COLUMBUS – Deer hunting is an extremely popular activity for sportsmen statewide, and Ohio’s white-tailed deer continue to provide hunters across the state with excellent opportunities for success as they head out into the field. Ohio’s deer-gun season opens Monday, Nov. 28. Hunting remains the most effective management tool for maintaining Ohio’s healthy deer population, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
Hunters and others who have questions about hunting can contact the ODNR Division of Wildlife toll-free at 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543). The white-tailed deer-gun hunting seasons occur at a time when Ohio hunters may have last-minute questions, and the ODNR Division of Wildlife will be available to assist. Special call center hours include:
• 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Friday and Saturday, Nov. 18-19, for youth deer-gun season.
• 12-5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 26-27.
• 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 28, to Friday, Dec. 2, and 12-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 3, for deer-gun season.
• The hotline will be closed Thanksgiving Day.
hunting season details, dates, hours and bag limits
Ohio’s annual youth white-tailed deer hunting season gives young hunters the opportunity to pursue the state’s most popular big-game animal on Nov. 19-20, and it is open to hunters with a valid youth hunting license and a deer permit.
During the deer-gun seasons, deer can be hunted with a shotgun, a muzzleloader .38 caliber or larger, a handgun .357 caliber or larger, specific pistol-cartridge rifles or bows from Monday, Nov. 28, to Sunday, Dec. 4, and Dec. 17-18. Details about deer hunting rules are contained in the 2016-2017 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations, available where licenses are sold or at wildohio.gov. Only either-sex permits may be used after Sunday, Nov. 27, unless hunting in an ODNR Division of Wildlife authorized controlled hunt. Deer bag limits are determined by county, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit. The statewide bag limit is six deer. Hunters may harvest only one buck in Ohio, regardless of method of take or location. Hunting hours for all deer seasons are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
Ohioans are encouraged to help enforce state wildlife laws by reporting violations to the division’s Turn-In-a-Poacher (TIP) hotline by calling 800-POACHER (762-2437). Established in 1982, the TIP program allows individuals to anonymously call toll-free to report wildlife violations. The 800-POACHER hotline is open for calls 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Tips concerning wildlife violations can also be submitted at wildohio.gov. Tipsters may be eligible to receive a cash award.
Chronic wasting disease monitoring and deer carcass transport
Hunters are reminded that portions of Holmes and Wayne counties retain their designation as Disease Surveillance Area (DSA) 2015-01 again this year as part of the state’s ongoing Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance efforts. Additional rules apply to the harvest of deer from this area. A map of the area is available at any ODNR Division of Wildlife office and is posted on the division’s website at wildohio.gov.
Hunters harvesting deer within DSA 2015-01 are required to bring their deer to a carcass inspection station for disease testing. Two locations have been designated as Carcass Inspection Stations for the seven-day gun, two-day gun and muzzleloader seasons. Both locations will be open and staffed from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The dates for these seasons are: Nov. 28-Dec. 4, Dec. 17-18 and Jan. 7-10.
• Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) garage, 1800 South Washington Street, Millersburg, 44654
• Industrial Park, 8254 County Road 245, Holmesville, 44633
For more information about rules regarding hunting in the Disease Surveillance Area, CWD or statewide hunting regulations, visit wildohio.gov.
Be aware that other states may have regulations or restrictions on the importation of deer carcasses from Ohio.
Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has a more than $853 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.
Deer management goals
The ODNR Division of Wildlife remains committed to properly managing Ohio’s deer populations. The goal of Ohio’s Deer Management Program is to provide a deer population that maximizes recreational opportunities, while minimizing conflicts with landowners and motorists.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.