An astounding eight in ten Ohio deer hunters are now using archery equipment to deer hunt, and crossbows are a big reason for that.

From this story in the (Northern Ohio) News-Herald:
“… the Wildlife Division believes that up to 350,000 of the state’s deer hunters will take to the fields and forests armed with some form of archery tackle. That’s about eight in 10 Ohio deer hunters, said Mike Tonkovich, the Wildlife Division’s deer management administrator.

_”It seems that during the old days we’d get excited about killing 20,000 animals with archery equipment,” Tonkovich says. “Not anymore.” Last year, all Ohio deer hunters killed 261,260 deer. Among them were a record 91,546 deer taken by archery tackle, including 49,065 animals killed by crossbow archers.

The 91,546 deer taken by archers also represented a 7 percent increase, Tonkovich said. “That figure has been increasing, too ˜ excluding a slight drop in 2005,” Tonkovich said. “The 2009 harvest marked the 11th consecutive year for an increase in the archery deer harvest. “Fully 35 percent of our total deer harvest is taken by archers. That is very high when compared to the archery deer harvest in other states.”

However, good, bad or otherwise, Tonkovich said, biologists are seeing an “equilibrium” on what hunters can do in the way of harvesting animals and what the state’s deer population is capable of doing. It is believed Ohio’s deer population is about 750,000, up about 5 percent, Tonkovich said. “The deer population is increasingly ever so slightly, but we’re just not catching up with it,” Tonkovich said. “The days of dramatic swings in the deer harvest are behind us.”

Beyond there simply being more deer to hunt, Tonkovich credits the popularity of crossbows with doing their part in deer management strategies. “Take away that crossbow harvest and the archery harvest is going to be comparable to other Midwest states,” Tonkovich said._

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