Approximately 300,000 bowhunters, representing more than half of all Ohioans who hunt deer, are expected to participate in the statewide archery deer hunting season that opens September 27, according to experts with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
During last year's four-month archery season, bowhunters killed 78,639 deer, an increase of nearly 16 percent from the previous year. Crossbow hunters took 42,292 of that number and longbow hunters took a record 36,347 deer. Overall, archers accounted for nearly 34 percent of 232,854 deer taken during Ohio's combined 2007-08 archery, muzzleloader and gun seasons.
LickingCounty led the state in both the vertical bow and crossbow harvest. Coshocton,Knox, Tuscarawas, Holmes,and Guernsey rounded out the top five counties in crossbow harvest, while Coshocton, Knox, Tuscarawas, and Muskingumcompleted the list of top five counties in vertical bow harvest.
Again this year, hunters who purchase an Ohio hunting license and $24 deer permit will be eligible to buy the $15 antlerless deer permit, and is valid September 27 through November 30. New this year, the $15 antlerless deer permit will be valid through December 7 in Zone C only. However, the $15 antlerless permit may only be purchased until November 30, 2008
"In spite of a record antlerless harvest - due largely to the $15 antlerless permit - more work is needed, particularly in eastern counties if Ohio is to continue to be a model for the rest of the country. Hunters are strongly encouraged to take advantage of the antlerless permit." said Mike Tonkovich, deer biologist for the Division of Wildlife.
Ohio hunters are encouraged to kill more does this season using the reduced-priced Antlerless Deer Permit and donate any extra venison to the needy. The Division is collaborating with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) to help pay for the processing of donated venison. Hunters who donate their deer to a food bank are not required to pay the processing cost as long as funding for the effort lasts. More information about this program can be found online at www.fhfh.org
After November 30, archery hunters must use a deer permit for antlerless deer. Using the $15 antlerless deer permit, hunters can take one additional antlerless deer in Zone A, up to two additional in Zone B, and up to three additional in Zone C. The antlerless deer permits will also be valid for Division of Wildlife controlled deer hunts and for hunting deer in an urban unit.
This year's statewide archery season remains open from September 27 through February 1, including the week of deer-gun season December 1 through December 7. Deer-gun hunters will also be able to enjoy an additional weekend of hunting December 20 and 21. Archers may hunt one half-hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset, except during the statewide gun, youth and muzzleloader seasons when they are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Archers hunting during the statewide gun, youth or muzzleloader seasons must meet the hunter orange requirements of those seasons.
To hunt deer in Ohio, hunters must possess a deer permit in addition to a valid hunting license. State law allows hunters to take only one antlered buck per year, regardless the type of deer season, deer permit or weapon used for deer hunting.
A detailed listing of deer hunting rules is contained in the 2008-2009 Ohio Hunting Regulations that is available where licenses are sold, or may be viewed online at http://wildohio.com .