As of Nov. 26, Ohio’s Division of Wildlife reports that archery hunters have taken 74,838 white-tailed deer during the early part of the season. Archery season opened on Sept. 28 and remains open through Feb. 2. Last year, the total archery harvest accounted for 46% of the deer season total.

“Ohio’s lengthy archery deer season provides excellent opportunities for all hunters to pursue our most popular game animal and create memories outdoors,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Generous bag limits and healthy venison make deer hunting in Ohio the perfect outdoor adventure to engage in with friends and family.”

Local archery harvests and the comparative number from last year are as follows:

Allen: 477 (397); Hancock: 546 (424); Hardin: 529 (404); Henry: 270 (215); Putnam: 366 (306); Sandusky: 432 (394); Seneca: 746 (597); Wood: 455 (388); Wyandot: 463 (443).

The division also reports that Ohio’s young hunters checked 6,234 white-tailed deer during the Nov. 23-24 two-day youth gun season. “The Division of Wildlife would like to thank all the mentors who took the time to take a young person hunting this weekend,” commented Chief Wecker.

Youth hunters were required to be accompanied by a nonhunting adult during the two-day season. Learning from an experienced hunter is key to developing the skills to successfully harvest a deer.

Youth hunting seasons are also annually available for small game, wild turkey and waterfowl. Anyone interested in learning to hunt or becoming a mentor can visit the Wild Ohio Harvest Community page at www.wildohio.gov for information on how to get started, hunting-related workshops and special hunting opportunities for mentors and new hunters.

Local youth season harvests and the comparative number from last year are as follows:

Allen: 40 (35); Hancock: 51 (35); Hardin: 59 (42); Henry: 26 (19); Putnam: 48 (42); Seneca: 85 (83); Wood: 42 (34); Wyandot: 70 (83).

The statewide deer-gun season opened Monday, Dec. 2, and runs through tomorrow, as well as the weekend of Dec. 21-22. Deer-muzzleloader season begins Saturday, Jan. 4, and lasts through Tuesday, Jan. 7. Archery season will finish up Ohio’s 2019-20 deer seasons on Feb. 2.

Find complete details of deer and other seasons as well as the rules governing the activities and license requirements in the 2019-2020 Hunting and Trapping Digest, available at all license vendors, or visit wildohio.gov for the information in an easy to use format. Visit wildohio.gov/deerharvest for summaries of past deer seasons.

Turn in persons violating wildlife regulations by calling or texting the Turn-In-a-Poacher TIP hotline at 1-800-POACHER (800-762-2437). You can stay anonymous and rewards are available.

“A hunt based only on trophies taken falls far short of what the ultimate goal should be … time to commune with your inner soul as you share the outdoors with the birds, animals, and fish that live there.” — Fred Bear

Along the way:

As you may have guessed, gift giving around the Christmas holiday season is an old tradition dating back to approximately 336 A.D. According to the story, the gifts we trade are a reflection of those carried by the wise men who visited a very special secluded stable in Bethlehem.

From that humble beginning, we now scurry from store to store and website to website looking for that perfect present that will soon disappear into the recesses of our memories. What we will remember are the gatherings of our families and friends and sharing their time — the most valuable, memorable and the one truly irreplaceable gift that any of us has to offer. Trust me, it’s also of limited supply.

Considering how precious that commodity is, why not give at least one gift that capitalizes on it? A gift of a family or friends fishing or camping trip and information about getting outside to do some hiking, hunting, boating and exploring each offer great ways to build lifelong memories.

Hunting and fishing licenses:

Ensure that your friends, children and grandchildren have years of access to hunting and fishing in Ohio through the unique multiyear and lifetime hunting and fishing licenses.

Choose from 3-, 5-, 10-year or even lifetime licenses. They can be purchased online at Ohio’s Wildlife Licensing System by visiting wildlife.ohiodnr.gov or at hundreds of participating agents throughout the state. In our area, outlets include Meijer, Walmart and the Division of Wildlife’s district office at 952 Lima Ave.

Wildlife gift certificates can be purchased through Ohio’s Wildlife Licensing System. Recipients can use the certificates to purchase licenses, permits, Wild Ohio Magazine, and wetland and legacy stamps. They can be purchased for any amount, are valid one year from the date of purchase and can only be purchased and redeemed online.

Wild Ohio Magazine provides readers an entertaining look into Ohio’s wildlife and conservation activities. The magazine is delivered six times per year, one of which is a calendar edition. The cost is $5 per year for individuals who purchase at a license vendor or online through the Ohio’s Wildlife Licensing System.

Wildlife legacy stamps offer the opportunity to directly impact the future of Ohio’s wildlife. Proceeds go to the Endangered Species and Wildlife Diversity Fund and support: habitat restoration; land purchases and conservation easements; endangered and threatened native species; educational products for students and wildlife enthusiasts; and wildlife and habitat research projects.

This $15 purchase includes the annually changing collector’s stamp, window cling and commemorative card. They can be purchased from Ohio’s Wildlife Licensing System at wildlife.ohiodnr.gov. Showing your Ohio Wildlife Legacy Stamp at eight state park lodges can earn a 25% discount on lodge rooms for weekday stays, and the stamp holder must be present to receive this coupon.

State Parks gift cards and gift certificates:

These make a perfect present for anyone who appreciates the outdoors. They can be used at Ohio State Parks for overnight stays at a favorite State Park or an opportunity to visit a new one, or even their first. The certificates can be redeemed for camping, getaway rentals, cabin rentals and at most park lodges.

Gift certificates and gift cards may also be used at state operated retail stores or for boat rentals at many State Park marinas. Available in any denomination and with no expiration date, gift cards and gift certificates may be purchased online at parks.ohiodnr.gov/giftcards or by calling 866-644-6727 up until Dec. 12.

“One of the most glorious messes in the world is the mess created in the living room on Christmas Day. Don’t clean it up too quickly.” — Andy Rooney

Step outside:

• Hunt for Him wants to stimulate and inspire men to aim their souls at life’s true target and to pursue Him above all else. They will be assisting hunters in recovering wounded deer during the 2019-2020 hunting season using a leashed tracking dog, a long haired European standard dachshund named Arrow. Visit their website for information at www.huntforhim.com

• On Nov. 30, Steve Kramb spotted a snowy owl north of Fostoria. These large arctic birds make occasional but infrequent wintertime forays into the lower 48 states in search of food. They’re a rare sight. The bird’s 2-foot height, 52-inch wingspan and startling black accented white plumage makes this visitor hard to miss.

• The 2019 Ohio fall wild turkey hunting season was open in 70 counties from Oct. 12-Dec. 1. Hunters checked 1,054 wild turkeys during the season, compared to 1,131 bagged during the 2018 fall season.

• Today and tomorrow: Tri-state gun collectors show, Allen County Fairgrounds, 2750 Harding Highway, Lima.

• Tomorrow: Sporting clays, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., UCOA, 6943 Marion Township 243.

• Thursday and Friday: Trap and skeet, open to the public, 5 p.m., UCOA, 6943 Marion Township 243.

• Hunter and trapper education class listings: Information and registration information available at http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov

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 45867-0413 or via email at jimsfieldnotes@aol.com

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