CORTLAND - Mark and Matt Ecker did not get a lot of father and son bonding time during Monday's opening day of gun deer hunting season.
Mark, 31, shot a six-point about 6:50 a.m., shortly after the pair traveled to their favorite hunting area.
"It was pretty quick," Mark said. "It was about one hour and 10 minutes after we came out that I shot the deer."
Ken Postlethwait bagged a 114-pound buck that walked up to him early Monday morning. Postlethwait was out hunting with his father and his fiancee during the first morning of the gun deer hunting season. Photo by Raymond L. Smith
Going out hunting with Mark gives the elder Ecker time to spend with his son.
"Sometimes we will come out and not shoot anything, Matt Ecker said. "That's OK. We've had some time together. It has given us time to really bond."
Gun deer hunting season runs through Dec. 2, then resumes Dec. 15-16. Hunters can use some shotguns, some handguns, muzzle loaders, as well as archery equipment during this week.
Ohio Department of Wildlife officials expect there will to be about 420,000 deer hunters out this week taking between 80,000 and 85,000 deer.
"Because of the weather we expect more hunters to be out this season," John Windau, a spokesman with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, said.
Hunting is a large industry in Ohio. It is the eighth in the nation in the number of hunters. It provides $859 million to the state's economy through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more.
Tammy Kiselka was out hunting with her father in Greene about 7:23 a.m. Monday when she shot a doe.
"I think I made the first shot that I heard this morning," Kiselka said. "We were out before dawn. I saw the doe coming out of the woods edge and I shot her."
Kiselka has been hunting since 1991. She began hunting with her father, John, and brother, Mark Manes, and now with her husband, Gary.
"We enjoy it," she said.
Kiselka was especially glad to get a deer so early in the season, because last year she was unsuccessful. She has already purchased a permit to shoot a second deer this season. She expects to go back out with her father.
Deer hunting is a family tradition that she expects to pass on to her 9-year-old daughter, Brittany.
"She has asked about coming out here with us," Kiselka said. "We're going to give it a couple years. She is a little small right now, but we'll let her."
Ken Postlethwait, his fiancee, Lisa Tascono, and his father, Robert, began their day about 6:45 a.m.; by 7:30 a.m., Ken had already shot his first deer.
"The deer walked up to me like it was ready to be shot," he described with a sense of amazement about how easy it was this year. "He was no more than 10 yards away from me."
Robert Postlethwait, who has been hunting for more than 50 years, laughed at his son's luck.
"My kid has been hunting all of his life," Robert said. "I taught him.''
Daniel Tucker of Southington and Sherman Archer of Newton Falls have been hunting together for about four years.
This year, while hunting in the North Bristol area, the two men shot a dear within 10 minutes of one another.
"That's something we've never done," said Archer, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran. "We were so excited."
Mary Mansfield, a manager at Monty's Mosquito Lake Carry Out, 1241 Greenville Road, said the crowds of hunters coming to the restaurant and weigh station has declined over the last two years as a growing number of people are reporting their kills online instead.
Monty's has been a weigh and reporting station since the mid-1980s.
"In past years we had hunters out of the door on the first day of hunting seasons," she said. "We had a good crowd today, but not has many. We probably lost about half of those who used to come here."
Even with the reduced crowds the check-in station had a steady stream of hunters who drove in to report how many deer they shot.
"Thankfully, we have those who have been very loyal to us," she said. "And a lot of the guys do not like the new system."