Deer Gun Season Harvest Nearly Breaks Record

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Hunters took 133,163 deer during last week's deer gun season in Ohio, the second highest ever and a record for a one-week deer season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

The preliminary total number of deer taken was 34 percent above last year's preliminary deer gun season total of 99,599. The deer gun season was open December 2 through 8. The state record was set in 1995 when Ohio had a two-week deer gun season that produced 137,811 whitetails. The first week of the 1995 season accounted for 115,063.

"This year's deer gun season began and ended with excellent weather," said Mike Budzik, chief of ODNR's Division of Wildlife. "The three deer bag limit in much of eastern and southeastern Ohio provided expanded opportunities for Ohio's hunters, and the elimination of Sunday hunting restrictions gave working hunters an extra day in the field."

At the beginning of deer season, the statewide deer population was estimated to be 575,000, 15 percent higher than last year. Approximately 450,000 hunters were expected to participate in the statewide deer gun hunting season.

Counties reporting the highest numbers of deer brought to Ohio check stations last week included:

  • Tuscarawas - 5,056
  • Washington - 4,869
  • Guernsey - 4,844
  • Athens - 4,697
  • Coshocton - 4,484

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.