Deer numbers down from last year

By JIM ABRAMS
As we near the end of Ohio’s deer seasons, many hunters say they have spotted fewer deer during their hunts.
They’re right, according to the Division of Wildlife.
Until recently, deer populations in nearly all of Ohio’s counties were well above their target numbers. In the last few years, dramatic strides have been made in many counties to bring those populations closer toward their goal.
The objective of Ohio’s deer management program is to provide a deer population that maximizes recreational opportunities, while minimizing conflicts with landowners and motorists. This ensures that Ohio’s deer herd is maintained at a level that is both acceptable to most, and biologically sound.
Once a county’s population is near the established goal, harvest regulations are adjusted to maintain the population near that level. An example of a management change was seen in the reduction in this season’s allowable harvest in Hancock County.
Results of the primitive weapons deer season:
• 16,464 deer were taken between Jan. 4 and 7.
• Top counties reporting the highest number of deer checked: Guernsey, 652; Coshocton, 630; Muskingum, 593; and Tuscarawas, 592.
• Area records for 2014, with the 2013 numbers in parentheses, were: Allen: 46 (88); Hancock: 42 (102); Hardin: 80 (110); Henry: 16 (34); Putnam: 22 (30); Sandusky: 43 (66); Seneca: 98 (149); Wood: 34 (57) and Wyandot: 69 (126). State total: 16,464 (21,555).
Thus far, 185,000 deer have been harvested during the 2013-2014 hunting seasons. Ohio’s deer-archery season is open through Sunday, Feb. 2.
Along the Way:
The U.S. Justice Department reports that two Medford, Ore., men have been indicted on a number of charges including unlawfully taking wildlife, creating false records, felony transportation and violating the federal Lacey Act, a law that protects wildlife.
The charges are based on an investigation surrounding the men’s business as big-game outfitters in the Book Cliffs mountain range on the Utah-Colorado border.
Authorities say they allegedly captured mountain lions and bobcats using cages prior to taking their clients into the field. The men also shot and maimed the cats’ paws and legs to slow them down when they released them for clients to hunt.
They also allegedly transported the dead cats from Utah into Colorado and falsified their records in order to get Colorado state-inspection seals for the cat’s hides, which they then sold.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service of Law Enforcement, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources investigated the case. The Environmental Crimes Section of the Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources Division is prosecuting the case.
Step Outside:
• The Division of Wildlife has submitted a proposal to the Wildlife Council to remove the bobcat from Ohio’s threatened species list. Bobcats would still be considered a protected species in Ohio.
• Today-tomorrow: Cleveland Outdoor Adventure Show, visit www.sportandtravelexpo.com for details.
• Today-tomorrow: Maumee Valley Gun Collectors Show, Lucas County Recreation Center, 2901 Key St., Maumee.
• Thursday: Last day to enroll in the NRA Certified Range Officer Training. Contact Steve Smith for details: marathonsteve@aol.com.
Abrams is a retired wildlife officer supervisor for the state Division of Wildlife in Findlay. He can be reached at P.O. Box 413, Mount Blanchard, OH 45867-0413 or via email at jimsfieldnotes@aol.com

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