Home / Country Life / Whitetail hunting habits evolving
Photo courtesy of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Whitetail hunting habits evolving

The woods were relatively quiet in my hunting areas during deer gun week last month, especially during the final weekend. That’s when, traditionally, hunters often light up forest and field with gunfire as they organize drives to push deer from the places the whitetails have sought refuge since the barrage began earlier in the week. Having taken bucks with archery gear earlier in the fall during the past several seasons, it has been several years since I was in the field for the firearms opportunity. I was surprised by the audible changes.

“Drives are not as popular as they were even as recently as a decade ago,” said Dr. Mike Tonkovich, the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s (ODOW) deer program specialist as my guest on the “Buckeye Sportsman” radio show recently. “Deer hunter habits have changed considerably with advent of highly effective, easy-to-use archery gear. More deer are harvested before the gun season that ever before.”

He added that not only is hunter participation overall down during deer gun week, but people aren’t organizing drives like they used to. In addition to more whitetail hunters being “tagged out” by the time gun season arrives, more firearms hunters are taking advantage of the range and accuracy of in-line muzzleloaders and rifles that shoot straight-walled cartridges, and less dependent upon drives to push deer into slug range when firearms may be used.

I’m sorry to hear that deer drives are waning as a gun week tactic. I first learned to hunt deer on drives, and still miss the camaraderie a “push” brings to party of hunters, whether successful or not. And when such a joint efforts results in a deer falling to a participant, it’s a credit to everyone involved. Realizing that it takes a team effort to make a deer drive work is cause for group celebration; and yes, we used to celebrate.

As the recent gun week waned I found myself wondering where I might join a party of hunters for one final push. The fields and woods I used to drive with by deer hunting friends are now housing sub-divisions  — albeit still overrun with “urbanized” deer — resulting in that annual group of gun week hunters drifting apart. I miss them, and those times.

 

Deer gun week harvest up

Hunters checked 72,814 white-tailed deer during Ohio’s 2017 weeklong deer-gun hunting season, up from 66,758 deer over last year’s one-week firearms season. The muzzleloader season is Jan. 6-9 and archery season remains open through Sunday, Feb. 4. Past year’s harvest summaries and weekly updated harvest reports can be found at wildohio.gov/deerharvest.

Here’s a list of all white-tailed deer checked by hunters during the weeklong 2017 deer-gun hunting season. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for 2017, and the 2016 numbers are in parentheses: Adams: 1,166 (1,082); Allen: 341 (363); Ashland: 1,363 (1,225); Ashtabula: 2,094 (1,946); Athens: 1,591 (1,377); Auglaize: 334 (268); Belmont: 1,239 (1,360); Brown: 1,029 (823); Butler: 352 (289); Carroll: 1,733 (1,494); Champaign: 431 (356); Clark: 197 (184); Clermont: 744 (542); Clinton: 303 (260); Columbiana: 1,338 (1,307); Coshocton: 2,576 (2,325); Crawford: 615 (569); Cuyahoga: 52 (47); Darke: 305 (259); Defiance: 745 (773); Delaware: 503 (411); Erie: 272 (206); Fairfield: 776 (681); Fayette: 140 (108); Franklin: 156 (157); Fulton: 322 (362); Gallia: 1,318 (1,211); Geauga: 538 (479); Greene: 229 (203); Guernsey: 2,014 (1,885); Hamilton: 191 (155); Hancock: 529 (454); Hardin: 529 (477); Harrison: 1,530 (1,573); Henry: 371 (345); Highland: 1,076 (948); Hocking: 1,370 (1,288); Holmes: 1,592 (1,484); Huron: 1,148 (1,074); Jackson: 1,230 (1,031); Jefferson: 832 (1,138); Knox: 1,965 (1,942); Lake: 163 (167); Lawrence: 907 (795); Licking: 1,789 (1,609); Logan: 754 (639); Lorain: 702 (683); Lucas: 119 (129); Madison: 186 (158); Mahoning: 649 (594); Marion: 432 (403); Medina: 620 (604); Meigs: 1,323 (1,373); Mercer: 310 (262); Miami: 251 (196); Monroe: 1,334 (1,131); Montgomery: 157 (103); Morgan: 1,459 (1,178); Morrow: 657 (626); Muskingum: 2,328 (2,112); Noble: 1,391 (1,271); Ottawa: 120 (105); Paulding: 446 (425); Perry: 1,278 (1,156); Pickaway: 342 (270); Pike: 761 (753); Portage: 560 (559); Preble: 300 (235); Putnam: 359 (274); Richland: 1,343 (1,228); Ross: 1,230 (1,102); Sandusky: 275 (219); Scioto: 898 (890); Seneca: 868 (835); Shelby: 394 (334); Stark: 881 (798); Summit: 159 (174); Trumbull: 1,250 (1,144); Tuscarawas: 2,335 (2,045); Union: 350 (271); Van Wert: 223 (211); Vinton: 1,234 (1,111); Warren: 313 (236); Washington: 1,572 (1,502); Wayne: 823 (730); Williams: 691 (655); Wood: 342 (286); Wyandot: 757 (716). Total: 72,814 (66,758).

