Deer harvests and permits in Ohio over the years

700,000 600,000 500,000 400,000 300,000 200,000 100,000 0 1940-44 1945-49 1950-54 1955-59 1960-64 1965-69 1970-74 1975-79 1980-84 1985-89 1990-94
Permits: 13,471 Kills: 887 Permits: 42,468 Kills: 4,054 Permits: 29,236 Kills: 1,283 Permits: 157,855 Kills: 23,713

Permits: 611,442 Kills: 252,017 Permits: 427,798 Kills: 147,148

Average permits Average kills
Permits: 304,711 Kills: 80,631

1995-99 2000-04 2005-Now

Source: Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife Summary of 2008-09 Ohio Deer Seasons

Deer, dents and dinner
Dealing with a rising white-tailed deer population
By DAVID TRINKO 419-993-2150

LIMA — The traffic on Elida Road just west of Lima is notoriously bad. Cars dart in and out of the dozens of parking lots along busy state Route 309. With all that congestion, Chris Hullinger didn’t expect to see a staple of nature, a whitetail deer, jump into traffic around 8 p.m. Nov. 2 as she drove toward her daughter’s dance class in Elida. “My first instinct was something must’ve flown off another car and hit mine,” Hullinger said. “It was the loudest thud. My daughter and I looked at each other and said, ‘What was that?’ ” It wasn’t until she found some fur near the back bumper of her car that she realized she bumped a buck, causing $3,000 damage to her vehicle. Coby Goble, a 16-year-old sophomore at Allen East High School, is making more effort for JAY SOWERS • The Lima News his first contact with a deer. He took the required hunting A group of white-tailed deer graze Friday in a field along South Dixie Highway south of Lima. Officials estisafety course last week at a mate there were 650,000 white-tailed deer in Ohio as the 2009 hunting season began. packed firehouse in Harrod. He planned to head out Saturday and Comparing the local deer harvest, 2007 and 2008 today into the woods with his Antlered and antlerless deer harvested in the area by guns, crossbows, grandfather and brother for his vertical bows, muzzleloaders and youth hunts first deer-hunting expedition, during Ohio’s annual youth hunt. Hunters can share their pictures from the 0-750 750-1500 1,500-plus “I’m really looking forward to upcoming deer-hunting season or check out other hunters’ trophy pictures at that,” he said. “It’ll be my first PUTNAM time out. It’s just the adrenaline HANCOCK rush, I hear, when you shoot it and 2007: 722 only to cull the deer population 2007: 1,598 track it.” 2008: 716 too much, Tonkovich said. 2008: 1,546 VAN WERT In their own ways, each helps Deer in the headlights control the region’s rapidly grow2007: 536 ing deer population. The state factors car-deer acciALLEN 2008: 611 dents into its population trends. Rising numbers 2007: 855 HARDIN That’s fortunate, since an alarm2008: 846 If you think you’ve seen more ing number of deer are meeting 2007: 1,438 deer lately, it’s not your imaginaMERCER AUGLAIZE their end on the front grill of a 2008: 1,288 tion. vehicle. 2007: 806 “We’re hearing a little bit of 2007: 687 “The sad part is road kill is far 2008: 776 uneasiness about too many deer 2008: 627 greater than any hunter ever in that part of the state,” said LOGAN got,” said John Rex, a Harrod Mike Tonkovich, an expert on 2007: 2,237 SHELBY hunter who helped organize a whitetail deer with the Ohio 2008: 2,224 youth hunter’s education pro2007: 1,004 Department of Natural gram at the Harrod Fire Depart2008: 958 Resources’ Division of Wildlife. ment. Statewide, officials estimate Lt. Pat Gehrisch, commander of NATE WARNECKE Source: Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division there were 650,000 white-tailed • The Lima News of Wildlife Summary of 2008-09 Ohio Deer Seasons the Lima Post of the Ohio State deer heading into the 2009 huntHighway Patrol, said, as of ing seasons. Division of Wildlife officials set last year’s hunting season, may look to liberalize some oppor- Wednesday, his troopers handled 164 car-deer accidents in 2009. goals on how many deer there Tonkovich said. Auglaize County tunities to harvest deer in 2010.” should be in an area. They factor rated 50 percent above its goal, Depending on how this year’s That’s 160 percent more than the landowners’ thoughts on whether with Van Wert County at 47 per- deer harvest goes, Tonkovich said 63 they handled in all of 2008. “They’re primarily on state there are too many deer, not cent above its goal. Allen County he might push for allowing a twoenough or just the right amount. is at 35 percent above its goal, deer bag limit in Northwest Ohio, routes, but there was even one on Elm Street in Lima,” Gehrisch By those standards, regional while Putnam County is 25 per- much like the state permits to our said. counties see more deer than they cent above its goal. east in Zone B. That led to extra business for care to see. “We’re making headway, but It’s a healthy bounce-back. The Hardin County rated at 75 per- apparently not enough in some state had a two-deer bag limit in cent above its goal at the start of counties,” Tonkovich said. “We place statewide in 1995 and 1996, See DEER • A9

