Thanksgiving is over. The next big holiday is Christmas — unless you are a deer hunter. In that case it comes as early as Monday — the opening of Ohio deer-gun season.
For hunters who don’t partake in archery season, which opened Sept. 29, this is their first shot at harvesting a deer for the year. But there are some archery hunters who will avoid stepping into the woods at all costs during the upcoming week.
A lot of hunters have already harvested their deer for the year. Personally, I’ve become less interested in gun season than in years past due to my enjoyment of archery hunting. With the rut nearing its end and the onset of snow and colder temperatures, it’s easy to shift your attention from hunting to other hobbies this time of year.
Last weekend, young hunters harvested 6,563 white-tailed deer statewide as a part of the two-day youth gun season. In Lorain County, 58 deer were harvested compared to 39 during last year’s youth season. As of Nov. 13, Lorain County has seen 730 checked white-tailed deer this season — slightly lower than last year’s harvest numbers around Thanksgiving.
For those taking to the woods Monday, be sure to exercise special caution and take the proper safety measures to ensure a successful hunt. Keeping yourself and other hunters out of harm’s way during gun season is paramount.
- Wear blaze orange. As elementary as this sounds, the number of hunters multiplies by an incredible number during this week. Standing out and making sure you cannot be confused for anything other than another person goes a long way in staying safe.
- Treat your gun as if it is loaded at all times.
- Keep your safety on and finger off the trigger until you have identified your target and are ready to shoot. This one sounds like common sense, but the trigger guard is called that for a reason. Until you are sure you can make the shot and what you’re shooting is a deer, don’t mess with the trigger. The safety being on is a no brainer. That’s why it’s there.
- Point the firearm in a safe direction, away from people and always know what is behind your target.
Thinking and being aware of your surroundings will help, too. Legal shooting time is 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Sunrise in Elyria on Monday for the gun season opener is at 7:29 a.m. with sunset at 5:01 p.m.
What seems like common sense can get lost in the pursuit of a deer, or another type of trophy.
We’ve all seen unethical hunters, anglers and people who have shown a lack of respect for the sport and our resources. No trophy is worth putting safety, ego or anyone’s well-being on the back burner. Respecting property lines, others and being safe are the things to remember when heading out for gun season.
The deer-gun season will run through Sunday, Dec. 2.
Ohio does have a few other gun-hunting opportunities with extended gun season taking place on Dec. 15-16.
Deer-muzzleloader season is Jan. 5-8. Archery season is open through Feb. 3.