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White-tailed Deer Hunting

Hunting Regulations Icon Ohio Hunting

Season OPENING DATE CLOSING DATE BAG LIMIT
Archery Sept. 30, 2017 Feb. 4, 2018

The statewide bag

limit is six deer.

Only one may be antlered.

You cannot exceed an individual county bag limit.

Youth Gun Nov. 18, 2017 Nov. 19, 2017
Gun Nov. 27, 2017

Dec. 16, 2017

Dec. 3, 2017

Dec. 17, 2017

Muzzleloader Jan. 6, 2018 Jan. 9, 2018

2017-2018 COUNTY bag limit MAP

Two deer county

Three deer county

Three deer county

Four deer county

A hunter may kill

no more than two

deer in a two deer county during the

2017-2018 season.

Up to two

either-sex permits.

Antlerless permits

are NOT valid.

A hunter may kill no more than three deer in a three deer county during the

2017-2018 season.

Up to three

either-sex permits.

Antlerless permits

are NOT valid.

A hunter may kill no more than three deer in a three deer county during the

2017-2018 season.

Up to two either-sex

permits and one antlerless permit.

– OR –

Up to three

either-sex permits.

A hunter may kill

no more than four deer in a four deer county during the

2017-2018 season.

Up to three either-sex permits and one antlerless permit.

– OR –

Up to four

either-sex permits.

Only one may be antlered.

Deer hunting hours

Hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

DEER bag limits

New this year, the deer bag limit has changed in some counties. Check the bag limit map.

A hunter may kill no more than one antlered deer during the 2017-2018 season regardless of where or how it is taken.

Two Deer Counties

No more than two deer may be taken from a two deer county during the 2017-2018 deer hunting season.

Both deer need to be tagged with an either-sex permit. The antlerless permit is not valid in a two deer county.

Three Deer Counties

No more than three deer may be taken from a three deer county during the 2017-2018 deer hunting season.

The antlerless permit is not valid in most three deer counties. Check the antlerless permit map to determine if the antlerless permit is valid in the county where you hunt.

One deer may be tagged with an antlerless permit in specific three deer counties, and two deer may be tagged with either-sex permits. The antlerless permit is not valid in specific counties after Nov. 26, 2017.

Three deer may be tagged with either-sex permits if the antlerless permit is not valid or not used.

Four Deer Counties

No more than four deer may be taken from a four deer county during the 2017-2018 deer hunting season.

One deer may be tagged with an antlerless permit and three deer may be tagged with an either-sex permit. The antlerless permit is not valid in specific counties after Nov. 26, 2017.

Four deer may be tagged with either-sex permits if the antlerless permit is not used.

deer tag AND CHECK

Hunters who kill a deer

must immediately:

Complete a game tag with the hunter’s name, date, time, and county of kill.

Attach the completed game tag to the deer at the place where it fell.

Fill in the deer permit with date, time, and county of kill.

A person cannot leave Ohio with a deer taken by hunting that has not been game checked with the confirmation number permanently attached.

The hunter must complete the game check and tagging process by 12 p.m. (noon) the day after the kill. If the deer is killed on the last day of a season, then it must be checked in by 11:30 p.m. on the day of the kill.

DEER HUNTING PERMITS

In addition to your Ohio annual hunting license, you must purchase an either-sex deer permit or an antlerless deer permit to hunt deer in Ohio, unless exempted. Deer permits go on sale June 1, 2017.

Antlerless deer permits are valid Sept. 30 through Nov. 26, 2017.

The either-sex deer permit is valid Sept. 30, 2017 through Feb. 4, 2018.

either-sex Deer Permit

The either-sex deer permit is good for an antlered or antlerless deer and is valid statewide. This permit may be used during any of the deer hunting seasons and controlled hunts. This permit may be purchased individually throughout the entire deer season. No more than one deer may be antlered during the 2017-2018 season.

Either-sex deer permit means: either-sex deer permit, senior either-sex deer permit, youth either-sex deer permit, free disabled veteran either-sex deer permit, or a free senior either-sex deer permit.

Antlerless Deer Permit

The antlerless deer permit is valid in select counties (see map, below) from Sept. 30 – Nov. 26, 2017. The antlerless deer permit may be used to take antlerless deer only.

