A favorite fall tradition for many Ohioans includes a trip to pursue deer during the annual gun hunting seasons, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. The first of those is the youth deer gun hunting season on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 19-20. The weeklong gun season open to all hunters kicks off Monday, Nov. 28 and continues until Sunday, Dec. 4. The deer gun weekend is Dec. 17-18.
Hunters harvested 87,405 deer during the 2021 gun seasons. That total includes the 70,381 deer harvested in the weeklong gun season, 9,392 taken in the gun weekend, and another 7,632 deer taken in the two-day youth season. The three-year average for deer harvested in the gun seasons is 84,224.
Harvest totals are typically highest in the eastern half of Ohio. Coshocton (3,017), Tuscarawas (2,811), Muskingum (2,533), Knox (2,478), and Ashtabula (2,438) counties reported the most deer checked during the 2021-22 gun seasons.
Legal hunting implements during the gun seasons includes shotguns, straight-walled cartridge rifles, muzzleloaders, handguns, and archery equipment. Ohio’s deer muzzleloader hunting season is Jan. 7-10, 2023. Muzzleloaders and archery equipment are legal hunting implements during this season.
Check the latest Hunting and Trapping Regulations for information on county bag limits, licenses and permits, and the disease surveillance area in Hardin, Marion, and Wyandot counties. As a reminder, deer management permits are valid only until Sunday, Nov. 27. During the gun seasons, Ohio hunters will need an either-sex permit, unless exempted, available at wildohio.gov, on the HuntFish OH app, and at license vendors.
The free HuntFish OH mobile app can be downloaded from the app store to conveniently purchase fishing and hunting licenses, check game, view wildlife area maps, and much more. Users can access the Division of Wildlife’s online system to check harvested deer while out in the field, even without a Wi-Fi connection.
Hunters interested in tracking the season’s harvest can view weekly deer harvest reports at wildohio.gov. The Division of Wildlife posts deer harvest numbers each Wednesday throughout the hunting season. A final report is also posted after the conclusion of the archery season.
Help protect Ohio’s wildlife resources. Report any violations to the division’s Turn-In-a-Poacher (TIP) hotline by calling 1-800-POACHER (762-2437). All reports remain anonymous, and tipsters may be eligible for a cash reward.
The Division of Wildlife wants to help new and experienced hunters make the most of their outdoor adventures. Visit the Wild Ohio Harvest Community page at wildohio.gov for information on getting started, hunting opportunities, and delicious wild game recipes.
• Ohio’s archery hunters have taken 48,583 deer through Sunday, Nov. 6, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. The average bow harvest for the first seven weekends over the past three years is 54,021 deer. Through the same date in 2021, hunters checked 52,613 deer.
Ohio’s top 10 counties for archery harvest through Nov. 6, are: Coshocton (1,923), Tuscarawas (1,602), Ashtabula (1,488), Holmes (1,460), Trumbull (1,400), Licking (1,322), Knox (1,294), Muskingum (1,130), Guernsey (1,015), and Columbiana (1,013).
This 2022 to-date total includes 21,650 bucks, 23,163 does, and 3,332 button bucks.
During the 2021-22 season, bow hunters checked 95,303 deer, the largest bow harvest on record and more deer than were taken during the seven-day gun season. Vertical bow shooters took 27,529 of those, with the steadily growing crossbow regiment taking the other 67,774 deer. The 2022-23 archery season began statewide on Saturday, Sept. 24 and continues until Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023.
More than 300,000 hunters took part in the 2021-22 fall and winter seasons. Last year, 404,800 deer permits were issued. Bowhunting hotspots are in the eastern and south-central portions of the state. Coshocton County led the state with 3,558 deer taken with a bow last year.
• Last week, an Ohio angler broke the Great Lakes smallmouth bass record with a 10.15 pound monster. Gregg Gallegher, a high school business teacher from Fremont, took advantage of a canceled school day because of fog and caught the record fish with his son on the Ontario side of Lake Erie.
The bass toppled the smallmouth bass caught by noted fisherman Randy VanDam of Kalamazoo, Mich., who caught his 9.5-pounder on the west side of the Bass Islands in June 1993. That will still be the Ohio record. Gallagher’s bass is bigger, and will be credited with being the largest smallmouth bass caught in Ontario waters and all of the Great Lakes.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!