Deer-gun hunt season almost here

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 29, 2004

For hunters across Ohio, Christmas will come a little early this year - and last for a week.

Outdoor enthusiasts across Lawrence County were chomping at the bit this weekend as they prepared for the opening of the state's deer-gun hunting season that starts Monday and runs through through Dec. 5, from a half-hour before sunrise to sunset each day.

"I am very excited," James McFann of Ironton said Saturday. "I have been thinking about it a lot."

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More than 400,000 hunters are expected to hit the woods this season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Many non-resident hunters choose Ohio as a deer hunting destination for both quality of deer and hunting accessibility. Ohio has more than one million acres of land open to public hunting.

Ohio hunters took 116,004 deer last year. In Lawrence County, deer totals hit 1,641 last year compared to 2,351 in 2002.

Like many avid hunters, McFann goes as much as possible every year. This season McFann said he plans to camp for the entire week in the Symmes Valley area.

So what keeps him coming back year after year?

"I just like getting out with my friends and family," he said. "I like getting away from the workplace and relaxing. I am still searching for that big one."

In Lawrence County, hunters are allowed to take three deer and must register their kills check-in locations in the county.

Hunters may take only one antlered deer, regardless of zone, hunting method or season. A deer permit is required in addition to a valid Ohio hunting license.

Deer season also brings a bit of a winter economic boom with it as well as hunters spend money throughout the community. Deer hunting contributes an estimated $266 million to Ohio's economy each year and helps to support thousands of jobs, according to state statistics.

For Greg and Debra Drown, owners of the Tackle Box Fishing & Hunting in Ironton, the last few weeks have become pretty hectic as they have seen a combination of shoppers for deer season and Christmas.

"We have been real busy the last few days. We have sold lots of licenses and lots of slugs," Greg Drown said. "We are probably even with last year."