Ohio’s young hunters have the opportunity to pursue white-tailed deer during the state’s 11th annual youth white-tailed deer hunting season on Nov. 23-24. The youth deer-gun season is open statewide to hunters holding a valid youth hunting license and a deer permit. Deer can be hunted with a plugged shotgun using slugs, a muzzleloader .38 caliber or larger, a handgun .357 caliber or larger and bows during these two days. Youth hunters checked 9,178 deer in 2012 and at least 8,300 deer in the two-day season every year since 2005.
New this year, hunting time is extended 30 minutes for all deer seasons, including the youth deer season. Deer can be hunted from 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. All participants must wear hunter orange, possess a valid Ohio youth hunting license as well as a deer permit, and they must be accompanied in the field by a non-hunting adult. One adult may accompany no more than two youth hunters.
Youth hunters can commemorate their achievement with a First Harvest certificate, available at wildohio.com. Parents can upload a photo and type in the hunter’s information to personalize the certificate. Hunters can also share photos by clicking on the Photo Gallery tab online.
Deer bag limits are now determined by county. The statewide bag limit is nine deer, but a hunter cannot exceed a county limit. Hunters may take only one antlered deer, regardless of 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.
A new tagging procedure administered by the ODNR Division of Wildlife requires hunters to make their own game tag to attach to a deer. Game tags can be made of any material (cardboard, plastic, paper, etc.) as long as it contains the hunter’s name, date, time and county of the kill. Go to the Deer Hunting Resources page at wildohio.com for more information on changes to the game check process.
All other regularly scheduled hunting seasons will continue during the two-day youth deer season. All hunters (except waterfowl hunters) are required to wear hunter orange during this time. More information can be found in the 2013-14 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations and at wildohio.com.
• Ohio white-tailed deer hunters can still purchase and use antlerless deer permits through Sunday, Dec. 1. Hunters can tag and check antlerless deer with an antlerless permit through Dec. 1. After Dec. 1, hunters must possess or purchase an either-sex deer permit to pursue bucks and does until Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014. Either-sex permits can be purchased online at wildohio.com or at a license vendor. Only one antlerless deer may be checked per county using an antlerless permit.
Ohio offers many opportunities to deer hunters in the coming months. The deer-gun season is Monday, Dec. 2, through Sunday, Dec. 8. Deer-muzzleloader season is Saturday, Jan. 4, through Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014. Deer-archery season is open through Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014.
• Ohio is among the nation’s leading producers of raw furs, and hunters and trappers are expected to encounter good populations this season. Last year, 22,520 fur taker permits were sold in Ohio. The state currently has 69 licensed fur dealers. Fox, raccoon, opossum, skunk and weasel hunting and trapping seasons are open Nov. 10 through Friday, Jan. 31, 2014. Mink and muskrat trapping seasons are open Nov. 10 through Friday, Feb. 28, 2014.
Erie, Ottawa and Sandusky counties as well as Lucas County east of the Maumee River will remain open for raccoon, opossum, skunk, weasel, mink and muskrat trapping seasons through Saturday, March 15, 2014.
Coyote hunting and trapping has no closed season with an unrestricted bag limit. Special hunting regulations for coyotes apply during the statewide youth deer-gun season Nov. 23-24, deer-gun season, Dec. 2-8, and deer-muzzleloader season, Jan. 4-7, 2014.
Beaver and river otter trapping seasons are open Thursday, Dec. 26, through Feb. 28, 2014, and beaver trapping is open statewide. River otter trapping is open in 43 counties.
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. Full details of open counties as well as checking and permit requirements can be found in the Ohio River Otter Trapping Regulations or at wildohio.com.
There will be no daily bag limits, 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 the 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 the ODNR Division of Wildlife 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 (945-3543). Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!