This permit is valid during the youth deer season and at ODNR Division of Wildlife authorized controlled hunts . The antlerless deer permit will not be sold after Nov. 26, 2017.

Antlerless deer permit means: antlerless deer permit, youth antlerless deer permit, senior antlerless deer permit, free disabled veteran antlerless deer permit, or a free senior antlerless deer permit.

Hunters are not required to buy an either-sex deer permit before purchasing an antlerless deer permit.

Open Counties for Antlerless Deer Permit

An antlerless deer permit is valid from Sept. 30 – Nov. 26, 2017 in these counties: Cuyahoga, Delaware, Franklin, Hamilton, Lake, Lorain, Lucas, Portage, Stark, and Summit.

What is an Antlerless Deer?

Antlerless deer include deer without antlers, and deer with antlers less than 3 inches in length.

Antlered deer are deer with at least one antler 3 inches or longer in length.

Chronic wasting Disease

Chronic wasting Disease (CWD) was detected at two captive deer facilities in Holmes County in 2014 and 2015. In 2015 the ODNR Division of Wildlife established a Disease Surveillance Area (DSA) in portions of Holmes and Wayne counties. The area is mapped and posted at wildohio.gov and available at district offices.

A DSA designation will remain in effect for a minimum of three years and the following regulations apply: requires hunters to bring deer harvested within the DSA boundaries to an ODNR Division of Wildlife inspection station for sampling during the deer-gun and deer muzzleloader seasons (check wildohio.gov or any district office for locations and specific details); prohibits the placement of or use of bait (salt, minerals, or any food) to attract or feed deer within the DSA boundaries; prohibits hunting of deer by the aid of bait within the DSA boundaries; and prohibits the removal of a deer killed by a motor vehicle within the DSA boundaries unless the carcass complies with deer carcass regulations.

Normal agricultural activities, including feeding of domestic animals; as well as hunting deer over food plots, naturally occurring or cultivated plants, and agriculture crops are not prohibited.

deer carcass regulations

To minimize risk of spreading CWD, possessing or removing high-risk carcass parts from Cervids (deer, moose, elk, and caribou) harvested in areas listed at wildohio.gov is prohibited.

Only the following parts may be possessed from any Cervid removed from these locations: de-boned meat; meat that is cut and securely wrapped either commercially or privately with no part of the spinal column or head attached; quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached; antlers; antlers attached to a skull cap from which all soft tissue has been removed; upper canine teeth from which all soft tissue has been removed; hides and capes without any part of the head or lymph nodes attached; finished taxidermy mounts; and soft body tissue wrapped and packaged for use by a diagnostic research laboratory.

Out of state hunters traveling through Ohio may possess any Cervidae carcass (or part of a carcass), provided the carcass or parts are not off-loaded from the vehicle.

2017 ANTLERLESS DEER permit

open counties MAP

A Deer hunter CAN do the following

1. A successful deer hunter can aid or assist another hunter who is hunting deer if the deer permit has been filled in, he or she does not carry any hunting implement commonly used to kill wild animals, and has a valid hunting license. Those persons exempted from having a hunting license and deer permits for deer hunting on their property are required to have a hunting license and deer permit to aid another hunter off of their property or hunt deer off of their property.

2. Take more than one deer per day as long as each deer has been tagged with a game tag and a deer permit has been filled in before hunting for the next deer.

3. Possess a communication device as long as you do not use the device to aid a person in pursuing or taking of deer.

4. Use certain handguns during the youth deer gun season and deer gun season. These handguns must: a) have a barrel length of not less than 5 inches; b) use straight-walled cartridges (no shoulder/neck; straight-tapered wall is acceptable); and c) be .357 caliber or larger.

5. Leave a deer or deer parts with a taxidermist, fur buyer, cold storage, locker plant, or meat processing plant as long as the confirmation number is attached to the animal and all of its separate parts. Persons receiving a deer from another person must keep the confirmation number with the animal and all of its separate parts.

6. Hunt deer over bait, except on public land and in the Disease Surveillance Area.

7. Hunt coyote and feral swine (wild boar) during the deer gun season, the youth deer gun season, and the deer muzzleloader season with a hunting license and a valid deer permit, using firearms legal for deer hunting while visibly wearing a vest, coat, jacket, or coveralls colored solid hunter orange or camouflage hunter orange.

