,just have another person go with you,and have them stand in the areas deer will approach from,then cut your shooting lanes.

Now’s the time to put fresh mineral blocks out-(if legal in your state)-I always put a few of the reddish colored stockmans blocks from Tractor Supply out for mineral blocks.

Same minerals as the much,much more costly blocks made by several companies as “specially formulated for deer” mineral blocks. I keep them out year ’round,along with regular salt blocks.

Now’s also the time to start getting fall/winter food plots ready-at least in most of the east and NE.

Scouting now,finding trails if you’re hunting a new area,hanging trail cameras if you use them,and figuring out the best stands/blinds to use if you want to get a big buck.

Pay attention to the angle of the sun in early morning and late evening,then guesstimate what the angle will be during early bow season and choose your stands/blinds accordingly. You don’t want to be facing into the sun in am or pm,you want the sun at your back.

As you find the deer trails-look about 5-10 yards to either side for trails made by a single deer-that is often  the trail of the dominant buck in the area,it’s a buck trail for sure,may not be the big one-but you’ll know from trail cam pics,or the size of the tracks,and size and number of scrapes during pre-rut.

More hunting tips/tactics coming soon.

Here’s a good article from Outdoor Life…

How to Scout for Summer Whitetails

Another from Field&Stream…

Early Season Whitetail Tactics


As coyotes flood eastward and northward, filling virtually every nook and cranny of viable habitat between Florida and eastern Canada, the gray wolf is stalking the North Woods and northern Rockies. Black bear populations are swelling, and sighting the elusive bobcat is hardly a rare occurrence. Even mountain lions are showing up in new places. And all of this is happening as we humans continue to take millions of deer every year.

Meanwhile, whitetails are facing a host of other issues. Habitat loss, changes in human land-use patterns, disease, hunter harvest and an assortment of other challenges all represent some level of threat. A suite of whitetail predators the likes of which hasn’t been encountered in a century or more is only adding to the difficulty in maintaining high deer numbers.

As evidenced by the white flags waving over the Kansas landscape that spring evening, it’s become a scary world for the whitetail. But how serious is the threat of predation on the long-term viability of the herd? In light of other challenges, are predators the final straw that will push deer over the tipping point? And what, if anything, can we as hunters and conservationists do about it?

The Threat is Real
Without question, the whitetail now exists in an ecosystem characterized by far more predators — and more types of predators — than was the case 40, 20 or even 10 years ago.

“Here’s the thing with predation: Throughout most of the eastern United States, we have historically managed deer herds in the absence of predation,” says Karl V. Miller, professor of wildlife ecology and management at the University of Georgia. “We just figured that most of the predation occurred at the hands of sportsmen. That has changed. We have a predator context in the eastern United States that we historically have not had, and it needs to be taken into account in managing deer.”

Miller is among those spearheading a new study that will include a close look at land-use patterns of coyotes in the Southeast. He’s spent much of his career studying whitetails and the factors that influence them. He notes the coyote’s colonization of the eastern U.S. is a fairly new phenomenon.

In an article published in the Journal of Wildlife Management in 2009, Miller, along with coauthors John Kilgo, H. Scott Ray and Charles Ruth, discussed the expansion of coyotes in no uncertain terms.

“During the last half of the 20th century, the range of the coyote expanded dramatically,” Miller and his colleagues wrote. “Coyotes now occupy most of North and Central America. Eastward of the historic western range, coyotes now occur throughout eastern North America from New Brunswick, Canada, to Florida, USA.”

Although some evidence exists to suggest this rapid expansion occurred in part because of the extermination of other predators, the coyote is hardly the only carnivorous threat to whitetails.

“The point to be made here is that we’re not just talking about one predator,” says Dr. James C. Kroll, director of the Institute for White-tailed Deer Management & Research at Stephen F. Austin State University. “It’s an entire suite of predators.”

Kroll is not alone in his assessment. Researchers in the North Woods of Wisconsin, Minnesota and Michigan have noted increased predation of whitetails by wolves. Bobcats are impacting fawn survival in several regions. And mountain lions are efficient ambush predators of adult deer — bucks in particular. The black bear has proven to be a significant killer of fawns throughout its range.

“In some areas of the United States, bears can have more of an impact (on whitetails) than coyotes or wolves,” says Kyle Ravana, who heads up Maine’s deer management program. “In other areas, it could be coyotes or bobcats that are having the biggest impact. It kind of depends on where you are.

