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Ohio Hunters Harvest more than 188,000 Deer during 2015-2016 Season

COLUMBUS, OH – Hunters checked 188,335 white-tailed deer throughout Ohio’s 2015-2106 deer season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Last year, 175,745 deer were checked during the 2014-2015 season.

To help stabilize deer populations, bag limits were reduced this year, and antlerless permit use was eliminated in most counties. This year’s increase can be attributed to the poor mast crop throughout much of the state, particularly the eastern half where many species of wildlife, including deer, rely heavily on acorns as an important source of food. Other reasons for the increase include the more favorable weather for hunters compared to last year and the earlier harvest of agricultural crops.

Deer Management Goals

The ODNR Division of Wildlife remains committed to properly managing Ohio’s deer populations. The goal of Ohio’s Deer Management Program is to provide a deer population that maximizes recreational opportunities, while minimizing conflicts with landowners and motorists.

Until recently, deer populations in nearly all of Ohio’s counties were well above goal. In the last few years, through increased antlerless harvests, most counties are now at or near goal.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife is in the process of revising Ohio’s population goals and is asking hunters who received the survey to help by completing and returning their surveys as soon as possible. Hunters for this year’s survey were randomly selected from list of those who purchased a license and deer permit by Nov. 16. Landowner surveys have already been completed, and hunter surveys were mailed early in December. Public input is an important part of Ohio’s deer management program, and survey participants are asked to complete and return their surveys to ensure that hunters have a clear voice in helping to decide the direction of deer management in Ohio.

Hunting Popularity

Hunting is the best and most effective management tool for maintaining Ohio’s healthy deer population. 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 and more, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.

Find more information about deer hunting at wildohio.gov.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

Photo by BobMacInnes


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104,000 Pounds of Venison Donated to the Hungry

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COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio deer hunters have donated more than 104,100 pounds of venison to local food banks so far this deer season, according to Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) and the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.

“I am happy to see this program continue to grow each year. Ohio hunters once again have shown their generosity so Ohio’s food pantries will receive the nutritious red meat they so desperately need,” said David M. Graham, chief of the Division of Wildlife.

The 104,100 pounds equals approximately 416,400 meals for needy Ohioans. To date, 2,082 deer have been donated with plenty of deer hunting opportunity left in the 2010-11 season. Last year at this time, 1,910 deer had been donated representing 95,500 pounds of venison.

Last year FHFH collected 116,750 pounds of venison from 2,336 deer through the entire season, which ran from September 2009 to February 7, 2010. Ohio county chapters with the highest numbers of deer donations so far are: Licking-208; Muskingum, Morgan and Perry-189; Coshocton, Tuscarawas, and Knox-160; Athens, Gallia, Hocking, Meigs, Vinton and Washington-137; and Franklin-121.

“We are thrilled that the partnership between FHFH and ODNR has resulted in greater numbers of donated deer – and meals provided – across Ohio again this year. With high unemployment in many areas fueling an even greater need for nutritious food items at food banks and feeding ministries, this growth could not have come at a better time, ” according to Josh Wilson, FHFH national operations director.

Hunters still have a weekend of deer-gun hunting, December 18-19, and eight weeks of archery hunting in Ohio. Archery season remains open until February 6. The statewide muzzleloader deer-hunting season will be held, January 8 – 11, 2011.

The Division of Wildlife collaborated with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry in an effort to assist with the processing costs associated with donating venison to a food bank. So far, a $100,000 subsidy grant was provided in two $50,000 allotments that are to be matched with funds generated or collected by FHFH. The division subsidized this year’s FHFH operation as an additional deer management tool, helping wildlife managers encourage hunters to kill more does.

Venison that is donated to food banks must be processed by a federal, state or locally inspected and insured meat processor that is participating with FHFH. Hunters wishing to donate their deer to a food bank are not required to pay for the processing of the venison as long as the program has funds available to cover the cost. There are currently 71 participating meat processors across the state. A list is provided atwww.fhfh.org.

Currently there are 31 local chapters across the state with a need for more. Anyone interested in becoming a local program coordinator or a participating meat processor should visit the “Local FHFH” page atwww.fhfh.org. The Web page includes a current list of coordinators, program names and the counties they serve.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com.

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Ohio Hunting Hotline 1-800-WILDLIFE

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COLUMBUS, OH – Individuals seeking information about the upcoming youth gun and white-tailed deer hunting seasons, or to report violations of state wildlife laws, can take advantage of extended call center hours from November 20 to December 5, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.

