Whitetail Deer Recap with Mike Tonkovich of ODW

Show Notes

This week the guys cover some basic info from around the state.  Paul is on making his journey for the annual National Wild Turkey Federation Conference in Nashville.  Paul will be in heaven with all of his turkey loving friends. Andrew’s plugging through life, with nothing to exciting to report.  The news around the state offers discussion of tapping Maple trees, boat safety grants, and more.

The real important discussion comes from friend of the show Mike Tonkovich from the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Mike has been on the show a couple times in the past, and he’s back for another very informative episode. This week Mike gives the update from his perspective at the state level.  Numbers are in for the most recent Whitetail season in Ohio, and he’s here to give his recap.

Take advantage of these beautiful winter days! Get out there and enjoy the O2 in around the great state of Ohio!

Show Transcript

Andrew Muntz: [00:00:00] What's up everybody? Welcome back to the oh two Podcast, the Ohio Outdoors Podcast. Today we are here. Gonna get you started with a quick intro. Paul, what are you doing? You're traveling, man again,

Paul Campbell: buddy. This is the best week of the year. This is the kickoff to Wild Turkey Hunt season.

Turkey season kicks off this week in WTF show, Nashville, Tennessee. I am I'm in between Cincinnati and Louisville. That's where I'm at, man. Headed down to Nashville. Fired up. Dude, this is my super. This

Andrew Muntz: week. So it's you go past Thanksgiving and then you're on your way to Christmas and every day just gets a little bit closer and a little bit more exciting.

Is it kinda like that?

Paul Campbell: Yeah, that's it, man. For my Turkey hunting podcast I've been doing a time, like a countdown. So Ohio, we're like 70 days away. Florida, you're like, dude, what, [00:01:00] 22 days? Something like that. Mississippi, 30 days. It's getting here, man. It is getting here. So looking forward to it.

Can't wait man. Usually March 1st. I start not being able to sleep, cuz I think about it constantly. But it's a little cranked up this year because I get to hunt in Florida. I'll be down there March 15th, hunting Turkey, March 15th, my first day to hunt. I, one month beside myself. One month beside

Andrew Muntz: myself.

Yeah. Awesome. And then that's it, man. Of course the weather today, it's beautiful out. So

Paul Campbell: that adds to that idea, man. 50 degrees in a cloud in the sky. Just unbelievable. Good Shed hunting weather. Yeah. Yeah. Oh, speaking of shed hunting. Check out our buddy she season Dwayne. He's got a cool thing going on, man.

I really like that. Check out she season.com and they're on Instagram too. Oh. Geez. I'm just must got everyone I shouldn't have. That would've been bad. Don't, I'm driving for those of you don't wreck your car. They can't tell. Yeah. And I'm in a rental too, , I definitely don't wanna wreck.

That's anyway what have we got, [00:02:00] man? We got time to go wild.com. Thanks to those guys for the support of our show. And quite frankly for being great friends of ours. We just got back from Great American Outdoor. You guys heard that episode last week? They're on their way home now. From that show.

So what a grind. Thanks for those guys. If you join log sign up man months, you get $10 off your first order and you get to be a part of an awesome hunting and fishing member supported community, ton of great stuff on their website. If you're getting 'em ready for Turkey season, check 'em out.

If man, they got stuff for deer hunters too right now. Your maintenance they got some seed options and stuff, so Yeah, a lot of stuff. Thousands of products on their website. Time. Go out.com. Download the app on Android or Apple.

Andrew Muntz: Absolutely. And now they've got that UTV giveaway going on.


Paul Campbell: Make sure you get on there. Check that out. Yeah. Refer a friend and they sign it up. Boom. You get an entry. So check that out. UTV is, To the bone. And

Andrew Muntz: a couple weeks ago we had Cameron Tinker from Midwest Gun Works on the show. I think Cameron's starting to grow [00:03:00] very annoyed with me because you and I have been discussing about ordering potentially a new firearm or two.

But the, I'm, my plan right now is to go down in April to do a little hog hunting with our friend John Husk and some of the other Sportsman's Empire guys down in Oklahoma. So if you're gonna go and make that trip, you've gotta get a new firearm, right? And obviously there's no other place I'm gonna go to look at trying to get that figured out.

And Cameron's been a great help. Point me in the right direction, give options even though I'm flipping and flopping, and not to get too personal, but hey man, I started to do my little, yearly dance with the government and the tax re refund idea. And I start, I got into that a little bit yesterday and I don't know what happened, but I'm not, it didn't look as good as I, I wanted it to, so I might have to reevaluate my, which gun purchase comes around this spring, but whatever.

Paul Campbell: We'll figure that out. Yeah, mine, mine didn't look as good as I wanted it to either, man. I, I don't owe, which [00:04:00] is, I don't know. Yeah. I, a couple years we've had some pretty hefty tax liability cuz I forgot to, I didn't fill out my forms right. Not to get too personal. And my wife does taxes.

She's you realize you didn't pay any federal taxes. I'm like, what? What? What are you talking about? ? So that's funny. Yeah. Thanks Joe. Biden, right? . I'm kidding. I'm kidding.

Andrew Muntz: Relax everyone. Oh, that's all right.

Paul Campbell: He's worried about the boys. Else we got half crack, half dash rack. Man. I'll tell you what, MUN, I cannot wait for that meat lu thing to come out.

Soft sided cooler. You can fit an entire de-bone deer inside of this thing. That's gonna be super cool. They got some neat stuff for. Turkey hunting out there. The boon sling is probably my personal favorite thing that I've gotten from their from their website. Wildcat soft sided bow case is pretty neat.

A lot of really cool stuff. On half-rack.com, check 'em out, you can find 'em on Instagram. Really neat stuff, really cool stuff. A lot of accessories for the North American Hunter.

Andrew Muntz: And also [00:05:00] thank you to first light for their support of our show, and I'm sure they'll have some new stuff coming out here soon.

But, Yeah we're always excited. At least I am when it comes to that kind of stuff oh, yeah. All right. Quick news around the state here. Let's see, Paul we're gonna fly by the seat of our pants on this one. OD n r has awarded more than $200,000 for local boating education programs. That is very important, boat safety.

Looks like Allen County Athens, Ashtabula, Cuyahoga, Erie Franklin, and Perry County. All getting in on some of that. So that was good. There you go. Keep an eye out. We got the the

Paul Campbell: wildlife council meeting. So those things are in full swing. Lot of rules and regulation changes coming up for the following hunting season.

So get on their website. You just search Wildlife Council on the OD and R website. You can see what's going on, what meetings are coming up, what's on the agenda to talk. So be active about that. And if you see some, something you don't like, Point it out to us. Maybe we'll we'll dive in, see if we can get some answers.

