Gameplay usually takes place in a thick forest or meadow during different seasons of the year. Animals and objects other than deer can be seen while playing, including Bigfoot and UFOs in some incarnations, but these serve no purpose other than scenery. Some animals may be shot and killed, but the player receives no trophy and will be penalized if the animal was a protected species. In the latest versions, players can also manage a deer herd with deer growth and genetics deciding the traits of offspring.
Conditions for the goose hunt in 2021 were poor. In 2021 goose hunters could hunt through the drawing procedures on Saturdays, Sundays, and Wednesdays from Dec. 18-Feb. 13. In season segments prior to Dec. 18, area hunters could self register to goose hunt the area 7 days/week. Hunting was closed on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from Dec. 18-Feb. 13. All draws were morning draws with the draw starting at 5:30 am. There was no reissue of leftover zones in 2021. Hunternumbers were again lower than the previous year. Despite lower hunter numbers, more birds were harvested in 2021. Duck hunting across the area was good with increased hunter trips for ducks and higher harvest
The weather during the hunt in 2021 started out mild but began to become colder and snowier around the new year. While rainfall earlier in the year and approaching the duck season made filling impoundments difficult, the area did receive some much needed rain in the first week of season and regularly after that. Significant snowfall occurred later into the goose season and temperatures were average to below average from mid-December through the end of the season. This more typical winter weather meant most of the water on the Farm Unit was frozen except for a couple small pockets of water in the main drain and a couple ditches. Birds first concentrated into these small open water pockets and then began to move off the area to roost. Geese used the Ottawa Marsh for a portion of the late season this year, unlike last year where the marsh remained mostly unused by geese.Crop production was far below average on the farm in 2021. Planting conditions were fair in 2021 but the growing season was a battle. In mid-June, we received 15 inches of rain in 6 days which flooded many acres of crops. Trenching was done and pumps were ran to help evacuate some of the water but the damage was already done. Corn was very short in most of the hunter strips. Refuge areas were not affected as harshly by the floods. After the flooding, the area entered a major drought, further damaging the crops. Black Tar Spot was very prevalent in the corn in 2021 as well, further adding to the complications of an already difficult growing year. Barley was planted as a cover crop on some fields in the refuge and birds used these fields regularly throughout the waterfowl season before they were buried in snow.
Participation was very low for goose hunting during self-registration but was steady during drawings with an average of 14.5 parties per day. Duck season saw more hunter trips than in any year previously recorded and success was fair. Overall, goose harvest success was consistent with our long-term average during the draw (0.24 geese/hunter trip) and duck hunting was average to above average
During the goose season, a combined 1,122 hunter trips from self-registration and draw hunts, resulted in 227 harvested geese (0.2 geese/hunter trip). This success rate is slightly lower than the long-term average of 0.25 geese/hunter trip.55 ducks were taken from the Farm during the 2 days that were open to duck hunting through the drawing in the 2021 managed hunt as tallied from party registration cards. Duck hunters were required to report their kill by self-registering to hunt outside draw times. There were 542 ducks harvested as tallied from the 692 self-registration cards resulting in a 0.78 duck/hunter trip harvest rate. Duck hunters reported that success on the Farm Unit was average to above and success in the Ottawa Marsh Unit was average during the 2021 season. For days when only duck hunting was open on the Farm Unit (no goose hunting overlapping with duck hunting) 430 ducks were harvested as tallied from 411 self-registration cards resulting in a 1.05 duck/hunter trip harvest rate.
A total of 362 permits were issued through the draw for the managed hunt resulting in 840 hunter trips through the draw. In addition, 692 self-registration permits were turned in for duck and goose hunting prior to the start of the draw. The Farm Unit was the primary destination for those hunting geese inside the MWA. Historically, the Highbanks Unit figured centrally in the MWA harvest but declined dramatically in the early 1990s. Thereafter, the Bravo Unit figured more centrally in the combined harvest but has shown dramatic declines since 2004. Both units have reduced importance during the open hunting season due to shifting the GMU season later in the year but are still valuable resting areas for waterfowl earlier in the year, especially during the September season, when geese in these areas are a valuable resource to private land hunters and some public land hunting areas as well. The Bravo and Highbanks Units are hunted on a first-come, first- served basis so permits are no longer issued through the managed goose hunt.