8. Deer archery hunt during the youth deer gun season, if the archery hunter is not accompanying a hunter participating in the youth deer gun season and is wearing hunter orange .

9. Use a leashed dog to recover a wounded deer.

10. A person possessing a valid concealed handgun license may carry a concealed handgun while hunting, but it may not be used to shoot, shoot at, or kill any wild animal. For more information go to ohioattorneygeneral.gov.

11. Deer archery hunt during all deer gun seasons. Archery hunters must comply with the hunter orange requirement and follow all regulations specific to the deer gun season.

A Deer Hunter

CANNOT do the following

1. Hunt or pursue deer with a shotgun or specific straight-walled cartridge rifle loaded with more than three shells in the chamber and magazine combined.

2. Hunt with any rifle or possess rifle ammunition during the deer muzzleloader season, other than a muzzleloading rifle .38 caliber or larger.

3. Hunt or take a deer with a gun or possess a loaded firearm while going to and from deer hunting during the deer gun season, the youth deer gun season, and the deer muzzleloader season at any time other than 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Muzzleloading firearms are considered unloaded when the cap is removed or priming powder is removed from the pan, or when the battery is removed on electronic systems.

4. Use a muzzleloading handgun to hunt deer.

5. Carry a handgun while hunting deer during the deer muzzleloader season and the archery season; have more than one firearm while hunting deer; carry a handgun being used during hunting in a concealed manner. Except as noted in No. 10 under A Deer Hunter Can Do the Following.

6. Carry a firearm while deer hunting with a longbow or crossbow. Except as noted in No. 10 under A Deer Hunter Can Do the Following.

7. Have attached to a longbow or crossbow any mechanical, electrical, or electronic device capable of projecting a beam of light.

8. Use dogs to hunt deer. Leashed dogs may be used to track wounded deer.

9. Possess shotshells containing shot during the deer gun season, Nov. 27 – Dec. 3, 2017, unless waterfowl hunting when the season is open.

10. Carry the deer permit of another person.

11. Hunt coyote or feral swine (wild boar) between 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise during the deer gun season, the youth deer gun season, and the deer muzzleloader season.

12. Use any device capable of transmitting or receiving a person’s voice to aid in the hunting or taking of deer.

13. Pursue wounded deer or other wild animals or recover dead deer or other wild animals from private property without the written permission of the landowner.

15. Construct, place, or use a permanent-type tree stand, or place spikes, nails, wires, or other metal objects into a tree to act as steps or to hold a tree stand on public hunting lands. It is also unlawful to make any of these changes to trees on private property without first getting the permission of the landowner or the landowner’s authorized agent.

16. Check a deer as a landowner if the hunter is a tenant of the property, unless the tenant is an individual who resides on land for which he or she pays rent and whose annual income is primarily derived from agricultural production conducted on that land.

14. Receive or possess a deer or parts of a deer unless such deer or deer part is tagged as required, or unless the deer or part of a deer has a statement showing when and where legally taken, the date received, and from whom received; or an ODNR Division of Wildlife tag, seal, or certificate or other proof of ownership which shows the deer was killed by a motor vehicle in Ohio; or an official tag or seal and valid nonresident license issued by another state if taken from outside Ohio; or certificate of ownership or receipt issued by a law enforcement officer. Shed antlers do not require a certificate of ownership or receipt by a wildlife officer.

Controlled Deer Hunts

The ODNR Division of Wildlife conducts annual controlled hunts on a number of managed areas that are not normally open to hunting. The dates and locations of these hunts vary from year to year. For more specific information about controlled hunts, visit wildohio.gov or call 1-800-WILDLIFE (1-800-945-3543).

Participation is determined by computer-generated random drawings. The application period is June 1 through July 31, 2017. Hunters may apply at wildohio.gov, or by calling 1-866-703-1928 with a convenience fee.

Other controlled deer hunts are held at various locations around Ohio, including specific state parks and metro parks. The ODNR Division of Wildlife is not involved in the management or administration of these hunts. Antlerless deer permits MAY be used in these controlled hunts throughout the season if they meet requirements set by the ODNR Division of Wildlife and the entity holding the hunt has received authorization from the chief of the ODNR Division of Wildlife. It is the hunter’s responsibility to check with the agency holding the hunt to see if it qualifies.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife conducts several controlled deer hunts for young hunters.

