Bad weather plays role in dramatic drop in harvest numbers

By Al Smith - Guest Columnist

As expected after a miserable opening day weather-wise, the harvest during the weeklong deer-gun season fell dramatically over the 2017 season.

Limaland hunters checked in a total of 2,831 deer last week, which was a drop of nearly 1,000 over the 3,773 total for 2017. The week was not a good one for local hunters, who battled lousy weather much of the week.

Each of the nine counties in the Lima area showed drastic drops in the amount of deer checked. Area counties with the week’s harvest along with last year’s in parenthesis were: Allen 250 (341), Auglaize 268 (334), Hancock 403 (529), Hardin 381 (529), Logan 614 (754), Mercer 228 (310), Putnam 230 (359), Shelby 282 (394) and Van Wert 175 (223).

Statewide, the harvest was down more than 12,000. A total of 60,557 deer were checked in during the week while 72,814 were checked during the same period in 2017.

There still are more options for hunters to bag a deer. The deer-gun weekend is slated for Dec. 15-16 while the muzzleloader season is Jan. 5-9, 2019. Ohio hunters still have two months left of deer archery season, which remains open through Feb. 3, 2019.

Don’t forget, Ohio resident hunters can purchase multiyear and lifetime licenses at and at hundreds of participating agents throughout the state. License buyers can choose from 3-year, 5-year, 10-year and lifetime hunting or fishing licenses. All money generated from the sale of multiyear and lifetime licenses is deposited into the Wildlife Fund, where it will be used to protect and enhance Ohio’s wildlife populations.

Hunters are reminded the Ohio Division of Wildlife does not manage the deer herd for numbers only. The wildlife agency notes that its deer management program “is to provide a deer population that maximizes recreational opportunities while minimizing conflicts with landowners and motorists.

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The Allen County Sportsmen and Farmers Association will hold a turkey shoot Dec. 16 at the club grounds at 1001 South Kemp Road. Sign-up for the shoot begins at 10:30 a.m. with the first shoot going off at 11:45 a.m. Serving for breakfast begins at 10:30 a.m. Prizes include turkeys, hams and chickens.

Officers elected for 2019 were: Bill Stratton, president; Ron Parr, vice president; Roger Eickholt, treasurer; Steve Fetter, secretary; sergeant-at-arms, Randy Lutterbein; membership chairman, Jeff Casady and 5-year trustee, Butch Neeper.

The club’s monthly meeting will be be held at 7 p.m. on Dec. 27. For further information call Stratton at 419-236-9082.

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A basic archery instruction workshop for classroom teachers and other members of school communities will be held Dec. 19 at the Wildlife District Two headquarters, located at 952 Lima Ave. in Findlay.

This free instructor training will take held from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Those who take the workshop will become certified National Archery in the Schools Program (NASP) instructors. Preregistration is required by Dec. 17 as space is limited. Those interested should visit to sign up for the course. Participants are encouraged to bring a packed lunch.

NASP instructors teach target archery to elementary, middle and high school students, within the school gym. The curriculum covers archery, safety, equipment, technique, concentration skills and self-improvement. When students are introduced to the sport of archery, the in-school educational component is only the beginning. Many NASP-participating schools then start after-school programs and archery teams.

The NASP program is rapidly growing and popular among both students and educators. It was introduced into 12 Ohio schools in 2004. More than 900 Ohio schools now have teachers certified to instruct target archery. Over 30,000 Ohio students participated in NASP as part of their physical education curriculum during the 2015-2016 school year.

By Al Smith

Guest Columnist

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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