Bon Poland’s antlered deer season ended an hour after it started on opening day Saturday.
Poland, 23, headed out at dawn with a bow and a buddy and dropped a 13-point buck at a friend’s property near Norwalk.
“First day, an hour and 10 minutes and I get a monster,” Poland said.
While Poland clearly had good luck this season, Bob Ford of the Ohio Division of Wildlife said the year is looking bright for all hunters.
“Basically, as far as the overall population statewide, last year we saw a slight increase in the herd size,” he said. “That will continue this year. Just a very modest increase over 2009.”
The overall deer harvest was up 4 percent for the 2009-10 season, according to records from the Ohio Division of Wildlife, and the trend is likely to continue this year.
“It looks very promising,” Ford said.
Archery season opened Saturday and will run through Feb. 6. Early muzzleloader season starts Oct. 18, and regular gun season kicks off Nov. 29.
Erie, Ottawa and Sandusky counties are in hunting Zone A, Ford said, which means hunters may take up to two deer in these counties during the year. Huron county is in Zone B, so hunters may take up to four deer. Ford said hunters may take only one deer with antlers during the 2010-11 season.
The agency, however, is encouraging hunters to harvest more does this year and donate the meat to their local food pantries.
The Division of Wildlife has teamed up with Farmers and Hunters Feeding The Hungry, an organization that helps cover the cost of processing donated deer.
Ford said until funding runs out, hunters can drop their deer off at participating processors where the meat will be prepared and donated to a local food pantry free of charge.
Ohio hunters donated about 85,000 deer during the 2007-08 season, a number that skyrocketed to about 165,000 during the 2009-10 season.
“It’s a really good program,” Ford said.
The following area processors are accepting deer to process and donate to area food pantries free of charge:Rospert’s Market, 3675 Lehigh Road, Norwalk, OH 44857; 419-668-5425 Kelble Brothers, 9111 Reiger Road, Berlin Heights, OH 44814; 419-588-2015