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Deer Gun Season: Good for Rural Ohio’s Economy and Habitat

November 30, 2009

COLUMBUS, Ohio - It's not just about the hunt: Ohio wildlife officials say Deer-Gun season, which kicks off today in the state, is like an annual economic stimulus package for the rural parts of the state. About 420,000 hunters are expected to be out in pursuit of 650,000 deer. It's called Deer-Gun season because hunters are allowed to use shotguns, handguns, and muzzle-loaders, with separate regulations for hunters with longbows or crossbows.

Jim Wentz, spokesman with the League of Ohio Sportsmen, says much of the $859 million dollars spent by hunters in Ohio is spent during this one week.

"About 90 percent of our hunters hunt deer, and most of that activity takes place during the week after Thanksgiving. So they are out buying gasoline, food, clothing, ammunition, and traveling around - and spending a lot of money."

Not everyone in Ohio likes the idea of shooting deer, but according to wildlife experts, regulated harvest is essential to manage the deer population, because all the natural predators in the area are gone. And Wentz says it's important to try to maintain a good balance, not only for the habitat, but also for those who have problems with deer.

"Urban areas are trying to reduce the numbers of deer; approximately 2,000 farmers a year file deer-damage complaints. And, of course, many people have unfortunate run-ins with their vehicles on the roads with deer."

To have a great season, Jim Wentz says, people need to keep safety in mind. That includes treating every firearm as if it's loaded, clearly identifying a target before firing, wearing hunter orange, and following regulations.

State wildlife research biologist Mike Tonkovich says hunters should take advantage of the reduced-priced, antlerless deer permit. He says removing bucks does not do much good, in terms of population control.

"We're strongly encouraging hunters to continue with their great effort to date at harvesting antlerless deer, and perhaps taking an extra one this year and donating it to "Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry."

This season includes an extra weekend of gun hunting, December 19 and 20.

For more information on the Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry program, go to
www.leagueofohiosportsmen.org

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH