Highest Deer Harvest Ever Recorded

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This year's total deer harvest of 204,652 was the highest ever recorded, far exceeding the previous Ohio record of 179,543 deer set in 1995, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

“This past season’s record deer harvest can be attributed to expanded bag limits, opportunities to hunt on Sundays, and excellent hunting conditions during the statewide gun season” said Mike Reynolds, deer biologist for ODNR's Division of Wildlife.

The total number of deer taken was 24 percent above last year's season total of 165,124 and 14 percent above the 1995 record year. Deer season was open October 5, 2002 through January 31, 2003.

Counties reporting the highest number of whitetails harvested during the deer season included Coshocton - 7,479; Muskingum - 7,151; Tuscarawas - 6,650; Guernsey - 6,631; and Jefferson - 6,538.

Deer gun season produced the highest deer harvest at 133,391. Archery hunters took a total of 48,904 deer. In combining the special primitive season and the statewide either-sex primitive season, a total of 21,819 deer were taken.

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.

The 2003-2004 deer season proposals will be voted on at the April 9 Ohio Wildlife Council meeting in Columbus.