HUNTING OTHER GAME DURING DEER SEASONS

Youth Deer Gun Season

November 18-19, 2017

and Deer Gun season

DeCEMBER 16-17, 2017

All persons (except waterfowl hunters) hunting during the youth deer gun season and gun season on Dec. 16 and Dec. 17 are required to wear hunter orange. This includes archery hunters.

A HUNTER CAN:

1. Hunt legal game and furbearers, including coyote and feral swine (wild boar).

2. Hunt other legal game (excluding deer, feral swine, and coyote) with shotguns using shot No. 4 or smaller.

3. Hunt waterfowl with any size shot.

4. Hunt furbearers, except coyote and feral swine (wild boar), from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.

5. Hunt with archery equipment.

A HUNTER CANNOT:

1. Possess or use slugs and rifle ammunition, unless the hunter is pursuing deer.

2. Hunt coyote or feral swine (wild boar) between 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.

Deer Gun Season

NovEMBER 27 – DecEMBER 3, 2017

All persons (except waterfowl hunters) hunting during the deer gun season are required to wear hunter orange. This includes archery hunters.

A HUNTER CAN:

1. Hunt coyote and feral swine (wild boar). Hunters must possess a valid hunting license and a valid deer permit.

2. Hunt waterfowl with any size shot.

3. Hunt furbearers, except coyote and feral swine (wild boar), from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.

4. Hunt with archery equipment.

A HUNTER CANNOT:

1. Hunt coyote or feral swine from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.

2. Possess shells with shot (except waterfowl hunters) or rifle ammunition. However, hunters using a .38 caliber muzzleloading rifle or larger, or hunters using legal straight-walled cartridge rifle calibers may possess ammunition for that rifle.

deer muzzleloader season

JANUARY 6-9, 2018

All persons (except waterfowl hunters) hunting during the deer muzzleloader season are required to wear hunter orange. This includes archery hunters.

A HUNTER CAN:

1. Hunt deer, feral swine (wild boar), or coyote with a legal muzzleloader or archery equipment. Hunters must possess a valid hunting license and a valid deer permit.

2. Hunt other legal game (excluding deer, feral swine, and coyote) with shotguns using shot No. 4 or smaller.

3. Hunt waterfowl with any size shot.

4. Hunt furbearers, except coyote and feral swine, from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise if the season is open.

A HUNTER CANNOT:

1. Hunt deer, feral swine (wild boar), or coyote with anything other than a .38 caliber muzzleloading rifle or larger, or archery equipment.

2. Possess shotgun slugs or rifle cartridges while hunting.

3. Hunt deer, coyote, or feral swine (wild boar) from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.

Legal Deer Hunting Equipment

SEASON Equipment

Archery

Season

Longbow or Bow: The minimum draw weight is 40 pounds. This includes compound bows and recurve bows. The arrow tip needs a minimum of two cutting edges, which may be exposed or unexposed and a minimum 3/4-inch width. Expandable and mechanical broadheads are legal.

Crossbow: The minimum draw weight is 75 pounds. The arrow tip needs a minimum of two cutting edges, which may be exposed or unexposed and a minimum 3/4-inch width. Expandable and mechanical broadheads are legal.

Gun

Season

and

Youth Gun

Season

Shotgun: 10 gauge or smaller shotgun using one ball or one rifled slug per barrel (rifled shotgun barrels are permitted when using shotgun slug ammunition).

Muzzleloading rifle: .38 caliber or larger.

Muzzleloading shotgun: 10 gauge or smaller using one ball per barrel.

Handgun: With a 5-inch minimum length barrel, using straight-walled cartridges .357 caliber or larger.

Straight-walled cartridge rifles: New this year! All straight-walled cartridge calibers from a minimum of .357 to a maximum of .50.

Shotguns and straight-walled cartridge rifles can be loaded with no more than three shells in the chamber and magazine combined.

Archery equipment: See Archery Season, above.

Muzzleloader

Season

Muzzleloading rifle: .38 caliber or larger.

Muzzleloading shotgun: 10 gauge or smaller using one ball per barrel.

Archery equipment: See Archery Season, above.

You can carry only one HUNTING implement while hunting deer.