Hunters took 8 percent fewer deer throughout the central Ohio region of Franklin County and its six bordering counties during the weeklong deer-gun season last week.
There were 3,557 white-tailed deer checked in throughout the seven-county region, down from 4,004 last year, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.
Ohio’s total of 66,759 deer was down 9 percent from last year when 73,392 were checked.
Licking County experienced the largest decrease in the annual deer harvest, with hunters bagging 256 fewer animals from the previous year — 1,609 versus 1,865. Fairfield and Pickaway counties trailed behind, each recording fewer kills — 79 and 75, respectively — than in 2015, ODNR’s Wildlife division reported.
Both Franklin and Madison counties bucked the statewide trend, recording slight increases in the harvest. Two dozen more deer were recorded in Franklin County, while Madison County reported an additional 11 animals over last year.
Two days of deer-gun season remain on Dec. 17-18. The muzzleloader season is Jan. 7-10 and archery season remains open through Feb. 5.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife says Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries.
Hunting has a more than $853 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.