COLUMBUS — Ohio’s hunters will head to the woods and fields when gun seasons begin for white-tailed deer later this month.
Youth hunters younger than 18 years of age kick off the gun season with their own weekend to hunt on Nov. 21-22. Youth hunters are required to be accompanied by a non-hunting adult.
For all other hunters in Ohio, the traditional gun season runs from Nov. 30-Dec. 6 and again during the weekend on Dec. 19-20. Archery hunters have been in the field since late September and can continue to bow hunt through Feb. 7.
Allen County Wildlife Officer Craig Barr said success during the gun season “is always contingent on the weather. Good weather means there are more people out hunting. I expect a lot of success this year.”
Barr said that over the past few years he has seen a shift in the approach of many deer hunters. Instead of walking fields in groups hoping to kick up a deer, the game warden said more and more hunters are opting to sit in tree stands and wait for their quarry.
“I call it bow hunting with a gun. It’s pretty cool to have a deer come within 30 yards of you before taking a shot.”
Bag limits on deer vary throughout the state. In Allen, Putnam, Auglaize, Van Wert, Mercer and a handful of other Ohio counties, hunters may legally harvest two deer during the 2020-21 season. A hunter may use up to two “either-sex” permits. The permit is valid through Feb. 7.
Hunters may kill no more than one antlered deer during the season, regardless of how it is taken.
In 2019, Ohio hunters harvested 63,567 deer during the week-long deer-gun season, as well as an additional 13,703 deer during the two-day bonus weekend. Young hunters harvested 6,249 deer during the two-day hunt last year.
Hunters in Allen County legally harvested a total of 1,118 deer during last year’s season, according to figures provided by the ODNR. In surrounding counties, 960 deer were tagged in Auglaize County and 849 were harvested in Putnam County. Logan County with 2,163 deer taken by hunters led all counties in Northwest and West Central Ohio.
The Top 10 counties for deer tagged during last year’s season was topped by Coshocton with 6,715 deer harvested, followed by Tuscarawas, Ashtabula, Muskingum, Licking, Knox, Guernsey, Holmes, Carroll and Trumbull.
Deer hunters can use the free HuntFish OH mobile app to check in their harvest, even without a WiFi connection. When a hunter checks game without a clear signal, harvest information is recorded and stored until the hunter moves to a location with better reception. Users can also purchase licenses and permits and view wildlife area maps through the app.
Chronic Wasting Disease
The Division of Wildlife is encouraging white-tailed deer hunters in Lucas, Fulton and Williams counties to submit samples of harvested deer to be tested for Chronic Wasting Disease, a fatal neurological disease that affects deer populations. Participation is voluntary and free.
Hunters who participate in the program are asked to remove the head from a harvested deer and drop it off at any of 12 collection stations. A kiosk at each location provides instructions on how to properly submit the deer head for testing.
Only adult deer harvested from Lucas, Fulton and Williams counties will be accepted at these collection stations. If a deer is being sent to a taxidermist, it should not be submitted for testing. To submit a deer, remove the head approximately 4 inches below the bottom jawbone.
To view a list collection stations, testing results or other information visit www.wildohio.gov or call the Ohio Division of Wildlife District 2 office at 419-424-5000.
Report any wildlife violations to the Division of Wildlife’s Turn-In-a-Poacher hotline by calling 800-POACHER (762-2437). All reports remain anonymous and tipsters may be eligible for a cash reward.