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Deer hunting in Harrison County Ohio
Whitetail Deer
Contributors to this thread:
Pat Lefemine 25-Dec-19
molsonarcher 25-Dec-19
molsonarcher 25-Dec-19
Zbone 25-Dec-19
leo17 25-Dec-19
SteveB 25-Dec-19
Sean D. 26-Dec-19
Zbone 26-Dec-19
Mule Power 26-Dec-19
Ogoki 26-Dec-19
Mule Power 27-Dec-19
Pat Lefemine 27-Dec-19
Mule Power 27-Dec-19
Ogoki 27-Dec-19
Zbone 27-Dec-19
SixLomaz 27-Dec-19
Zbone 28-Dec-19
CAS_HNTR 30-Dec-19
Pat Lefemine 30-Dec-19
GLP 30-Dec-19
midwest 30-Dec-19
Zbone 30-Dec-19
Bou'bound 31-Dec-19
Mule Power 31-Dec-19
Pat Lefemine 31-Dec-19
LiveOutdoors 31-Dec-19
From: Pat Lefemine
25-Dec-19
Anyone have any insight into Harrison county deer hunting? You guys scared me out of eastern Kentucky so now I’m looking at property in Harrison. Much closer drive and only 3 hours from my Pennsylvania property. Much more expensive however but this one has a house on it which is a big plus.

Thanks

From: molsonarcher
25-Dec-19
Pat, I’ve hunted there for many years. It is a decent county for deer. You aren’t going to shoot a 160” buck every year, but a 140” buck is very achievable regularly. Depending on the area you are looking in, there is a good mix of agriculture, reclaimed strip mine ground, and timber to mix things up. The gas and oil fracking guys have been all over that area for several years now, and have brought the price of ground up significantly. A few years back ground was reasonable, but now I think it is over inflated significantly.

From: molsonarcher
25-Dec-19

molsonarcher's embedded Photo
molsonarcher's embedded Photo
I found this last year while trapping the place I bowhunt. There is 147” left of bone on it. Given the missing portion had matched, it would be a mid 170” buck. They get this big occasionally, but most don’t get the age to grow. We have to run the Amish off of our ground every year, and more than once I’ve seen them with a great young deer we’ve passed on dead in their truck. Harrison gets quite a bit of hunting pressure. With the right ground you will do ok, but make sure you know your neighbors.

From: Zbone
25-Dec-19
Western Harrison County I am VERY familiar with... Although I now live in Tuscarawas County, I own property in Harrison County and have friends that live there... My father, grandfather and so on were born in the town of Tappan (Franklin) now under water, but anyhow and my grandfather's farm was in Harrison County were I learned to hunt... Went to high school at Lakeland in Freeport for a year when I lived on the farm at the time...

Good bucks if one is lucky enough to reach maturity, but hunting pressure is heavy, heavy, and sounds like a war zone during the week long deer season and poaching is or can be an issue too... It'll be a culture shock your first gun season there, just ask Bowriter who hunted Clendening one year...8^) How any deer survive gun season in that part of the county is amazing with the amish if it's brown it down mentality,,, although some do seem to find little sanctuary pockets if a good buck can run the gauntlet and get there opening morning.... Deer population has been in decline the past decade or so and nothing like it was when I was growing up here...

Although I worked a few years in Cadiz back in the early 80's and eastern Harrison County, I really can't comment about that portion of the county anymore, but if you need any info on western portion of the county feel free to PM me...

Buddy of mine was getting old and wanting to move in town and going to sell me his 14 acres with bad drive lane to his mobile home for 30 grand a few years ago,,, but anyhow I mauled it over and took too much time the oil/gas boom happened... I hosed up...

Kimble companies (mining and garbage companies) own most of the larger tracts of land there and sell permits (although sold out, unless somebody opts out and creates and opening) on the ratio of about 1 hunter per 10 acres.... So say if a tract of 400 acres, expect 40 hunters permission to hunt there, so it can't be managed yearly unless there are openings and you have enough hunters with the same mentality or enough money to manage it....

From: leo17
25-Dec-19
Yes. Very good place. I had 2 leases between Cadiz and saint clairsville. We killed a couple real nice deer

From: SteveB
25-Dec-19
Good county with lots of pressure. I owned land there and sold it for another area, but made an error and sold it just before the gas/oil boom. There are 6 wells on it now. You can still buy fairly reasonably if you don’t care about mineral rights. If it’s big enough to manage you can do well.