Or if you see something you like, you [00:06:00] wanna highlight it, let us know. And and we'll dive into it. It's it's in between seasons. There's really not much news. What else you got bud? The,

Andrew Muntz: we're in weird territory with wet with weather right now. And I'm sure we'll see Father winter, whatever wintertime will come back.

But night right now time to tap your maple trees. If you're gonna do some maple syrup, you got your daytime temps above freezing nighttime's below starts to get the

Paul Campbell: juice tap. And that's sap

Andrew Muntz: Juice is flowing. So that's something to consider.

Paul Campbell: Tap it real nice. Once tap. Real nice. Tap tap, tap it real.

A real lap. I've had a ton of caffeine today, buddy.

Andrew Muntz: Oh yeah.

Paul Campbell: I think that's all I got. So what else we got? I'm a shameless plug. How to hunt Turkey's po. You got me? Yep. We got a delay. Do we have a delay? Is that what's going on? No, you're good. And the internet, man. Oh, okay. So shameless plug how to Hunt Turkey's podcast also on Sports and Empire is in full swing at Dave Owens last week.

Great. Talk with him. I [00:07:00] got Hunter Farer from Spring Legion that's on his episode is going live. Actually it'll be live Tuesday. So the day before or this drops. So slide on over and check that out. Andrew, that thing is been happy with the response there and shout out to my new buddy, Seth.

Got to, had a nice conversation with him yesterday. Seth, thanks for listening. Thanks for being a part of Go Wild. Thanks for part of the oh two Family man. Appreciate ya. Absolutely. What else? We got months.

Andrew Muntz: Today's episode, this is the one everybody wants to hear. Not everybody maybe, but I was very interested, so we got the chance to talk to Mike Tanovic from the division of Wildlife, get the 20 22, 20 23 Deer season recap.

And yeah, man, we covered a lot with him from E H D and C W D and Harvest and Counties and weather and everything in between. The weapons that were used and different things. So it's good to get back from him, how the year went. I feel, because, he, yes, he builds up for that. He, [00:08:00] everything his job is biology and managing the environment across the state, both.

Actual environment, but more kind of the political environment and how regulations are being thought through and all that kind of stuff. So he's gotta take that scorecard at the end of the year and then, react from it and evaluate it. Yeah. So this is his picking his brain on what he saw from this year.

And and he is very honest with you. There's things that he's not sure about or it doesn't matter from the state level and it's more about the county level and all that kinda stuff, but talk's great. And we always appreciate his time to come on and give us his

Paul Campbell: 2 cents. Yep. For sure. This is a really good interview.

Mike Tonko and Clint McCoy, those are the two guys in the state. They have their fingers on the pulse of the deer herd and the hunting. Success and failures in this state. This is a really important conversation If you were a deer hunter in this state to listen to, we're gonna do it every year.

We're gonna get a rundown, a recap of really the overall health of the deer herd here in [00:09:00] the state of Ohio. Very important. Have, and I think we had, one of the good things that I really like about the state employees that we've gotten to know, and since we've been doing this for man, almost two years at this point if there's something that, that as hunters we don't like or we don't understand, it's a relationship that we've built to where we can be, I don't wanna say critical, we can question some of the things that are going on and talk, or Clint McCoy really give us.

good answers. And they're, neither of 'em are afraid to dive into stuff. And then we definitely dive into that on this episode. This was fantastic interview. Fantastic. Yep. Absolutely. A lot of information oh, good information too. Nothing crazy, nothing scary, but important.

Very important interview. Yep.

Andrew Muntz: We'll leave it with that short intro this week to get you to the good stuff. Paul. Safe travels down there. Thank you my friend. Anybody that is in Nashville, potentially for the N W T F, make sure you look for that. Big tall ball guy with the beard, the handsome one.


Paul Campbell: yeah. Come on. [00:10:00] Come find me. Come find me.

Andrew Muntz: If you're looking for us, we're on Instagram, D oh two dot podcast. Go Wild is the O two podcast. What else, Paul? We've got our website is the oh two podcast.com. Feel free to reach out. We like reviews if you wanna give us a review, and we will keep trying to do our best to bring you some good content here in the upcoming weeks.

It's almost

Paul Campbell: Turkey time, so I'm in a little bit of traffic here and there's some butthole in a Tesla that's tailgating me. Andrew, should I throw my coffee at him? I got a cup of coffee. Should I throw it out the window? Is that illegal? I don't know

Andrew Muntz: until you find out that butt hole is none under than Ted Boogie.

Paul Campbell: Ted Boogie, I don't know where he's at. , oh gosh. This place. Okay. I'm right next to Kentucky Motor Speedway in case anyone has been through here. Right where I'm at. This guy's really starting to piss me off.

Andrew Muntz: All right, you go ahead and take care of Mr. Tesla boy and then we will talk to you soon

Paul Campbell: guys.

Thanks for listening. Appreciate you. See ya. See you in the next episode.

Andrew Muntz: [00:11:00] Take care.

Today we're joined with Mike Tovi of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, division of Wildlife. Mike, how are you? How are you doing today?

Mike Tonkovich: Great. Can't be bad when you got what, I don't know, 50 degrees sunshine outside. So yeah it's a good day. As I said before we started, we're feverishly trying to wrap up a couple things.

Season obviously is over, and we're trying to make sense of all the harvest data. And then Clint's really working hard on that. And then I'm trying to summarize our CWD surveillance data. See, to see what what we collect, what we fail to collect, where some holes are in the day and things of that nature.

It's a good day. Yeah. I'm happy to be here. As always guys. Love, love talking with you. , I gotta tell you a funny story. [00:12:00] You gotta get, we'll get this out of out cuz it just reminded me. So a couple weeks ago shopping here at, in Athens at Walmart and looking for a particular bread. So my wife and I have this bread that we like, right?

It's in the whole, there's one wild bread, right? But my wife and I have this one particular bread that we want. So I'm looking around, I'm like, ah man, it's gone again cuz it's, it was always there, but then obviously people figured out that it was really good bread. So it's gone. Here comes the bread guy around the corner, right?

The guy that delivers the bread. He's got these big stacks of trays of bread. I'm like, man, you got any more of that bread? So we talk about bread for a second. He says, I know who you are. And I'm like yeah. He goes, yeah you're the dear guy. He goes, I listen to your podcast all the time.

And I'm like but how do you, how did you connect my voice with he goes, oh no I know where you work. . I'm like, wildlife uniform and Walmart for 10 years. Oh, I, I know . I'm like, okay.

Paul Campbell: That's scary. That's funny. So

Mike Tonkovich: funny. Anyways, the word's getting out, guys, I guess the word's [00:13:00] getting out now.

He didn't mention what podcast it was but the word's getting out, so that's good. That's what we're supposed

Paul Campbell: to do. We'll just say that it's ours. Yeah, that's what it's sounds. Make us feel good. So Mike, thanks. Thanks for coming on. So let's let's put a bow on the 2022, I guess 2023 whitetail season here in Ohio.

