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EHD Outbreak Forcing Midwest Outfitters to Cancel Hunts this Season

2019 Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) Outbreak: Where to Hunt to Avoid EHD Impacts this Fall

 

If you would have talked to most deer hunters in the Midwest 15 years ago, they would have looked at you cross-eyed if you asked if they had heard of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease – or more commonly called EHD. In the 2000s, the disease seemed to be a rare occurrence in the region. Though more common in the southern US, the term EHD was not something that many deer hunters would have been familiar with. Fast forward to the last 10 years and watch a Midwest deer hunter’s face when you mention the disease. Since a major outbreak in 2012, it seems that the Midwest deer hunting meccas have been hammered by the high-frequency fatal disease. Though not “always” fatal like some other diseases, EHD tends to hit fast and hard. Often leaving specific farms in areas devasted and others untouched.

Deer found on Indiana Farm from suspected 2019 EHD Outbreak.

Seemingly a more occurring event than not, 2019 is shaping up to be no different. With deer herds being hammered by the disease from Missouri to Ohio staring in late June, some of the country’s prime deer herds are left in shambles. The Mississippi River Valley for Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois has been blasted after a severe flood event left behind standing water drying to mud flats – the prime breeding ground for the Culicoides midge, a known carrier of Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease.

From the fertile river valleys to the heart of Indiana and Kentucky, hunters are finding their targets on the ground long before the season has even opened – and we aren’t out of the woods quite yet. Though we have definitely reached the peak, unseasonably dry and warm conditions will drive whitetails to congregate at waterholes and flats where the midges feast, infecting more and more whitetails each day.

For many hunters, the once “Christmas Eve” like feeling has turned to complete sickness. A trip that they may look forward to each year to hunt Midwest giants is now in jeopardy of even happening, as many outfitters may be forced to cancel hunts this year in order to preserve the remaining herd.

Reports from across the Midwest that some outfitters in Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, western Kentucky and Indiana may be forced to cancel their bookings for the 2019 season with the impacts of EHD preventing the harvest of more deer without destroying their local herd – and ultimately their business.

Fortunately, one of the Midwest powerhouse whitetail states, Ohio, seems to be spared or at least reporting significantly less EHD cases. This is great news for the state’s whitetail hunters for 2019 as great ag growing conditions has produced some absolute monsters.

Healthy buck on Briarwood Sporting Club’s Property shedding velvet.

On the Briarwood Sporting Club properties totaling more than 3,000 acres, the bucks have been plentiful and big this year. Briarwood Sporting Club owner and operator Chris Daniels states, “We have seen tremendous antler growth this summer, with several properties holding mature bucks, I can only see it getting better the closer we get to the season.”

To date, Briarwood Sporting Club is happy to report that the deer herd is in great health with not a single EHD deer discovered on any of the properties. “We have cellular trail cameras running on all of the properties, and the overall condition of the herd appears to be in excellent condition.” Daniels adds. “Hopefully this is a sign that our intense habitat, food plot, and feeding regime have been successful in order to ensure our hunters are chasing the best bucks this area of Ohio can produce.”

In an area known for producing multiple Boone and Crockett caliber whitetails, Briarwood Sporting Club is looking forward to an amazing 2019 season for its hunters.

Reach out today for any available spots for 2019 and ask about the “EHD Cancellation” promotion for those who had to cancel a booked hunt where EHD has hit hard, Briarwood Sporting Club will look to accommodate those hunters to ensure the season is still one to remember.

Out of State Hunting | Ohio Deer Hunts

Getting Started with Ohio Deer Hunts

Deer hunting is one really addicting obsession and lifestyle choice. Depending on how much effort you put into it, the end result can be dramatically different. For example, if you routinely hunt the same tree stand on the same property for decades, you’ll learn a lot about the local deer herd and their patterns over time. But to really grow and expand your whitetail knowledge, have you ever considered an out of state hunt? If that is an item on your wish list, you might want to consider Ohio deer hunts. Depending on where you come from, deer hunting in Ohio could be a major game changer for you because bucks can get so big and the hunting is great. Here are a few reasons you should consider an Ohio deer hunt.

Why Ohio Has Big Deer

Although it might not be familiar to you, there is no denying that Ohio has some of the best deer hunting in the country. Some truly giant bucks have been taken here over the years, and the secret seems to be getting out. But what makes Ohio so special for growing big deer?

Simply put, there is great deer habitat and food here. Ohio offers an ideal mix of the forest types and structures that whitetails love to hide in and browse. Oak and hickory forests provide a lot of hard mast each fall, which deer absolutely devour. Younger tree species, such as those growing back after a timber cut, are extremely attractive for deer fawning and browsing. Of course, the state also has abundant agricultural food resources to help deer pack on the pounds and grow some impressive headgear. Many farms grow row crops, such as soybeans or corn, which are two of the best food sources for summer nutrition and late season deer hunting. When you pair all of that along with good natural water sources and varied topography (e.g., hills and fields), you’ve got a recipe for big buck potential.

