Deer proposals will affect Lima area hunters


By Al Smith - Guest Columnist



A couple of deer proposals by the Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) will affect Lima area huntrrs if approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council.

Separate deer hunting regulations have been proposed in the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance area which includes Hardin along with Marion and Wyandot counties. A special three day early deer gun hunt Oct. 8-10 has been proposed. A longer deer archery season that opens Sept. 1 should also help, according to the DOW.

A disease surveillance area was established following the discovery in 2020 of two CWD-positive deer in Wyandot County. Further testing revealed eight more CWD-positive deer in 2021. The DOW has proposed additional measures to increase the deer harvest, decrease the possibility of disease transmission and limit the spread of CWD in those three counties. CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer and other similar species.

Six Lima area counties are among 15 counties that are proposed to move from two to three-deer counties. Under the proposal, hunters may take three deer in Allen, Auglaize, Mercer, Putnam, Shelby and Van Wert counties.

According to the DOW, deer bag limit increases are designed to slow herd growth and provide additional hunting opportunities.

The complete list of proposed rule changes and proposed hunting and trapping season dates for 2022-23 are available at wildohio.gov. Anyone who would like to comment on the proposals can do so at wildohio.gov from Feb. 14 until March 16. A statewide hearing on all proposed rules will be held at 9 a.m. March 24.

Deer hunters locally and statewide enjoyed another highly successful season in 2021-22 as they harvested 196,988 deer, which was the second highest harvest since the 2012-13 season. The season concluded last Sunday.

The numbers were just shy of the 197,735 deer taken during the 2020-21 season, but well above the three-year average of 184,746 deer harvested. This year’s harvest showed 85,580 antlered deer were taken while 111,408 antlerless deer were taken.

Harvest numbers locally were down a bit from a year ago. The total taken locally was 10,783. That compares with the 10,993 deer harvested a year ago. The three-year average for this area is 10,032. Numbers were up in three (Auglaize, Mercer and Shelby) of the nine Lima area counties.

Area hunters harvested 4,566 antlered deer and 6,217 antlerless deer. The numbers broken down, with antlered deer listed first, antlerless second, total third, last year’s total fourth and three-year average in parenthesis, were: Allen 476, 548, 1,024, 1,075 (1,024); Auglaize 417, 634, 1051, 1,006 (930); Hancock 702, 857, 1,561, 1,654 (1,394); Hardin 581, 842, 1,423, 1,507 (1,375); Logan 864, 1,355, 2,219, 2,222 (2,109); Mercer 382, 549, 931, 880, (789); Putnam 410, 467, 877, 936 (827); Shelby 434, 670, 1,104,1,090 (1,028) and Van Wert 298, 295, 593, 623 (556).

Of the local harvest total of 10,783 deer, local bow hunters took 4,915 deer of which 2,341 were antlered and 2,574 were antlerless. The bow harvest was up in Allen, Logan, Mercer and Shelby. Broken down, the numbers include antlered deer first, antlerless deer second, total third and last year’s total fourth in the nine area counties: Allen 268, 245, 512, 505; Auglaize 210, 241, 451, 468; Hancock 351, 377, 728, 763; Hardin 265, 312, 577, 597; Logan 494, 606, 1,100, 1,079; Mercer 179, 216, 395, 389; Putnam 211, 177, 388, 408; Shelby 229, 292, 527, 515 and Van Wert 134, 108, 242, 258.

Statewide, bow hunters harvested 96,209 of which 49,681 were antlered and 46,528 were antlerless. A year ago, bow hunters took 94,691 deer of which 46,116 were antlered and 48,575 were antlerless. A total of 35% of bow hunters used a crossbow and 15% used a vertical bow.

A total of 79,805 deer were taken with firearms during the weeklong and two-day gun seasons. In addition, 12,141 deer were harvested with muzzleloaders. Young hunters found success during the two-day youth season with 7,634 deer harvested. A total of 1,199 were taken during controlled hunts.

According to the DOW, gun harvest attributed to 51% of the total harvest. This includes 19% with shotguns, 23% with straight walled cartridge (SWR) rifles, 9% with muzzleloaders and less than 1% with handguns.

The wildlife agency said across all deer seasons, hunters harvested 85,580 bucks, accounting for 43% of the total harvest. Does represented 46% of the harvest with 89,858 taken, while 18,161 button bucks were taken, for 9%. Bucks with shed antlers and bucks with antlers less than 3 inches long accounted for 3,389 deer or 2% of the harvest.

The DOW said an estimated 310,000 hunters participated during Ohio’s deer seasons. It added that more than 396,370 deer permits were purchased or issued.

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Sometimes wildlife officers respond to others’ incidents while performing their jobs. Such was the case with Van Wert County Wildlife Officer Nathan Robinson and State Wildlife Officer Supervisor Troy Reimund while they were investigating a hunting without permission complaint.

The pair responded to a report of a vehicle accident in the area in which the vehicle’s driver had to crawl out the back window of her car after hitting a telephone pole. The driver, who was not injured, had swerved to avoid hitting a white-tailed deer. She lost control of the vehicle and struck the pole.

The officers volunteered their patrol vehicle so she could warm up, and they made sure the scene was safe for other drivers until a sheriff’s officer arrived. They stayed on the scene until the woman’s family arrived.

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By Al Smith

Guest Columnist

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

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

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