So do you have your harvest numbers?

Mike Tonkovich: Yes, absolutely.

Paul Campbell: In front of you? Yeah, absolutely. So give us give us the total numbers if you would, and then we'll dive into 'em, what all that means.

Mike Tonkovich: Yeah. Paul, we were at right at 200, do a little rounding just for the sake of discussion, 210,000 deer.

If anybody had been paying attention before season, we were projecting somewhere in the neighborhood of 208 to 215,000. Not too bad. And of course I will say that's that's pretty good considering that hemorrhagic disease situation that I'm sure we, we may talk about.

So it likely, very likely could have been higher than that. Because if hemorrhagic disease had the impact that the confirmations that we had around the state would suggest, and of course the calls and letters [00:14:00] and emails that we received suggesting that, we should close deer season.

I guess that speaks to the fact that there probably were more deer before before hemorrhagic disease took a few. So anyway a 210,000 I think Clint broke it down. Of course, this is it's the first time we've been north of 200,000 for almost a decade. It's the third highest we recorded the third highest buck harvest and probably set a most likely a record a hundred success rate of 40%.

So it's it would've been a tough year to, to, to not, you probably had to go outta your way to not kill a deer. I'm sure folks were like, oh, I didn't see that. I didn't see that deer, otherwise I would've shot it. . So it's that, that's where the numbers are. I'll stop there cuz I could ramble forever, but I know you guys have probably some specific questions you'd like to get to.

Paul Campbell: First question I wanna ask 210,000 highest in what? A decade. That's impressive. Was that because of Hunter participation was up, were licensed sales and tag

Mike Tonkovich: sales up? No, I, Paul it doesn't look that way. Clint has not been able to finalize[00:15:00] the the final license figures.

But and I will say this, that the lifetime licenses, the three year licenses, the five year licenses, that's made things a little bit muddy for us. But what we are trying to look at is unique permit buyers. And Clint's got a a magic formula for calculating that. But my guess is it has little to do with more hunters and a lot to do with more deer.

There were a few counties of course that changed at 15, 16 counties. It changed, but if you recall three of those of course just went from one to two to year. And most of the rest of the counties were western Ohio counties that don't contribute significantly, to the statewide harvest. We can't really ascribe it.

There's a small contribution to regulation changes. The other thing I think that we, we've gotta bring into this discussion at least for, southeast Ohio, maybe the eastern part of the state where mass is an important component. We were dealing with another below average year forgive me, I forget whether it was, I think it was white oak.

Red oak might've been decent but, master course is something that we need to keep on the list of things that [00:16:00] could potentially have contributed to an increase in the harvest. Most definitely. Finally, I think it's fair to say cuz I witnessed it firsthand on my property this year.

I let a young man hunt and watched him shoot. A bucket, 61 yards with this crossbo and it was dead literally on its feet. And so technology is certainly, that's coming up. It's not like last year was significantly better than this year, but I think that's, that's certainly contributing to it.

And then there's weather. So there's a suite of factors like there is every single year that we have to consider. But I would rule out, regulations as being a contributing factor. It's hard to quantify masks. I would just, really think that we had in most areas of the state, we started the season with significantly more deer than we did last year.


Andrew Muntz: we were going through the numbers yesterday and you guys break it down very nicely on, the different weapons and all that kinda stuff. Cross bows, as you mentioned, are a game changing component of that. And I think they accounted for about 34% of the harvest. According to the email that we had.[00:17:00]

that, and they're also a very touchy subject within the hunting community, acro, abroad. Is it safe to say that if we didn't have that as an tool in the tool belt, that we would've had drastically reduced numbers, do you think? Or how could you, can you quantify any of that? If you were, if we didn't have crossbows what that would do to the population?

Mike Tonkovich: Yeah, that's a great question. Great question, Andrew. That's, unfortunately, that's a challenge with so many things that. We're dealing with today in deer management is that we don't have what we call controls, right? So we didn't have part of the state that we didn't allow crossbo and we didn't have part of the state where we let C w D run rampant, to see what it might look like if we did nothing.

If we didn't intervene. So the the question, the answer of course is not sure, but here's what I can tell you about that. My, my guess is we'd see two different things would be different in a couple different ways. We'd see a greater use of, obviously vertical bows would still be a big part of this discussion.

Up to the point where hunters are. Limited to using an I employment that [00:18:00] requires good shoulders, strong back, those kinds of things. So there would be an impact. And my guess is that the when we, when you look at where we're recruiting most of these hunters from, they're coming from the shotgun ranks.

So my gut tells me that we would see a bigger dear gun season than we do now if we did not have the crossbow in this discussion. That that's where I think we would see the big increases. And that's where we're, the season that obviously you, you look at the numbers, that's the season that seems to be suffering.

Most it's the shotgun season, 70 firearm season that's taking it in the shorts, if you will. Cuz most of the people that we're recruiting today, there are some new crossbo hunters that, 12, 13, 14 year olds, even younger than that, that have never hunted before, enter the sport with the crossbow.

But by and large the Baum are, if you can't beat 'em, join them folks. And so we're pulling guys from the gun season over to the archery season. And I, it's interesting you say that, Andrew, because it, it seemed as though that's, that debate had that dusted, settled on that debate.

The the conversation had stopped. But I would agree that it is picking up a little bit more, and I don't know whether it's the[00:19:00] I don't know what's driving that, cuz the technology and on both sides, and I don't know, I, it's been a long time. My boat didn't even have wheels.

It was, they were square back, the last boat that I . So I don't know, maybe you guys can speak to that, whether or not the the technology is moving crossbows along faster than than vertical bows. But still at the end of the day, at the end of the day, obviously there, there is that component where you've gotta draw on a deer if you're hunting with a vertical bow that you certainly have that disadvantage if you would call it that, that a crossbow offers you.

They may never be. And I think folks would prob most would argue that they'll never be equal. But certainly technology is benefiting both.

Andrew Muntz: Yeah. Paul and I were talking about it the other day, but like the crossbow really it, it is a form in the archery world where it, you can add to the beginning and the end of somebody's career.

It's great for a young person and as you get older and the body parts aren't working as well, it can add to that. So I'm completely on board with it. And obviously from a biological management perspective, if it helps to keep the herd in [00:20:00] check not wipe 'em all out, but just keep it in.

Check where it needs to be. Cuz I think we can agree that we have a lot of deer in Ohio. I think it's a very important tool in the tool.

Mike Tonkovich: Yeah I think if I may real quick guys, it, the Crossbo really, it's changed. It's, so several things are going on. Number one, obviously you mentioned we're getting older.

