Muzzleloader harvest improved from last year
Successful hunters checked 21,555 white-tailed deer during the 2013 muzzleloader season, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
Muzzleloader season concluded on Tuesday, Jan. 8. The 2013 harvest total represents a 12 percent increase over the 2012 season, when hunters checked 19,251 deer. The muzzleloader harvest was 17,375 deer in 2011.
Counties reporting the highest number of deer checked during the 2013 muzzleloader season include: Guernsey (821), Coshocton (813), Tuscarawas (784), Muskingum (751), Belmont (739), Carroll (683), Harrison (677), Licking (675), Jefferson (619) and Knox (520).
Locally, harvest numbers were comparable to last year’s with the exception of Richland county which showed a significant increase from the year before.
Deer-archery season remains open through Sunday, Feb. 3. As of Jan. 8, according to the Division of Wildlife’s website, the total harvest for the year is up ten percent from the same time last year. That ten percent increase is just about the same for what we are seeing in the surrounding counties as well.
• On Wednesday, Jan. 9, the Ohio Wildlife Council received potential dates for the upcoming fall hunting seasons, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. ODNR Division of Wildlife biologists proposed that several traditional hunting dates be utilized for 2013–2014.
Sept. 1 is the proposed start date for Ohio’s fall squirrel and dove hunting seasons. Upland game hunting seasons for cottontail rabbit, ring-necked pheasant and bobwhite quail are proposed to start Nov. 1, the first Friday in November. Fox, raccoon, skunk, opossum and weasel hunting and trapping are proposed to start Nov. 10.
ODNR Division of Wildlife biologists proposed that cottontail rabbit hunting restrictions be removed in the snowshoe hare protected area in Geauga and Ashtabula counties. Remaining snowshoe hares are still protected as a state-endangered species and it remains illegal to kill them in Ohio.
Proposed open counties for quail hunting include Adams, Athens, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Highland, Jackson, Meigs, Montgomery, Pike, Preble, Ross, Scioto, Vinton and Warren.
Youth upland game seasons are proposed statewide for two weekends: Oct. 19–20 and Oct. 26–27.
Proposed 2014 wild turkey season dates are April 21-May 18, and the proposed 2014 youth wild turkey season is April 19–20.
Proposals concerning Ohio’s white-tailed deer and fall wild turkey hunting season will be heard at the next Ohio Wildlife Council meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 6.
Open houses will be held Saturday, March 2 at the state’s five wildlife district offices, the Lake Erie Fairport office and the Old Woman Creek Reserve office in Huron to give the public an opportunity to view and discuss proposed hunting and trapping regulations with the ODNR Division of Wildlife officials.
For Ohioans who are unable to attend an open house, comments will be accepted online at wildohio.com. The online form will be available until March. Directions to the open houses can be found at wildohio.com or by calling 800-WILDLIFE (945‑3543).
A statewide hearing on all of the proposed rules will be held at the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s District One office on Thursday, March 7 at 9 a.m. The office is located at 1500 Dublin Road, Columbus, Ohio 43215. After considering public input, the Ohio Wildlife Council will vote on the proposed rules and season dates during its April 3 meeting.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!