By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest-running outdoor radio show
With Ohio’s whitetail deer hunting season recently over, I found it interesting that hunters nationally harvested an estimated 6.3 million whitetail deer during the 2020-21 hunting season. , the most since 2011. That’s according to the latest report from the National Deer Association. deer report, who also noted that antlered and antlerless deer harvests were up in the 2019 season, but the estimated buck harvest of 3,041,544 was the highest in 21 years.
“2020 saw the highest male crop of the new century, and amazingly we believe we have set a new record for the percentage of these males aged 3.5 or older,” said Kip Adams, director of retention of the NDA. “American hunters are taking fewer yearling bucks and killing more as adults, but that doesn’t mean fewer bucks harvested overall. We kill older dollars and more dollars than ever in America.
The steadily increasing percentage of 3.5+ year old bucks in the harvest is the result of decreasing pressure nationwide on yearling (1.5 year old) bucks. Only 26% of the 2020 timber cock harvest were yearlings, another new record in modern history. The total harvest of 3,041,544 males increased by 5.3% compared to the previous season. It is estimated that 41% of them were 3½ years or older, or 1.2 million. While hunters killed slightly more bucks in total during the 1999 record season, the national harvest at that time was over 50% yearlings, so the 2020 season likely saw the highest number of bucks. mature killed by American hunters in modern history.
Nationally, the antlerless harvest (which includes doe and buck fawns) jumped 12% from the previous season to 3,207,937, reversing a three-year decline and bringing the number back above by 3 million for the first time since 2013. The estimate of timberless harvest has also increased. above the antlered buck crop for the first time since 2016. The modern antlerless crop first exceeded the antlered buck crop in the 1999 season and stayed there until it was slightly lower to the harvest of males in 2017, 2018 and 2019.
“We know that hunting license sales in 2020 were up about 5% over 2019, and these license buyers brought home half a million more white-tailed deer than the previous season, or an increase of nearly 9%,” Adams said. “They helped increase the antlerless buck crop above the buck crop where it needs to be, but they also saw more mature bucks in the antlers than ever before. Hunters are clearly reaping the benefits of more naturally balanced age structures in herds across the white-tailed deer range.
Among other facts found in Deer Report:
- 65% of deer caught in the 2020-21 season were killed with a firearm compared to 26% with archery equipment and 9% with a muzzleloader.
- Texas had the highest total buck harvest of any state at 449,933, but Alabama saw the largest increase in buck harvest from the previous season of any state, climbing more than 27,000.
- Delaware increased its buck harvest by the highest percentage of any state at 57%, and Delaware also took first place in buck harvest per square mile, at 3.9.
- Mississippi killed the most dollars per 100 hunters at 74.
The Fish Ohio program records nearly 9,000 entries
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Wildlife Division compiled the 2021 Fish Ohio submissions, and the results show that 8,943 anglers landed at least one qualified fish last year. Bids were high for walleye in Lake Erie, as well as sageye, crappie and largemouth bass in Ohio’s inland lakes.
The Fish Ohio program highlights incredible catches in inland lakes and reservoirs, Lake Erie, the Ohio River and other waterways for 25 of Ohio’s most popular sport fish. Those who catch a qualified fish receive a Fish Ohio pin for first entry and a Master Angler pin for catching four separate qualifying species in the same year. Each year’s pin features a different species, and in 2022 the headliner is a black crappie. Fish Ohio pin requests are accepted at fishohio.gov.
Lake Erie is known as the walleye capital of the world and is the best place to catch Ohio walleye. To qualify for Fish Ohio, a walleye must be 28 inches or taller. In 2021, anglers caught 1,392 Fish Ohio walleyes in Lake Erie, the largest of which was 34 inches long.
According to the Division of Wildlife, some of the most popular species in inland lakes are largemouth bass, sageye, and crappie. Saugeye over 21 inches, Largemouth Bass over 20 inches, and Crappie over 13 inches qualify for Fish Ohio status. Visit wildohio.gov for more details on the Fish Ohio program.
MWCD Receives Ohio BUILDS Grant
The Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District (MWCD) received a $1.55 million grant from the Ohio Department of Development, Ohio BUILDS Water Infrastructure Grant Program. Governor DeWine created the Ohio BUILDS Water Infrastructure Grant Program to reduce or eliminate the local financial burden associated with critical infrastructure needs, such as building new water systems, replacement of aging water pipes and installation of new water pipes. Grants also fund projects to prevent sewer system back-ups and replace failing domestic sewage treatment systems with new sewers.
The MWCD grant will fund the construction of a new 8,000 gallon per day wastewater treatment plant, two new pump stations with force lines and a gravity collection to connect the marina building, existing restrooms and rental cabins with a new RV dump station in the North Fork area of Lake Leesville. Currently, on-site sanitary wastewater is collected in a number of holding tanks, which are periodically pumped out. The installation of this new treatment will eliminate possible threats to water quality.
The project is currently in design and construction will begin in 2022. Since applications opened for the program in late July, the Ohio Department of Development has received more than 1,200 grant applications requesting funding of nearly $1 .4 billion dollars.