The Hu Hunting community is getting older, but the other thing that's going on is that they're deer in places that they were never before. And so you have people hunting the crossbo is allowing people to stay in the game because historically it might have been a trip to southeast Ohio, right? Or it might have been a couple really important middle of the rut bow weekends that you would travel to southeast Ohio.

But now, with the cross bone, maybe even to a lesser extent with with all archery tackle, you can hunt on your lunch break, in a down the road. You can hunt after work. You can hunt before work. So it's, there's dear and more places and it's given folks more opportunities and perhaps more reasons to stay in the game.

Because that technology is there, obviously you get the crossbo tuned up and you're ready to roll for most of the season with a couple check-ins, from time to time. But [00:21:00] it's a It's a tool that I wouldn't trade. Quite honestly, it is a deer management tool.

If we lose it, I'm sure that we'll make up the difference in, in the shotgun season. And maybe that wouldn't be a bad thing. But I don't anticipate that we'll lose the crossbo. And I, there, truth be told, there hasn't been an not at my level, there hasn't been any discussion whatsoever of even having a conversation about separate seasons or any monkey fiddling to use that highly sci scientific term with our archery seasons.

So I think folks can comfortably know that there's not gonna be a that conversation is not being had again, not at my level at least. Do you,

Andrew Muntz: You talk about being able to take crossbows in different areas. I'm assuming we're talking more of the urban, Yeah.

Type of areas. How did that pan out this year? Did you guys see any increased? Harvest rates from, and maybe we don't have those numbers yet, but the kind of the big three Cs, the Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, any of the, or big urban areas in general are we starting to get more people in those areas [00:22:00] taken advantage of?


Mike Tonkovich: Andrew, that's a great question. I can speak a little bit to that. We'd have to wait a couple weeks or so. We can break that down and and really dive into where those data are coming, what those numbers look like. But the challenge of course is that you don't, if it comes from Kaga County or Franklin County, you can assume, or Hamilton County, you can maybe make that assumption, but you don't know for sure.

But what we do. In other words, it could have been that little sliver of Caho County, that little sliver co, of Hamilton County or whatever. These Franklin County obviously still provides some typical deer hunting opportunities. But what I can speak to is the fact that we are in Jeff Westerfield out of our our Akron office can speak to this a lot better is that we are issuing a number of municipalities in northeast Ohio.

We're con we're issuing controlled hunt status for places like South Euclid and many of these other small villages and towns up there. So that folks can have a additional 60 year in the bag limit. So Jeff has done some analyses and I wish I had those in front of me but [00:23:00] he would argue that it's making a difference.

We're seeing some upticks in the harvest in those areas as a result of, this controlled hunt status. And I think what's important for folks to know is that many of these places, if you look at the trend in number, I think he's up to 28 or 30 places that that how now have hunting programs.

Many of these were added in the last decade. So there's. Adding a program and putting deer on the ground. Two different things. You guys recognize that. But I think it, it speaks to the fact that even folks that were adamantly opposed to that have addressed discharge ordinances and hunting programs to give folks an opportunity to take deer if they can.

Paul Campbell: Mike, I wanna ask about the data that you're collecting. You, what data points are you collecting from the deer season?

Mike Tonkovich: Oh, so obviously harvest data, every mandatory registration. So we're getting all of that data. Paul, the other big piece of data that we collect each year and we'll look at probably somewhere between five and [00:24:00] 7% of the harvest is age, sex, and condition data.

So that's the information that you guys recall the days of check stations? 2010 of course would've been the last one. Mandatory registration, in-person registration. A handful of those would've had biologists collecting, looking at deer jaws to age, collecting beam diameters on yearling bucks.

, so that demographic data we collect we're also running as you probably know, you guys should likely participate. Our bow surveys that gives us observation data, which is some of the best data that we have to track deer populations. We will borrow some data from ODOT from time to time, look at carcass data, number of carcasses removed from roadways.

The other data set that we will collect, and we're working on it feverishly right now, getting these questions squared away to send out as a, as an annual bow hunters or annual deer hunter survey. What did you hunt with? How many days did you hunt? Those kinds of things. What are your opinions on this, that, and the other?

I think that's, and of course then there's obviously CWD surveillance data. That's, so those are probably the [00:25:00] big ones.

Paul Campbell: Does the state rather collect data about wounding rates for deer from hunters?

Mike Tonkovich: He Clint actually we did a follow up to our bow hunter serv to our annual deer hunter survey subs.

We took a sub sample of that group Paul, and asked them about shot placement, shot distance, sh deer recovery. Be happy to share that with you. But if I tried to , share the numbers right now, I'd have to make 'em up and we don't want to do that. But it, but I, it's a, it's actually been a a survey that a number of other states have requested it, it probably didn't have all of the rigid side boards that a Scientific statistically valid survey might, but I, the sample sizes were large enough.

We had enough folks on both, the vertical and crossbo side. Be happy to share that with you guys. It's well written. Nice job by Clint to to summarize the number, average number of shots taken, average distance number of beer lost, number of beer [00:26:00] recovered, those kinds of things.

Paul Campbell: Yeah, I'd love to, I'd love to see that. I'd love to have a Yeah, absolutely. A good, under a good understanding. I think that's one of the, just to touch on it real quick, the crossbow versus vertical bow, that's a lot of the crossbow I think takes a lot of that. Wounding right down. Just it's easier to operate.

Doesn't require as much practice. Yeah. Yeah. That's one of the, I think when you talk about the kind of emotional side of that conversation that's one of the data points I think that's important to, to understand and bring up. So let's let's talk about, let's unpack the C W D data that you've collected are collecting, are analyzing.

Are you ready to talk about that? You got something good? Yeah,

Mike Tonkovich: It's we can talk about it. Probably not in excruciating detail but certainly, yeah, we're in a position where we could, I just actually, Paul just got this morning results back from 93 additional deer from from the, largely from the dsa, not exclusively from our disease surveillance area there in, in wind out, harden and Marion counties.

But yeah, so I can talk in some general terms cause I, the season's pretty close to being over and I don't anticipate things [00:27:00] changing much. Just ball parkish, we were, we're gonna be. Knocking on 6,000 samples up from 45, 4700 roughly last year. A good chunk of that, we'll probably when the dust settles, we'll figure out.

A lot of that came from mandatory testing in our disease surveillance area. As you guys know, we more or less double the size of the disease surveillance area this year by including, all of Harden County, all of Marion County. Obviously those were the big changes there.

So we had I'm sure we picked up a lot more samples as a result of those mandatory testing days there. And voluntary as well. Hunters did well with that. The it looks like the other big, the other big news it looks like we're going to finish the season with seven additional positives in the disease surveillance area.

Nothing in Harden County and really, really nothing, any further west now, give or take a hundred, 200 yards. Okay. For those folks that are [00:28:00] paying particularly close attention, it may have been a property to the left of, to the west of where we had one last year. But the the, that's the good news.

