Special to 1812Blockhouse
One of Ohio’s most successful white-tailed deer hunting seasons concluded Sunday, February 7 with 197,735 deer harvested, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. That total is the highest since 218,910 deer were taken during the 2012-2013 hunting season.
Richland County’s numbers were also higher than in recent years.
The final harvest totals represent all deer taken during archery, gun, muzzleloader, and youth hunting seasons that began Sept. 26, 2020. An average of 180,921 deer were harvested during the last three years.
Since September 2020, hunters harvested 94,691 deer with archery equipment, while 86,853 deer were taken with firearms during the weeklong and two-day gun seasons. In addition, 9,708 deer were harvested with muzzleloaders. Young hunters found success during the two-day youth season with 5,795 deer harvested.
“We are pleased to see an increased number of deer taken this season as Ohio’s hunters spent more time in the woods during the fall and winter,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Hunting provides a great connection to the outdoors as well as a direct link to a healthy and natural food source.”
The top 10 counties for deer harvested during the 2020-2021 deer season include: Coshocton (6,791), Tuscarawas (6,158), Ashtabula (5,662), Licking (5,549), Knox (5,247), Muskingum (5,172), Holmes (4,833), Guernsey (4,809), Carroll (4,123), and Trumbull (4,015).
Richland County saw 3,937 deer felled, as compared to an average of 3,409 a year in 2017, 2018, and 2019.
Deer hunting occurs in all 88 counties and an estimated 310,000 hunters participated during Ohio’s deer seasons, and more than 409,809 deer permits were purchased or issued. Hotspots for deer hunting are found mostly in the eastern regions. Coshocton County leads the state in total deer harvests over the last five years, with 6,715 deer taken during the 2019-2020 season.
The popularity of hunting with archery equipment continues to grow, with 48% of deer taken during the 2020-2021 archery season, including 33% using a crossbow and 15% using a vertical bow. Gun harvest attributed to 52% of the harvest. This includes 22% with shotguns, 21% with straight walled cartridge rifles, 8% with muzzleloaders, and less than 1% with handguns.
Across all deer seasons, hunters harvested 80,003 bucks, accounting for 40% of the total harvest. Does represented 48% of the harvest with 94,771 taken, while 19,629 button bucks were taken, for 10%. Bucks with shed antlers and bucks with antlers less than 3 inches long accounted for 3,332 deer, or 2% of the harvest. Deer harvest summaries can be found on the Deer Harvest Summary page at wildohio.gov.
Anyone interested in learning to hunt or becoming a mentor to a new hunter can visit the Wild Ohio Harvest Community page for information on how to get started, hunting-related workshops as well as special hunting opportunities for mentors and new hunters.
Follow the Division of Wildlife on Twitter and Facebook for instant news stories, outdoor recreation ideas, local wildlife information, and so much more. The Your Wild Ohio Explorer page provides wildlife success stories and ways to help wildlife throughout the seasons. Visit wildohio.gov to find locations to hunt, fish, trap, and view wildlife. Follow us on Instagram to view the best of Ohio’s wildlife photography. And don’t forget about the HuntFish OH mobile app, available for Android and iOS users through the app store. Users can purchase licenses and permits as well as view wildlife area maps.