Ohio’s archery hunters have taken 51,360 white-tailed deer through Sunday, Nov. 5, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. The average bow harvest through the first weekend of November over the past three years is 50,939 deer. Through the first seven weekends of 2022, hunters checked 48,577 deer.
Ohio’s top 10 counties for archery harvest through Nov. 5 are: Coshocton (1,964), Tuscarawas (1,651), Holmes (1,598), Ashtabula (1,536), Trumbull (1,438), Licking (1,369), Knox (1,348), Muskingum (1,239), Guernsey (1,203), and Carroll (1,090). The 2023 total thus far includes 25,908 antlered deer and 25,452 antlerless deer, a category which includes does and button bucks. The 2023-24 archery season began statewide on Saturday, Sept. 30 and continues through Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024.
• The ODNR Division of Wildlife is once again partnering with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry to support local food banks with donated venison. Through this program, FHFH and participating processors donate harvested deer to charitable organizations throughout Ohio.
Hunters who harvest a deer and would like to donate the venison can bring it to one of 26 certified deer processing shops in Ohio. Each donated deer is provided to a verified charitable organization that offers food assistance. One harvested deer yields approximately 50 pounds of venison and 200 meals. Find the complete list of processors accepting donations of harvested deer at www.feedingthehungry.org. Hunters who donate their deer are not required to pay for the processing of the venison.
This program encourages the harvest of deer for the purpose of wildlife management in Ohio, as well as provide for the wise and charitable use of the wildlife resource for direct public benefit. During the 2022-23 hunting season, FHFH coordinated the processing of 1,132 deer donated by Ohio hunters. Approximately 60 charitable organizations then distributed venison.
Ohio’s deer archery hunting season is open until Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024. The youth gun season is Nov. 18-19, with statewide gun seasons Monday, Nov. 27 until Sunday, Dec. 3, and again Dec. 16-17. The muzzleloader season is from Saturday, Jan. 6 to Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2024.
• Nonresident students who do not reside in Ohio but are actively enrolled in an Ohio college or university can now purchase Ohio resident hunting and fishing licenses, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The opportunity came after Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio General Assembly approved the change in July.
Providing nonresident students the option to purchase the much lower cost licenses and permits will make it easier and more affordable for these college students to participate in hunting and fishing.
Nonresident students must be actively enrolled full-time at an accredited Ohio college or university and reside in Ohio to qualify for residency. If students meet those requirements, they may purchase resident hunting licenses, fishing licenses, and permits, including apprentice licenses for those who are new to the activity.
Ohio’s resident fishing license is $25 and is valid for one year from the date of purchase. A fishing license is required to fish in Ohio public waters for anyone 16 and older. Ohio’s annual resident hunting license for the 2023-24 season is $19 for adults. A hunting license is valid immediately after purchase through Feb. 29, 2024. All hunters, regardless of age, are required to carry a valid hunting license to hunt or trap in Ohio.
• Bridle trails on most of Ohio’s state forests and all-purpose vehicle areas at Pike, Richland Furnace, and Perry state forests will close for the winter season, according to the ODNR Division of Forestry. Bridle trails will close on Monday, Nov. 27, and APV areas will close on Monday, Dec. 11.
State forest APV areas remain open during regular deer gun season to provide opportunities for people with disabilities to have greater access to the state forests with APV trails.
During this seasonal closure period, forest staff and organizations with approved volunteer agreements can more safely maintain trails. Signage will be installed at parking areas and trailheads, designating the trails as closed.
Bridle trails will reopen for riding on Monday, April 1, 2024, and APV areas will reopen on Friday, April 5, 2024. Bridle trail rides can be requested during the closed season by completing a Special Use Permit application and submitting it to the local forest manager at least five days prior to the event.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.