Hunters in a three-county area, including Hardin County, are being asked to submit heads of mature deer they have harvested for chronic wasting disease (CWD) testing for the remainder of the deer hunting season. Participation is voluntary.
Kiosks for head submission are located in Hardin and Marion counties. Deer heads are also wanted from Wyandot County. Self-serve kiosks also are available where samples can be dropped off. One can find the list at ohiodnr.gov/cwd.
In Hardin County, deer heads may be dropped at a kiosk across the street at Ridgeway Hardware and General Store, located at 119 North Main St. Kiosks located in Marion County are: Green Camp Township Fire Department, 217 Main St., Green Camp; Pleasant Township Fire Department, 1035 Owens Road West; Marion and Scioto Valley Fire Department, 110 North Front St., LaRue.
According to the Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW), additional deer samples are needed in response to recent CWD positive cases, and to better understand CWD in Ohio.
CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer and has been detected in the wild deer herd in Wyandot and Marion counties. A disease surveillance area has been established in response to the confirmed cases, and intense monitoring will be in place for at least three years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no strong evidence that CWD is transmissible to humans.
The disease has now been found in 28 states after Alabama reported a case earlier this month.
More information about CWD, including a map of recent positive cases, is available at ohiodnr.gov/cwd or by calling the CWD hotline at 419-429-8322.
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The Lima area showed mixed results for the deer harvest during the recent muzzleloader season which ran from last Saturday through Wednesday. The harvest was up in three local counties and down in six others compared to the three-year average. Local hunters checked 442 deer during the 2022 season compared to the three-year average of 513.
Following are the number of deer checked in the nine-county Lima area with first number being the harvest numbers for 2022. The number following in parentheses is the three-year average harvest by hunters in 2019, 2020 and 2021 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 46 (48), Auglaize 60 (47), Hancock 57 (61), Hardin 49 (89), Logan 101 (125), Mercer 26 (37), Putnam 31 (26), Shelby 48 (60) and Van Wert 24 (20).
Statewide, hunters checked 12,141 deer during the four-day season, according to the DOW. During the past three years, an average of 11,501 deer were taken with a muzzleloader during the same four-day period, the wildlife agency said.
According to the DOW, hunters took 3,333 bucks (27% of deer taken), 7,239 does (60%) and 1,282 button bucks (11%) during the muzzleloader season. Bucks with shed antlers and bucks with antlers less than 3 inches long accounted for 287 deer or 2% of the harvest.
The wildlife agency noted hunters have checked 186,426 deer across all seasons. During the nine days of gun hunting, 79,805 deer were taken. In addition, young hunters harvested 7,634 deer during the two-day youth gun season. With about a month remaining to hunt with archery equipment, Ohio’s archery season is open until Feb. 6.
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The Allen County Sportsmen & Farmers Association will hold a turkey shoot Sunday (Jan. 16) at the club grounds, located at 1001 South Kemp Road. Sign up for the shoot will start at 10:45 a.m. with the first relay beginning at 11:45 a.m.
Turkeys, ribs, pork loins and chickens will be awarded as prizes.
Breakfast will be served beginning at 10:30 a.m. Cost is $5.
The club will hold its monthly meeting beginning at 7 p.m. Jan. 27 The meeting is open to the public.
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Lima area bass pro Kyle Weisenburger is working on getting everything together for the season opener on the MLF Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit (formerly FLW Tour). The Columbus Grove angler has his new boat and now is trying to get “a lot of odds and ends to get together before leaving” for the tour’s first event Jan. 27-30 at Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Brookland, Texas.
He took this past week off work “to try and get everything on my list knocked out.”
Weisenburger is excited about beginning his sixth season on the tour.
“I am going to give it all I got this year. I feel my mind is right and maybe things will fall into place this year for an awesome season,” he said. “I will get two days of official practice for each event. I am going to try and get to some of these other lakes on the schedule prior to the off limits to scout around as well.”
Weisenburger plans to fish the Toyota Series again, but take a different route in attempting to qualify for the championship in that series than he did last year. He finished 30th in the Toyota Series Championship at Pickwick Lake in Counce, Tennessee, last October.
He fished in the Pains Division a year ago, but plans to participate in the popular Wild Card Division. Pros and co-anglers have a second chance at qualifying for the Toyota Series Championship by fishing four or more tournaments in any combination of divisions and keeping their three highest finishes. Twelve pros and 12 co-anglers will qualify for the 2022 Toyota Series Championship based on Wild Card Division points. Weisenburger will fish the Southern Toyota Series opener Feb. 3-5 at Okeechobee in Clewiston, Florida.
“My plan is to try and fish four events throughout different divisions to make a wild card spot for championship. My schedule didn’t align right to fish one single division,” he said.
Weisenburger also plans to fish the Buckeye BFL Division as well.
“It’s going to be an action-packed year, and I am excited to get it started. I’m very thankful for all of my sponsors who came through to help make this possible and to all my family and friends as well.”
Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL