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I finished my last day of deer hunting for the season yesterday afternoon, Jan. 6. It was the second day of Ohio’s four-day statewide muzzleloader season, which began Saturday and continues through Tuesday.

If you happened to hunt in Ohio this past weekend, or do anything at all in the woods, you know that it was a bit difficult getting around. The temperature was a mild 30-plus during the day, but the six inches of snow that covered the ground made it difficult to walk.

I can usually go several miles a day without a problem, but when you’re picking up heavy, snow-weighted boots and crunching through snow drifts, it changes things a bit. Walking a mile in deep snow is about like walking two miles on a dry day, and one day’s hunt can easily feel like two. That’s how I felt Saturday night after hunting two of my family’s farms in both Wayne and Holmes counties.

Worth the effort

Despite the challenge, though, it was a beautiful weekend to be in the woods and to walk across snow-covered fields. The wind was mostly calm and at least there was no active precipitation. I did not see nearly as many deer as I had hoped, but there were ample signs they’re still around — tracks and beds everywhere and lots of black and yellow deposits, too.

Three of the people in my hunting group took shots, and they all three missed. One person — my dad — bumped his trigger before he intended to and missed up his opportunity at a buck.

My group probably saw a dozen deer over the weekend — far fewer than usual. I’m not sure the reason — whether the population is going down again or if they were just all herded together in an area we did not hunt. I’m betting on the latter.

But, it’s always good to end a hunting season without anyone getting hurt and at least the “evidence” that there are still plenty of deer in the area, even if I only saw a few.

In December, I managed to shoot a doe during Ohio’s shotgun season. I’m not one to brag about a doe, but I was happy with that, because my main meat source is venison and I needed something new for my freezer.

More chances

In the coming weekends, I look forward to a different type of hunting — cottontail rabbit. That season continues through February in Ohio and I usually hunt rabbits until the second week of February. I use beagles for most of the work and my family is in the process of training a couple new beagle pups — after putting our best dog to sleep due to cancer.

The other popular seasons are squirrel and Fox (through Jan. 31). There are a few species in season even longer, but after about mid-February, I’m starting to get anxious for the other outdoor sport — fishing. I don’t ice fish, but when the water warms enough for the bass to become active, I’ll be out there with rod and reel.

Your experience?

How did your hunting season go this year? Or, I should ask, how is it going? There are still some good opportunities coming up and if you shoot anything exciting, please send us the pictures!

 

Chris Kick lives in Wooster, Ohio. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University. He spends his free time on his grandparents’ farms in Wayne and Holmes counties.
Chris Kick
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