Deer gun season is about to get underway
Ohio’s week-long deer-gun season begins statewide Monday, Nov. 26 and runs through Sunday, Dec. 2, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The season again includes an extra weekend of gun hunting Dec. 15–16.
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.
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.
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 www.fhfh.org.
More information can be found in the 2012–13 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations and at www.wildohio.com.
• Hunters and other individuals seeking information about white-tailed deer-gun hunting seasons or wanting to report state wildlife law violations may take advantage of extended call center hours.
The 800-WILDLIFE (945‑3543) general hunting information hotline will be open from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 17–18, for the 10th annual youth deer-gun season. Staff will also be available to answer calls prior to and during the deer-gun season, Nov. 26-Dec. 2 and Dec. 15–16.
The deer-gun season is when many of Ohio’s hunters have last-minute questions, and ODNR Division of Wildlife staff is ready and available to assist them. Special call center hours prior to and during the state’s deer-gun season include: 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 17–18; 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday, Nov. 23 to Sunday, Dec. 2; 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15–16. The hotline will be closed Thanksgiving Day.
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 www.wildohio.com. Tipsters may be eligible to receive a cash award.
• Ohio’s annual furbearer hunting and trapping seasons is underway for certain species. Good furbearer populations are expected this year, according to the Division of Wildlife due to last year’s mild winter.
Fox, raccoon, opossum, skunk and weasel hunting and trapping seasons are open through Jan. 31, 2013. Mink and muskrat trapping seasons are open through Feb. 28, 2013. However, raccoon, opossum, skunk, weasel, mink and muskrat trapping seasons will remain open through March 15, 2013, only in Erie, Ottawa and Sandusky counties as well as Lucas County east of the Maumee River.
Coyote hunting and trapping has no closed season with an unrestricted bag limit. Special hunting regulations for coyotes apply during the statewide deer-gun season, Nov. 26-Dec. 2 and Dec. 15–16, and deer-muzzleloader season, Jan. 5–8, 2013.
Beaver and river otter trapping seasons are open Dec. 26 through Feb. 28, 2013, and beaver trapping is open statewide.
For the eighth year, 43 counties will be open for river otter trapping. River otters were reintroduced into Ohio from 1986–1993 and have increased their range in the state. River otters were removed from Ohio’s Endangered Species List in 2002.
There will be no daily bag limits or restrictions on hours for hunting and trapping furbearers, with the exception of river otters. River otter bag limits are dependent on the county where it was trapped.
A fur taker permit is required in addition to a valid Ohio hunting license to hunt or trap furbearing animals, except for coyotes, which may be hunted or trapped year-round without a fur taker permit. A special ODNR Division of Wildlife permit is required to trap beaver and river otter on state public hunting areas.
River otters that are accidentally captured, either in excess of bag limits or in closed counties, must be released unharmed. River otters that cannot be released must be turned over to ODNR Division of Wildlife.
Beaver trappers in particular are advised to watch for river otter sign and modify set placements where necessary. The Ohio State Trappers Association and ODNR Division of Wildlife have published a guide on how to recognize river otter sign and use avoidance techniques while trapping for beaver in areas closed to river otter trapping.
A copy of the publication can be ordered by calling 800-WILDLIFE.
Ohio is among the nation’s leading producers of raw furs. Last year, 22,195 fur taker permits were sold in the state. The state currently has 65 licensed fur dealers. Additional hunting and trapping information is available in the 2012–2013 Ohio Hunting Regulations, at www.wildohio.com or by calling 800-WILDLIFE.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!