By Dave Golowenski For The Columbus Dispatch

The regulatory screw on Ohio’s deer hunters likely will get a little tighter next season, though opportunities would change significantly.

Pending approval, the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s deer-hunting proposals for next season eliminate the use of antlerless permits in all but 10 urban counties, reduce bag limits in most counties, and cut the statewide bag limit from nine whitetails to six.

Changes also are in order for muzzleloader and shotgun hunters, as well as for those participating in the youth gun season.

Madison, Pickaway and Fairfield in central Ohio would join a large number of counties in southeastern and west-central Ohio where antlerless permits would not be available and only two deer could be taken. Two-deer counties include whitetail strongholds such as Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Harrison, Guernsey, Noble, Athens, Perry, Vinton, Hocking, Morrow and Meigs.

Years of liberal bag limits and heavy whitetail kills led to the proposals, which are designed to curtail the harvest in many traditional deer-heavy counties at least for one season, said wildlife biologist John “Clint” McCoy, a deer specialist with the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

“Most of those counties are basically where we want them to be in terms of population,” and further paring risks deer densities that are too low to satisfy hunters, he said.

Based on previous results, the elimination of antlerless permits is expected to have a “ significant impact” on reducing the harvest in the affected 78 counties in 2015-16, McCoy said.

Also in the works is the suspension of the October antlerless-only muzzleloader hunt. Moving into that weekend slot would be the statewide youth gun season, which previously was held on a weekend one week before the start of gun week. Harvests declined during the past two youth weekends in November.

“We’re trying to get youths in the woods at a time when they can enjoy a little more comfortable weather,” McCoy said.

An additional two-day gun season has been proposed to take place Dec. 26-27, when many hunters are on break from work. The statewide muzzleloader hunt would be held Jan. 2-5 under the proposals, which were announced last week.

“That’s a short window between the gun weekend and the muzzleloader hunt, but that’s only because it worked out that way this year,” McCoy said. “A year from now, the start of the muzzleloader hunt would fall on Jan. 8.”

One other proposed change is the addition of the .450 Marlin to the list of rifles using straight-walled ammunition that are legal during the statewide gun seasons, including the youth weekend.

Franklin and Delaware counties would be among six urban counties in which four deer permits can be used. One of the four may be an antlerless permit. The other four-permit counties are Cuyahoga, Hamilton, Lucas and Summit.

Antlerless permits would be legal in the

10 urban counties from the start of the archery season, Sept. 26, through the day before gun week, Nov. 29.

Three-deer counties include Licking, Union and Knox in central Ohio. As usual, only one buck may be taken each hunting year.

The wildlife division proposed that small-game hunting seasons should continue during the Dec. 26-27 gun weekend.

The proposals must be approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council. Open houses, which give the public an opportunity to offer comments about hunting, trapping and fishing regulations and wildlife issues, are scheduled on March 7 at wildlife district offices in Columbus, Akron, Findlay and Athens. Comments are accepted at the website through March 8.

A statewide hearing on the proposals is scheduled for 9 a.m. on March 19 at the wildlife District One office, 1500 Dublin Rd.


2009-10 DEER KILL


2014-15 DEER KILL

175,000 (estimated)


Years of liberal bag limits, fostered by the sale of discounted antlerless permits starting in about 2007, definitely knocked down the herd, wildlife officials acknowledge. But the build-up over decades in the number of Ohio’s whitetails, considered among the most robust and trophy-worthy in the country, clearly showed the strains of food competition. Ohio deer in recent years have taken longer to mature, to grow in body size and antler dimensions, and to produce young.

A smaller, better-fed herd should begin to reverse some of the physiological impacts, said biologist Mike Tonkovich, deer project leader for the wildlife division. In terms of managing the herd size, the acceptable number of deer on the landscape must fit what the human population — read: farmers — can tolerate.

Some hunters believe the herd has passed the point of going in the wrong direction.

“Our hunters are hanging on by a thread,” Dennis Malloy, one of two Ohio field representatives for the national group Whitetails Unlimited, said after the summit.

The future of deer hunting in Ohio might be more in flux than in doubt, but the numbers suggest the recent golden age of sorts has passed.

