Kentucky’s bow season for deer opened back on Sept. 4, giving Kentucky hunters a three-week head start on their Ohio counterparts. The popular – extremely popular – Ohio season opens Sept 25, and it won’t take long for Ohio hunters to catch up in terms of harvest figures.
According to a report by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife, Ohio’s archery hunters last season killed more than 93,500 whitetails, the highest total on record.
Deer harvested with archery equipment made up 47% of all deer taken during the 2020-21 seasons, marking the eighth year in a row that more deer were harvested with a bow than during the week-long gun season (71,651).
Ohio is known nationwide for its trophy deer hunting. A search of the Buckeye Big Buck Club record book (available at wildohio.gov) shows the top non-typical buck scored 304 and six-eighths. It was brought down by Michael Beatty in Greene County in 2000.
The two top typical bucks scored 201 and one-eighth. One was taken by Brad Jerman in Warren County in 2004, the other by William Kontras in 1986 in Clark County. All three deer were taken with archery equipment.
“White-tailed deer are highly active during October and November because of the breeding season, making these months popular for bowhunters,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Ohio’s long-term management plan has led to quality deer hunting that is recognized as some of the best in the nation.”
Overall, hunters harvested 197,721 deer during 2020-21, 9% higher than the three-year average. The total includes 83,332 bucks, 94,763 does, and 19,626 button bucks.
Coshocton County once again led the state with 6,791 deer harvested. Other counties with a high deer harvest include: Tuscarawas (6,158), Ashtabula (5,662), Licking (5,549), Knox (5,247), Muskingum (5,171), Holmes (4,833), Guernsey (4,809), Carroll (4,123), and Trumbull (4,014).
Deer hunting, particularly with archery equipment, takes patience and skill to ensure an ethical and clean shot.
One reason for the popularity of bow hunting for deer is the long season. Ohio’s runs into January and Kentucky’s into February.
LAKE ERIE WALLEYE
Fishermen going for walleye are having a big year on Lake Erie. Fisheries biologists reported the 2021 walleye hatch was the fifth largest recorded over the past 35 years.
Biologists surveyed nearly 40 locations between Toledo and Huron by dragging a large, concave net along the bottom of the lake,” said Division of Wildlife Lake Erie Fisheries Program Manager Travis Hartman. “Smaller first- and second-year fish tend to feed near the lake’s floor and are captured in the net, while larger fully-grown fish dodge the net and are not routinely caught.”
Lake Erie is managed cooperatively by the five states and provinces that border it: New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Ohio, and Ontario, Canada.
Each August, Ohio’s fisheries biologists contribute to lake-wide efforts to survey hatch success in Lake Erie’s western basin. Ohio’s results are combined with surveys from the other bordering states to estimate the total walleye population in the lake. This estimate is then used to establish fishing regulations and daily limits.
Combined survey results over the last several years show that the Lake Erie walleye population is on the rise. Angler catch rates are near one fish per hour, proving now is a great time to get out and pursue this favorite fish.
Additionally, trophy sized walleye are increasing. A Lake Erie walleye 28 inches or longer qualifies for recognition from the Fish Ohio program. Records show that Lake Erie walleye entries have increased every year since 2017, culminating in 1,901 submissions in 2020. So far in 2021, more than 1,100 walleye entries have been submitted. More information can be found on the Fishing Lake Erie page at wildohio.gov.
Reach G. SAM PIATT at firstname.lastname@example.org or (606) 932-3619.