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County deer harvest down from 2001

Mid-week rainfall didn’t keep Ohio hunters from taking more deer than a year ago, but it may have affected the Lawrence County harvest somewhat.

Tuesday, December 04, 2001

Mid-week rainfall didn’t keep Ohio hunters from taking more deer than a year ago, but it may have affected the Lawrence County harvest somewhat.

During the statewide deer gun season, which opened last Monday and closed Sunday, preliminary figures show hunters harvested 99,599 deer as opposed to 96,290 in 2000 – a 3.4-percent increase – the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife reported Monday.

Lawrence County hunters, though, did not fare as well. A total of 1,920 deer were checked in the county, down 117 from a year ago. Statewide, 34 of Ohio’s 88 counties reported a decrease in deer tagged.

Beverly Buchanan, an employee at Jim’s Gun Shop in Proctorville, said the 473 deer tagged there this year was down about 60 from a year ago.

"The game warden told us it was like this countywide," she said.

Of the seven deer check stations in the county, only two reported an increase in deer tagged, and one of those stations checked just one deer compared to none last year.

Even though the deer harvest was down, it did not hurt the traffic of at least one of the county’s deer check stations. Nancy Clark, owner of C & C Grocery in Arabia, said the 481 deer tagged at her store this year was fewer than last year, but the cash register was still ringing.

"We had a very busy week," she said. "We were ahead a lot more, moneywise, than we were last year (during gun season)."

Clark said the 200 deer checked at the store on the opening day of the season was up from 2000’s count, but the rainy weather throughout the week likely hampered hunters’ ability to track deer.

"It seems to me that the deer herd was moving around a lot," she said.

Despite the state witnessing an increased number of deer taken this year, Carol Wells, Division of Wildlife public information specialist, said wildlife officers were expecting the harvest to be much larger – the preseason prediction was about 105,000.

"We wanted it higher," she said. "We were hoping for 100,000 or better. Overall, though, the season went well, despite the weather."

Local expectations were apparently too high as well. At Alley’s BP Service Center on Park Avenue in Ironton, 389 deer were tagged this season, down from about 500 in 2000, clerk Sherry McSorley said.

"We were really expecting (to tag) about 700 this year," she said.

Counties reporting the highest numbers of deer brought to check stations last week included Athens (3,667), Muskingum (3,614), Tuscarawas (3,423), Guernsey (3,383), Washington (3,377), Coshocton (3,229), Jackson (2,966), Licking (2,890), Harrison (2,794) and Gallia (2,705).

Wells added that the new laws requiring people to wear more hunter orange and keep their guns plugged helped reduce the number of gun-related incidents in the state this year. Last year, 11 incidents were on the books while only eight were reported this year. Of those eight accidents, two were fatalities.

The first occurred on Thursday in Pike County when one man mistook another for a deer. The second happened in Noble County Saturday when a man was accidentally shot in the back by another hunter whose weapon inadvertently discharged when he was attempting to unload it. Wells said this incident was turned over to the Noble County Sheriff’s Office since it happened after the two men had finished hunting and were preparing to go home.

The Division of Wildlife estimates approximately 500,000 people hunted deer last week.