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Ohio

Hunting

Deer Hunting Regulations

WHITE-TAILED DEER HUNTING

SEASONOPENING DATECLOSING DATEBAG LIMIT
ArcherySept. 25, 2021Feb. 6, 2022The statewide bag limit is six deer.
Only one may be antlered.
You may not exceed an individual county bag limit.
Youth GunNov. 20, 2021Nov. 21, 2021
GunNov. 29, 2021Dec. 5, 2021
Dec. 18, 2021Dec. 19, 2021
MuzzleloaderJan. 8, 2022Jan. 11, 2022
2021-22 COUNTY BAG LIMIT MAP
Deer Hunting Zones

DEER HUNTING HOURS

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

DEER TAG AND CHECK

A hunter is required to complete the game check process following the harvest of a white-tailed deer.

DEER BAG LIMITS

A hunter may kill no more than one antlered deer during the 2021-22 season regardless of where or how it is taken. An antlered deer has at least one antler 3 inches or longer in length.

DEER HUNTING PERMITS

In addition to your valid Ohio hunting license, you must purchase an either-sex deer permit or a deer management permit to hunt deer in Ohio, unless exempted.

  • The either-sex deer permit is valid from Sept. 25, 2021 to Feb. 6, 2022.
  • The deer management permit is valid from Sept. 25 to Nov. 28, 2021.

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 2021-22 season.

DEER MANAGEMENT PERMIT

Deer management permits may be used to take antlerless deer. The permits are valid on private land statewide from Sept. 25 to Nov. 28, 2021. Deer management permits are not valid on public lands, except Killdeer Plains and Lake La Su An wildlife areas, and authorized controlled hunts.

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

DEER HUNTING ON PUBLIC LAND

No more than one antlerless deer may be taken from all public hunting areas per license year. A list of public hunting areas is available at wildohio.gov. Authorized Division of Wildlife controlled hunts, Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area in Wyandot County and Lake La Su An Wildlife Area in Williams County, are exempt.

CONTROLLED DEER HUNTS

The Division of Wildlife conducts controlled hunts on areas not normally open to hunting. For information about controlled hunts, visit wildohio.gov or call 1-800-WILDLIFE (1-800-945-3543). A deer harvested during a controlled hunt does not count toward a county and statewide bag limit.

Permits are selected by computer generated random drawings. The application period is July 1 through July 31 annually. Hunters may apply at wildohio.gov, or by calling 1-866-703-1928 with a convenience fee.

Deer management permits may be used in controlled hunts not administered by the Division of Wildlife if the entity holding the hunt has received authorization from the chief of the Division of Wildlife. It is the hunter’s responsibility to check with the agency administering the hunt to see deer management permits may be used. The Division of Wildlife conducts several controlled deer hunts for young hunters.

HUNTING OTHER GAME DURING DEER SEASONS

YOUTH DEER GUN SEASON (NOVEMBER 20-21, 2021) AND DEER GUN SEASON (NOVEMBER 29 - DECEMBER 5, 2021 DECEMBER 18-19, 2021)

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

A HUNTER MAY:

  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 a shotgun 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 MAY NOT:

  1. Possess or use slugs and rifle ammunition, unless the hunter is pursuing deer.
  2. Hunt deer, coyote, or feral swine (wild boar) between 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.

DEER MUZZLELOADER SEASON (JANUARY 8-11, 2022)

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

A HUNTER MAY:

  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 a shotgun 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 MAY NOT:

  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

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

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).

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

Legal and Illegal Cartridge

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.

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. The barrel is measured from the front of the cylinder or chamber to the end of the barrel.

MUZZLELOADER SEASON

Muzzleloading rifle: .38 caliber or larger.

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

Archery equipment: See Archery Season.

DEER CARCASS REGULATIONS

To minimize risk of spreading CWD, possessing or removing high-risk carcass parts from Cervids (deer, moose, elk, and caribou) harvested anywhere outside of Ohio is prohibited.

Only the following parts may be possessed from any Cervid imported from anywhere outside of Ohio: 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.

Hunters returning to Ohio with a complete cervidae carcass or parts NOT on the list above, as well as hunters who wish to move a complete carcass or parts NOT on the list above, out of Disease Surveillance Areas, may do so provided that they present the complete carcass or parts not listed above to a certified taxidermist or processor within 24 hours of entering the state or leaving a Disease Surveillance Area.

