For one hunter at Salt Fork State Park, the annual deer gun hunting season opened with a bang Monday followed by an ambulance ride to Southeastern Med in Cambridge.
The unidentified hunter reportedly shot a deer just after noon and then injured himself when he tripped and fell while retrieving equipment to help remove the white-tailed deer from a wooded area off Natural Resources Road 1.
"He had just shot the deer and then tripped over a log, causing him to fall and injure his ankle or lower leg," said Salt Fork Park Manager Adam Sikora. "Initial reports were he possibly fractured his leg, but I'm not sure if it was a fracture or just an ankle injury."
The man was transported to the Cambridge hospital by a medical crew from the Antrim Community Volunteer Fire Department.
According to reports at the Guernsey County Sheriff's Office, a 911 caller reported the accident at approximately 12:44 p.m. Monday, advising the man was believed to have suffered a fractured leg.
The Antrim EMS crew and two units from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources were dispatched to the scene with an all-terrain vehicle to assist with extrication of the victim, if necessary.
The man was removed from the woods and transported to the hospital a short time later, according to the dispatch log at the sheriff's office.
Sikora said two hunters who were not hunting with the victim drug his deer from the woods for him after the accident.
"It's proof there are still good people in this world," said Sikora.
By the numbers
According to ODNR, hunters in Guernsey County harvested 642 deer Monday, up from 368 in 2020. Statewide, Ohio hunters checked in 21,754 white-tailed deer — a total well above the opening day average of 13,349 deer for the past three seasons.
In Noble County, hunters checked in 387 deer Monday, up from 249 last year.
The opening day total in 2020 was 10,905 deer amid raining and snowy conditions.
“This fall has reaffirmed once again that Ohio is a top deer hunting state, thanks to decades of stable deer management practices,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “This year’s weather cooperated for an outstanding opening day harvest, generating about 1 million pounds of venison and feeding Ohio’s families.”
The top 10 counties for deer harvest on opening day this year included Coshocton, 850; Tuscarawas, 729; Ashtabula, 725; Knox, 679; Muskingum, 677; Holmes, 650; Guernsey, 642; Carroll, 607; Licking, 572; and Ashland, 504.
Coshocton County also led the state last year with 356 on opening day.
The week-long deer gun season concludes Sunday with two additional dates slated for Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 18-19.
Ohio archery hunters have taken 79,538 deer through Monday with Ohio’s young hunters checking in 7,634 deer during the youth gun season, Nov. 20-21.
Ohio deer hunting has come a long way from the first gun hunting season in 1943, when 168 deer were taken.
Because Ohio is known as a quality deer hunting state, many out-of-state hunters travel here during the season.
The top five states for purchasing a nonresident hunting license are Pennsylvania with 6,994 followed by Michigan, 4,801; West Virginia, 3,595; North Carolina, 3,050; and New York, 3,009.
ODNR reported 339,991 deer hunting permits had been sold or issued through Sunday.
Ohio offers many more opportunities for hunters to pursue deer with muzzleloader season from Saturday, Jan. 8, through Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, and bowhunting until Feb. 6.
The HuntFish OH mobile app can be downloaded to purchase fishing and hunting licenses, check game, view wildlife area maps, and much more. The app is available for Android and iOS users and can be found in the app store.
Users can access the Division of Wildlife’s online system to check harvested deer while out in the field, even without a Wi-Fi connection.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Jeffersonian: Hunter injured at Salt Fork after shooting a deer on opening day