Deer archery hunters were welcomed with some crisp autumn air this past weekend as Ohio’s extremely popular deer archery hunting season opened on Saturday, Sept. 25.
As I traveled home from a fishing trip Saturday morning, I got behind a hunter who had successfully harvested a doe on the morning opener. I could see it strapped on their carrier that was attached to the back of their vehicle. I couldn’t help but think of the ideal conditions that arrived for the hunters with a nice cool morning and the cooler temperatures would help cool the carcass down and keep it from spoiling. This person was fortunate to have quick success on the season opener and the chance for other hunters to be successful will only get better as we get further into the fall season.
Last season, Ohio archery hunters harvested more than 93,500 deer, the highest total on record. Deer harvested with archery equipment made up 47 percent of all deer taken during 2020-21, marking the eighth year in a row that more deer were harvested with a bow than during the weeklong gun season (71,651).
“White-tailed deer are highly active during October and November because of the breeding season, making these months popular for bowhunters,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Ohio’s long-term management plan has led to quality deer hunting that is recognized as some of the best in the nation.”
Overall, hunters harvested 197,721 deer during 2020-21, 9% higher than the three-year average. The total includes 83,332 bucks, 94,763 does, and 19,626 button bucks.
Coshocton County once again led the state with 6,791 deer harvested. Other counties with a high deer harvest include: Tuscarawas (6,158), Ashtabula (5,662), Licking (5,549), Knox (5,247), Muskingum (5,171), Holmes (4,833), Guernsey (4,809), Carroll (4,123), and Trumbull (4,014).
Ohio is known nationwide for its trophy deer hunting, and a searchable list of the Buckeye Big Buck Club record book is available at wildohio.gov. The top nontypical buck scored 304 6/8 and was harvested by Michael Beatty in Greene County in 2000. The two top typical bucks scored 201 1/8, harvested by Brad Jerman (2004 in Warren County) and William Kontras (1986 in Clark County). All three deer were taken with archery equipment.
Deer hunting, particularly with archery equipment, takes patience and skill to ensure an ethical and clean shot. Getting acclimated to new equipment or reacquainting with your old favorites is always essential before heading into the woods. Ohio offers many options to improve your skills. Find a place to practice near you on the Public Shooting Ranges page at wildohio.gov.
Landowners can now receive an incentive to allow hunters access during specific hunting seasons through the Ohio Landowner and Hunter Access Partnership Program. Visit the Ohio Landowner and Hunter Access Partnership Program page at wildohio.gov to sign up as a landowner or hunter. For those who want to try hunting Ohio’s public land, go to wildohio.gov for a list of locations.
The free HuntFish OH mobile app can be downloaded to conveniently purchase fishing and hunting licenses, check game, view wildlife area maps, and much more. The HuntFish OH mobile app is available for Android and iOS users and can be found in the app store. Users can access the Division of Wildlife’s online system to check harvested deer while out in the field, even without a Wi-Fi connection. A complete list of deer hunting regulations is listed in the 2021-22 Ohio Hunting Regulations.
The Division of Wildlife wants to help new and experienced hunters make the most of their outdoor adventures. Visit the Wild Ohio Harvest Community page at wildohio.gov for information on getting started, hunting opportunities, and delicious wild game recipes.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.