DEER • from A1 ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
car-repair professionals, such as Jim Yarger’s Body Shop, in Lima. Yarger said deer-damage repairs became a large part of his business in the last five years. “It can be a relatively minor bumper and grilltype hit all the way up to one we just finished, an $11,000 repair on a Lexus that needed a complete new front end,” Yarger said. Gehrisch recommends people use extra caution during deer rutting (mating) and hunting seasons. He recommends you “don’t out-drive your lights,” meaning to only trust what you can see at night. He also recommended slowing down whenever you see a deer. They often travel in packs and might move erratically, “mesmerized by the headlights of your car.” Remembering what’s on a deer’s mind can help motorists understand its thought. “Deer are breeding right now. That’s probably all that’s on their minds right now, to get from point A to point B. They’re not always watching for traffic like you want them to do.” Hullinger said her experience taught her a new way to drive after hitting that deer on Elida Road. “Every evening now I’m looking for them,” she said. “I’m almost afraid to go down Elida Road now. All it seems like I’m doing is looking for deer.”

On the Web
Watch David Trinko and Bart Mills discuss this story in a video on

Ohio’s 2009 deerhunting seasons
Archery: Sept. 26-Feb. 7 Youth gun: Saturday and today Gun: Nov. 30-Dec. 6 Extended gun: Dec. 19-20 Muzzleloader: Jan. 9-Jan. 12

Area bag limits
Allen, Auglaize, Mercer, Putnam, Shelby and Van Wert counties (Zone A) Hunters may bag one deer with a $24 deer permit and one antlerless deer with a $15 antlerless permit, for two deer total. Hancock, Hardin and Logan counties (Zone B) Hunters may bag two deer with a pair of $24 deer permits and two antlerless deer with a pair of $15 antlerless permits, for four deer total.

Growth in hunting
Hullinger isn’t alone. A record number of people went looking for deer in the past year, albeit with a shotgun in tow. Ohio saw a record 611,442 deer permits sold in 2008, harvesting 252,017 deer between the gun, crossbow, vertical bow and muzzleloader seasons. Officials anticipate hunters will harvest 115,000 to 125,000 deer during the deer gun season, which runs Nov. 30 through Dec. 6 and Dec. 19 and 20. An estimated 420,000 people from throughout the country will take aim at bringing home tasty venison or an impressive rack of antlers, with its size measured in the number of points protruding. “Some go for meat, and some go for that 11 points,” said Lowell Hoy, who received his certification to teach gun safety courses in 1972. “I would say for your first-time hunter, it’s just the thrill of killing one and harvesting that deer.” Rex said he enjoys spending the time with nature.