In addition, Ohio has an excellent deer management program. You can only take one antlered deer per year, rather than multiple bucks per year as in other states. Since many hunters here know of the true trophy potential, they are more willing to pass on younger bucks. That means that many bucks make it past the hunting season to grow into mature deer. To help matters even more, there are some incredible genetics of deer in the state. So if a buck can make it to 3.5 years or older, there is a great chance that with good genetics and lots of quality food that they will get your trigger finger itching when they step out in front of you.

Ohio Deer Hunting

So now you know why our state is so good at producing big deer – what about the hunting side of things? That’s ultimately what can make or break a hunting trip plan.

  • License Options and Costs – compared to many other states, especially those with known big buck successes, Ohio has very reasonable hunting license options. You can buy non-resident tags over the counter for Ohio deer hunts instead of applying and waiting to be drawn. And they are very affordable Ohio deer hunts for most people. For the 2018-2019 season, for example, the deer license was $141.50 and an either-sex deer permit was $41, bringing the total to $182.50.  
  • Ohio Deer Hunting Regulations – as mentioned above, you are allowed to take only one buck in the Buckeye state, so hunters need to choose wisely. Luckily, the Ohio deer season runs from late September through early February, which gives you a great chance of taking a buck with a bow or firearm. 

Best Regions for Ohio Deer Hunts

While much of the state has good habitat and food resources for whitetails, that doesn’t mean you are likely going to tag a giant buck anywhere you go. Some regions are better than others when it comes to the odds of encountering a trophy buck. The more pressure a given area gets and the lower the habitat quality, the lower the likelihood of seeing multiple big deer. Generally, your best chances would be in west-central, central, east-central, and southern Ohio. You have a couple options for your Ohio deer hunts in these regions. Briarwood is situated right in the midst of the best ranking big buck counties in the entire state of Ohio. Located in Logan County in the west-central region, this area is annually a producer of trophy whitetail deer.

If you’re really looking for a DIY hunting trip, you could choose to hunt Ohio public lands. Ohio has much more publicly available land to hunt than most people assume, and the often vast timbered areas are great spots for reclusive bucks to hide away. The trick is finding areas without a ton of existing hunting or human pressure. However, that’s tough to confirm without some in-season and in-person scouting, which might seriously stall you on an out of state hunt.

 

A better bet is to choose a hunting outfitter that specializes in Ohio deer hunts. A good outfitter will have extensive local knowledge of the area, manage their properties for maximum nutrition and security, and give you the best chance of shooting a Boone and Crockett or Pope and Young buck as possible. Depending on your specific goals, Ohio deer hunting outfitters could be a great option for you, which brings us to the last point…

Ohio Deer Hunting Outfitters 

If you live to deer hunt or just want to try it for the first time, it’s clear why Ohio is such a good choice. And if you want to tag a record-worthy buck, choosing an outfitter is probably the way to go. There are many to choose from in the state. But before you blindly pick a hunting outfitter, it’s important to know more about them. Fortunately, it’s never been easier to compare outfitters. Here are a few things to find out before you decide:

  • What kinds of properties are available and what is the habitat like on them?  
  • What is their success rate and the average deer size on their properties? 
  • Are accommodations included, and if so, what are they like? Is food included? 

If you are hoping to harvest a truly giant buck, you should look into Ohio deer hunting preserves, as they offer the most control over the deer herd. But as for open range Ohio deer hunts, Briarwood Sporting Club has access to several private properties in Logan County, Ohio that are great for big deer. You stay on our property with access to some amazing amenities, and we provide a semi-guided deer hunt by pre-scouting the area and helping you decide where to hunt for the best chance of success. But you still get to hunt on your own in these areas. If that sounds good to you, reach out to us to reserve your spot. 

Why Ohio is One of the Best States for Deer Hunting

Why and How to Hunt Ohio for Trophy Whitetails

It wasn’t too many years ago that Ohio wasn’t even on the radar when it came to states that were holding big whitetails. But, that is changing. Ohio is quickly becoming a state on just about every serious deer hunter’s bucket list. With a deer management program that allows the harvest of multiple does and only one antlered deer per season, a situation is created in which an ideal buck to doe ratio gives deer the chance to reach their full potential. This coupled with ideal habitat and productive soils makes Ohio one of the best choices to pursue that deer of a lifetime.

Ohio Deer Hunting Regulations

Because hunters in Ohio are only allowed to harvest one antlered deer per year, this gives many bucks the opportunity to live to the age needed to be true trophies. Many states that allow hunters to harvest more than one antlered buck may develop hunters with the mindset that they will shoot the first buck they see and then wait for a trophy to come along to harvest with their second tag. Ohio hunters can only kill one buck and like other one-buck states, that one buck will satisfy a hunter’s goals.

