This part of Ohio leads in several categories. “Counties in District 4 (southeast Ohio) have the highest deer densities (20 to 30 per square mile) and the highest deer harvests,” says wildlife research biologist Mike Reynolds. “The region also has a higher percentage of mature bucks in the harvest. Counties with the most entries in the Buckeye Big Bucks Club include Muskingum, Licking, Hocking, Athens, and Coshocton.”

With a limit of just one buck per season, hunters take numerous does, keeping the buck-to-doe ratio low. That, along with rich soils, steep hills, and mixed farm and hardwood habitat, makes this region a strong producer of bucks in the 130 to 150 class. Reynolds says more hunters are passing up young bucks, too. “Last year less than 60 percent of the buck harvest was yearlings, down from 70 percent in years past.”

Wayne National Forest offers public hunting on over 200,000 acres; focus on white oak stands. Other productive public lands include Tri-Valley in Muskingum County, Egypt Valley in Belmont County, and Zaleski State Forest in Vinton County.

Recent record bucks from southeast Ohio include a 1875/8 typical from Pickaway County and a 2125/8 nontypical from Licking County.

Nonresident license: $111