Ohio’s wildlife administrators at the Ohio Division of Wildlife seem pleased with the results of the state’s first antlerless-only muzzleloader deer hunting weekend which took place Oct. 12-13.
The weekend’s official take (by muzzleloaders only) was 5,787.
The idea is to reduce the deer herd by removing as many does as possible during the early part of the year.
“We’re very happy with how it turned out,” said Dave Kohler, wildlife management and research administrator. (Kohler is the former wildlife management supervisor in District 5 of the Ohio Division of Wildlife in Xenia.) “Some 30,000 to 40,000 hunters took part. For the first year, that’s not bad.”
He said the numbers came out: 4,815 does; 901 button bucks and 67 bucks with antlers less than three inches. There were four older bucks taken – two legally in controlled hunts and two illegally by a couple of hunters who didn’t know the law.
While the Ohio wildlife agency now manages deer on a county-by-county basis, taking that many does out of the picture statewide is consistent with management goals.
“There isn’t a county in Ohio that doesn’t have to reduce its doe population,” Kohler said. “Some need it more than others, but this worked well.”
Prior to the new muzzleloader season, some bow hunters were concerned having so many hunters with the woods with guns at this time of year would stir up the deer and make them more nervous and jumpy. Kohler said the Division of Wildlife studied deer behavior in other states with similar seasons and found deer patterns remained the same.
The antlerless muzzleloader weekend was also the first opportunity for hunters to take advantage of Ohio’s new extended hunting time which added a half hour after sunset.