A DEER HUNTER MAY DO THE FOLLOWING:

  1. A successful deer hunter may 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 the harvested animal's information has been recorded on the permit or submitted to game check.
  3. Leave a deer or deer parts with a taxidermist, fur buyer, cold storage, locker plant, or meat processing plant as long as the confirmation code is attached to the animal and all of its separate parts. Persons receiving a deer from another person must keep the confirmation code with the animal and all of its separate parts.
  4. Hunt deer over bait, except on public land and in the Disease Surveillance Area.
  5. Possess a communication device as long as you do not use the device to aid a person in the pursuing or taking of deer.
  6. Carry a printed or electronic copy of the deer permit.
  7. Use a leashed dog to recover a wounded deer.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  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 MAY NOT 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 May 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 May Do the Following.
  7. Have attached to a longbow or crossbow any mechanical, electrical, or electronic device capable of projecting a visible beam of light. This does not include a device such as a range finder that utilizes nonvisible light.
  8. Use dogs to hunt deer. Leashed dogs may be used to track wounded deer.
  9. Possess shotshells containing shot during any deer gun season. Deer hunters may not possess shotshells.
  10. 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.
  11. Use any device capable of transmiting or receiving a person’s voice to aid in the hunting or taking of deer.
  12. 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.
  13. Construct, place, or use a permanenttype 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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 a 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.

CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE

KNOW THE FACTS

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a fatal neurological disease of white-tailed deer. There is no strong evidence that CWD is transmissible to humans. The first confirmed case of CWD in Ohio was at a hunting preserve in Holmes County in 2014. Since then, 25 deer, from four captive facilities in Holmes and Wayne counties have tested positive for CWD.

In December of 2020, Ohio confirmed its first CWD-positive wild deer. The mature buck, harvested in late October in Wyandot County, was taken to a local taxidermist as part of routine CWD surveillance. In January of 2021, a positive yearling doe was harvested during a controlled hunt on the Killdeer Plains Refuge. A Disease Surveillance Area (DSA) has been established, and intensive monitoring will continue for at least three years in all of Wyandot and parts of Hardin and Marion Counties.

PROTECT OHIO’S DEER HERD

  • Properly dispose of a deer carcass. Be sure to double-bag all high-risk parts (brain, spinal cord, eyes, and lymphoid tissues) and dispose of them with your household trash.
  • It is illegal to bring high-risk carcass parts into Ohio from anywhere outside the state , unless the animal is delivered to a Division of Wildlife certified processor or taxidermist within 24 hours.
  • Contact a Division of Wildlife district office or state wildlife officer if you see a deer that appears sick, is acting abnormally, or has a visible ear tag.
  • The Division of Wildlife has a Disease Surveillance Area (DSA), 2021-01, which includes all of Wyandot County, Jackson, Goshen, Dudley townships in Hardin County and Grand, Salt Rock, Grand Prairie, Montgomery, Big Island, and Marion townships in Marion County.
CHRONIC WASTING DISEASE ZONE
DISEASE SURVEILLANCE AREA (DSA)

PRECAUTIONS FOR HUNTERS

A deer infected with CWD typically does not immediately show signs of the disease. As the disease progresses, the animal begins to lose body condition and stagger, carry its head and ears lowered, drool excessively, and show little fear of humans. They will eventually lose body condition and appear weak and emaciated.

  • Wear rubber gloves when field-dressing and thoroughly wash your hands and instruments after field-dressing and butchering.
  • Bone out the meat from your animal and minimize the handling of brain and spinal tissues.
  • Do not eat the brain, spinal cord, eyes, spleen, tonsils, and lymph nodes.
  • Do not consume meat from any animal that tests positive for CWD.
  • Hunters may have a harvested deer tested at the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory. Call (614) 728-6220 for more information.

DSA RULES INCLUDE:

  • The placement of or use of bait (salt, minerals, or any food) to attract or feed deer within the Disease Surveillance Area (DSA) boundaries is prohibited, as is the hunting of deer by the aid of bait.
  • Normal agricultural activities, including feeding domestic animals, as well as hunting deer over food plots, naturally occurring or cultivated plants, and agricultural crops are not prohibited in the DSA.

MANDATORY SAMPLING FOR DEER HARVESTED WITHIN THE DISEASE SURVEILLANCE AREA (DSA)

Mandatory sampling is required for ALL deer harvested Nov. 6-7, and 13-14 as well as the entire seven-day gun season (Nov. 29 – Dec. 5).

In-person sampling is available on Nov. 6-7, 13-14, and Monday (Nov. 29), Tuesday (Nov. 30), and Saturday (Dec. 5) of gun season. To avoid lengthy delays, hunters are encouraged to complete the game check process before presenting their deer for sampling. Staff is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the following locations:

BIG ISLAND Wildlife Area Headquarters 5389 Larue-Prospect Rd West, New Bloomington, OH 43341

KILLDEER PLAINS Wildlife Area Headquarters 19100 CH 115, Harpster, OH 43323

WYANDOT COUNTY Fairgrounds 10191 OH 53, Upper Sandusky, OH 43351

Hunters who find it more convenient to use the self-serve kiosks may do so. For hunter convenience, self-serve kiosks are available October 1 through the close of the statewide muzzleloader season (January 11, 2022). Participation is voluntary outside the 11 mandatory days noted above. Instructions for sample submission are provided at the kiosk. Kiosk locations and instructions are available at wildohio.gov.

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