 

Fall turkey harvest down by half

Hunters harvested 1,053 wild turkeys during Ohio’s 2017 fall wild turkey season, open in 67 counties including 11 open for the autumn hunting opportunity for the first time. That’s down from 2,168 bagged during the 2016 fall hunting season.

Wild turkeys were extirpated in Ohio by 1904 and were reintroduced in the 1950s by the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Ohio’s first modern day wild turkey season opened in the spring of 1966 in 9 counties, and hunters checked 12 birds. The wild turkey harvest topped 1,000 for the first time in 1984. Spring turkey hunting opened statewide in 2000. Fall turkey season first opened in 19 counties in 1996 and harvests have fluctuated between 1,000 and 3,000 turkeys during that time period. For summaries of past turkey seasons, visit wildohio.gov/turkeyharvest.

Here is a list of all wild turkeys checked during the 2017 and 2016 fall hunting seasons. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for 2017, and the 2016 numbers are in parentheses. An * designates a county that was open during the 2017 season, but was not open during the 2016 season: Adams: 20 (30); Allen* : 4 (0); Ashland: 15 (25); Ashtabula: 46 (66); Athens: 15 (63); Belmont: 23 (47); Brown: 9 (20); Butler: 6 (13); Carroll: 19 (30); Champaign*: 3 (0); Clermont: 15 (28); Columbiana: 22 (31); Coshocton: 54 (94); Crawford*: 3 (0); Cuyahoga: 2 (9); Defiance: 9 (26); Delaware: 11 (10); Fairfield: 6 (24); Fulton*: 6 (0); Franklin: 13 (2); Gallia: 31 (57); Geauga: 16 (32); Guernsey: 31 (79); Hamilton: 11 (11); Hardin*: 3 (0); Harrison: 28 (68); Henry*: 3 (0); Highland: 25 (34); Hocking: 8 (57); Holmes: 26 (74); Huron: 5 (13); Jackson: 18 (50); Jefferson: 19 (39); Knox: 17 (43); Lake: 9 (12); Lawrence: 12 (32); Licking: 30 (54); Logan*: 4 (0); Lorain: 16 (19); Mahoning: 11 (27); Medina: 17 (28); Meigs: 20 (79); Monroe: 22 (86); Morgan: 12 (52); Morrow: 19 (8); Muskingum: 20 (64); Noble: 19 (74); Paulding*: 8 (0); Perry: 19 (62); Pike: 12 (39); Portage: 15 (31); Preble*: 10 (0); Putnam*: 8 (0); Richland: 28 (31); Ross: 13 (25); Scioto: 7 (23); Seneca: 9 (11); Stark: 25 (41); Summit: 13 (16); Trumbull: 28 (42); Tuscarawas: 25 (92); Vinton: 18 (47); Warren: 6 (9); Washington: 18 (54); Wayne: 8 (10); Williams: 25 (25); Wyandot*: 5 (0); Total: 1,053 (2,168).

Check Also

Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour – Eastern Leg – Day 1

Updated: Final results from Pro Farmer Midwest Crop Tour Ohio leg came in at an …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *