COLUMBUS — Several changes to Ohio’s white-tailed deer hunting regulations take effect when the first deer season begins on Saturday, Sept. 28, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).
New deer hunting regulations implemented by the ODNR Division of Wildlife include extended hunting hours during gun and muzzleloader seasons, county bag limits, changes to deer permit use and an antlerless-only muzzleloader season.
“This year we were able to add 30 minutes of prime hunting time after sunset to every day of the deer gun and muzzleloader hunting seasons,” said ODNR Director James Zehringer. “Ohio has some of the best hunting opportunities in the country, and this extra half hour is a golden opportunity for hunters to extend their time in the field.”
All deer hunters are required to have a valid Ohio hunting license and a valid deer permit. A detailed listing of deer hunting rules is contained in the 2013-14 Ohio Hunting Regulations, available where licenses are sold, or wildohio.com. Ohio’s 2013-2014 deer seasons include:
Archery: Sept. 28-Feb. 2, 2014;
Antlerless muzzleloader: Oct 12-13;
Youth gun: Nov. 23-24;
Gun: Dec. 2-8;
Muzzleloader: Jan 4-7, 2014.
Deer hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes past sunset for all deer seasons. This includes gun and muzzleloader seasons.
Deer bag limits are now determined by county (see map for bag limits). The statewide bag limit is nine deer, but a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit. Additional ODNR Division of Wildlife authorized controlled hunting opportunities do not count against statewide or county bag limits. Hunters may harvest only one buck in Ohio, regardless of method of take or location.
Antlerless permits will be valid until Dec. 1, the Sunday before the deer-gun season. Only one antlerless permit may be used per county, regardless of the bag limit.
Ohio is offering an antlerless deer muzzleloader hunting season Oct. 12-13. It is legal to bowhunt during this weekend, but no bucks may be killed regardless of hunting implement. Archers hunting during the statewide gun, youth gun and muzzleloader seasons must meet the hunter orange requirement.
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 hunters must report their deer harvest using the automated game-check system. Hunters have three options to complete the game check:
• Online at ohiogamecheck.com;
• Call 877-TAG-ITOH (824-4864);
• Visit a license agent. A list of agents can be found at wildohio.com or by calling 800-WILDLIFE.
Game-check transactions are available online and by seven days a week, including holidays. Landowners exempt from purchasing a deer permit, and other people not required to purchase a deer permit, cannot use the 877-TAG-ITOH option.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife remains committed to properly managing Ohio’s deer populations through a combination of regulatory and programmatic changes. Progress toward reducing locally abundant herds can be expected as strides have already been made in reducing deer herds in many counties closer to target levels.
Ohio hunters are encouraged to hunt more does this season to help the needy in their area. The ODNR Division of Wildlife is working with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) to help pay for the processing of donated venison. Hunters who donate their deer to a food bank are not required to pay the processing cost as long as funding for the effort lasts. More information about this program can be found online at fhfh.org.
Deer hunting in Ohio continues to be a popular activity for many who enjoy the outdoors. Ohio hunters checked 218,910 deer during the 2012-2013 season. 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, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.