Hunters killed more than 261,000 deer during the 2009-10 season after tagging about 252,000 the season before. The kill has dropped annually since, from 239,400 in 2010-11 to 191,400 in 2013-14.

Through last weekend, this season’s whitetail harvest totaled 173,096, down 8.4 percent from the same point last year. When the season closes today, the final numbers likely will be around 175,000 — lower than any season since 2001-02.

The gun harvest has experienced a similar decline, having fallen every year since 2008. Hunters checked nearly 117,000 whitetails that year, and only 65,485 in the most recent gun week, in December.”

Notice that Mr. Tonkovich did not even mention coyotes as one of the reasons for the decline in deer herd numbers.

I’ve had e-mail discussions with Mike Tonkovich in the past,he’s always responded to questions,and I’ll be the first to admit the guy does know what he’s doing-for the most part. The recent increase in the ‘yote population isn’t something the ODNR people seem to have noticed. Most don’t spend all that much time in the field,including the wildlife officers.

ODNR needs to start listening to those of us who spend more than a few days out in the fields and woods of Ohio.

I know that ODNR is pressured by both farmers-due to crop damage caused by deer,and by insurance companies,due to cars hitting deer, to reduce the deer population. As the article states,ODNR instituted low-cost doe tags,created urban zones where the doe tags were valid all season,not just until the day before gun season. Until this year,hunters were allowed to harvest 18-24 deer statewide by harvesting the max number in each zone.

Years of these policies,combined with the explosive growth of the coyote population,have reduced the deer population far too much. The recent changes made by ODNR are to little,too late. It’s going to take years for the deer population to recover-and it’s never going to recover unless the coyote problem is addressed.

Fawn predation by the ‘yotes is only going to increase,because not enough people hunt them. Unless the ‘yote population is knocked down by at least half-the size of the deer herd is going to decrease to the point there are very,very few deer-it will be like deer hunting was in Ohio during the 1970’s-when you could hunt the entire week of gun season and not see a single deer.

This year,Ohio harvest to a county by county bag limit,and limited hunters to a total of 6 deer statewide,as before,only one buck may be taken no matter where in the state it’s taken you can only take one,the rest must be does.

That’s still too many does,ODNR should limit the harvest to two deer per hunter so the herd can increase in population again.

ODNR’s claim that there is not enough food for more deer is pure bullshit-the only way there would not be enough food is if farmers stopped planting corn and soybeans.This fall,Ohio is going to institute WMU’s-(Wildlife Management Units)

Western states have been using this method for decades,most have had success using WMU’s.

I’m all for Ohio going to WMU’s,although it will make the hunting regs more confusing,it will allow wildlife biologists to manage game populations more effectively,because they can manage each area for the optimum deer population.

WMU’s are better because the bag limits can be adjusted for each unit,meaning higher bag limits in some,lower bag limits in others. This will allow the statewide deer herd to be healthier,and if managed correctly, we should see more big  bodied deer,and bucks with heavier antlers,and bigger racks.

The change to WMU’s will help the deer herd,as long as ODNR starts urging hunters to kill ‘yotes.

Fur prices are reasonable this year,so hunting ‘yotes funds itself,skin ’em out,salt and dry the hides,sell the hides,and you can even turn a profit.

Statewide the harvest is only down 8% or so,but that is misleading,as some counties with low deer populations are showing almost a 50% increase-while some counties with high deer populations are showing a 20% or greater decrease.

The total harvest isn’t that far off,but some of the counties that have been consistently in the top 10 for total deer harvest are the ones showing the biggest drops in harvest numbers.

Such as-

Wood county shows a 47.7% increase in deer harvest-the total number of deer harvested in 2013-14 was 717.

Total for 2014-14 is 1,059 That 47.7% increase is a difference of 342 deer.

Guernsey county shows a 21.94% decrease. 2013-14 total was 5,259.

Total for 2014-15 is 4,105 that 21.94% decrease is a difference of  1,154 deer.

See the problem?  The DNR is counting 342 deer as a 47.7% increase while counting a decrease of 1,154 deer as only a 21.94% decrease.

Looking at the comparison data-almost all the counties that show increases are the counties with very low harvests,which represent very few deer,while to counties showing decreases are almost all counties that traditionally have had high harvests.

Presenting the data this way is the ODNR manipulating the numbers to hide the overall decline in the deer herd’s numbers.

Click to access 012815deerharvest.pdf