Ohio’s Traditional Deer-Gun Hunting Season Began Dec. 1

ODNR logoCOLUMBUS, OH – Ohio hunters have additional choices while pursuing white-tailed deer when gun hunting season opens Monday, Dec. 1, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR).

Deer hunting in Ohio is an extremely popular activity for many people who enjoy the outdoors. More than 400,000 hunters are expected to take to the field during this year’s hunting season, some of which will be experienced huntsman, while others will be beginners and will have read a few articles from feedthatgame.com or somewhere similar to get some information on deer, just before they head out and try to find a trail of their own. Hunters checked 75,408 deer during the 2013 weeklong deer-gun season and 86,964 deer in 2012. Hunting hours for all deer seasons are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

New this year, specific straight-walled cartridge rifles are now legal for use during the deer-gun season. These specific straight-walled cartridge rifles are legal for deer hunting: .357 Magnum, .357 Maximum, .38 Special, .375 Super Magnum, .375 Winchester, .38-55, .41 Long Colt, .41 Magnum, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, .444 Marlin, .45 ACP, .45 Colt, .45 Long Colt, .45 Winchester Magnum, .45 Smith & Wesson, .454 Casull, .460 Smith & Wesson, .45-70, .45-90, .45-110, .475 Linebaugh, .50-70, .50-90, .50-100, .50-110 and .500 Smith & Wesson. Shotguns and straight-walled cartridge rifles may have no more than three shells in the magazine and chamber combined while deer hunting. You’ll be wanting to choose your rifle or firearm relative to where you’ll be hunting. For example, in some areas, it would be better to use a handgun, and in others, you might be better off with a long-distanced rifle with the necessary equipment that you can find if you are to click here or look at similar websites while online.

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, Dec. 1, to Sunday, Dec. 7. All deer hunters are required to have a valid Ohio hunting license and a valid deer permit. Details about deer hunting rules are contained in the 2014-2015 Ohio Hunting Regulations, available where licenses are sold or at wildohio.gov. Antlerless permits are not valid after Sunday, Nov. 30, unless used for an ODNR Division of Wildlife authorized controlled hunt. Deer bag limits are determined by county, but no more than nine deer may be taken from all counties combined. 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.

A 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 kill. Go to the Deer Hunting Resources page at wildohio.gov for more information about the game check process.

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 a deer to a participating food bank are not required to pay the processing cost as long as funding for the effort is available. More information about this program can be found online at fhfh.org. Hunters can also donate venison through Safari Club International’s Sportsmen Against Hunger program by learning more at safariclubfoundation.org. Whitetails Unlimited chapters also use local funds for programs such as venison donation. Go to whitetailsunlimited.com to find a local chapter and make a donation.

Hunting is the best and most effective management tool for maintaining Ohio’s healthy deer population. During the 2013-2014 season, Ohio hunters checked 191,459 deer. 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.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife remains committed to properly managing Ohio’s deer populations through a combination of regulatory and programmatic changes. 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. This ensures that Ohio’s deer herd is maintained at a level that is both acceptable to most, and biologically sound.

Until recently, the populations in nearly all of Ohio’s counties were well above their target numbers. In the last few years, through increased harvests, dramatic strides have been made in many counties to bring those populations closer toward their goal. Once a county’s deer population is near goal, harvest regulations are adjusted to maintain the population.

In an effort to keep Ohio’s wild deer herd free of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), successful hunters in Holmes County are urged to have their deer tested and processed at a local facility in the county and have the carcass remain within the county as well. The ODNR Division of Wildlife’s toll-free number at 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) will be staffed extended hours during the deer-gun season for hunters with any questions.