Ohio’s week-long deer-gun season begins statewide Monday, Nov. 26 and runs through Sunday, Dec. 2.
The season again includes an extra weekend of gun hunting Dec. 15-16, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
“Deer-gun season is a great Ohio tradition and an opportunity for hunters to spend time with friends and family in the outdoors,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “I encourage everyone to take proper safety precautions, such as using a safety harness while in a tree stand, wearing hunter orange and being aware of their surroundings.”
Deer can be hunted with a muzzleloader, handgun or shotgun from one half-hour before sunrise to sunset during the gun season. ODNR Division of Wildlife anticipates 80,000-85,000 deer will be checked and tagged during the week-long hunt. Approximately 420,000 hunters are expected to participate in this year's season, including many out-of-state hunters.
“Ohio has long managed our deer with the goal of producing both a high-quality herd balanced by a tolerable quantity of animals for all to enjoy,” said Scott Zody, chief of ODNR’s Division of Wildlife. “I greatly appreciate the awareness of both our resident and non-resident hunters recognizing quality deer management means harvesting does and not just bucks. As a result, Ohio is a top 10 whitetail hunting destination.”
The white-tailed deer is Ohio’s most popular game animal, frequently pursued by generations of hunters. Ohio ranks eighth nationally in annual hunting-related sales and 10th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has an $859 million economic impact each year in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more.
Hunters may take only one antlered deer, regardless of zone, hunting method or season. A deer permit is required in addition to a valid Ohio hunting license. Hunters must purchase an additional permit to hunt more than one deer.
Ohio is divided into three deer hunting zones. One deer may be harvested in Zone A (six counties) and two deer in Zone B (44 counties). Three deer may be harvested in Zone C (38 counties).
Those hunting in urban units and at Division of Wildlife-authorized controlled hunts will have a six-deer bag limit, and those deer do not count against the hunter's zone bag limit. Antlerless deer permits can be used for the entire season in urban deer units or Division of Wildlife authorized controlled hunts. Antlerless deer permits will not be sold after Nov. 25, and these permits are not valid after that date unless used in an urban deer unit or a Division of Wildlife authorized controlled hunt.
Hunting licenses are no longer printed on weatherproof paper. Protect licenses and permits from the elements by carrying them in a protective pouch or wallet.
Hunters are also encouraged to donate any extra venison to organizations assisting Ohioans in need. ODNR Division of Wildlife is collaborating with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) to help pay for the processing of donated venison. Hunters who donate deer are not required to pay the processing cost as long as the deer are taken to a participating processor. To see which counties are involved in this program, go to fhfh.org.