Record Muzzleloader Deer Harvest Set

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Hunters bagged a record 24,981 deer during the four-day muzzleloader season, which ran December 27-30, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The total represents a 13 percent increase over last year’s then record harvest of 22,088 deer during the same period.

Counties reporting the highest number of deer checked during the “black powder” season included

* Tuscarawas - 936

* Washington – 934

* Harrison – 852

* Athens – 835

* Licking – 790

* Belmont – 774

* Coshocton – 765

* Jefferson – 729

* Guernsey – 724

* Meigs – 672

Since Ohio's deer hunting seasons opened in early October, more than 182,611 deer have been killed across the state.

Archery hunters took 36,241 deer during the first six weeks of the statewide archery season, which continues through January 31. The first-ever youth season, November 22 and 23, saw young hunters bag 5,208 deer. Hunters checked 116,004 deer during the statewide deer gun season held December 1- 7. Another 177 deer were taken during the special bucks-only primitive deer season held October 20-25 on the Shawnee, Salt Fork, and Wolf Creek wildlife areas. With today’s preliminary muzzleloader result, the total deer kill to date for this season surpasses Ohio's second highest seasonal total of 179,543, recorded during the 1995-96 deer hunting season. The 2002-2003 whitetail harvest holds the all-time record for Ohio, with hunters taking 204,652 deer.

“Ohio has enjoyed great deer hunting this year in all regions of the state,” said Steven A. Gray, chief of the ODNR Division of Wildlife. “Muzzleloader hunting is very popular and offers hunters another great way to hunt deer.”

During this season, hunters were allowed to use muzzleloading rifles of .38 caliber or larger; muzzleloading shotguns using a single ball; crossbows; or longbows. More than 90 percent of the deer taken during this season are by hunters using a muzzleloader.