Hunting News

Extra gun weekend delivers extra deer harvest

Extra gun weekend delivers extra deer harvest

By Ohio Department of Natural Resources

Ohio hunters harvested 9,392 deer during the extra weekend of gun hunting Dec. 18 and Dec. 19. Over the past three years, hunters checked an average of 12,734 deer during the same two-day period.

The top 10 counties for deer taken during the 2021 two-day deer gun season include Coshocton (307), Tuscarawas (287), Licking (256), Guernsey (236), Ashtabula (232), Knox (229), Carroll (220), Muskingum (219), Ashland (210) and Holmes (208). Tuscarawas County was tops in the state during the 2020 extra gun hunting weekend with 598 deer checked, while hunters took 15,203 deer statewide.

After hunters checked 70,413 deer during the weeklong deer gun season Nov. 29-Dec. 5, the total harvest during the 2021 gun hunting season was 79,805 deer. Hunters harvested an average of 78,014 deer during the nine days of deer gun hunting over the past three years. In addition, young hunters harvested 7,634 whitetails during the two-day youth gun season Nov. 20-21, and archery hunters have checked 82,145 deer through Dec. 19.

Deer hunting occurs in all 88 counties and Ohio hunters have purchased 385,313 deer permits through Dec. 19. Hotspots for deer hunting are found mostly in the eastern regions, including Ashtabula, Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Muskingum, Guernsey and Knox counties.

During the deer gun weekend, hunters harvested 2,867 bucks (31% of deer taken), 5,261 does (56%), and 1,097 button bucks (12%). Bucks with shed antlers and bucks with antlers less than 3 inches long accounted for 167 deer, or 1% of the harvest.

Straight-walled cartridge rifles became legal deer hunting implements in Ohio in 2014 and continue to grow in popularity. During the deer gun weekend, straight-walled cartridge rifles were used for 53% of checked deer.

Shotguns accounted for 38% of the total. In addition, 6% were taken with a muzzleloader and 1% with a handgun.
Because Ohio is known as a quality deer hunting state, many out-of-state hunters travel here during the season.

The top five states for purchasing a nonresident hunting license in Ohio include: Pennsylvania (7,351 licenses sold), Michigan (5,262), West Virginia (3,799), North Carolina (3,206), and New York (3,164).

Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting generates more than $853 million in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging, and more, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundations’ Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.

Ohio offers more deer hunting opportunities with muzzleloader season Jan. 8-11, 2022, and archery season, open through Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022.

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