Right now there is a lot of stuff going on with the Ohio’s youth deer gun season, West Virginia’s buck deer gun season opening up tomorrow, Thanksgiving (and Black Friday) followed by Ohio’s deer gun season.
According to the West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, approximately 330,000 licensed hunters will take to the woods during the next two weeks in search of a whitetail buck (For comparison purposes, that’s roughly twice the number of U.S. service members sent to Iraq during the peak of the Iraq War). Last year hunters harvested 60,157 bucks.
WVDNR forecasts that the buck harvest should be slightly higher for 2012. All regions should see a similar-to-higher harvest this year. The increased reproduction of 2011 and the mild winter of 2011-2012 should mean that there are plenty of 1.5-year-old animals for hunters. The overall mast conditions should be favorable. In addition, DNR has been conducting spotlight counts in many counties and have observed many large-racked animals for hunters to pursue.
Deer hunters spend an estimated $230 million in West Virginia, according to the WVDNR, much of it in the rural areas of the state that depend upon the deer seasons for a large portion of their annual income.
Ohio’s week-long deer-gun season begins statewide Monday, Nov. 26 and runs through Sunday, Dec. 2, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The season again includes an extra weekend of gun hunting Dec. 15-16.
Deer can be hunted with a muzzleloader, handgun or shotgun from one half-hour before sunrise to sunset during the Ohio gun season. ODNR Division of Wildlife anticipates 80,000-85,000 deer will be checked and tagged during the week-long hunt. Approximately 420,000 hunters are expected to participate in this year’s season, including many out-of-state hunters.
Last year hunters killed approximately 107,000 deer during the nine-day deer gun hunting period.
Ohio Division of Wildlife expanded call center hours
Hunters and other individuals seeking information about white-tailed deer-gun hunting seasons or wanting to report state wildlife law violations may take advantage of extended call center hours, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
The 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) general hunting information hotline will be open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 17-18, for the 10th annual youth deer-gun season. Staff will also be available to answer calls prior to and during the deer-gun season, Nov. 26-Dec. 2 and Dec. 15-16.
The deer-gun season is when many of Ohio’s hunters have last-minute questions, and ODNR Division of Wildlife staff is ready and available to assist them. Special call center hours prior to and during the state’s deer-gun season include: 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 23 to Sunday, Dec. 2, and 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15-16.
The hotline will be closed Thanksgiving Day.
Ohioans are encouraged to help enforce state wildlife laws by reporting violations to the division’s Turn-in-a-Poacher (TIP) hotline by calling 800-POACHER (762-2437). Established in 1982, the TIP program allows individuals to anonymously call toll-free to report wildlife violations. The 800-POACHER hotline is open for calls 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Tips concerning wildlife violations can also be submitted at wildohio.com. Tipsters may be eligible to receive a cash award.
Something new this year, deer hunters and members of the media can keep up with Ohio’s deer harvest numbers throughout the season at wildohio.com. The deer harvest report will be posted each Wednesday by noon throughout the hunting season. Each report will compare the total harvest for the same number of hunting days for each year. The report will include deer killed by longbow, crossbow, shotgun, handgun and muzzleloader.
Most of us who hunt as youngsters, we learned to hunt from an older family member generally a father or uncle, but of course today there are a greater number of outdoorswomen who are also passing along the tradition of enjoying the outdoors to their sons and daughters.
The techniques and equipment have changed a lot over the years; when I was growing up a store-bought deer stand was a rarity and four-wheelers didn’t exist, but my how things have changed.
My co-worker Jenny came into the office earlier this week and showed us a video of her daughter harvesting a dandy southeastern Ohio buck, with the experience captured dutifully captured on her smart phone and promptly put up on Facebook for all of her friends and family to see.
It’s a commonplace occurrence these days; everyone it seems has a smart phone to capture photos and video of everything (and that could be a topic for another day), but my point is that it still marks an important rite of passage for a young person and a shared memory for young and old alike.
So if you get the chance, make sure to take a youngster along and share the wild. Set the example and hunt legal, hunt smart and hunt safe.