With the close of the Ohio deer hunting season on Sunday, Feb. 1, the total number of deer checked by hunters stands at 175,745.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has been aggressively managing the Ohio deer herd with increased deer harvests. An overabundance of deer in the state seems to finally be reaching more appropriate levels. This year’s total harvest is a decrease of more than 15,000 deer from last year. The decrease suggests that populations have finally dropped and reached an equilibrium point.
State wildlife officials will now consider revising the state’s deer population goals over the summer. Ohio’s DNR will conduct a random survey for hunters and farmers that will allow survey participants to contribute towards the decisions on the future of the Ohio deer herd.
The following Ohio counties reported the most checked deer during the 2014-2015 hunting season: Coshocton (5,727), Licking (5,281), Tuscarawas (4,883), Muskingum (4,748), Ashtabula (4,418), Knox (4,191), Guernsey (4,181), Holmes (3,625), Harrison (3,448) and Carroll (3,406).
Hunters used a variety of methods to report deer kills. Throughout the season, 46 percent of hunters phoned in their report, 29 percent reported online, 15 percent used the mobile-friendly website and 9 percent traveled to a license agent’s location.
Hunting is big sport in Ohio, which ranks fifth in the nation for the number of resident hunters. Ohio is 11th in the nation for hunting-related jobs and the sport brings in more than $853 million to the state’s economy, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.
The Ohio DNR seeks to manage the deer herd both for recreation and to minimize conflict with both landowners and motorists. You can find out more about hunting in the state in the Ohio 2014-2015 Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at wildohio.gov.