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How Ohio deer hunting has changed

Deer gun week kicks off Monday
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Posted at 6:00 AM, Nov 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-28 06:39:31-05

MOGADORE, Ohio — Monday marks the start of Ohio's deer gun hunting season.

While the designated “gun week" and "bonus days” remain popular, data shows it’s another weapon of choice helping the sport grow.

The Ohio Division of Wildlife, which monitors and tracks deer hunting, shows that while gun hunters accounted for 90% of the deer harvested 40 years ago, it’s no longer that way.

Now, archers account for about half the deer killed, while gun hunting only amounts to about 35%.

"There's a lot more opportunity there," Jamey Emmert with the Ohio Division of Wildlife explained. "The season is longer. For folks who don’t want to go out and be really cold, you can go in the early season and you also have such a long span of a season, that it’s a little bit easier and you can fit it in the schedule perhaps."

Inside Hunter’s Outlet Archery Center in Suffield, owner Tim Vandegrift never strays too far away from the phone.

"This time of the year, it never stops," he smiled. "Last three years have been total madness."

Ohio’s four month-long archery season began back in September and as Vandegrift points out, if you haven't seen the equipment lately, it's quite different.

"What we sold ten years ago is completely obsolete to what you buy today," he explained. "In comparison, a crossbow ten years ago, a really good one, shot 225 feet per second. Now we’re over the boundary of 500 feet per second."

Deer hunt decline?

So is deer hunting a growing sport or not? That depends who you ask.

Many processors and sellers News 5 spoke with pointed to a rise in sales over the years and hunters agreed.

At Duma Deer Processing in Mogadore, they’re busy even before the deer gun season starts.

"As of right now, I feel we’re busier than we have been in the past even without hitting gun week," Phil Everett at Duma Deer Processing said.

However, the Ohio Division of Wildlife's data shows how the number of deer permits issued each year continues to fall. Last year, about 404,000 permits were issued, a 35% drop compared to the peak of nearly 625,000 in 2009.

The pandemic did cause a temporary bump in the 2020-2021 season.

November means rise in deer-related car crashes

For drivers on the road, yes, you probably have noticed more deer this past month.

According to data from the Ohio State Highway Patrol, in November alone, there’s been more than 22,000 deer related crashes reported over the past six years. That’s more than triple almost every other month during the year.

RELATED: Parma Heights to move forward with deer culling program in 2023

About half of all deer related crashes occur in October, November and December.

Here are the dates for the deer hunting season:

  • Archery: Sept. 24, 2022-Feb. 5, 2023
  • Youth deer gun: Nov. 19-20, 2022
  • Deer gun: Nov. 28-Dec. 4, 2022; Dec. 17-18, 2022
  • Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 7-10, 2023

Hunting is permitted beginning 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. For more information, click here.

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