The the bit of discouraging news is that we did pick up another sample, a good bit south, actually two samples south. And one of those was a good bit east of the the southern sample last year. So to sum that up, cuz I'm sure that made zero sense. Seven positives this year, guys.

And the the good news, not a we no westward expansion, towards Harden County, but we did see we picked up a sample on the east side of 23. In Marion. And I believe it was in Marion or Wind out, I forget. You don't have to forgive me, but so we got a couple east, we got eastward movement looks like both Southernly as well as Northerly movement.

Andrew Muntz: And how many cases do we

Mike Tonkovich: have last year? We had nine last year. So in a nutshell, two. The first nine last year. Seven. Seven this year. If year matters. Yes. So that's, [00:29:00]

Andrew Muntz: gotcha. Did you see any benefit from the additional seasons that you guys had open in the dsa? Both, you had the earlier, what did that start like February or September 12th or something?

A couple weeks ago. Archery. And then you had an early gun season up there too, right? Do you have any success on that? Yeah,

Mike Tonkovich: absolutely. Absolutely. Guys. The archery harvest was insignificant. It was, by and large it was an was deer not even worth. In my opinion, two minutes of our conversation to talk about that.

I, what I wanna focus on is that early firearm season that either sex three day early firearm season lots of positives lots of reasons to to stand up and cheer in my opinion at least. So roughly 800 deer were harvested in early October as opposed to, perhaps not at all, maybe in the gun season.

But most importantly, guys, three of those seven, three of the seven positive deer, two of which were mature bucks, were harvested that weekend. So we killed a yearling buck and two mature bucks that were positive for C W D that That's a huge success. Now[00:30:00] the downside, and this is not really even a downside we anticipated this would happen when you look at the total harvest across the three counties largely unchanged.

More specifically, if you look at the Harden and Marion County Total Harvest, okay? All deer dead. Not a lot of difference between this year and last year. So what that means is we simply moved the harvest earlier. We took those deer. And we didn't add any additional deer, Wock, county, different story.

But that again that's not a bad thing. That would've been icing on the cake to kill additional deer. But think about this, those three positive deer in particular, those mature bucks no chance whatsoever that they they were gonna shed another PreOn not traveling to Crawford County, not over to Seneca County, not down to Logan or Union County.

In their ventures to breed. So yeah, we just a, that was a tremendous success. Very happy with that. So I can't see enough good things about that. We'll probably see that again next year. Absolutely. Good. Yeah. Absolutely.

Paul Campbell: So let's talk about e [00:31:00] h D, the hemo hemorrhagic, did I say that right?

Oh, look at me, Mike. Coming for your job. I can pronounce it right now. . Dang. So let's let's talk about that. We got through it last time we talked to you. We were really in kind of the peak of the destruction and the chaos, if you will. How did the deer herd in those hardhead areas come through that?

Mike Tonkovich: It what an interesting year. Holy macro. It's it, right now it's obviously it's as though we didn't have hemorrhagic disease cuz it's been very quiet. Obviously folks are have found all the dead deer they're going to find. But what an interesting year.

So start out with just a little bit of background. 47 counties, we confirmed it. Now when I say confirmed, that doesn't mean that Andrew called and said, Hey, I got a dead deer. It means that Paul called and said, Hey, I got a dead deer. I come out and get it. We take it to the lab, we run a pcr and it says, yeah there's the hemorrhagic disease virus.

So 47 counties. We took deer to the diagnostic lab there in Reynoldsburg and they said, yep, you have hemorrhagic disease in this county. Now three of those counties were not wild deer. They were actually Captive beer [00:32:00] in Wayne, Seneca and Mercer, I believe. So those were deer behind the fence rather than in the wild.

But in the past, we've, whenever we confirmed it in the wild or in the captive facility, I should say it's typically always been in the wild as well. We just didn't have the opportunity to get a positive wild deer. So 47 counties across the state, more than half the counties I think in the past.

20 maybe 17. May have been tops. A lot of counties with hemorrhagic disease. And I suppose if the weather stayed warm, we probably would coni we, it would've continued. Cause we were seeing, started out south, southwest, okay. Started moving eastward and it started moving northward. We did end up with some counties up along Lake Erie where we confirmed it.

But given more time and more warm weather, I'm sure that it would continue. It would've continued to spread. But what's interesting, this is where things start to fall apart. Southwest Ohio, Preble Butler, Hamilton Green, a number of counties in that part of the state. Lots and lots of [00:33:00] reports, right?

Lots of reports from folks saying, Hey, I got two, I got six. I found 12. But there were counties vast majority of our counties had a handful of calls. And maybe that's an understatement, but a handful of deer, right? I saw one, I got two, those kinds of things. We actually had a number of counties, three or four counties where we confirmed it, never had a single call any reports at all from the public.

So not sure you know what to make of that. And then we fast forward. Okay? So it confirmation suggests that we ha that wow, we're gonna have a tremendous impact on the harvest. It's everywhere, right? Fast forward to the harvest. You look, if you break it down by, I don't have all of the numbers here in front, I have some of the numbers here in front of me, but if you were to break it down by county, and I don't wanna belabor the point, but you take a look at some of the again, you guys know, we've talked about this before.

The Buck Harvest historically has been our best indicator of deer herd size, right? So when Buck, when the Buck Harvest drops off, population probably dropped off. Buck Harvest increases, population increases. So [00:34:00] what we looked at in terms of trying to assess impacts on populations via the harvest was obviously the Buck Harvest data this year.

So we can look at some of the harvest hit counties, and I'm gonna put, I'm actually gonna, I'm gonna share this with you so that I oh, this is in a different. It's in a different email. I don't have that in front of me, but I can, I don't wanna take the time to look for look for, cuz I, I can get us close.

But the point that I wanted to make, which is small sample sizes, but you take counties like Perry and Preble, okay? Those two counties, both of those counties this year saw significant reduction in their buck harvest, suggesting that the hemorrhagic disease outbreak, which we know based on reports and calls and confirmations at the lab we had hemorrhagic disease there.

So down more than 20%. Interestingly enough, guys, those two counties collectively, the analyst harvest in those two counties was up almost 20%. Okay?[00:35:00] And part of that was likely driven by the fact that those two counties also went from two to three deer. . So is it differential mortality on bucks?

Is it how do you kill almost 20% more and or less year and 20% fewer bucks? That, that again speaks to the conundrum that, that we were facing, that we're facing this year in terms of trying to understand what's going on with hemorrhagic disease. Yes. So we know beyond a reasonable doubt, when you move the bag limit from two to three, invariably it's going to even in a stable population, let's say this year and last year, same number of deer the season with the same exact number of deer.

