Good weather week may produce big deer harvest


By Al Smith - Guest Columnist



It will be interesting to see how Ohio’s gun week deer harvest turns out since the weather has been great thus far. Rain is predicted for Sunday which might keep some hunters out of the fields and woods.

Opening day this year was the complete opposite of a year ago with ideal conditions helping hunters more than double the harvest of a year ago when rain and snow provided lousy conditions for hunters.

Statewide, hunters bagged 21,754 deer during Monday’s opener nearly a 50% (49.4%) over the 10,905 deer that were harvested during 2020’s opening day, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW)

Hunter success locally mirrored the success of their counterparts statewide. In the nine-county Lima area, hunters checked 1,173 deer Monday compared to 703 on opening day a year ago. That was a 40% increase from last year.

All nine area counties numbers were up over the three-year average.

Following are the number of deer checked in the nine-county Lima area with first number being the harvest numbers for 2021. The number following in parentheses is the three-year average harvest by youth hunters in 2017, 2018 and 2019 during the same time period. Harvest numbers were: Allen 92 (60), Auglaize 135 (68), Hancock 164 (76), Hardin 166 (113), Logan 241 (143), Mercer 118 (64), Putnam 117 (66), Shelby 112 (66) and Van Wert 81 (47).

Last year, Lima area hunters had an excellent week following the lousy opening day last year and bested the three-year average. Hunters checked 4,373 deer locally during the opening week of the 2020 gun week compared to the three-year average of 3,419 for the week.

Last year, Ohio hunters harvested 71,650 white-tailed deer during the annual gun hunting week, which was an increase over the prior three years when hunters checked an average of 65,566 deer during the same weeklong period.

The weather was much nicer following that miserable opening day in 2020 and it helped increase the harvest. Weather always plays an important factor in outdoor pursuits and that’s why this year’s opening day results could lead to quite a successful week.

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Youth hunters locally and statewide enjoyed a successful two-day season during the Nov. 20-21 weekend.

Locally, youth 17 and younger harvested 526 deer, which was well over the three-year average of 412 for the annual youth season. Statewide, young hunters harvested 7,634, which was well over the three-year average of 6,210 and near 2,000 more than the 5,795 that were harvested a year ago.

Only one area county was below the normal three-year average. Van Wert had 24 deer checked this fall while the three-year average for that county is 31.

Youth harvest numbers locally with the first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for 2021, and the three-year average of deer harvested from 2018 to 2020 is in parentheses were: Allen 53 (40), Auglaize 53 (41), Hancock 84 (51) Hardin 72 (50), Logan 102 (76), Mercer 36 (35), Putnam 54 (48) and Shelby 48 (42).

According to the DOW, the three-year average provides a better overall comparison to this year’s harvest numbers, eliminating year-to-year variation because of weather, misaligned season dates, crop harvest and other unavoidable factors.

The wildlife agency said the deer taken during the 2021 youth weekend, 4,053 were bucks, 2,625 were does, and 956 were button bucks. The most deer taken during a two-day youth season was in 2007, when 10,059 deer were checked by young hunters.

All nine area counties numbers were up over the three-year average.

Following are the number of deer checked in the nine-county Lima area with first number being the harvest numbers for 2021. The number following in parentheses is the three-year average harvest by youth hunters in 2017, 2018 and 2019 during the same time period.

Harvest numbers were: Allen 402 (317), Auglaize 386 (314), Hancock 666 (472), Hardin 665 (486), Logan 821 (688), Mercer 364 (280), Putnam 386 (299), Shelby 402 (354) and Van Wert 281 (209).

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Lima area and Ohio fall turkey hunters had a slight decrease in harvest numbers compared to harvest numbers the past three years.

Ohio hunters checked 694 wild turkeys during the 2021 fall hunting season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The 2021 fall season was open in 70 counties from Saturday, Oct. 9, to Sunday, Nov. 28.

The average harvest for the previous three fall seasons (2018, 2019, and 2020) is 1,079. In 2020, hunters took 1,063 birds. The Division of Wildlife issued 7,470 fall turkey hunting permits in 2021. This is 21% below the three-year average (9,428 permits).

Locally. hunters checked in 20 turkeys during the season that ended Nov. 29. The three-year harvest average in the area is 28. Following are the number of turkeys checked in the five Lima area counties that were open for fall turkey season with the first number being the harvest numbers for 2021. The number following in parentheses is the three-year average harvest by fall turkey hunters in 2018, 2019 and 2020 during the same time period. Harvest numbers were: Allen 6 (8), Hancock 1 (5), Hardin 4 (4), Logan 7 (8), Putnam 2 (3).

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By Al Smith

Guest Columnist

Al Smith is a freelance outdoors writer. You may contact him at flyfishman7@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoors writer. You may contact him at flyfishman7@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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