Ohio: 2018 Deer Harvest Down, But Big Buck Kill Up

ohio gary nov 8 2018Hunters checked 172,040 whitetails deer during Ohio’s 2018-2019 season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). That’s down from last year, when 186,247 deer were checked. Some of the decrease can be attributed to poor weather throughout the fall of 2018.

While the overall harvest was down, the number of big bucks killed with a bow was impressive.

In the photo: Gary Bendele shot this giant (170 net Booner) with his bow on November 8, 2018 in Fayette County.

Ethan  Featheroff’s monster non-typical, shot last October, grossed 220!

Facts about deer hunting in Ohio: Regulations set by ODNR over the past four seasons have been designed to allow for moderate herd growth throughout most of the state; herd growth is achieved by reducing harvest and protecting female deer.  

Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has a more than $853 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging, etc.

Ohio ranks #3 in America in terms of deer killed and tagged with a bow; of the estimated recent harvests of 172,000 to 186,000, some 45% were archery kills.

Why You Should Always Tape The Muzzle of Your Hunting Rifle

hanback--WY big whitetailThis is me with a great buck I shot out in Wyoming years ago.

Minutes earlier I didn’t have that nice smile on my face. I was dazed, confused and damn lucky I hadn’t blown myself up.

It started when I shot a foot over the buck at a tad under 200 yards with solid shooting sticks. Even when I miss a deer, it’s not by that much.

The deer bolted at the bang and ran straight toward me! I bolted another 130-grainer, fired, missed again. The buck kept churning closer and closer, and I dropped him at 60 steps.

Like I said, damn lucky.

As I sat muttering and wondering what had gone wrong, I happened to look down at the barrel tip of my .270. It was split an inch!

This was a $3,000-plus custom rifle so I’m assuming no manufacturing/metallurgical problem. (Yes, that’s a lot of cash for a deer rifle, and yes I got a sweetheart writer’s deal, and yes I did have to chip in more than a month’s mortgage for it, I swear).

I figure that as I belly-crawled commando-style on an 8-pointer that I passed up the previous afternoon on that hunt, I slid the barrel too deeply along the ground and into the soft, sandy dirt and plugged the muzzle.

The first bullet cracked the muzzle tip and who knows where that one and the second bullet flew. It was a miracle I got the buck—and didn’t get hurt.

Lesson learned: I always tape the muzzle of my rifle when hunting in the snow, and you probably do too. But now I cover it with tape all the time and regardless of the weather when still-hunting and stalking, whenever I might have to crawl on a buck, or go prone in the dirt for a shot.

BTW, don’t buy the old rumor that electrical tape (what I use most often) or even heavier duct tape on the muzzle will affect your rifle and bullet’s accuracy and point of impact. It won’t! Common sense and testing here and here say any caliber bullet will blow right through tape.

Tape the rifle muzzle when hunting in the snow, sand and dirt—also when it’s raining to keep out water and prevent barrel rust.

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2018 Pennsylvania Deer Harvest Highest In 14 Years…State “has never managed whitetails better.”

???????????????????????????????From the York Dispatch: “The (Pennsylvania Game Commission) reported that a total of 374,690 deer were harvested during the state’s 2018-19 hunting seasons, which closed in January.

“That total tops the previous year’s harvest of 367,159 by about 10 percent.”

The 2018 antlerless harvest of 226,940 was up about 10 percent over last year. Data show that most does—64%–killed by hunters were 2.5 years old, and the remainder were 1.5 years old.

The 2018-19 buck kill of 147,750 was down 10% from the previous season. The commission says that steady, heavy rain during opening weekend of gun season was the biggest reason for the decline—it kept a lot of hunters out of the woods, and the bucks didn’t move well in the poor conditions.

During any year, about half of Pennsylvania’s overall buck harvest typically occurs on opening day of firearms season. It’s like that in many states.

In a positive trend that you see in states across the country, the percentage of older bucks in the 2018-19 PA harvest was high. About 64 percent of the bucks shot by hunters were at least 2½ years old.