The 1-800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) general hunting information hotline will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.on Saturday, November 20 and Sunday, November 21, for the eighth annual youth deer-gun season.

Staff will also be available to answer calls prior to and during the regular deer-gun season, which begins Monday, November 29, and ends Sunday, December 5. Special call center hours prior to and during the state’s popular deer-gun season are as follows:

  • 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.on Friday, November 26
  • 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.on Saturday and Sunday, November 27-28
  • 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, November 29-December 3
  • 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.on Saturday and Sunday, December 4-5
  • The hotline will be closed on Thanksgiving Day

The extremely popular deer gun season is a period when many of Ohio’s hunters have last-minute questions and the Division of Wildlife will be ready and available to assist them. Hunters are encouraged to contact the division with any question that may arise.

Ohioans also are encouraged to help enforce state wildlife laws by reporting violations to the division’s Turn-in-a-Poacher (TIP) hotline at 1-800-POACHER (762-2437). The TIP hotline will also be open extended hours during the upcoming hunting seasons. Established in 1982, the TIP program allows individuals to anonymously call toll free from anywhere in the state to report wildlife violations. The 1-800-POACHER hotline is open for calls 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.

Tipsters may be eligible to receive a cash award and are urged to leave a message during closed hours with as much information about the suspected violation as can be provided. Tips can also be submitted online at wildohio.com.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com.

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Ohio Deer-Gun Season opens Nov. 29th

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COLUMBUS, OH – Ohio’s popular deer-gun season opens statewide on Monday, November 29, offering hunters a full week to harvest a whitetail. The upcoming season will again include an extra weekend of gun hunting on December 18-19, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.

Deer can be hunted with a legal muzzleloader, handgun or shotgun from one half-hour before sunrise to sunset through December 5 and December 18-19. With a pre-hunting season population estimate of 750,000 white-tailed deer, the ODNR Division of Wildlife anticipates 115,000 to 125,000 deer will be killed during the nine-day season. Approximately 420,000 hunters are expected to participate in this year’s season, including many out-of-state hunters.

The white-tailed deer is the most popular game animal in Ohio, frequently pursued by generations of hunters. Ohio ranks 8th nationally in annual hunting-related sales and 10th in the number of jobs associated with the hunting-related industry. Each year, hunting has a $859 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more.

Ohio is divided into three deer hunting zones. Beginning on the opening day of gun season and continuing through December 5 a limit of one deer may be taken in Zone A (20 counties) and two deer in Zone B (30 counties). A total of six deer may be harvested in eastern and southeastern Ohio’s Zone C (38 counties) through the week long gun season. The antlerless deer permit will be valid for deer-gun week only in Zone C.

Beginning on December 6, the bag limit is three deer in Zone C and antlerless deer permits are no longer valid. Any time a hunter is allowed to take more than one deer, they must purchase an additional permit.

Those hunting in urban units and at Division of Wildlife-authorized controlled hunts will have a six-deer bag limit, and those deer will not count against the hunter’s zone bag limit. Antlerless deer permits can be used for the entire season in urban deer units or Division of Wildlife-authorized controlled hunts. Antlerless deer permits must be purchased by November 28.

Hunters may take only one antlered deer, regardless of zone, hunting method or season. A deer permit is required in addition to a valid Ohio hunting license.

Approximately 60 to 75 sales agents throughout Ohio will be testing the newly designed fishing, hunting and trapping license and permit sales system during the 2010 fall hunting season. This test will be for licenses and permit sales only, electronic game check begins in spring 2011. Pilot licenses and permits will look different, but will still be valid. Each license buyer must have a Social Security Number (SSN) recorded in the system. Youth hunters and those hunters who have never had a driver’s license swiped during the license buying process must provide their SSN. The Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey process will be different than in the past. Hunters will be asked to call a toll-free number to register. More information on the testing can be found at wildohio.com.

Hunters are encouraged to kill more does this season using the reduced-priced antlerless deer permit and donate any extra venison to organizations assisting Ohioans in need. The division is collaborating with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry to help pay for the processing of donated venison. Hunters who donate their deer are not required to pay the processing cost as long as the deer are taken to a participating processor. Counties being served by this program can be found online at fhfh.org.

Additional hunting regulations and maps of the state’s deer zones are contained in the 2010-2011 Ohio Hunting & Trapping Regulations. This free publication is available wherever hunting licenses are sold, online at wildohio.com or by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE.