I guarantee you we're gonna see an uptick in the harvest just because it changes the way hunters hunt. So we shot 10%, 15% fewer deer in those two counties, but we managed somehow to shoot 20% more analyst deer. So what that speaks to, to wrap up that conversation, guys, is that. And this I alluded to this at the [00:36:00] beginning of the conversation, is that we killed 210,000 deer.

And that's after, hemorrhagic disease had its way in many with deer herds in, in many of our counties. So how many deer did we actually start the season with? Obviously we won't know. And perhaps we'll see some impacts of hemorrhagic disease in, in, in years to come.

But interesting year to say the least, Paul.

Paul Campbell: It, it definitely is. So in those really severe, hard hit counties, are, will there be any surveys done just to get a grasp of how the herb recovered? Or are you going just strictly. The harvest data.

Mike Tonkovich: Yeah, there, there's, really there's no plans to do any surveys.

Paul we'll monitor, we'll watch the harvest data. We'll watch a, we'll look closely. One of the things that I mentioned, of course, was the bow hunter observation. That's absolutely the best data. Cuz as you realize, it's not biased by, hunter selectivity. It's just, I saw this many deer, black and white.

We'll we have a number of hunters that participate in, in, so the southwest, [00:37:00] there's a pocket of three or four counties in east, central or southeast Ohio. The Hawking Vinton to a lesser degree, Athens maybe Ross thrown in there. There's a handful of counties there. So we have a, those are great deer hunting counties, so we have lots of participants.

We'll take a look and see what the what the bohan observation data tell us. The truth of the matter is recovery is quick. Th this year is likely behind us. And responding with regulation changes with a couple exceptions. I don't expect there to be much of a reaction on the part of the division wildlife.

Paul Campbell: Andrew, what else you got? Cause I'm gonna dive into the funny stuff if you got anything serious. Just hang

Andrew Muntz: on a second. So looking at next year I an overall look at taking what, from this year, eh, d harvest numbers up, all that kinda stuff. Do you expect anything crazy for next year as far as rules changes?

I think you just touched on that, but and guess overall, how were you happy as a deer biologist for the state? Were you happy with the numbers and how they shook out? I know, I think we've talked in the past, so you'd like [00:38:00] to see more, antlerless deer taken and stuff.

And this year wanna just hit the number in front of me? You're at 101,000 you're at 48% of 'em were I should say about 120,000 if you include the BU button bucks, but Yep. You got a pretty good number there. And based in the idea of biology and herd management and getting the healthiest herd that we can get, how did 20, 22, 20 23 grade out?

Mike Tonkovich: Yeah, man. What a great question. We could talk for three days on that subject because it really and I, in all seriousness guys, it, it's You need some side boards, right? You ask a great question because you're, it's a question that, what do you think of it? What's good, what's bad?

How do you define good? How, what's too many, how, what's too few, what are you shooting for? The short answer guys, is two things. Number one, lemme just before I forget, I'll speak to, because you brought it up, the, an analysts, that's something that, that Clint and I look at, the antlers [00:39:00] proportion, not the total, like he could be 400,000 an OTE or 40,000 austere the.

The key is to look at the proportion of that harvest. Our total harvest, that's analyst. 60% I've told you guys before, is that magic number. We like to, it's 60% thereabouts. It's, we're looking at a stable herd. Anything below 60%, which is where we were this year. We were we're at about 57% up just a little bit from last year.

We're gonna see herd growth. So first off, absolutely I, there's little doubt in my mind that we'll continue to see this statewide harvest trending upward. But in terms of trying to so that's just one component of it. What are we shooting for? Is it good? Is the third highest buck harvest reason to celebrate?

Is it reason to, to to call out the National Guard? And neither of those, because we don't manage deer. That number for Clinton and I, it doesn't mean anything to us. We have to break things down to individual counties. The Cuyahoga, the Hamiltons, Franklins, Athens, every county in the state is managed as a separate entity.

For the purposes of [00:40:00] the outdoor media and the, and most of our hunting public that statewide numbers. That's good. That just, that gives me some idea of what's going on. So we have to, we have counties. We have to break things down in order to have a real meaningful conversation about this guys.

We have to take a look at Allen County and tell you that we're, we've increased the bag limit there because we met our management goal, which was to increase the size of the deer herd. Now we need to stabilize it. So you see there is not this we could take a regional approach maybe but to say, yeah, we're happy with this.

Would be a would be a mistake simply because it would oversimplify the matter at hand. And I'm not trying to, I know you guys know, I'm not trying to dodge it this question because we know each other well enough, but the short answer that's becoming very long, unfortunately, is that we have to break this down by individual counties to, to talk about how happy or unhappy we were with the season, right?

That's how things go because, and I, and you have to realize, to speak to there there's also fallout that can be [00:41:00] fallout from that because we learned the hard way back in 2000 7, 8, 9, when we were throwing everything including the kitchen sink at our deer herd. And at the end of our news releases, harvest summaries like you'd see like you have in front of you, we'd say, Hey, everybody, go out and harvest another deer next year.

And if you can't, if you can't use it, donate it. For the folks in Fayette, County that thought deer had been extricated. Number two, things happened, right? They're thinking, what planet is this guy on? What rock did he crawl off from under, we, we haven't seen a deer since 1973 here in Fayette County, right?

And the, and so it, we lose credibility, but we also make people angry unnecessarily. Like it just so you start you have to realize that when you make these broad statements about, it was a great season, all of a sudden it wasn't a great season for those guys that didn't see any guys and gals, that didn't see any deer.

So it's a challenge. And we haven't had the time to say, Hey, we did well in 58 counties and not so well in 30. So I can't really, characterize it any other way than what I've done. [00:42:00]

Andrew Muntz: So I've got two more things on the business side of stuff. Baiting I know Ohio is a little bit different of a state compared to some of our, other Midwestern ones where we do allow baiting.

Do you guys keep track? I think Paul and I were talking about this the other day, but is there any way for you guys to track if that is helping to increase the harvest numbers? Let's be real. It's gonna help, I think. But to what degree it helps,

Mike Tonkovich: we have not there, ha, there have been some studies over the years and I, again I'm happy to share you guys if you can remember it, cuz you know, as soon as I hang up I'm gonna forget it.

But I'm gonna send you two things. I'm gonna send you that bow bow hunter survey wounding rates, shot placement, those kinds of things. And then I can also share with you there have been a couple projects that have done, been done over the years. One most recently in Michigan, I think it was from a 2018 or 19 survey where they have, they.

Showed that hunters hunting over bait were more successful than those not hunting [00:43:00] over bait. Now, this may have been limited to the upper peninsula, where deer were scarce. So it can be an aid in some situations for hunters. So to unequivocally, to deny that it helps would be a mistake, right?