Perhaps the most effecAttendees take notes Tuesday evening during a hunter education course at the Harrod Fire Department. In his 35 tive tool in reducing the years as an instructor, Lowell Hoy has never seen a class this big — with 60 registered participants. Hoy also noted deer population is going an increase in women taking the class. after does, wildlife officials say. “It’s not just about shoot- Youth revolution ing. The Sierra Sportsmen, and brother, Rory. In 2007, the state intro“The hard part is proba- an arm of the Sierra Club, ing a deer,” said Rex, who That may be changing duced antlerless permits. It has a 16-point buck hang- soon. In Hoy’s 35 years of bly sitting there that long says on its Web site, allows people to shoot a doe ing on his wall but prefers teaching the gun-safety and not really doing any- “Acceptable management earlier in the season while the tender meat of a young class required before a thing,” he said. approaches include both still waiting for a trophy The state introduced a regulated periodic hunting doe. “Everywhere I go, I youth can get a license, his buck. get to see God’s creation, largest class had 47 chil- youth hunt in 2003. The and fishing when based on “Normally, if an individyounger hunters bring an sufficient scientifically valid ual only has one deer tag, be it the animals, the dren. adult with them. Hoy said biological data and when they’re probably going to woods or the scenery in the Last week, he taught a background.” class with 60 youth at the he has fond memories of consistent with all other wait for a buck,” Buening taking two grandsons on management purposes and said. “When you take that Brad Buening, Van Wert Harrod Fire Department. County’s wildlife officer, when necessary total pro- chance, sometimes you “We’re getting more inter- the youth hunt. “One of my grandsons tection of particular species don’t even use your deer tag said he expects to see even est today from the kids than more hunters this year as I realized,” Hoy said. “It killed a seven-pointer on or populations.” if you wait until the last Part of that is using what minute.” the tough economy hits used to be you didn’t have Saturday, and the other shot a seven-point on Sunday,” you shoot, Teders said. He home. that much interest from While many hunters pre“I think some people are kids. With the rising popu- Hoy recalled. “I really don’t pointed to the popularity of fer the challenge of hunting laid off and out of jobs, so lation of deer and the kids care if I shoot one, as long as the Farmers and Hunters bucks, going for the female the next-best thing is to go seeing them all the time, they get that excitement.” Feeding the Hungry Day on does more to control the In Hardin County alone, Dec. 5. out and do something they’re getting that fever to population. cheap,” Buening said. “It’s go out and try to harvest youth hunters took down 58 Last year, Ohio hunters “I have to give our deer during the two-day donated 220,000 meals hunters a big pat on the not a whole lot of money to one.” youth hunt last year. do it, and it’s enjoyable.” worth of venison to the back,” Tonkovich said. It’s not just boys wearing hungry. This year, they hope “They’re really great deer While the numbers go up camouflage to school either, Politically incorrect statewide, some areas he said. Hoy estimated oneHunting advocates know to provide twice that managers. Sixty-seven peraren’t seeing enough third of the class was there’s a perception what amount. cent of the harvest was hunters, Yarger said. The female. “It’s important to remem- antlerless last year. You they’re doing is cruel or barBluffton resident doesn’t ber we’re a conservation can’t complain about that.” Ohio had 13,000 youth baric. think there are as many hunters last year, with Buening said the antlerThat’s why they take organization,” Teders said people taking up the sport, another 16,000 students direct aim at stereotypes of of the Division of Wildlife. less permits help “put meat hurting the state’s efforts to taking the hunter education rude, ruthless hunters just “We’re pushing for the wise in the freezer while still giving you a chance to go out limit the population. classes. going after Bambi’s mother. use of Ohio’s resources.” “I’ve been hunting the They’re also pushing for and shoot a buck.” “We are hoping the addi“We have to put a true Teders admitted it was a same area in the same part tional hunters will help sportsman in the field,” safety. The state instituted of Ohio for a long time,” maintain the tradition and Hoy said. “If you put a slob a three-shot limit for shot- “mentality shift,” but Yarger said. “My personal help manage the white-tail hunter out there, that’s guns in the 1990s. Since hunters often acknowledge feeling is a contributing fac- deer herd,” said Matt Ted- what the public picks up. then, hunting accidents the meat’s better on a doe. “You can’t eat the tor to the number of deer is ers, a wildlife officer. We need to put a better dropped to one-third of less people are hunting. I Goble said he was “confi- image out there of what the their previous totals, Teders antlers,” Rex quipped. said. Requirements to wear You can comment don’t see nearly the number dent” he’d get a deer this public sees.” of people out in gun season weekend when he goes out Even hunting opponents orange also make the sport on this story at as I used to.” with his grandfather Rex, accept some forms of hunt- safer.


Down with does

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