December 01, 2010
Ohio Hoping for Strong First Week of Deer Gun Season Despite Bad Weather
By David Maccar
Wildlife mangers in Ohio are worried about rain and snow impacting the opening week deer harvest despite a strong opening day, according to the story below from The News-Herald. The first six weeks of the state’s archery deer season showed a harvest decline, which has been attributed to “a massive white oak acorn crop that kept deer where the hunters weren’t.”
Ohio's chief deer management biologist wonders if Monday's 12.5-percent opening day deer kill gain was diluted by Tuesday's heavy rains and high winds.
Regardless, the state's 420,000 to 450,000 hunters earned their deer-management stripes Monday when they killed a preliminary 37,805 white-tails. That figure is a 12.5-percent jump from the 2009 opener deer harvest of 33,607 animals.
Mike Tonkovich, the Ohio Division of Wildlife's deer management administrator, credits two factors for the jump in the opening day harvest. Chief among them was excellent weather with mild temperatures, light winds and sunny skies. Those elements merged to keep hunters in the field instead of fleeing for the comforts of home or deer camp, Tonkovich said.
The second prong, according to Tonkovich, is a good white-tail carryover from the lower-than-typical deer kill during the first six weeks of the state's archery deer-hunting season.
That first six weeks showed a general decline in the deer harvest, attributed to a massive white oak acorn crop that kept deer where the hunters weren't.
"I fully expected the harvest to be up for the opener. In fact, at this point there is only a 646 animal harvested difference between the total to-date kill between last year and this year," Tonkovich said. "So we are spot on for the harvest."
That being said, however, Tonkovich believes Tuesday's heavy downpour and the forecast for snow and possibly a return to rain in some parts of the state at least for Saturday could cut into the gains.
"Maybe we'll pick up during the two-day bonus season and the muzzle-loading season," Tonkovich said. "But no question, the deer are there."