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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
As more hunters take to the ODNR would like to remind them to purchase the correct hunting license and permits prior to deer hunting this season. When deer hunting in Ohio a deer permit is required in addition to a valid Ohio hunting license. Antlerless deer permits expire Nov. 27 and will not be valid for deer-gun week except in ODNR Division of Wildlife authorized controlled hunts. Antlerless permits are only valid in 10 counties. Those counties are Cuyahoga, Delaware, Franklin, Hamilton, Lake, Lorain, Lucas, Portage, Stark and Summit.
Antlerless permits were a tool to encourage the early harvest of antlerless deer. As populations approach goal, antlerless permit use is restricted to reduce pressure on antlerless deer. Hunters can still take antlerless deer; however, they will need to use an either-sex permit. The statewide deer bag limit is six deer. Hunters may take only one antlered deer regardless of county, hunting method or season.
Although Ohio resident landowners, spouses, and their children are not required to have a hunting license, either-sex deer permit or antlerless deer permit when hunting on land they own they are required to follow set bag limits and check in their harvest. Landowners will create a game tag and attach it to the harvested game. Once tagged they can check game in at a license vendor, use the operator-assisted game check (fees apply) or online at www.wildohio.gov.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.