A favorite fall tradition for many Ohioans includes a trip to pursue deer during the annual gun hunting seasons, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The first of those is the youth deer gun hunting season on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 19-20. The weeklong gun season open to all hunters kicks off Monday, Nov. 28 and continues until Sunday, Dec. 4. The deer gun weekend is Dec. 17-18.

“Hunting deer in Ohio is a popular and cherished activity that has been enjoyed for generations,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Ohio’s gun seasons are an excellent opportunity to harvest venison with friends and family, creating a fun fall tradition.”

Hunters harvested 87,405 deer during the 2021 gun seasons. That total includes the 70,381 deer harvested in the weeklong gun season, 9,392 taken in the gun weekend, and another 7,632 deer taken in the two-day youth season. The three-year average for deer harvested in the gun seasons is 84,224.

Harvest totals are typically highest in the eastern half of Ohio. Coshocton (3,017), Tuscarawas (2,811), Muskingum (2,533), Knox (2,478), and Ashtabula (2,438) counties reported the most deer checked during the 2021-22 gun seasons.

In that year, Crawford County had 777 harvests, whereas neighboring Richland County had 1,668.

Legal hunting implements during the gun seasons includes shotguns, straight-walled cartridge rifles, muzzleloaders, handguns, and archery equipment. Ohio’s deer muzzleloader hunting season is Jan. 7-10, 2023. Muzzleloaders and archery equipment are legal hunting implements during this season.

Check the latest Hunting and Trapping Regulations for information on county bag limits, licenses and permits, and the disease surveillance area in Hardin, Marion, and Wyandot counties. As a reminder, deer management permits are valid only until Sunday, Nov. 27. During the gun seasons, Ohio hunters will need an either-sex permit, unless exempted, available at wildohio.gov, on the HuntFish OH app, and at license vendors.

The free HuntFish OH mobile app can be downloaded from the app store to conveniently purchase fishing and hunting licenses, check game, view wildlife area maps, and much more. Users can access the Division of Wildlife’s online system to check harvested deer while out in the field, even without a Wi-Fi connection.

Hunters interested in tracking the season’s harvest can view weekly deer harvest reports at wildohio.gov. The Division of Wildlife posts deer harvest numbers each Wednesday throughout the hunting season. A final report is also posted after the conclusion of the archery season.

Help protect Ohio’s wildlife resources. Report any violations to the division’s Turn-In-a-Poacher (TIP) hotline by calling 1-800-POACHER (762-2437). All reports remain anonymous, and tipsters may be eligible for a cash reward.

The Division of Wildlife wants to help new and experienced hunters make the most of their outdoor adventures. Visit the Wild Ohio Harvest Community page at wildohio.gov for information on getting started, hunting opportunities, and delicious wild game recipes.

Image by Steve Mantell from Pixabay