Ohio has one of the longest deer seasons of any state. Bow season begins September 29 and runs through February 3. Gun season runs November 26 to December 2 and December 15-16. Muzzleloader season opens January 5-8. Youth deer gun season is November 17-18.

Fortunately, Ohio is a state where you can purchase your non-resident tags over the counter. This will allow hunters plenty of time to plan their hunt with an outfitter without having to worry if they will get drawn for a tag or not. Ohio is home to an estimated 750,000 whitetails with approximately 400,000 permits sold annually. Unlike some states that charge hundreds of dollars for a permit, Ohio can be hunted for much less. The total cost for a license and permit for a nonresident is $182.50. The hunting license is $141.50 and a deer permit is $41. Residents will spend a total of $43, $19 for a hunting license and $24 for a deer permit.

Crunching the Numbers

The Boone and Crockett entries for Ohio are very impressive. The state has a total of 591 typical entries and 385 non-typical entries. The largest typical on record measures 201 1/8” and is number 11 of all time.

The largest non-typical that comes from Ohio was unfortunately found dead. This magnificent animal measured 328 2/8” and ranks as the second-highest scoring non-typical pf all time. Even though this deer was not killed by a hunter, it goes to show you the opportunities that do exist in Ohio for trophy whitetails. The top deer killed by a hunter at this time measurers 295 3/8”. This buck ranks number 8 all-time.

The truth is that any hunter has the opportunity to harvest a monster whitetail within the state. But, realistically, your best odds are going to be with a trustworthy deer outfitter that manages the property and the deer herd to produce deer that reach their full potential.

The 2017-2018 season saw some giants fall to Ohio hunters. The top typical measured out at a whopping 194 3/8” and was killed with a crossbow. The biggest non-typical measured 240 0/8” and was taken with a muzzleloader. In other weapons categories for non-typical (NT) and typical (T) goes as follows:

  • Longbow – 237 5/8” (NT), 182 4/8” (T)
  • Crossbow – 218 6/8” (NT), 194 3/8” (T)
  • Shotgun – 234 1/8” (NT), 184 3/8” (T)
  • Muzzleloader – 240 0/8” (NT), 185 5/8” (T)
  • Straight Wall Rifle Cartridge – 194 0/8” (NT), 157 6/8” (T)
  • Revolver – 166 6/8” (T).

 

Ohio’s Habitat

The terrain, habitat, and soil throughout much of Ohio has a lot to do with the growth of monster whitetails too. Much of the state is made up of agricultural lands consisting of corn and soybeans. These row crops growing on extremely fertile soil, supplying the deer with all the nutrients they need to make it to trophy potential.

Other than Ag fields Ohio is dominated by Oak-Hickory forests, filled with beech, maple, and commonly encountered species across the Midwest. These forests are scattered in the agriculturally dominated areas giving deer ample space. When the terrain becomes more significant the agriculture shifts into steep and rugged forest. The habitat of Ohio makes it one of the ideal deer hunting states, giving plenty of nutrition to deer, yet still providing them with ideal edge and forest habitat.

Outfitters, hunters, and landowners throughout the state are gradually working together to improve the habitat throughout the state. This added with great deer management and selective harvest practices along with hard work from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to ensure seasons and bag limits are in the best interest of the deer first, and the hunter second, make the state one of the best deer hunting states not just in the Midwest but throughout the country. Unfortunately, 95% of Ohio is privately owned, meaning to get to this prime habitat and deer hunting opportunities you might have to go with an Ohio hunting outfitter.

Ohio Deer Hunting Outfitters

With the majority of Ohio being locked away with private ownership, most out of state hunters need to either have access to private land or look for an outfitter. To get a chance at a true trophy class whitetail an outfitter will be your best choice. Ohio has many deer hunting outfitters to choose from, but all are not created equal. If you are looking to hunt Ohio, one of the best deer hunting states, check out the deer outfitter selection guide below.

If you’ve done your research, you know that finding a quality deer hunting outfitter is hard work. From top notch accommodations, trophy class deer, to having both free range and preserve hunting, one Ohio hunting outfitter that stands out is Briarwood Sporting Club.

Briarwood Sporting Club is an Ohio deer hunting outfitter that is home to some of the nation’s largest whitetail deer. It offers both estate and open range deer hunting. Deer populations on the estate are managed for world class potential, while open range hunting gives hunters a more affordable, DIY experience. The club provides exceptional lodging, service, accommodations, and an unrivaled and prestigious experience. This includes cabins filled with all modern amenities, private jet travel, tailored food and drinks, plenty of room for large hunting parties, and arranged meals. Interested in seeing this for yourself? Check out all of the top notch accommodations in the blog below or check out the prices for hunting at Briarwood Sporting Club Here.