Straight-walled cartridge rifle deer weapon of choice

Al Smith - Outdoor Columnist

For the first time during a general deer gun season (weeklong or bonus) in Ohio, the straight-walled cartridge rifle became the weapon of choice.

A total of 53% of hunters during the bonus weekend used the weapon, which became legal for hunting deer in Ohio in 2014. The rifle has become more popular in recent years and was close to 50% until the recent bonus weekend. During the 2020 and 2021 special youth deer seasons, the rifle was used by 56% and 64% of successful young hunters, respectively.

There are a few reasons why this rifle, which has a minimum caliber of .357 to a maximum caliber of .50, has become so popular. This rifle is no where near as high powered as a rifle like a .30-06. It has a limited range thus making it safer in areas with human-population densities. It also is easier to load and clean than a muzzleloader. These rifles have reduced recoil compared to larger shotguns.

Shotguns accounted for 38% of the total weekend take while 6% were taken by a muzzleloader and 1% with a handgun.

As usual, weather played a role in the bonus weekend and was part of the reason the harvest was down compared to recent year. A rainy Saturday in much of the state may have kept some hunters home that day. A total of 9,392 deer were harvested during the extra weekend of gun hunting. Over the past three years, hunters checked an average of 12,734 deer during the same two-day period.

After hunters checked 70,413 deer during the weeklong deer gun season Nov. 29-Dec. 5, the total harvest during the 2021 gun hunting season was 79,805 deer. Hunters harvested an average of 78,014 deer during the nine days of deer gun hunting over the past three years. In addition, young hunters harvested 7,634 whitetails during the two-day youth gun season, Nov. 20-21, and archery hunters have checked 82,145 deer through Sunday, Dec. 19.

Locally, the harvest was down in all nine counties compared to the three-year average. A total of 571 deer were checked locally compared to the three-year average of 770.

Following are the number of deer checked in the Lima area with first number being the harvest numbers for 2021. The number following in parentheses is the three-year average harvest by hunters in 2018, 2019 and 2020 during the same time period. A total of 4,269 were harvested locally compared to the three-year average of 3,627. Harvest numbers were: Allen 52 (79), Auglaize 55 (70), Hancock 76 (105), Hardin 67 (122), Logan 132 (154), Mercer 49 (60), Putnam 32 (54), Shelby 80 (81) and Van Wert 28 (45).

During the deer gun weekend, hunters harvested 2,867 bucks (31% of deer taken), 5,261 does (56%), and 1,097 button bucks (12%). Bucks with shed antlers and bucks with antlers less than 3 inches long accounted for 167 deer, or 1% of the harvest.

Ohio hunters have purchased 385,313 deer permits through Dec. 19.

Hunters still have plenty of time to bag a deer. The muzzleloader season is open Jan. 8-11, 2022 while the archery season runs through Feb. 6, 2022.

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The Allen County Fly Fishers will meet Jan. 11, 2022 at 7 p.m. at the Allen County Sportsmen & Farmers Association, located at 1001 South Kemp Road.

Anyone having questions or concerns can Brad Sherrick at [email protected] or phone 419-233-6448 or 419-339-7223.

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Although we’ve enjoyed milder than normal temperatures the past few weeks, remember winter has begun and days will get colder and blustery. That doesn’t mean you should bypass enjoying outdoor activities.

You can easily enjoy winter activities if you dress for the weather and check the forecast before you go out. I had to adjust from attire a couple days this past week from earlier walks with my yellow Lab Rusty because the wind chill was in the 20s and we had some brisk winds. Those days required a heavier winter coat along with a warm fleece compared to days of wearing only a medium jacket or a bit heavier jacket.

Here are some tips you can as you prepare to leave your home for a winter outing.

— Wear light layers that can easily be added or removed – it is possible to overheat even during the winter.

— Carry the appropriate equipment for your activity, such as a flashlight, rope, ice picks or ice claws.

— Have spare equipment available in case something breaks.

— Stay hydrated and fueled – bring water and snacks.

— Bring a buddy.

— Inform others about where you will be and how long you plan to be gone and schedule check-in times.

— Carry a two-way communication device that receives service in remote areas.

— Be aware of your health – if you’re not feeling well, don’t go out.

Al Smith

Outdoor Columnist

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

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

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