Deer hunters, as of Nov. 23, in Adams County have tagged 1,737 deer. Without exception Adams County deer hunters have done well this season. That number represents an increase of 18.5 percent over last year when 1,601 deer were tagged during this time.
The just past youth season, Nov. 21-22, young hunters bagged 170 deer in Adams County which is up 65 percent from last year’s youth season harvest when 103 deer were taken in Adams County.
Statewide the total deer take stands at 74,633 deer, down six percent which is due, according to Mike Tonkovich, lead deer biologist for the Division of Wildlife, to the near statewide elimination of the special antlerless permit. During the upcoming deer gun season, Nov. 30 – Dec. 6, Tonkovich estimates between 65,000 to 70,000 deer will be harvested across the state. If the weather is cooperative an increase of 2 to 3 percent from last year could be in the cards according to Tonkovich. Deer season is estimated to bring $853 million into Ohio’s economy.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources has pulled from the retired ranks veteran Ray Petering as the new Chief of the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Petering took over the position on Nov. 16. Petering comes from a fisheries background and was assistance chief of the DOW in 2011 in charge of fish management and research just before he retired after 30 years with the ODNR.
“Under Ray’s leadership I anticipate the Division of Wildlife will make great advancements in furthering ODNR’s efforts to improve Ohio’s fish and wildlife management,” said James Zehringer, Director of the ODNR.
The previous chief, Scott Zody, resigned from the Division of Wildlife in October.
The Division of Wildlife has enacted a set of strict rules governing the outbreak of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) found in a captive deer facility in Holmes County in 2014. Although not affecting Adams County as of yet, the new regulations are in effect in Holmes and parts of Wayne County in what officials are calling Disease Surveillance Area (DSA). Within the DSA hunters are required to bring the deer carcass to an ODNR inspection station for sampling, no deer baiting allowed with salt, minerals, fruit or grain to attract or feed deer, and prohibits removal of a deer carcass killed by a motor vehicle. The finding of the disease in 19 captive deer have resulted in the entire herd having to be destroyed. Out of that captive herd 24 escaped whitetails have been found outside the facility. CWD is a highly contagious disease and the ONDR is closely monitoring deer in the area in hopes it has not spread into the wild deer herd.
A black bear has recently been sighted and photographed in northern Adams County. This is the first time a bear has been confirmed in Adams County this late in the year. What has now become common during spring when several bear sightings are reported make the permanent residency of a black bear all the more likely in Adams County or a neighboring county such as Pike or Scioto. According Susie Prang with the DOW, Ohio bears are most likely to head for the dens this Thanksgiving. Male bears tend to den later, about mid-December according to Prang. Expect bears to emerge from the dens in early to mid-March, pregnant females a bit longer to early April. Perhaps bear cubs in Adams County by next spring?