Special to 1831Galion

Ohio’s weeklong white-tailed deer gun hunting season concluded on Sunday, Dec. 3, with hunters taking 70,118 deer, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Last year, hunters took 71,931 deer during the gun week. The three-year average for deer harvest during the seven-day gun season is 71,322. An additional weekend of deer gun hunting will happen on Dec. 16-17.

During the deer gun week, hunters checked 25,044 antlered deer (36% of the harvest) and 45,074 antlerless deer (64%), a category which includes does and button bucks.

The top 10 counties for deer taken during the week of gun season were: Coshocton (2,441), Tuscarawas (2,260), Ashtabula (2,189), Muskingum (2,076), Knox (1,880), Carroll (1,864), Guernsey (1,798), Washington (1,582), Licking (1,570), and Harrison (1,533). Coshocton County also led the state in 2022 with 2,457 deer checked.

Crawford County had 631 deer harvested, as compared to an average of 653 in 2020, 2021, and 2022.

Straight-walled cartridge rifles have become more popular since becoming legal for deer gun hunting in 2014. This year, straight-walled cartridge rifles were used to harvest 60% of the deer checked during the seven-day gun season. Shotguns accounted for 34% of the total. In addition, 4% were taken with a muzzleloader, 1% with archery equipment, and 1% with a handgun.

This year, 389,181 deer permits have been issued through Sunday, Dec. 3. Nonresidents have purchased 37,543 hunting licenses, many of them to enjoy Ohio’s terrific deer hunting opportunities. The most popular states that hunters traveled to Ohio from include Pennsylvania (7,078 nonresident licenses), Michigan (4,733), West Virginia (3,560), North Carolina (3,105), and New York (2,852).

In the 2023 deer season, archery and firearms hunters have taken a total of 167,732 deer through Sunday, Dec. 3. Hunters have another opportunity to harvest a deer with a firearm during the bonus gun weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 16-17. The muzzleloader season is Jan. 6-9, 2024. The archery season remains open through Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024. Find more details in the 2023-24 Hunting and Trapping Regulations.

Successful deer hunters can check their game using the HuntFish OH mobile app, available for free in the Android and Apple app stores. Users can also explore public hunting areas, purchase hunting licenses or deer permits, see county bag limits, and so much more. Beyond the app, hunters can check game by visiting ohiogamecheck.com, calling 1-877-TAG-IT-OH (1-877-824-4864), visiting a license sales agent, or calling 1-866-703-1298 (landowner operator-assisted; fees apply).

Last year, hunters generated $1.9 billion in economic spending in Ohio, according to a recent report released by the Wildlife Management Institute, Responsive Management, and Southwick Associates. The research found that 5% of Ohio’s adults, about 500,000 individuals, participate in hunting, with 91% of those hunters taking part in deer hunting.