Deer hunting occurs in all 88 counties, and Ohio hunters purchased 396,370 permits across all hunting seasons. Hotspots for deer hunting are found mostly in eastern Ohio, including Ashtabula, Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Muskingum, Guernsey, and Knox counties.
The popularity of hunting with archery equipment continues to grow, with 49% of deer taken during the 2021-22 archery season, including 35% using a crossbow and 14% using a vertical bow. Gun harvest contributed 51% of the final tally. This includes 19% with shotguns, 23% with straight-walled cartridge rifles, 9% with muzzleloaders, and less than 1% with handguns.
Across all deer seasons, hunters harvested 85,580 bucks, accounting for 43% of the total. Does represented 46% of the total with 89,858 taken, while 18,161 button bucks were taken, for 9%. Bucks with shed antlers and bucks with antlers less than 3 inches long accounted for 3,389 deer, or 2%. Weekly reports can be found on the Deer Harvest Summary page at wildohio.gov.
Elk herds flourished in the years after the eruption because highly nutritious leafy plants became increasingly abundant, the area was closed to hunting, and a string of mild winters favored high survival and good calving success. Elk populations reached several hundred animals within 5 years of the 1980 eruption and continued to increase until heavy snows in 1999 caused a substantial winter die-off. Since 1999, the number of elk has increased. Much of the area immediately north and west of the volcano remained closed to hunting through 2005. Outside Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, adjacent lands were salvage logged and planted with conifer seedlings after the 1980 eruption. As these conifers grow into young forests, shading out the forage that elk and deer prefer, these animals are likely to spend more time grazing in the monument, which still has many open areas because no trees were planted and natural succession is allowed to take place.
And hunters go through body- and clothes-de-scenting rituals to help elude the deer's sense of smell in order to get within bow or gun range. We buy special soaps, sprays and deodorants and, unlike the old days when you didn't take a bath for a week in deer camp, we now shower and de-stink ourselves at least once a day during deer season. We also use masking scents, like fresh earth, pine and fox pee to cover any trace of human scent left on us.
Deer hunters even go through such pains as to keep their own urine contained in a bottle when they're sitting on their stands. Honest. Some hunters are so afraid that deer will smell their pee and get "busted" (discovered by the deer), that they keep a plastic bottle up in the tree with them. There's even a jug you can buy with some granular stuff in it so that, when you pee in it, it turns to gel and won't spill.
And I agree with Hambly. I fully understand the concern of hunters who worry about urine. I always try to take care of business as soon as I get into the woods and long before I reach my stand. But years ago, if I had to go and didn't feel like holding it, I would climb out of my stand and take care of things a long ways away, which probably spooked more deer from the area than a puddle of pee under my stand. I never liked bringing a bottle up there with me.
If you are like me, your goal is to take advantage of high value buck hunting opportunities, each and every time that you head to a treestand. To make sure that you are getting the most out of your morning, mid-day and evening sits, all in the same day, here is a strategy that you can apply to the entire deer hunting season!
While hunting morning setups during any phase of the rut can yield incredible values, don't be suprised if you can find success by sneaking into your favorite morning stand on the backside of a bedding area, during the early season. My favorite rut-stand strategy is to slip well around the food to doe bedding to buck bedding line of daily deer movement, and to enter a stand on the downwind, and backside of a mature bucks bedding area. Whether the stand is directly over a mature buck's bedding area isn't as critical as you may think! I have experienced that a mature buck is likely to move within several acres of his remote, daytime hidey-hole, even if the season is still young. If you are truly on the backside of the movement, it is rare that you will spook a buck in his bedding area when entering your stand well before daylight. I personally like to take advantage of a morning buck hunting at least twice within a particular movement before the beginning of a pre-rut, and then a few times within a handful of morning stands, when the rut begins. By hunting the backside of a buck bedding area, during cold weather conditions, on the opposite side of his favorite food source and often 300-400 yards into the cover, you can easily experience a 10 out of 10! 2b1af7f3a8