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White-tailed deer hunters successful on gun season opening day

From the Ohio Department of Natural Resources

-- Ohio hunters had near ideal weather for the opening day of deer-gun season. Hunters took 33,607 white-tailed deer on Monday, Nov. 30,  according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. The deer-gun season remains open through Sunday, Dec. 6, and then reopens for two days,  Dec. 19-20.

The preliminary figures from deer check stations throughout the state show a slight increase of 1.7 percent from last year's opening day total of 33,034.

Counties reporting the highest numbers of deer checked on Monday included Tuscarawas-1,763, Harrison-1,374, Coshocton-1,353, Guernsey-1,284, Licking-1,182, Holmes-1,165, Washington-1,010, Athens-925, Ashtabula-836, and Muskingum-799.

Combining the results of Monday's harvest with those from the early muzzleloader season, the first six weeks of archery season and the recent youth deer-gun season, a preliminary total of 97,371 deer have been killed so far this deer hunting season. That number compares to 95,074 harvested last year at this time. In all, hunters took a total of 252,017 deer during all of last year's hunting seasons.

Approximately 420,000 hunters are expected to participate in the statewide deer-gun season. Ohio's deer population was estimated to be 650,000 prior to the start of the fall hunting seasons.

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.

Division of Wildlife Chief Dave Graham challenges all deer hunters to make this year special for Ohio’s hungry by labeling  Dec.5, as Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) Day. Last year, hunters showed they cared by donating nearly 220,000 meals to Ohioans in need.

Hunters who give their deer to a food bank are not required to pay the processing cost as long as the deer are taken to a participating processor and funding for the effort lasts. Counties being served by this program can be found online at www.fhfh.org.

Hunters who wish to share their success can submit a photo of themselves and the deer they killed this year for publication on the Division of Wildlife's Web page. A detailed listing of deer-hunting rules is contained in the 2009-2010 Ohio Hunting Regulations, available wherever licenses are sold, and online at wildohio.com.

The 2009-2010 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.

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