COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio’s deer-gun week is fast approaching! White-tailed deer hunters have the chance to pursue Ohio’s favorite big-game animal with approved firearms during the 2019 weeklong gun season, Dec. 2-8, 2019, and the additional weekend, Dec. 21-22, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

“Ohio’s deer hunting seasons provide the perfect chance to get outdoors and experience the Buckeye State’s bountiful deer hunting opportunities,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Deer hunting is a fun way to enjoy nature while making memories. Hunters put healthy free-range food on the table, and venison is a highly-valued and sustainable food option for thousands of Ohioans.”

Ohio’s deer-gun season has spanned generations of sportsmen and women and is a time when many friends and families gather to celebrate the hunt. In 2018, Ohio hunters harvested 60,557 deer during the weeklong deer-gun season, plus 9,625 deer during the following gun weekend.

Check the 2019-2020 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations for county-specific bag limits, updates on permits, and hunting on public lands. The statewide bag limit is six deer. Only one may be a buck, regardless of method of take or location. Legal hunting equipment includes specific shotguns, muzzleloaders, handguns, straight-walled cartridge rifles, and archery equipment. More information is available at wildohio.gov.

Good luck out there, wear hunter orange, and have a safe and enjoyable deer season!

Wildlife Hotline

Hunters can contact the Division of Wildlife toll-free hotline at 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) with questions about hunting. In addition to normal business hours, special call center hours for deer-gun seasons include:

12 p.m. – 8 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 23, for youth deer-gun season

8 a.m. – 8 p.m., Monday, Dec. 2 to Friday, Dec. 6, for deer-gun season.

Youth Season Details

Ohio’s youth-only weekend is Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 23-24. This season is open to hunters with a valid youth hunting license and deer permit. All legal deer hunting equipment for the gun season applies during the youth season. Deer taken by young hunters during the youth deer gun season count toward the county and statewide bag limits. Young hunters harvested 6,563 deer during the 2018 youth season.

Hunters’ Challenge

Ask a new hunter to join you this season! Your next outdoors adventure with family and friends is right here in Ohio. Hunting provides an excellent opportunity to appreciate wildlife, and remains the best way to manage Ohio’s deer population. Experienced hunters are encouraged to pass along their hunting knowledge and expertise to someone new this season. Special hunting opportunities for mentors and those new to hunting are available at the Wild Ohio Harvest Community Page.

Poacher Hotline

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

Chronic Wasting Disease Monitoring

Hunters are reminded that portions of Holmes and Tuscarawas counties have been declared a Disease Surveillance Area (DSA) as part of the state’s ongoing efforts to monitor Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Specific regulations apply to hunters, including mandatory sampling. Samples are also accepted from adult deer in Lucas, Fulton and Williams counties on a voluntary basis. More information can be found in the 2019-2020 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations.

Keep in Touch

Interested in staying current on everything wildlife? Follow the Division of Wildlife on Twitter and Facebook for instant news stories, outdoor recreation ideas, local wildlife information and so much more. The Your Wild Ohio Hunter Facebook page provides hunting tips and useful information as you get outside this season. Visit wildohio.gov to find locations to hunt, fish, trap and view wildlife. And don’t forget to follow us on Instagram to view the best of Ohio’s wildlife photography.

Veteran’s Hunt

Last month, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) hosted 19 disabled Ohio veterans for a guided archery hunt at Zaleski State Forest and Lake Hope State Park over the Oct. 11-13 weekend. The veterans harvested 26 deer: 16 antlerless and 10 bucks.

“This was a great weekend spent with outstanding people, and ODNR is honored to be able to provide this opportunity as we thank and support the individuals who have served our country,” said Dan Balser, chief of the ODNR Division of Forestry. “We are pleased to partner with the Buckeye Hero Hunt Committee for our Ohio veterans who have sacrificed so much for us.”

Veterans applied to participate in this free hunting event, and numerous volunteers assisted the Buckeye Hero Hunt Committee to support the veterans by providing meals, lodging, and equipment.

The hunt also provided an opportunity to effectively manage the damage white-tailed deer cause to the forest ecosystem in a specific area of Zaleski State Forest. White-tailed deer can have substantial negative impacts on forest health and regeneration due to the browse of tree seedlings and herbaceous plants, and hunting is the most effective way to control deer populations.

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