There's like everything, you gotta have sideboards, you gotta have qualifiers under these conditions. Perhaps it may help to increase harvest certainly helps to identify the target. But we have never undertaken anything like that, but other states have. And I think the the data has certainly has certainly not all one side or the other, that's for sure.

Andrew Muntz: And I know baiting just, it's that's o obviously another hot topic, but it can be a really good tool to help reduce population and to help harvest numbers go up. But I know there's also concerns with it being, bringing the deer in together and potentially spreading things like C W D. , do you have any comment as far as like how baiting will be used in Ohio in the future, or, I know we was it we were talking about the other day, but is that going anywhere?

Does that come up in [00:44:00] conversation?

Mike Tonkovich: Yeah the the baiting is a very hot topic right now. It's probably, the most frequently discussed matter at sports shows and banquets and so on and so forth. What are you gonna do about baiting, what are you gonna do about baiting, what are you gonna do about baiting?

And I think we all recognize that it's that's a giant rock. That is going to have to be, if it ever is disassembled, it will take time. Because there's, the reality is guys, there's a lot of industry tied to that. And we've gotta be mindful of that.

There's the biological side and there's the other, there's the other debate guys that that I think creeps in when we start having this conversation. Yes. We know that it artificially, and that's the key here, baiting, dumping a pile of corn. Not necessarily food plot, but someone argued maybe food plots as well, but baiting artificially concentrates, deer baiting causes deer to make movements that they otherwise would not.

But in terms of concentrating deer, take a drive to kill their planes right now and look at [00:45:00] concentrated deer, right? Naturally they concentrate around scrapes, around rubs, around their social animals, right? So where they feed regularly, whether it is a a cut corn field in the wintertime, there is concentration.

So if we've got positive beer shedding, PreOn, we know there's studies being done right now in Mississippi and Tennessee that have clearly demonstrated because the technology does now exist, that you can extract PreOn from the soil on a fairly regularly, on a routine basis, right? Those assays exist now.

So there's PreOn being recovered from historic scrapes, that are used year in and year out. Any different than a bait pile? Not really, except that we put that bait pile there. So we're contributing to that. So we. We've, and the other thing that we talk about guys, and you recognize this, is you've gotta choose your battles, right?

So is baiting something that we'd rather get rid of, or should we think more about carcass restrictions? When you've got c w D on the landscape, [00:46:00] is it, and it's endemic, let's say it's established, right? How much damage is it going to do as opposed to thinking about Carcas restrictions, moving deer from Wand Eye County to Portage County or Trouble County or Ashland County, do you. , do you address the movement issue or do you address the baiting issue? You address both of those issues and then you're costing yourself some hunters, right? Guaranteed. So it's not as simple as a one dimensional yes or no. It's let's put all of these issues on the table, rank 'em, identify priorities, and then decide where baiting fits in.

Cuz it's not black and white. It, unfortunately it's not black and white. But I wanna ask you guys a question cuz I think about this often. What if we magically eliminated all bait pals? And Andrew you suggested that it does encourage and help harvest, but does it, I wonder if bait was gone, let's think about what deer do when there's, when those artificial sources of food aren't there.

They will, it moves [00:47:00] deer around but I think what it would do is, obviously it would take some getting used to, but I wonder if harvest would be significantly Especially the analyst harvest now bucks. That might change a little bit but think about if we just let deer going back to being deer and not putting up these magnets, if you will, on the landscape.

I think, what are these deer gonna

Andrew Muntz: do? My initial thought is that it's not the deer that you're gonna change, it's the people. And so this year, I, full disclosure, I had two that I shot over, you'd say over bait or in the near vicinity, and then two that I didn't, but how I utilized that property I knew in both of the situations where I was gonna go sit because I knew that pile was nearby versus the other two where it was like I had to use my woodsmanship and try to find the active, the rubs and stuff.

So I'm not saying that if you hunt a bait pile, you're lazy, but there's a different component that would go into it. So I, sure. Depending on how the hunter. They might have to ac I don't wanna, that sounds so bad. Think about it a little bit more [00:48:00] and really be mobile and be willing to move their tree stand or whatever, change their ground blind.

So that would be my initial thought without really thinking it through completely. Does that make sense? .

Mike Tonkovich: Yeah. Paul, what are you thinking over there?

Paul Campbell: Why most people were deer hunting. I'm fall Turkey hunting or duck hunting Mike, so I'm not the guy . Okay. I'm not the guy to ask about that.

Yeah. No I think it's and what started this conversation, I was at an event, I heard a bunch of people saying that the state was gonna ban feeders and ban baiting in the state. And that I saw it on like a, a chat room, for bo hunting here in Ohio.

And so I asked you if that was gonna happen. There's a lot of noise that, that people think the state of Ohio are going to outlaw bait like this year. Yeah. This is actively happening. And so that's what generated the question, I don't, I'm not smart enough to know if it would impact harvest.

It would definitely make people really angry or really happy. Yeah. And one thing that I didn't really understand until our first interview with you. Gosh, [00:49:00] almost two years at this point was the, that you have to manage, quite frankly, hunter feelings and emotions as much as you do wildlife biology, and that's a dance that I don't think hunters one in the state know.

And two, they definitely, they sure as hell don't appreciate the effort, the mental power and energy that you guys use to, to deal with these people that get so worked up. I've been at some of the wildlife meetings and I'm like, man I understand passion, but there's just a lot, there's a lot of, some people are just flat out angry about certain things.

Yeah. And you've got a target on your back for a couple, like I said. Is that the battle we want to. You've got a lot of other things. So Yeah. I'm way too dumb to answer that question. I will say the funny stuff. I'm waiting on a message back from our buddy Kip Adams at the nda.

Oh, he told me to bring up something. This is months ago when we saw him. He's, he said that he needs to oh, okay. I can't remember. It was something about a GPS just meltdown. Catastrophe. [00:50:00] What? Remind me Mun we're supposed to ask about text, like

Andrew Muntz: was he gives us answer A deer conference or something.

Was it North Dakota or South Dakota? Yeah, something. Dakota

Mike Tonkovich: gps. You know what was so classic is Kip was so proud of his gps. Think about this. This is I can remember the day one of my colleagues showed me his cell phone and was showing me some apps and he was so excited.

Now he's long. You guys might even know him, but. No, he was a great guy from Michigan. But anyway, Kip and I, KIPP was so excited. He goes talk, he goes, why don't you, we just ride back together to the hotel. We fly out tomorrow at the same time. And so excited about his G P s and we drove around that damn hotel till the middle of the night practically.

And I'm like, Kip, it's gotta be here somewhere. It's gotta be close. So we finally scrapped, the GPS stopped at a gas station and said, where the heck is the ho the holiday in? Or whatever it was. We had a blast. We laugh about that all the time cause he was just so proud of his gps, that he just got and we're gonna, we're gonna navigate right to this hotel.

