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Hey guys and gals, I am thinking about heading down to hunt in the Wayne NF for OH's late MZ season. I know it is a huge area, which i like, and I have heard some good things about it if you are willing to put the effort in. I was wondering if anybody here has been down there and how it was. I don't have any specific area picked out yet, so I am looking for some start point suggestions. I am hoping to rent a cabin somewhere not to far from where I will be hunting, which doesn't look to be a problem. There seems to be alot around in all areas. Thanks in advance for any and all info!
 

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Ohio is really on the ball when it comes to reporting. This past weekend was an extra 2 day gun season. The results are already released. Funny how PA takes 4 months after season.

Top five counties unchanged from last season

COLUMBUS, OH – Hunters checked 14,365 white-tailed deer during Ohio’s extra gun-hunting weekend, Dec. 15-16, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

That total is a decline of 14.3 percent from 2011, when hunters harvested 16,766 deer. In 2010, hunters bagged 20,916 deer over the same time period.

“The overall size of the deer herd is smaller, and the harvest is aligned with that decrease,” said Mike Tonkovich, ODNR Division of Wildlife deer project leader. “We anticipated the 2012-2013 deer season harvest would be down 5 to 10 percent from last year. Most of Ohio’s counties are above their target deer harvest number, and we have worked to get those numbers closer to the target through generous harvest regulations.”

The counties reporting the highest numbers of deer checked during the 2012 deer-gun hunting weekend: Coshocton (489), Tuscarawas (483), Muskingum (474), Licking (444), Harrison (390), Belmont (387), Guernsey (382), Carroll (375), Ashtabula (372) and Knox (356). The top five counties remained unchanged from last year.

The extra gun-hunting weekend was first offered in 2006 in response to hunters’ request for an increase in the amount of weekend days to pursue deer. Hunters still have opportunities to pursue deer this winter. Archery season remains open through Feb. 3, 2013. The statewide muzzleloader season is Jan. 5-8, 2013.

The white-tailed deer is the most popular game animal in Ohio, frequently pursued by generations of hunters. Ohio ranks eighth nationally in annual hunting-related sales and 10th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has an $859 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more.

More information about Ohio deer hunting can be found in the 2012-2013 Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at wildohio.com. Hunters can also share photos by clicking on the Photo Gallery tab online.

Hunters are encouraged to donate any extra venison to organizations assisting Ohioans in need. ODNR Division of Wildlife is collaborating with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) to help pay for the processing of donated venison. Hunters who donate deer are not required to pay the processing cost as long as the deer are taken to a participating processor. To see which counties are involved in this program, go to fhfh.org.

Ohio’s first modern day deer-gun season opened in 1943 in three counties, and hunters harvested 168 deer. Deer hunting was allowed in all 88 counties in 1956, and hunters killed 3,911 deer during that one-week season.
 

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I've hunted the Wayne for several years now. As stated above it's hit or miss. The public gound gets hammered hard like PA, and each year I see more hunters. I've seen some dandy bucks 150-170" (during the rut). I've hunted the late muzzleloader season the past 3 years and I can firmly say that I saw more hunters last year than deer totaled over the 3 late seasons I've hunted.

If your going to hunt it, make sure you get to your spot early. Also, be careful that you don't stumble on to private ground. Unlike PA you normally don't see a lot ofposted signs, and land owners are just as touchy as PA land owners.
 

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Visit some Ohio message boards and discover how much the ODNR is disliked re their deer issue and herd reduction plans.
RE the Wayne, in any of it's locations....wear orange, watch for private ownership parcels and don't expect much if you are just now considering where to go.
Otherwise, kill a bunch of does.
 

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Boy oh boy Ive got a monster spot on the Wayne, right down in Athens county, but I know there's gotta still be some biguns hanging around in there. Pm me, and if you want I'll point you in the right direction for some great other spots. Ill be back in my best spot on the Wayne the first week of archery again next year when nobody else is hunting. Come the first week of November, its almost as bad as hunting public ground in PA. Thats why I hunt smaller private spots and not so well known public areas when November rolls around. You've really gotta work for it on the Wayne, but Ive seen some really great bucks there, and I've seen some great bucks killed there. I passed on a 125 there this year. Not sure what district of the Wayne you plan on hunting, but if you're headed to the Athens district, I can point you in the right direction, and get you hooked up with a super cheap hotel room too. Many of the cabins for rent are closed now that the gun seasons are over. They shut many of them down for the winter. Here's the one I passed on to get you pumped up... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U26Q8RkLKmI
 

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I will be heading down to Wayne on the 4th of January. I have a cabin rented for the weekend. Taking muzzleloader and bow. Plan on bow hunting mainly. It takes several years of hunting Wayne to find good area's. It does get alot of hunting pressure, but every year i seem to find some good bucks. Getting one in bow range is not easy. I am looking to buy a piece of land to hunt that borders Wayne.
 
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