Deer hunters who harvest a deer on or near the Kinzua Quality Deer Cooperative are encouraged to bring their deer to the official checking stations Monday and Tuesday. Hunters bringing in a legal antlered deer will receive one raffle ticket, and those bringing in antlerless deer will receive two tickets for a drawing for prizes including a rifle, prints and scopes. All deer are weighed and checked for sex, age and health, and additional data are collected on antlered deer for points, spread and beam diameter. The data collected provides critical information used in managing the herd.
The checking stations are at Warehouse Inn and Restaurant, state Routes 59 and 321 near Marshburg, Pa.; Willows Restaurant, Route 346 and Forest Road; and Westline Inn, three miles west of U.S. Route 219. All stations will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Dec. 3. The Warehouse and Willows stations also will be open during those hours Dec. 10.
Youths bag more deer
COLUMBUS -- Young hunters across Ohio took advantage of great weather last weekend, taking 31 percent more deer than in 2004, during the Third Annual Youth Deer-Gun Season. Hunters age 17 and under killed 8,722 deer in the special two-day season, aimed at providing a high-quality hunt for youngsters, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Last year's youth hunt saw a deer harvest of 6,673.
The Division of Wildlife estimated 15,000 young hunters took to the fields and forests during the two-day season. Counties reporting the greatest number of deer killed were Tuscarawas (390), Holmes (334), Harrison (269), Guernsey (255), and Coshocton (252).
"In only three years, the Youth Deer-Gun Season has become the most popular of all seasons for young hunters," said Steven A. Gray, chief of the Division of Wildlife. "We are thrilled with the success of these special youth-only hunts, which have helped Ohio become a national leader in attracting young people to the outdoors."
Sales of youth licenses have grown steadily during the past three years: 34,459 (2002), 39,491 (2003), and 41,562 (2004).
The youth deer-gun season was open statewide on both private and public land. Young hunters could take one deer of either sex, in accordance with bag and deer-zone limits. Shotguns, muzzleloaders, handguns and bows were legal. All participants were required to wear hunter orange, possess a valid Ohio hunting license and special deer permit, and be accompanied by a nonhunting adult.
This recent hunt is one of four special youth-only dates designed to promote the sport of hunting among young Ohioans. Special days are also set aside for upland game, wild turkey and waterfowl hunting opportunities.
Youngsters and all other hunters will have another chance at taking a whitetail during next week's statewide deer-gun season, which runs Monday through Dec. 4.
Gifts from ODNR
COLUMBUS -- Choosing the right holiday gift for the outdoor enthusiast in your life has never been easier, thanks to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Fishing maps and nature guides, as well as Ohio State Parks gift cards, merchandise and camping discounts all will make great gifts during the holiday season.
Gift ideas and many more are easy to find by visiting ohiodnr.com.
Hikes offered at parks
COLUMBUS -- Outdoor enthusiasts are invited to bundle up and hit the trail this winter during one of the many hikes scheduled to take place at Ohio State Parks this season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
There's no better way to enjoy the holiday season than with a stroll in the crisp winter air through Hocking Hills State Park in Hocking County on Dec. 10. Celebrate Christmas in Ash Cave from 5 to 7 p.m. at the park. Bundle up and enjoy a bonfire, refreshments, caroling, a visit with Santa and holiday tree decorating for wildlife. For information, call (740) 385-6841.
Marvel at the artistry of snow and ice on a brisk, naturalist-led, Winter Hike through the scenic woodlands at Sycamore State Park in Montgomery County on Jan. 14. The 2 p.m. hike begins at the horsemen's area parking lot off of Wolf Creek Pike. For information, call (513) 523-6347.
Explore nature's winter glory during any of the three Winter Hikes being offered Jan. 15 at Mohican State Park in Ashland and Richland counties. Hikes begin at 10 a.m. For information, call (419) 994-5125.
Take part in Hocking Hills State Park's 41st Annual Winter Hike in Hocking County on Jan. 21. The six-mile trek features continuous starts from 9 to 11 a.m. from Old Man's Cave to Ash Cave. Be sure to dress warmly and wear sturdy footwear. Bean soup, cornbread and hot chocolate will be available for a donation. A shuttle bus returns hikers to the Old Man's Cave parking lot. For information, call (740) 385-6841.
Experience the beauty of winter on a three-mile or six-mile hike through the mature woodlands and scenic trails of Findley State Park in Lorain County on Feb. 4. The 10 a.m. hike begins at the Nature Center and ends with a serving of hot bean soup and cornbread. Call (440) 647-5749 for information.
Learn about the habits of Ohio's owls along guided Evening Owl Walks at Malabar Farm State Park in Richland County on Feb. 4 and 11. Walks begin at 7:30 p.m. Preregistration is required. Call (419) 892-2784 for information.
See how snowy winter blankets the meadows and valleys of Caesar Creek State Park in Warren County on Feb. 11 during the park's Winter Hike. Hikers will depart continuously between 10 a.m. to noon from the Wellman Meadows boat ramp off Oregonia Road. Warm up afterward with a cup of bean soup. Call (513) 897-2437 for information.
On Feb. 11, take a romantic stroll during the popular Sweethearts Hike at Hocking Hills State Park. The hike is from 5 to 7 p.m. and begins at the Ash Cave parking lot. Afterward, enjoy a cozy fire and refreshments. Call (740) 385-6841 for information.
Call in the owls and learn about their habitat during a crisp evening Owl Prowl at Van Buren State Park in Hancock County on Feb. 18. The prowl is from 7 to 9 p.m. and begins at the nature center. Call (419) 832-7662 for information.
Gun season for deer
COLUMBUS -- Ohio's popular deer-gun season opens statewide Monday. Deer hunters will see some of the most liberal deer hunting regulations ever offered, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
The deer-gun season will be open from Monday through Dec. 4, from a half-hour before sunrise to sunset. With a pre-hunting season population estimate of 650,000 white-tailed deer, the Division of Wildlife anticipates a kill of 120,000 to 130,000 deer during the weeklong hunt. Approximately 400,000 hunters are expected to participate in this year's season, including a record number of out-of-state hunters.
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.
Additional hunting regulations and maps of the state's deer zones are contained in the 2005-2006 Ohio Hunting Regulations. This free publication is available wherever hunting licenses are sold, online at ohiodnr.com or by calling (800) WILDLIFE.
Deer hunters also contribute thousands of pounds of venison to organizations that help feed less-fortunate Ohioans through special programs.
For additional news and photos online, check out the ODNR Press Room at ohiodnr.com.
Pa. board to meet
The Pennsylvania Board of Game Commissioners will have a meeting at 3 p.m. Thursday to take a formal vote and announce its selection for executive director. The meeting will be in the auditorium of the Harrisburg, Pa., headquarters, 2001 Elmerton Ave., off the Progress Avenue exit of Interstate 81.