The 2010-2011 licenses will not be printed on weatherproof paper. Sportsmen and women should protect their licenses and permits from the elements by carrying them in a protective pouch or wallet.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com.

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When Deer Collide: Motorist Safety

HARRISBURG –Pennsylvania Game Commission Executive Director Carl G. Roe today urged motorists to stay alert and slow down when driving after dusk and before dawn to reduce their risk of colliding with a .

“Each spring, deer congregate on the grassy areas along the state’s busy highways, and cover greater distances in search of food,” Roe said.  “This activity makes vehicle collisions with deer all but inevitable.

“For the sake of public safety, the Game Commission is asking motorists to watch for deer and to drive defensively after dark and before sunrise, which is when deer are most active.  Your efforts can help to keep accidents to a minimum, which, in turn, will reduce or eliminate hardships to your family and other Pennsylvanians.”

Roe noted that being more knowledgeable about deer can help Pennsylvanians steer clear of a deer-vehicle collision. For instance, in spring, young deer – last year’s fawns – are on the move as does chase them away to prepare to give birth to this year’s fawns. Yearling does usually travel no farther than necessary and will often later reunite with the doe after her new fawns begin traveling with her. However, young bucks typically disperse farther to set up their own home range.

“Unfortunately, these young deer make tragic mistakes when crossing roads in spring and moving through areas unfamiliar to them,” said Roe. “They’re no longer following the leader, they’re moving independently. And that increases the potential for an accident, especially in areas harboring large deer populations.”

If a deer steps onto a road, Roe said, motorists should slow down and come to a controlled stop as soon as possible, and turn on their hazard flashers.  Stopping may not be an option on busy highways, unless the driver can reach the shoulder of the road.

“Don’t risk trying to drive around a deer,” Roe said.  “Since deer usually move in single file, more deer may be following, so you should stop, or at least slow down, to make sure all deer have passed.

“Also, deer sometimes abruptly reverse their direction right after crossing a road.  This is a defensive mechanism that often kicks in when deer are startled, and they retrace their footsteps to other deer they’re traveling with or return to an area they’ve already checked for danger.”

Deer in northern counties spend a good deal of time in spring feeding on the tender shoots in grassy areas alongside busy highways. Motorists should slow down immediately whenever they see grazing deer along roads.  While deer dining next to busy highways and interstates are often not bothered by the traffic, deer along rural roads seem less tolerant and are more edgy.

“The only thing predictable about whitetails is that they’re definitely unpredictable,” Roe said. “The moment you think you have them figured out, they start showing you something new.

“However, we also know that deer are creatures of habit. If you see a deer-crossing sign posted along a road you’re traveling, it’s a good idea to slow down especially around dawn and dusk. These signs are placed in areas where deer have been crossing roads for years. Ignoring these signs is asking for trouble.”

Drivers who hit a deer are not required to report the accident to the Game Commission. If the deer dies, only Pennsylvania residents may claim the carcass.  To do so, they must call the Game Commission for a permit number within 24 hours of taking possession of the deer.

However, to report a dead deer for removal from state roads, motorists can call the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation at 1-800-FIX-ROAD.

The permit number issued by the agency lets meat processors and law enforcement officials know that possession of the deer is legal, and not the result of poaching.  Antlers from bucks killed in vehicle collisions must be turned over to the Game Commission.

If a deer is struck by a vehicle, but not killed, drivers are urged to stay their distance because some deer may recover and move on.  However, if a deer does not move on, or poses a public safety risk, drivers are encouraged to report the incident to a Game Commission regional office or other local law enforcement agency.  If the deer must be put down, the Game Commission will direct the proper person to do so.

Other tips for motorists:

  • Stay alert and don’t count on deer whistles or deer fences to deter deer from crossing roads in front of you. Deer can’t hear ultrasonic frequencies and there is no scientific evidence that deer whistles are effective.
  • Watch for the reflection of deer eyes and for deer silhouettes on the shoulders of roads. If anything looks slightly suspicious, slow down.
  • Slow down in areas known to have a large deer population; where deer-crossing signs are posted; places where deer commonly cross roads or are struck by motorists; areas where roads divide agricultural fields from forests; and whenever in forested areas between dusk and dawn.
  • Deer do unpredictable things. Sometimes they stop in the middle of the road when crossing. Sometimes they cross and quickly re-cross back from where they came. Sometimes they move toward an approaching vehicle. Assume nothing. Slow down, blow your horn to urge the deer to leave the road. Stop if a deer stays on the road; don’t try to go around it.
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Springtime Safety Alert: Leave that Cute and Cuddly Critter Alone

