By Tom Cross –
Reading like a bad script, the Adams County deer harvest hit the skids this year and I don’t expect the new 2017 proposed deer regulations to help the matter any.
Deer hunters in Adams County bagged just 3,272 total deer this season, down over 21 percent from last season’s take of 4,157, leading the state in the most precipitant drop in the deer harvest for the season. Other notable declines in southern Ohio include Scioto County with an 18 percent drop in the deer take, Brown County with 11 percent fewer deer, Clermont County down nearly 17 percent, Highland County deer harvest down over 11 percent, Pike County hunters bagged nearly 13 percent fewer deer, and the Hamilton County deer harvest down nearly 21 percent.
Without exception all southwest Ohio counties saw deer harvest numbers tumble. Out of Ohio’s 88 counties, 55 reported a drop in the deer harvest this past season. The remaining 23 Ohio counties did register increases, although some insignificant, most of the increase deer harvest was clustered in the northeast Ohio counties.
The total statewide harvest for the 2016-2017 season is 182,169, down 3.27 percent from the previous season (188,329).
Adams County had a total of 3,272 deer tagged this season. Bow hunters in Adams County took 1,588 deer (856 antlered, 732 antlerless) making up over 48 percent of the total deer harvest in Adams County.
In Brown County, deer hunters took 2,448 deer of which 1,201 were archery kills. In Clermont hunters tagged 2,343 deer, archery hunters took 1,490 of those deer. Highland County deer hunters registered 2,587 deer taken, of that number 1,186 where taken by bow hunters. Scioto County had 2,479 deer checked, 1,158 of which went to bow hunters. Pike County deer hunters checked in a total of 2,083 deer, of that total 955 were taken by bow hunters. Hamilton County hunters tagged 1,589 deer this season of which 1,361 went to bow hunters. Interestingly nearly 86 percent of the total deer take in Hamilton County was taken with archery equipment.
The new proposed deer regulations are out for the 2017-2018 season, which of course is subject to review by the Ohio Wildlife Council. Proposed is deer archery season from Sept. 30 – Feb. 4; Youth gun from Nov. 18-19; Deer gun from Nov. 27-Dec. 3and Dec. 16-17; and Muzzleloader season from Jan. 6-9.
Adams County is again slated for a three-deer bag limit as are Brown, Clermont, Scioto, Pike and Highland counties, all that have had steep declines in their deer harvest this past season.
Seven northeast Ohio counties are proposed for reductions in the bag limit from three deer to two deer. Twenty one counties are slated for increased bag limits from two to three deer. Included in those 21 counties are counties that had rather significant drops in their respected deer harvest this past season which leaves one to wonder what is the Division of Wildlife is thinking.
According to the Division of Wildlife, hunting license sales have declined 4.3 percent this past season, deer permits are down 5.45 percent, youth deer permits down 9.2 percent, and non-resident hunting license up only slightly at .22 percent. Adams County again led the state in non-resident deer harvest with Athens County a close second.
For the most part the new regulations are same old – same old, except Adams County deer hunters might see a few less deer on the landscape next fall.