“That almost two-thirds of the bucks…were at least 2½ years old is a tribute to the science our deer managers use and the sacrifices a generation of hunters made in the commonwealth,” said Bryan Burhans, the game commission’s executive director. “The bucks being taken every day in Pennsylvania’s deer seasons are living proof that this commonwealth has never managed whitetails better.”

In the photo: Longtime BIG DEER blogger Terry “Big Daddy” Murphy shot this buck on October 16, 2018 on his land in Potter County. It was Big Daddy’s 40th archery buck in 40 years of hunting Pennsylvania, which is a 1 buck per year state. 

Can You Salvage Roadkill Deer In Your State?

va buck hit may - CopyFrom Popular Science: Jessica Mundall came across a dead buck while driving. The animal had just been hit and killed by a semi-truck, and was still “super fresh.” She and her husband, both hunters, processed the deer on the side of the road….

“After that, we were hooked,” says Mundall, 26, who works for the state’s fish and game department in Boise, Idaho. “We ended up getting our freezer filled off of roadkill.”

Idaho is one of 20-some states that allow the free salvage of roadkill animals (you simply need to report your take to the state and answer a few questions within 24 hours). Other states that allow it include Washington, Pennsylvania, Oregon, West Virginia, Montana, Tennessee and Alaska.

There are some obvious concerns: Is a car-struck deer salvageable or too damaged…? Is the meat still fresh or spoiled…? In a CWD area, is the meat safe to eat…?

But according to State Farm Insurance, an estimated 1.33 million deer will be struck by vehicles this year. A lot of those animals will be salvageable, so that’s a lot of fresh red meat for our freezers, or for a shelter.

California is the latest state to get in on salvage. A recently introduced bill states “the intent of this legislation (is) to make available to Californians tens of thousands of pounds of a healthy, wild, big game food source that currently is wantonly wasted each year following wildlife-vehicle collisions.”

Why don’t all states allow a person to recover, take home and eat a dead deer if you’re willing to take a picture of it and get a salvage permit?

This seems to be a win-win. Would you salvage a roadkill, or maybe you already have?

Deer & Deer Hunting Magazine Files For Bankruptcy

ddhI am, or was, a print writer at heart, having majored in English in college many years ago, and then having written thousands of articles for magazines along with 6 books over the past 30 years.

This is a sad day for me, as yet another hunting magazine goes down.

F+W Media, publisher of Deer & Deer Hunting and 50-some other magazines, is liquidating. The New York-based publishing house, which has been in business for 100 years, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy papers on March 10.

According to the filing, the company has seen magazine subscriptions drop from 33.4 million in 2015 to 21.5 million in 2018. Advertising revenues decreased from $20.7 million in 2015 to $13.7 million.

The company’s CEO summed it up: “Over the past decade, the market for subscription print periodicals of all kinds, including those published by the company, has been in decline as an increasing amount of content has become available electronically at little or no cost to readers.”

Yes, and all of us in the outdoor media, from small bloggers like me to the largest publishing houses still in business, are still, after many uncertain years, trying to figure it out. There is so much free content out there, and so much more written and video content coming online every minute of every day.

How to compete? How to stay relevant? How to scratch by and make a living? A profit?

F+W Media hopes to sell off its magazine and book divisions, or else Deer and Deer Hunting and the company’s other print/digital titles will cease to exist.

Investing in print media is risky (understatement of the year) but my hope is that one of the few large outdoor-lifestyle publishers left—say the publishers of Field & Stream and Outdoor Life—would take a chance on a strong “vertical” brand like Deer and Deer Hunting and add it to their lineup. This one deer magazine is all any outdoor publisher would want.

Deer hunting and whitetail in particular dominate and drive the entire hunting industry. If not for deer and those of us that hunt them, there would be no hunting media of any kind.

Surely there is a way for a print publisher to figure it out, and peddle enough advertising targeted to America’s 10 million deer hunters to keep 6 issues of Deer and Deer Hunting on the shelves, and a digital version on our devices 24/7/365.

Wishful thinking.