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HARRISBURG – Whether hiking in the woods, driving through the countryside or simply enjoying nature in your backyard, Pennsylvania Game Commission officials encourage outdoor enthusiasts to leave wildlife alone, and in the wild, especially young of the year.
“Being outdoors in the spring is an enjoyable way to spend time and learn more about nature,” said Calvin W. DuBrock, Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Management director. “In the coming months, it will become common to find young deer, rabbits, birds, raccoons or other wildlife, some of which may appear to be abandoned. Rest assured that in most cases, the young animal is not an orphan or abandoned and the best thing you can do is to leave it alone.”

Meet The Parents?

DuBrock noted adult animals often leave their young while the adults forage for food. Also, wildlife often relies on a natural defensive tactic called the “hider strategy,” where young animals will remain motionless and “hide” in surrounding cover while adults draw the attention of potential predators or other intruders away from their young.

“While it may appear as if the adults are abandoning their young, in reality, this is just the animal using its natural instincts to protect its young,” DuBrock said. “Nature also protects young animals with camouflaging color to avoid being detected by predators.

No, We Cannot Keep It

“Wild animals are not meant to be pets, and we must all resist our well-meaning and well-intentioned urge to want to care for wildlife. Taking wildlife from its natural settings and into your home may expose or transmit wildlife diseases to people or domestic animals. Wildlife also may carry parasites – such as fleas, ticks or lice – that you wouldn’t want infesting you, your family, your home or your pets.”
DuBrock noted that, each year, people ignore this advice by taking wildlife into their homes and then are urged to undergo treatment for possible exposure to various wildlife-borne diseases, such as rabies.
“In nearly all cases, people’s well-meaning and well-intentioned actions still require that the animal be put down in the interest of public health,” he said. “Unfortunately, pop-culture has instilled in people a certain stereotype of what a rabid animal looks like. And, while some animals will act vicious and even foam at the mouth, many times an infected animal will be quiet and still, or simply appear uncoordinated or unafraid. Handling these animals can result in exposure to rabies and require that someone undergo treatment as a precaution, especially if the animal can’t be captured for testing.”
In addition to protecting public health, Game Commission Bureau of Wildlife Protection Director Rich Palmer said that the agency also is concerned with wildlife implications from humans handling wildlife.

Humans Can Be Habit Forming

“Habituating wildlife to humans is a serious concern, because if wildlife loses its natural fear of humans it can pose a public safety risk,” Palmer said. “For example, a few years ago, a yearling, six-point buck attacked and severely injured two people. Our investigation revealed that a neighboring family had illegally taken the deer into their home and fed it as a fawn. This family continued to feed the deer right up until the time of the attack.
“This particular incident was the subject of numerous news stories around the state, and serves as a fitting example of the possible consequences that can stem from feeding or simply getting too close to wildlife.”
In addition, Palmer noted that it is illegal to take or possess wildlife from the wild. Under state law, the penalty for such a violation is a fine of up to $1,500 per animal.

“Under no circumstances will anyone who illegally takes wildlife into captivity be allowed to keep that animal,” Palmer said. “While residents love to view wildlife and are very compassionate, they must enjoy wildlife from a distance and allow nature to run its course.”

Rabies

Palmer also pointed out that, under a working agreement with state health officials, any “high risk” rabies vector species confiscated after human contact must be euthanized and tested; it cannot be returned to the wild. Though any mammal may carry rabies, species identified in the agreement are: skunks, raccoons, foxes, bats, coyotes and groundhogs.

“Except for some species of bats, populations of all other rabies vector species are thriving,” Palmer said. “Therefore, to protect public health and safety, it only makes sense to put down an animal for testing, rather than risk relocating a potentially rabid animal, and to answer the question of whether any people were exposed to the rabies virus.”

DuBrock said it is always wise to avoid wild animals and even strange domestic pets because of the potential rabies risk.

“Animals infected with rabies may not show obvious symptoms, but still may be able to transmit the disease,” DuBrock.

People can get rabies from the saliva of a rabid animal if they are bitten or scratched, or if the saliva gets into the person’s eyes, mouth or a fresh wound. The last human rabies fatality in Pennsylvania was a 12‑year‑old Lycoming County boy who died in 1984

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