Published Thu, Dec 1, 2011 12:50 pm Dateline
Updated Thu, Dec 1, 2011 1:42 pm
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources says two new options to check game were used by 75 percent of hunters.
This is the first year that deer hunters have been able to report their kill by phone or the Internet.
Ohio Division of Wildlife Spokeswoman Lindsay Rist says gun hunters have bagged 24,000 white tail deer since the opening of the hunting season Monday.
This number is 40 percent fewer deer killed compared to last year's hunt.
Rainy weather across the state on Monday may explain the drop in hunt numbers.
But, this year more hunters are using bows and arrows to hunt deer.
Rist says the growing popularity of archery may also explain the lower numbers of deer killed with guns.
"A lot people are getting out, trying out compound bows and cross bows and having more time in the field," Rist says.
The Ohio archery season goes from the end of September through the beginning of February.
To hunt legally, everyone has to pass the Ohio hunter safety test, purchase a hunting license, a deer permit, and obtain permission on the land where they hunt. This week's hunt ends Sunday, but another hunt will be held on the weekend of Dec. 17-18.
"We are trying to give hunters more time in the field," says Rist. "Having the time off between the first week and that extra weekend gives the deer a chance to settle back down."
People can donate their extra venison to the Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry program, a nonprofit initiative that said it helped feed nearly half a million hungry Ohioans last year.