From: Sean D.
26-Dec-19
There are good deer in the area but one thing I guarantee is you will have issues with trespassers. During the gun week it is absolutely insane the amount of shots you will here, and you will probably have a group try to do a drive through your property. Just buy something over closer to me and I will manage it for you while your not here. LOL Then it a win/win. Give me a call, I have a property close that has a ton of deer that's for sale. I can get you some info if you want

From: Zbone
26-Dec-19
Yep organized deer drives is a big way Harrison County is hunted during gun season, hunting groups of 20 to 30 is not uncommon... Back in the day I was part of them... Always has and likely always will, and reason few bucks reach maturity... If you buy there, the property will likely have to be patrolled that week...

I can tell horror stories how close I've been to being shot during these deer drives... The ones that go whistling buy your head will scare you, but it's the one that you don't hear that gets you...

From: Mule Power
26-Dec-19
If you are making an investment in Ohio head west. The bucks over around the town of Bellefontaine are as good as it gets. Big! And more people over there manage for quality. The east side sucks compared to the west side. The bucks you dream of in the east are no better g deal over there.

I didn’t catch the feedback you got on Kentucky. I’m about to try southeastern Kentucky. Any reason I should think twice about it?

From: Ogoki
26-Dec-19
It's ironic to watch posts about Ohio. I have deer bow hunter since 1991. Got sick of public land in Southern Ohio. Stands stolen, bucks shot stolen right out from under us etc etc. Got sick of hunting 3 to 5 acre woods . And still do. Have 3/4 mile of creek that only wife and I have permission to hunt . Last 14 sits ,have not seen a single deer . Makes it tough to keep trying . I repair farm motors ,so I have lots of property to us without anyone else. Numerous farmers tell me not seeing deer at harvest. Wife and I bought 45 acres and cabin in Missaukee Co. Michigan. Of my 8 Ohio P&Y buck took my best on our own property there last year . We are 40 miles south of Bellefountain ,Ohio here in Ohio . Take it for what it's worth . I am a West central Ohio resident .

From: Mule Power
27-Dec-19
I live in Pa minutes from the Ohio border. I’ve been up and down the Ohio border and have never seen a good reason to cross that line anymore. But I met a guy at a show in Cincinnati once who had some incredible pics and invited me over to hunt. I killed a big 10 point in one day. I met a few friends of his and looked at lots of mounts pictures and sheds. In a few short days it became pretty obvious that east and west Ohio were like night and day.

If you had to pick between Pa to the east or Indiana to the west which would you pick to hunt?

From: Pat Lefemine
27-Dec-19
Thanks guys.

I’m sure if I posted that I’m looking for land in Iowa’s zone 5 I’d here all sorts of grim stories too. LOL!

The great thing about this site is that by some incredible coincidence I was contacted by someone I know well and he helps the owner manage the property, has hunted there and can name off all the bucks killed. I’m still in disbelief over this. He reached out to tell me about his buddies property in Harrison and it turned out that’s the one I’m looking at. Small world.

The descriptions above are not even close to what he described. It’s not a 180 caliber location but they’ve got good numbers of 140-150 bucks, no trespassing issues and the area is all surrounded by private and very little pressure. He said that when they pass deer it’s more likely than not they see them the next season. They’ve taken several good bucks there, all bow.

I’m headed there today.

From: Mule Power
27-Dec-19
That sounds perfect Pat! Drive safe and have fun checking it out.

From: Ogoki
27-Dec-19
Mule Power, Logan Co ,where Bellefontain is, has to be my favorite county in Ohio. Much different than where I live ,2 counties south. Logan has rolling hills and much bigger woods . I have done extensive work in Logan ,servicing grain dryers. Problem for me was that ,family hunted property or property was leased or guys had permission for years to hunt it. I know of at least two outfitters running hunts up there.

County i am in has very small woods. Any bigger woods is already being hunted . I have done good here ,but really had to put the work into it. I like that though . Just like to get my wife on more deer to keep her going . She bow hunts deer and bear ,with numerous taken. She has bow hunted our county and has numerous does ,but has never seen a buck from a stand here . Has bow hunted since 2006.

From: Zbone
27-Dec-19
Best of luck to ya Pat...

From: SixLomaz
27-Dec-19
Well, if you need a guest count me in anytime Pat. I can spend the whole season there managing the property for you.

From: Zbone
28-Dec-19
If your still in the area next Saturday, January 4th, the 4 day statewide muzzleloader season comes in and get a idea about how many hunters are around the last few minutes Saturday evening when they discharge their weapons to empty... Then multiply by about 10 to give an idea about how many during week long gun season...8^)

From: CAS_HNTR
30-Dec-19
Well......how was the trip Pat?