And by God we had to do it the old fashioned way. , yeah, [00:51:00] we were

Andrew Muntz: talking, I asked for directions, talking to him and Lindsay Thomas down there at the archery show and he gave us the rundown of it. We had to make sure we asked you about that. I had it in my notes as

Paul Campbell: well. Good guys. Good guys.


Mike Tonkovich: Good fun memories.

Andrew Muntz: But last question I have for you, Mike. . This is how the hell are there any deer left in Kock County? These guys are just slaying out there every year. And is it just like magical habitat or what? They just lead the board

Mike Tonkovich: on everything. Yeah. It's so it's funny because I was talking to, or Holden yesterday about this very issue.

He was speaking, tusk and Holmes, more of his readership area because I, I don't know, you it's, this is where it be, it gets really simple. It's in my opinion, a couple things going on. Just a perfect mix of habitat, right? Deer need places to find, they need places to get out of the weather.

They need places to escape. They need, hunters, right? , but they also need great food, right? And the the landscape there is just, it's just perfect. But the [00:52:00] other thing I think that's going on there is we start looking around the state of people that are invested in managing their property for deer.

It's gotta be off the charge there. They're they're super charging in my opinion. I think what I told art, I said, I feel like they're super charging what's already great habitat by, by doing timber stand improvements and food plots and just managing their herd.

It's a supercharged situation there. And quite frankly, it's it's got the, it's got the building blocks or good bones, if you will, in, in terms of house, lingo. It's got good bones and it's supercharged by the, by what folks are doing up there on top of that, that's the only thing I can figure.

Andrew Muntz: It's incredible. It's incredible.

Paul Campbell: Yeah, it is. Mike. Last thing I did, I make fun of my inability to kill deer. I participated in a controlled hunt at killed kill Buck Marsh this year. One day firearms hunt. Nice. I killed three deer in 18 minutes, . Serious. I did, I, yes. Three deer in 18 minutes.

I shot a fourth. Couldn't find it. She had runs, on the [00:53:00] side of the, on the mar. I dunno, I stupid can't answer that for, I have no idea. It was

Andrew Muntz: stupid. I'm sitting like 400 yards from him in a tree and I'm not seeing anything and I just hear, boom. And I text him. I'm like, that was that you?

Cuz there's some duck hunters nearby. I said, was that you? Yeah. Should I buy another tag? I'm like, yeah, buy another tag. So three

Paul Campbell: minutes later, this is five minutes into first shot. Kaboom. I'm like, was that

Andrew Muntz: you again? Yeah. Should I buy another tag? I'm like, yeah, buy another. We're five minutes into this day.

15 minutes later, I'm texting my wife. I'm like Paul's already got two down. Oh eight, boom. That's a third. Like it was unbelievable.

Mike Tonkovich: Wow. Wow. Yeah. So we know who the is. The real hunter in the car.

Paul Campbell: It was, that's a great luck. It was dumb luck. It was a great, it really was a great day.

Beautiful piece of property left.

Did you get to meet Dennis Soland? We didn't. I talked [00:54:00] to him. Dennis, I talked Yeah. A while ago. Once since I got the award, but yeah, he, great guy. I talked to the folks. I also had a two week archery hunt and killed airplanes. Yeah. Met the staff up there. Really good, really good group of guys up there.

It was neat. I was up there. They were releasing pheasants for the Youth Hunt. Okay. Use small game hunt. Okay. And they let me hold a pheasant. I'm like, this is pretty neat. So that's pretty cool. Yeah, it was cool. So

Mike Tonkovich: if we have a second I'm curious about, yeah. I'm c couple things. I do wanna mention, take advantage of this public service announcement because I think you guys raise a great question.

And Paul, you spoke to it earlier. This, understanding hunter behavior. Now, think about this for just a second. Had you not been in a situation where you could have purchased additional permits, right? So what a luxury. Like you're sitting there and Oh man, I'm gonna buy another permit on my phone.

Yeah. So that antlerless permit is only available up until gun season. So hopefully this was all before gun season. ?

Paul Campbell: No, it was actually, it was right. It was right after. So I had bought the antlerless permits for[00:55:00] for the kil deer hunts. And it said and this is a little it was a little confusing.

I thought I had a book, but I thought I could use it on the,

Mike Tonkovich: Oh, that's fine. Yeah. You're fine on controlled hunts. No, absolutely. Okay,


Paul Campbell: it. It disappeared in the app. So that, that after d when gun seated started, that, that controlled hunt permit fell off of my app and I didn't have it.

So I had, I bought, I ended up buying an additional additional tag or additional, yeah, additional tag. Either X one for the, yeah. On either sex one, but yeah, the controlled hunt tag, cuz I had another controlled hunt in Clear, clear Fork Metro Park, is that what it's called? Clear, clear Fork or Clear Creek.

Clear Creek. Thank you. Clear Creek off of 33. I was there. I was there for one of their three day controlled hunts and in the permit it said that we could use the controlled hunt tags. But on that first day of gun season, the electronic tags are no longer available to check. A deer. So I, we, like I said, we just bought extra, either sex tags.


Mike Tonkovich: So I [00:56:00] wanted to, and then just wanted to finish up with No. To share with you deer observations during your hunt there at, did you spend much time up there on the refuge bow hunting, the kill airplanes refuge?

Paul Campbell: I did. So I went up six times. I shot at two deer. I unfortunately missed both of them.

Okay. I saw, oh gosh. I saw probably four individual bucks. Okay. That were up there and man, eight dos. Okay. And they could have been the same do, I don't think so. Yeah. I saw a ton of deer in the fields. Interesting. It, they were running across, they were deer everywhere in that area.

Yeah. Without a doubt. Like in, in that area, like the deer sign that I had to hunt, I'm, I've never seen such well-established deer sign. It was incredible. That is, you talk about a lot of deer in one area. That is, yeah. There was a lot of deer in one area. So the it was a great time.

I had a great two weeks up there.

Mike Tonkovich: That's awesome. Yeah. That's a great place to hunt. , but just some perspective. The last couple controlled hunts that we've had firearms hunts up there, they've killed two deer, each of the two [00:57:00] hunts , oh my God. So those deer have moved and they're there, many of 'em are still there cuz you can see 'em standing in fifties and 70 fives and packs of hundred.

But they've figured out that this is not the place to be. I want to be around next year.

Paul Campbell: Yeah, that's funny. Yeah, they were there. I just, I, I couldn't connect so, But, so Mike, thank thank you man. Thank, thanks so much for your time. Thanks for all the hard work that you do at the state of Ohio with Clint and everyone on staff there.

We really appreciate the everything you guys do for us. So as as Dear Hunters, it's

Mike Tonkovich: a team effort, let me tell you. It's a team effort.

Andrew Muntz: Yep. Thanks. For sure.

Mike Tonkovich: All thank you.