Ward takes position with CCC

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 10, 2003

COLUMBUS - Ohio hunters took 116,004 deer during the state's popular week-long deer-gun season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

"Deer-gun season is a very enjoyable time for Ohio's hunters. A large cross-section of people look forward to the deer season year after year. We are very happy 2003 was another good year for hunters," Steven A. Gray, chief of ODNR's Division of Wildlife, said in a written statement.

The preliminary total of deer killed during this year's December 1-7 gun season is about 12 percent less than the previous year's preliminary total of 133,163 - the state record for a one week deer-gun season. Twenty-eight counties had an increase in the number of deer taken over 2002's numbers, while 60 had a decrease in kills.

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In Lawrence county, deer totals were down compared to last year. This year 1,641 deer were tagged compared to 2,351 in 2002.

Ohio's first modern day deer-gun season opened in 1943 in three counties where hunters harvested 168 deer. In 1956, deer hunting was allowed in all 88 counties and hunters killed 3,911 deer during that one-week season.

At the beginning of the 2003-04 deer season, the statewide deer population was estimated to be 681,000. Approximately 450,000 hunters were expected to participate in the statewide deer-gun hunting season.

Counties reporting the highest numbers of deer brought to Ohio check stations last week included Tuscarawas at 4,193, Guernsey with 3,835 and Coshocton with 3,811.

A total of 11 hunting incidents were reported for the week, a majority of which were self-inflicted accidents. Only one fatality was recorded, which was self-inflicted and is still under investigation in Knox County.

Deer hunting contributes an estimated $266 million during the season to Ohio's economy and helps to support thousands of jobs.

Deer hunters also contribute thousands of pounds of venison to community-based organizations that help feed less fortunate Ohio residents through special programs such as Safari Club International's Sportsmen Against Hunger program.

Hunters still have eight weeks of white-tailed deer hunting available to them. Archery season remains open until the closing day of deer season on Jan. 31, 2004.

The statewide primitive season, also known as muzzle-loader season, will be held Dec. 27 through Dec. 30. During this period hunters may use a black powder muzzleloading rifle, .38 caliber or larger or muzzleloading shotgun of 10, 12, 16, 20, 28, or .410 gauge.