Deer gun hunting season underway this week


Ohio’s popular white-tailed deer gun hunting season begins this week, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. The weeklong gun season, open to all hunters, kicks off Monday, Nov. 27 and runs until Sunday, Dec. 3. The deer gun weekend is Dec. 16-17.

Hunters harvested 96,610 deer during the 2022 gun seasons. That total includes 71,932 deer taken during the seven-day gun season, which traditionally begins the Monday after Thanksgiving. There were 9,515 deer checked by hunters 17 and younger during last year’s youth weekend, and another 15,163 deer in the December gun weekend. The three-year average for deer harvested in the gun seasons is 92,108. Deer gun harvest totals are typically highest in the eastern half of Ohio. Coshocton (2,457), Muskingum (2,326), Tuscarawas (2,321), Ashtabula (1,987), and Knox (1,909) counties led the state in harvests during the 2022 seven-day gun season.

Legal hunting implements during the gun seasons include shotguns, straight-walled cartridge rifles, muzzleloaders, handguns, and archery equipment. Ohio’s deer muzzleloader hunting season is Jan. 6-9, 2024, when muzzleloaders and archery equipment are legal hunting implements. During any of the gun seasons, all hunters, regardless of implement, are required to wear hunter orange. Check the 2023-24 Hunting and Trapping Regulations for more information.

The hunting and trapping regulations include information on county bag limits, licenses and permits, and the Chronic Wasting Disease surveillance area in Hardin, Marion, and Wyandot counties. As a reminder, deer management permits are valid only until Sunday, Nov. 26. During the gun seasons, Ohio hunters will need an either-sex permit, unless exempted, available at, 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, view wildlife area maps, check county bag limits, 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. All deer harvested in Ohio are required to be checked in the Ohio Wildlife Licensing System. This gives the Division of Wildlife a long-term data set that aids wildlife biologists in monitoring deer health, distribution, and relative abundance.

Hunters can check game by using the HuntFish OH mobile app, visiting, calling 1-877-TAG-IT-OH (1-877-824-4864), visiting a license sales agent, or calling 1-866-703-1298 (landowner operator-assisted; fees apply). Hunters interested in tracking the season’s harvest can view weekly deer harvest reports at 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 during the gun seasons and beyond. 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.

• Young hunters across Ohio harvested 10,039 white-tailed deer during the two-day youth season on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 18-19, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Each fall, hunters 17 and younger can enjoy a weekend of deer gun hunting with a non-hunting adult before the statewide gun season begins.

The top 10 counties for deer taken during Ohio’s 2023 youth season include: Tuscarawas (391); Coshocton (365); Muskingum (304); Knox (293); Holmes (267); Guernsey (261); Licking (256); Harrison (239); Belmont (209); and Richland (205).

This year’s youth season total is the second highest harvest on record. In 2007, youth hunters took 10,059 deer with firearms during the two-day youth season. Youth hunters checked 5,736 antlered and 4,303 antlerless deer during the weekend. In 2022, hunters harvested 9,510 deer during the two-day youth gun season. The three-year average from 2020 to 2022 is 7,649 deer.

The Division of Wildlife has issued 41,866 youth deer permits through Sunday, Nov. 19. Youth permits are valid for all remaining Ohio deer hunting seasons.

• Bowhunters in Ohio checked 4,621 white-tailed deer on Saturday, Nov. 11, the highest single-day total so far this season, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.

This season, bowhunters across Ohio have harvested 69,897 deer through Sunday, Nov. 12. The three-year average for deer harvested through the second weekend of November is 66,355. Last year, hunters checked 65,146 deer through the corresponding date. The statewide archery season began Sept. 30 and continues until Feb. 4, 2024.

• Waterfowl hunting has been slow due to unseasonably warm weather but a nice little cold front arrived during Thanksgiving and pushed some migrating birds through the area. Hunting should continue to improve as the weather starts to get more like winter.

• Most of November has been phenomenal for chasing walleye on Lake Erie and the perch are still biting. When the wind and weather cooperates, November walleye fishing can be the best of the year. The walleye are feeding hard to put on weight for the winter and the females are already starting to produce eggs for the March spawn. Late November and early December can be the best time of the year to harvest that trophy walleye of a lifetime.

Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!

Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.

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