A cold week appears to be in store for hunters during the weeklong deer-gun season, which opens Monday and runs through Sunday (Nov. 30-Dec. 6). The bonus deer-gun weekend is Dec. 19-20.
Some nasty weather with a rain and snow mix is possible Monday. High temperatures are predicted to be in the 30s with lows in the 20s, which should offer good hunting throughout the week.
Before heading out Monday morning, hunters should know the rules and regulations, especially the county-specific bag limits and permits. Check out the 2020-21 Ohio Hunting Regulations or seek more information at wildohio.gov. Legal hunting equipment for all deer-gun seasons includes specific shotguns, muzzleloaders, handguns, straight-walled cartridge rifles and archery equipment.
The free HuntFish OH mobile app provides hunters with convenient resources while out in the field. HuntFish OH is available for Android and iOS users and can be found in the app store. Deer hunters can use the app to check in their harvest, even without a WiFi connection.
When a hunter checks game without a clear signal, harvest information is recorded and stored until the hunter moves to a location with better reception. Users can also purchase licenses and permits and view wildlife area maps through the app. The Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) is encouraging tech-savvy hunters to help others use the app to check game and access other areas of content.
Hunters also can contact the DOW’s toll-free hotline at 800-945-3543 with questions about hunting next week (Monday through Friday) with special call center hours being from 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Hunters also should be aware of diseases that affect deer.
Locally, cases of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) were seen in Allen County this summer and early fall. According to the DOW, EHD is spread through the bites of tiny midges that flourish in muddy areas that develop during hot and dry weather.
There were around 170 reported cases of EHD in the county, according to Meredith Gilbert, DOW communications specialist the the Wildlife District Two office in Findlay.
She said Shawnee Twp. was the hardest hit area and that Perry Twp. was also affected, but to a lesser extent. There were suspected cases in five other townships.
Gilbert said, “Now that the temperature has dropped, the reports have been very minimal and most are about deer that have been dead for quite a while.”
Chronic Wasting Disease CWD is an incurable fatal neurological disease that affects members of the deer family including white-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, moose and caribou.
It has been found in a few counties in Eastern Ohio. The DOW says there is no strong evidence that CWD is transmissible to humans; however, hunters are encouraged to follow standard precautions when handling deer, including:
Wear rubber gloves when field-dressing and butchering, and thoroughly wash hands afterward.
Minimize the handling of brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils, and lymph nodes.
Do not consume meat from any animal that appears sick or tests positive for CWD.
Hunters have the option to have their deer tested by the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory for a fee. Call 614-728-6220 for more information.
Anyone hunting outside Ohio must bone out the meat before returning to the state with an elk, mule deer, white-tailed deer, black-tailed deer, caribou, or moose. Only the following parts may be brought into Ohio:
Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached;
Meat that is boned out, securely and completely wrapped either commercially or privately;
Cleaned hides with no heads attached;
Skull plates that have been cleaned of all meat and brain tissue;
Antlers with no meat or tissue attached;
Cleaned upper canine teeth;
Hides and capes without any part of the head or lymph nodes attached; or
Finished taxidermy mounts.
The annual youth hunt was held last weekend and Lima area youths were quite successful. They bagged a total of 430 deer during the two days which was more than the three-year average of 348.
Following are the number of deer checked in the nine-county Lima area with first number being the harvest numbers for 2020. The number following in parentheses is the three-year average harvest by youth hunters in 2016, 2017 and 2018 during the same time period.
Harvest numbers were: Allen 45 (34), Auglaize 47 (32), Hancock 66 (39), Hardin 50 (43), Logan 65 (70), Mercer 37 (28), Putnam 53 (39), Shelby 37 (39) and Van Wert 30 (26).
Statewide, young hunters checked 5,795 white-tailed deer during the youth gun season. The average deer harvest during the past three youth seasons is 5,909. The most deer taken during a two-day youth season was in 2007, when 10,059 deer were checked by young hunters.
This year, 40,030 youth deer permits have been issued and can be used during any 2020-2021 deer season. This number does not include young hunters hunting on their family’s land that are not required to have a permit.
Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL