The Blade’s weekly hunting report: 1-27 – Toledo Blade

■ Final Stretch: The lengthy Ohio archery season for deer, which opened on Sept. 24, ends on Feb. 5. The last days of the hunt can be the toughest, because the whitetails have been chased throughout the more than four-month run, and the recent pattern of rain and warm weather will make things even tougher. “This is a hard time to hunt under normal circumstances, but now we don’t have the cold and snow cover to have these deer moving around,” said Rock Vetell of Rock Solid Archery in Haskins. “They don’t have to move much, so they are probably herded up in secure range right now. It will take a lot of work, but if you see one, you might see 15, so the guys who are wiling to put in the time might have a chance to fill another tag before the season closes.” The second and final phase of the Michigan archery season ended on Jan. 1.

■ Big Chill: Sometimes the best hunt can take place in the worst of conditions. Illinois hunter Steve Niemerg relayed an account of an outing in the nastiest weather imaginable, perched in a tree stand with temperatures of 10-below zero, a wind chill of minus-35 degrees, and two feet of snow covering the ground. Niemerg was staking out a food plot when he raised the bow as one big buck paced into the soybeans and began to feed. Then along came an even bigger deer, one the hunters in the area had named “Hog Wild.” Niemerg stuck an arrow in the giant late in the day, and later found Hog Wild under a pine tree. The deer’s rack measured at 197 inches.

■ Ohio Muzzleloader: Hunters harvested 15,843 whitetailed deer during the Jan. 7-10 muzzleloader season, according to statistics released by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. The harvest count during the previous year’s muzzleloader season was 12,503 deer. Ohio ranks fifth nationally in the number of resident hunters.

■ Seasons, Changes Proposed: For the 2017-18 small game and migratory bird hunting seasons, the Ohio Wildlife Council has recommended adding 11 counties to the 2017 fall wild turkey season, modifying waterfowl bag limits by increasing the canvasback daily bag limit from one to two and decreasing the pintail daily bag limit from two to one, and changing the age requirements for those participating in youth waterfowl season from age 15 and younger to 17 and younger. The hunting season dates proposed by the ODNR Division of Wildlife seek to maintain many traditional opening dates. A complete list of proposed rules changes can be found at the website. An open house where the public can ask questions and comment on hunting, trapping and fishing regulations will be held on March 4 at the Wildlife District II office in Findlay. The wildlife council will vote on the proposed rules and season dates after considering public input.

■ Michigan Wild Turkey: The Michigan spring season runs April 17 through May 31, and the Spring Turkey Digest outlines the regulations, season dates and hunt units. The application period for spring turkey hunting permits runs through Feb. 1. A $5 spring turkey application can be purchased anywhere hunting licenses are sold or online at the website. Starting March 6, applicants can check online to see if they have been drawn for a permit. Any leftover licenses will be sold until the quota is met in each hunt unit and hunt period. Hunt 234 licenses go on sale over the counter March 20, and no application is required. Hunt 234, valid May 1-31, offers the most days to hunt, and is open statewide except on public land in southern Michigan.

■ Ohio Wild Turkey: The spring season is split into the Northeast Zone (Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, and Trumbull counties), and the South Zone (the remainder of the state). Turkey hunting hours in the NE Zone are 30 minutes before sunrise to noon from May 1-14, and 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset from May 15-28. In the South Zone, hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to noon from April 24 -May 7, and 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset May 8-21.

Contact Blade outdoors editor Matt Markey at: or 419-724-6068.

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