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A Much Needed Fall Frost

September 12, 2017 - Larry Claypool
Welcome to September, and nearly the fall season. The Autumn Equinox ‘falls’ on September 22 and officially marks the beginning of fall in the northern hemisphere. The word equinox means “equal night”, which leaves us with an equal 12-hour shift for daylight and nighttime. For hunters, you just want to know how much daylight will be available to hunt. For our hunters, here’s what you have to look forward to: archery deer season opens September 30 in Ohio; gun season is set for November 27 and fall turkey season opens October 14. Archery season and cool weather can not come fast enough for hunters in this region. Many parts of the area have been hard hit by the summer midge deer virus, known as Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD). And now the only thing that’s sure to quell the deer midge — and stop killing the whitetail deer — is a good fall frost. *See my story on EHD on Page 8. Many hunters I’ve spoken with are concerned about the low number of deer that will be available to hunt. Some have mentioned skipping the fall archery season due to the potential low numbers. The EHD virus does not discriminate which class of deer it eliminates. Farmers and local hunters have found many does, fawns and bucks dead or sick in this region. One southern Columbiana County farmer said 18 of 21 deer he’s recorded on trail cameras near his farm this summer are apparently dead from the disease. And some of the deer lost have been impressive bucks. While not much, or anything, can be done by the ODNR or wildlife community to save the sick animals, questions still arise from hunters about whether they should make the effort to hunt this fall or eat meat from deer harvested this season. Hunters will have to see how that plays out. For the ODNR’s part they have tested some deer for EHD but haven’t reported any large number of deer kills in this region. This concerns hunters who have knowledge of high deer deaths in their area while the DNR is reporting minimal deaths due to the disease. The difference between what hunters and farmers are finding about deer deaths is far off from what the DNR is reporting. That leaves the question for hunters, what gives? Is the DNR concerned about hunters not wanting to hunt this year? Which would mean many less hunting licenses purchased this year. We all know that hunting license sales have been dropping the past 20 years. Enough that the ODNR has been forced to make changes in how they operate, and have cut back on some programs due to revenue losses. Although many sportsmen in Ohio have realized there is some need to balance a tough budget within the ODNR and Division of Wildlife, the agency doesn’t need any more negative press that it’s gathered this summer. The ODNR chiefs haven’t caught a break since national wildlife watchdog The Sportsmen’s Alliance, of Columbus, OH, led a coalition of 41 conservation groups to help convince the state legislature to approve increases in non-resident hunting and fishing licenses to help the state’s situation. That battle continues to go back and forth. For more information about The Sportsmen’s Alliance’s efforts, visit their website at:


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