Monday, December 1, 2003

Ohio hunters bundle up for deer season

By Maggie Downs
The Cincinnati Enquirer

FOREST PARK - Starting today, thousands of hunters will track down game with the same zeal as a bargain shopper on a day-after-Christmas sale.

As many as 450,000 hunters are expected to participate in today's opening of Ohio's deer-gun season, which runs through Dec. 7.

Many were at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World at Forest Fair Mall on Saturday, picking up ammo, camo and whitetail buck urine.

"I need some orange so I don't get shot," said Bill Stoecker, 35, of Colerain Township, who was looking over some brightly colored hunting outerwear. He also needed extra ammunition. "You don't want to get stuck out there without something."

Ohio's deer population is estimated to be 681,000. A harvest of about 125,000 is expected over the next several days. Hunters are permitted to shoot from a half-hour before sunrise until sunset.

Deer-gun season in Northern Kentucky ended Nov. 23. Indiana's gun season ends today.

George Francis, promotions manager for the store, said most hunters already have their guns and ammunition. Most shoppers were stocking up on accessories, like decoys and deer-attracting scents. With the recent cold weather, warm clothing also has been popular.

Carlton McReady, 38, stopped in the store on his way from Georgia to Plain City to stock up on some winter gear.

"It was cold this morning!" he said.

Chad Brinsen, 27, of Fairfax, said he is tired of piling on five sweatshirts to tolerate brisk hunting weather. He wandered the camouflage section for some new gloves and coveralls.

"I've been hunting since I was 13," he said. "It's about time for me to be warm."

However, selections were slim Saturday. With hunting season beginning earlier in Kentucky and Indiana, out-of-state hunters have already picked over the store's stock.

"Those used to be full," said Joe Kraus, hunting clothing team leader, as he pointed to a series of nearly empty shelves.



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