From: Pat Lefemine
30-Dec-19
It was well worth the drive. Learned a bunch, confirmed that both the seller and my contact were 100% upfront and truthful. They were also very nice guys and I enjoyed meeting them.

I confirmed there is no trespassing issues at all, very little gun pressure, and an amazing amount of deer. This area of Harrison must be an anomaly compared with the descriptions from others about the county. Owner shared his trail cam inventory and I can see progression of the same deer year after year. He showed me his sheds and I saw all the deer shot on the property. Very decent bucks but no slammers.

However, some of what was mentioned above about Harrison proved accurate. The county is good for 130-150 bucks. Occasionally they take 150+ but generally rare. Not particularly heavy bucks either, probably due to the soil and strip mine activity which is prevalent there.

I already notified the seller and the agent that I would pass on the property. Not really due to the class of bucks, but rather the limitations of what I could customize due to the topography which was very steep with deep draws. The only opportunity I had to customize plots was at the very ridge tops and that was limited to maybe 15 acres at best. The land was also a jungle, with autumn olive everywhere. It was a jungle in December, so I can't imagine what it looks like in September! I remarked that I'd hate to make a bad hit, or have to drag a deer out of those hills for more than 30 yards!

Because it was a jungle, and the topography was so steep, no way anyone trespasses on it. They would either die from a heart attack climbing those hills, or lost forever in those tangles. It was AMAZING deer bedding cover and the entire 100 acres is what I would consider a sanctuary. As I told the owner, the land is perfect for a couple guys who want to hunt over a feeder. But for guys like me who's passion is habitat improvements and plots - this was not the place.

So my search continues. Looking at Licking and Muskingum lands and a few others. I think I'm going to scratch Harrison off my list for now.

Thank you for all the input. It was very much appreciated.

From: GLP
30-Dec-19
Pat, when you started these threads, I was thinking Licking co. But muskingum would be great also. I would just stay north of I70, and probably on west side. Great trophy potential and more ( rolling ) hills. Also Guernsey may fit you.

From: midwest
30-Dec-19
Move to Iowa and get it over with.

From: Zbone
30-Dec-19
Sounds like you were in eastern Harrison county...8^) I have a few of those 130-150 buck racks...8^) But will say though, seen the biggest wild buck in my life in Harrison, but that was back in the 70s...

Muskingum and Licking are great counties... Worked Newark area several times through the years and the last time being the spring and summer of 2018, and have always liked the area to hunt which I did back in the day.... Also the hills are very pretty there and the genetics are great, I think Muskingum has the state's most B&C entries, or used too...

May also want to look at Guernsey and Coshocton counties, had family farms there I hunted a bit there back in the day, but if I had my druthers of all of them, it would be Muskingum...

Good luck with your search...

From: Bou'bound
31-Dec-19
there is a good reason why many people won't trespass on a absentee landowner.............there is not good enough hunting to justify it.

From: Mule Power
31-Dec-19
Pat what steered you away from Kentucky? I talked to a guy last week who showed me cam pics of great bucks that had survived this hunting season. Overall the conversation was better than anything I’ve heard coming out of Ohio. Big bucks in Ohio are like lightning strikes. No consistency. They pop up at any time anywhere. Down there it was steady. They patterned them and killed them.

From: Pat Lefemine
31-Dec-19
Mule, I posted a similar topic about Kentucky and I thought they were describing Mogadishu. Rampant trespassing, corrupt cops and judges, generally disliked nonresident landowners.

Kentucky was my first choice but the drive is another 6 hours from central Ohio. Decided to focus there even though land prices are double or more.

From: LiveOutdoors
31-Dec-19

LiveOutdoors's embedded Photo
LiveOutdoors's embedded Photo
Hey Pat,

I have been hunting hocking county ohio for about 15 years now. The steep gutters and ridges that are so thick you cant walk through it does sucks for hunting. That is exactly what our property is. We have 8 ridges and every one of them is steep and so thick you cant walk them without a pair of snips and alot of time.

As much as I hate it, this property holds so many deer because of it. I see deer movement all day long because they feel safe in those thickets. I have areas that I will not hunt unless I have a buddy around because there is no getting that deer out of the woods.

I wouldnt dismiss the land based on those two factors. From my experiences the thicker the better! We have a corn field and soy bean field in the front of the property and the deer only hit them in the late evenings. There is so much browse that they dont hit The fields like other areas. A guy next to us had a big food plot but stopped doing it because he had better success hunting trails through the thickets.

Best of luck to you.

Joe

Ps i shot this buck off our property this year. Biggest one taken since we have been hunting it.

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