This fall has been so unseasonably nice, that deer-gun week may have sneaked up on a bunch of hunters using firearms.
After being lulled by temperatures more conducive for fishing, a blast in the face during the youth hunt weekend brought more realistic-type temperatures expected for this week’s annual firearms season.
That may change a bit for the weeklong season as temperatures are expected in the 50s during the first three days and in the upper 40s the remainder of the week. A chance of showers also is in the forecast a few of the days.
A hotline (800-945-3543) for hunters and others who have questions about hunting is available from 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday-Friday and 12-5 p.m. Saturday.
Details about deer hunting rules are contained in the 2016-2017 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations, available where licenses are sold or at wildohio.gov. Remember, only either-sex permits may be used after Sunday (Nov. 27) unless hunting in an Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) authorized controlled hunt. Hunting hours for all deer seasons are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
Hunters are reminded that portions of Holmes and Wayne counties retain their designation as Disease Surveillance Area (DSA) 2015-01 again this year as part of the state’s ongoing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance efforts. Additional rules apply to the harvest of deer from this area. A map of the area is available on the division’s website at wildohio.gov.
Hunters harvesting deer within DSA 2015-01 are required to bring their deer to a carcass inspection station for disease testing. Two locations, Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) garage, 1800 South Washington Street, Millersburg, 44654 and Industrial Park, 8254 County Road 245, Holmesville, 44633 have been designated as Carcass Inspection Stations for the sven-day gun, two-day gun and muzzleloader seasons. Both locations will be open and staffed from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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The blustery weather during the annual youth deer hunt certainly affected the harvest.
The harvest was down in all 9 Limaland counties and statewide as well.
A total of 366 deer were harvested on the weekend of Nov. 19-20 in Limaland compared to 476 a year ago. The number of deer harvested in local counties with figures from the 2015 season in parenthesis were: Allen 37 (44), Auglaize 35 (52), Hancock 40 (50), Hardin 48 (58), Logan 74 (82), Mercer 32 (47), Putnam 34 (38), Shelby 47 (67), Van Wert (38).
Statewide, young hunters harvested 5,930 white-tailed deer during the two-day youth gun season while youth checked 7,223 deer during the 2015 season.
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Veterans with disabilities also get their opportunity to deer hunt, both locally and statewide.
Locally, 42 hunters participated in the annual Hunting With Heroes event and 29 harvested a deer during the two day event on Nov. 4-5, according to Joe Sawmiller. The group hunted at JSMC, Johnny Appleseed (Kendrick Woods), Brad Cores, Husky Energy, and Dennis Kings. It was the most hunters snd most deer harvested ever during the local hunt.
A total of 15 disabled American veterans participated in a guided archery hunt at Zaleski State Forest over the Oct. 7-9 weekend. The Ohio divisions of Forestry and Wildlife partnered with the Buckeye Hero Hunt Committee, the Ohio Department of Veterans Services and volunteer groups to provide this opportunity for Ohio’s veterans to hunt white-tailed deer.
Numerous volunteers joined the Buckeye Hero Hunt Committee to provide the veterans with assistance throughout their hunt, including providing meals, lodging and equipment during the weekend. All 15 hunters successfully harvest a deer. In total, the veteran participants harvested 21 deer, including 16 does and 5 bucks.
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A free venison canning and smoking workshop offered by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will be held from 6-9 p.m. On Dec. 14.
Trained professionals will cover topics including venison preparation, pressure canning and canning equipment as well as smoking game and smoking equipment. All venison and equipment will be supplied.
Although the workshop is free, pre-registration is required as space is limited to 20 participants. No walk-ins will be admitted. Participants must me 18 or older. Registered attendees will be provided with location and directions. Register by calling at 937-372-9261, or email [email protected] course is hands on and takes place inside with some demonstrations taking place outdoors. Participants are asked to dress appropriately for the workshop and for the weather.
Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL