Judging from opening day results, the deer harvest during gun week likely will be below last year’s harvest.
A totally miserable Monday featuring a steady rain early then turning to snow and blustery wind conditions led to muddy and chilly conditions. That undoubtedly left some deer hunters home and deer hunkered down and not moving much during the day.
That led to a drastic drop in the harvest not only locally, but statewide as well. The harvest was down in all nine Limaland counties. A total of 634 deer were checked locally on Monday compared to 1,027 checked on opening day last year. Area counties with the first day’s harvest along with last year’s in parenthesis were: Allen 45 (93), Auglaize 60 (94), Hancock 79 (133), Hardin 91 (139), Logan 137 (219), Mercer 55 (86), Putnam 59 (94), Shelby 65 (119) and Van Wert 43 (50).
Statewide, the harvest is down by nearly 8,500 deer on opening day. A total of 13,614 were checked in Monday compared to 22,366 checked in a year ago on the opener.
Until final figures are released this week, it’s mere conjecture how the harvest will turn out. A roller coaster of weather was expected with frigid days Tuesday through Thursday and warmer than normal temperatures expected this weekend (highs in the upper 40s with rain).
One thing that is known is that deer harvest numbers locally and statewide through the opening eight weeks of the season were quite comparable to last year. A total of 3,652 deer were checked in in Limaland during the first eight weeks of the deer season compared to 3,443 for the same period in 2017. This includes all seasons during that period. A strong youth hunt this year was the difference in a larger harvest. Of those deer, 1,736 were antlered while 1,916 were antlerless. Last year, 1,724 antlered and 1,719 antlerless deer were taken during the same period.
This year local counties figures were (antlered, anterless and total) Allen 212-194-406, Auglaize 156-205-361, Hancock 228-207-435, Hardin 203-218-421, Logan 365-451-816, Mercer 128-171-299, Putnam 176-163-339, Shelby 182-197-379, Van Wert 86-110-196.
Last year’s figures for local counties were (antlered, antlerless and total) Allen 196-210-406, Auglaize 161-163-324, Hancock 246-183-429, Hardin 189-204-393, Logan 364-415-779, Mercer 115-142-257, Putnam 165-143-308, Shelby 194-183-377, Van Wert 94-75-170.
Statewide, the numbers are similar for both years. A total of 67, 881 have been harvested this year through 8 weeks, which is slightly more than the 67,291 taken during the same period in 2017. A total of 35,726 antlered and 32, 155 antlerless deer have been harvested this year compared to 34,930 antlered and 32,361 antlerless deer taken during the same period in 2017.
Bow hunters continue to enjoy success during the opening eight weeks of the archery season. In Limaland, a total of 3,249 deer have been checked in taken by a bow compared to 3,193 during the same period in 2017.
Breaking the bow hunting numbers down, this year local counties figures were (antlered, anterless and total) Allen 193-175-368, Auglaize 139-175-314, Hancock 212-186-398, Hardin 176-202-378, Logan 316-410-726, Mercer 116-159-275, Putnam 154-141-295, Shelby 156-175-331, Van Wert 69-89-158.
Last year’s local counties figures were (antlered, anterless and total) Allen 186-196-382, Auglaize 151-153-304, Hancock 224-171-395, Hardin 177-188-365, Logan 333-393-726, Mercer 110-130-240, Putnam 147-131-278, Shelby 177-171-348, Van Wert 85-70-155.
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Numbers for another hunting season were up in Limaland and statewide, too.
A total of 29 turkeys were taken in Limaland counties that are open for fall wild turkey hunting. Hancock County was a new county open this fall and four birds were checked in there.
A total of 10 turkeys were checked in Logan County compared to four last year while eight turkeys were checked in Allen County compared to four a year ago. Hardin and Putnam showed a dip with two checked in Hardin compared to 3 in 2017 and 5 checked in Putnam compared to eight in 2017.
Statewide, 1,117 birds were checked compared to 1,053 in 2017.
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People who would like to learn coyote calling techniques, types of calls, habitat and trap setting can participate in a free OSU Extension workshop Dec. 12. The workshop begins at 6 p.m. in Community Center Room C located at 1512 South U.S. 68 in Urbana. Refreshments are provided.
Interested persons should RSVP by Friday by calling 937-484-1526 or emailing Douridas.email@example.com.
Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL