• 54°

County hunters can take to woods Monday

Hunters can hit the fields and woods Monday during opening day of gun season in pursuit of Ohio’s big game animal – the white-tailed deer.

Saturday, November 25, 2000

Hunters can hit the fields and woods Monday during opening day of gun season in pursuit of Ohio’s big game animal – the white-tailed deer.

The deer gun season will remain open seven days, closing at sunset Dec. 3, said Bryan James, wildlife officer with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

"We’re a two-deer county this year and hunters will be allowed to harvest a buck and a doe or two does," James said. "They don’t have to buy both tags at the same time."

Increasing numbers of deer have contributed to the doubling of this year’s allowance, he added.

Mike Tonkovich, game biologist with the Division of Wildlife, said hunters across the state will see large numbers of deer.

This year’s deer population is up 10 percent to 15 percent from last year when hunters shot 84,107 deer.

Tonkovich estimates 145,000 deer will be harvested this year.

"We had aggressive harvest rates and in some counties we shot too many deer," he said. "Then in 1998 and 1999 we allowed the herd to grow. Now we have to thin the herd again. You can’t let these deer get too far ahead of you."

James said the most noteworthy change to this year’s deer hunting regulations would mainly affect hunters using handguns.

"This change will only affect a very small minority of hunters," he said. "They can use any handgun with a five-inch barrel or larger chambered for (using) a straight-walled cartridge for a .357 magnum or larger."

State wildlife officials said page 12 of the hunting regulations booklet states, "empty casings must be one-inch long or longer" when using hand guns, but "the statement can be disregarded because it was an oversight during editing."

Last year’s legislation, which restricted hunters to only carry three shells in the chamber of their firearm, resulted in the 1999-2000 hunting season to be one of the safest Ohio has ever had, James said.

Even though the number of hunting accidents in the county is historically low, individuals should still exercise safe practices, he said.

"Hunters need to remember that the hunter orange has to be worn during gun season," he said. "They must be visibly wearing a vest, coat, jacket or coveralls that are either solid hunter orange or camouflage hunter orange. A hunter orange hat or cap alone no longer satisfies legal requirements."