Ohio’s white-tailed deer hunters completed the muzzleloader season with 10,615 deer taken from Saturday, Jan. 4, to Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2020, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. During the 2019 season, 14,168 deer were taken during the same season.
“Hunting with a muzzleloader is a true American experience. This more traditional-style firearm provides a challenging and rewarding hunt that is rooted in history,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Modern muzzleloaders have advanced with technology, while some hunters still use traditional muzzleloaders. Both apply the same techniques used during hunts for hundreds of years. We are happy to continue that tradition here in Ohio.”
Many Ohio hunters battled inclement weather, including heavy rain, during the first day of the muzzleloader season. However, thousands of Buckeye State hunters still took the opportunity to spend time outdoors and provide healthy, free-range venison for family and friends.
Top 10 counties for deer harvest during the muzzleloader season include: Coshocton (392), Muskingum (332), Licking (320), Tuscarawas (309), Guernsey (292), Meigs (280), Washington (268), Athens (267), Knox (267) and Carroll (264).
Through Jan. 7, Ohio archery hunters have taken 82,227 deer. Ohio’s youth hunters checked 6,234 white-tailed deer during the 2019 two-day youth gun season, Nov. 23-24. Plus, 77,187 deer were checked by Ohio hunters during the weeklong and two-day deer-gun seasons in December 2019.
Ohio offers more opportunities for hunters to pursue deer. Deer-archery season is open now until Sunday, Feb. 2.
Approximately 370,000 people have hunted deer in Ohio this year, and the Buckeye State is a popular hunting destination for many out-of-state hunters. More than 34,000 nonresident Ohio hunting licenses have been sold during the 2019-2020 season. The top five states for purchasing a nonresident hunting license in Ohio include: Pennsylvania (6,704), Michigan (4,465), West Virginia (3,806), North Carolina (2,908) and New York (2,446).
• As many of the hunting seasons are winding down and Mother Nature teases us with spring like weather, many of us turn our thoughts to spring hobbies, particularly fishing and boating. There are several boating and fishing shows coming up within a short drive to either Columbus or Cleveland that can help you leave the thoughts of winter for a while and turn your mind to warmer fun activities.
Currently the Ohio RV and Boat Show is going on in Columbus at the state fairgrounds and will continue until Jan. 19. The Progressive Cleveland Boat and Fishing Expo at the IX Center will start soon and runs from Jan. 16 until Jan. 20. Then the Columbus Fishing Expo arrives at the fairgrounds in Columbus from Feb. 7 through Feb. 9. All three shows are excellent ways to see the latest and greatest that’s out there in boats and fishing and can offer some temporary ease the pain of winter.
• One of the downsides to having a warm winter so far is that those who look forward to ice fishing haven’t gotten a chance to pursue their hobby. At this point, it doesn’t look very promising for an ice fishing season this winter at all but we all know things can change in a hurry in the Buckeye state. The local waterways are all in the low to mid thirty degree temperature range, so I decent long term cold snap could still salvage an ice fishing season on the ponds and smaller lakes, but it certainly isn’t looking good for chasing walleye on Lake Erie at this point.
My worst fear is that we will pay for this mild winter with a lousy April and May but it’s obviously out of our control. My fingers are crossed that we get through the rest of the winter without too many big weather events and spring arrives as normal. My fishing bug is starting to get an itch.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.