Hunters are sighting their bows and stocking up on arrows for Ohio's white-tailed deer archery season, which opens a week from Saturday and continues through Feb. 2.
"You're getting excited the whole year to go bow hunting and you just want to be prepared," said Warren Township resident Garrett Hoskinson, 30.
Garret introduced his wife, Rena, 30, to compound bow hunting around six years ago and now the couple likes to hunt together when they can, said Rena.
The Marietta Times
Lakin Tolson, 17, of Waterford, does some target shooting Thursday in preparation for Ohio white-tail deer bow hunting season, which begins Sept. 28.
"We go together when we can 'cause we enjoy it. But having three kids it's hard. Last year I did start to go out on my own and we kind of switch back and forth. He'll go in the evening. Next morning it's my turn," she said.
The Hoskinsons are just two of the more than 200,000 people expected to take part in Ohio's deer bow hunting season this year.
"Once fall weather starts coming we start getting excited about it. He just went and got new arrows and I just got my bow set up-everything sighted in," said Rena.
At a glance
Ohio's white-tail deer archery season opens Sept. 28 and continues through Feb. 2.
More than 200,000 bow hunters are expected to hunt throughout the season.
Changes in bag limits mean Ohio is now divided into two-deer, three-deer and four-deer counties.
Bow hunters may take a total of two deer from any combination of two-deer counties, three total from the three-deer counties and four total from the four-deer counties for a total of nine deer statewide.
Regardless of county, hunters can only kill one antlered buck throughout the season.
Hunters are gearing up for the season by tuning their bows, practice shooting, checking cameras, tending food crops, placing deer stands, and purchasing licenses and permits.
Source: Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
They have been target practicing four or five times a week, said Garret.
"He even got me up on the roof to practice as if I'm in the stand shooting down," said Rena.
The Hoskinsons already have their stands in place and have been occasionally checking their deer cameras to determine the best hunting locations.
Besides practicing, the only thing left to do is get his deer tag, said Garret.
"I'll probably do that this week," he said.
Waterford resident Sam Tolson might not have ever taken up bow hunting if it had not been for his job.
When he started his job 17 years ago, he had the least seniority and could never secure time off during gun season, he said.
"All the older guys took off gun season and I could never hunt. So I picked up bow hunting because it's such a long season," he said.
Sam and his daughter, Lakin Tolson, 17, have been practice shooting more frequently lately, but there are some things that Sam does to prepare year-round.
"I run mineral sites, food plots and cameras year round," he said.
Mineral blocks and supplements are big sellers around this time of year, said Ted Offenberger, owner of the Southeastern Trading Post in Waterford.
"The minerals help their antlers grow and keep them healthy," he said.
His shop has also been cutting new arrows and tuning bows-making sure the cables are in line and the arrows' nocks are straight.
Though Tolson is an avid bow hunter, he will not be taking advantage in bag limits that allow hunters to kill up to nine deer in Ohio this year.
"One deer will feed me and my family. If I tag one buck that's enough for me," he said.
Last year Ohio based bag limits on geographical zones and all Southeastern counties had a three-deer limit, explained Lindsay Rist, wildlife communications specialist with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Now the limits are based on county. Washington and Monroe counties still have a three-deer limit. But neighboring Noble, Morgan, and Athens counties allow four deer. There are also a handful of Ohio counties with a two-deer limit.
"You can kill three accumulative in the three-deer counties, four accumulative in the four-deer counties, and kill two in the two-deer counties for a total of nine statewide," said Rist.
Hunters can still only killed one antlered buck throughout the state and need to buy either a $15 antlerless permit or $24 either sex permit for each deer killed, she added.
Those hoping to bow hunt inside the City of Marietta need to pass a proficiency exam in order to obtain a special permit.
Washington Soil and Water Conservation District Wildlife and Forestry Specialist Dean Sinclair administered the exams, which required hunters to put four of five arrows in the vitals area of a 3-dimensional target at a distance of 20 yards.
The exams were administered Aug. 24 and Sept. 7, and all 38 testers passed, said Sinclair.
Marietta resident Wayne Rinehart, 55, was one of the people to obtain a city permit though he will likely hunt both inside and outside the city, he said.
"I have used cameras before, but in the city I just go out and look for trails and tracks and scrapings," he said.
Rinehart has been practicing at the archery range at Buckeye Park in Marietta.
Hopefully starting this week he will begin getting permission slips signed by property owners, a requirement for anyone not hunting on his or her own land.
Rinehart's daughter Amanda Rinehart, 21, also hunts in the city and last year killed a doe on the opening day of bow season, an hour into the hunt.
"There's a little bit of competition. She thinks she's a better hunter than I am now. But we don't really care who gets a deer, as long as we can fill the freezer," he said.