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Deer gun season opens statewide Monday

IRONTON — Ohio’s deer gun season opens across the state on Monday, giving Lawrence County hunters a full week to harvest a whitetail.

Similar to 2008, the upcoming season will again include an extra weekend of gun hunting on Dec. 19-20, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.

Deer can be hunted with a legal muzzleloader, handgun or shotgun from one half-hour before sunrise to sunset through Sunday, Dec. 6 and again on the extra weekend of Dec. 19-20.

With a pre-hunting season population estimate of 650,000 white-tailed deer scattered throughout the state, the Division of Wildlife anticipates nearly 125,000 deer will be killed during the nine-day season by more than 420,000 participating hunters.

White-tailed deer is easily the most popular game animal in Ohio and is hunted in three deer hunting zones divided within the state.

Beginning Nov. 30 and continuing through Dec. 6, a limit of one deer may be taken in Zone A and two deer in Zone B.

A total of six deer may be harvested in eastern and southeastern Ohio’s Zone C (Lawrence and Scioto counties are in Zone C) during the weeklong gun season.

An antlerless deer permit will be valid for deer-gun week only in Zone C.

Beginning on Dec. 7, the bag limit is three deer in Zone C and antlerless deer permits are no longer valid. Any time a hunter is allowed to take more than one deer, they must purchase an additional permit.

Antlerless deer permits must be purchased no later than today.

The Division of Wildlife is encouraging hunters to kill more does (female deer) this season using the reduced-priced antlerless deer permit and donate any extra venison to organizations assisting Ohioans in need.

The Division is collaborating with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry to help pay for the processing of donated venison.

Hunters who donate their deer are not required to pay the processing cost as long as the deer are taken to a participating processor.

Counties being served by this program can be found online at www.fhfh.org. According to the website, Lawrence County is not part of the program but Scioto County is.

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.

Youngsters age 17 and under were able to get a head start jump on their adult hunting companions with the completion of the seventh annual Young Deer-Gun Season.

Held Nov. 21-22, hunters under the age of 17 killed 9,331 deer throughout the state including 131 deer in Lawrence County during the two-day session.

The Division of Wildlife also suggests all hunters place safety first before heading out for the 2009 deer gun season. Several of their tips include:

Treat every gun with the respect due a loaded gun.

Control the direction of the muzzle at all times.

Be sure the barrel and action are clear of obstructions.

Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.

Unload guns when not in use.

Never point a gun at anything you do not want to shoot.

Never climb over or under a fence, into or out of a tree or jump a ditch with a loaded gun.

Never shoot at a flat, hard surface or water.

Store guns and ammunition under lock and key.