Dates for hunting, trapping seasons proposed


The 2024-25 Ohio hunting and trapping season dates for white-tailed deer, waterfowl and other migratory game birds, furbearers, small game, and additional species were proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council on Wednesday, Feb. 7, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

A complete list of proposed rule changes and proposed hunting and trapping seasons dates for 2024-25 are available at Everyone who would like to comment on Division of Wildlife proposals can do so online at from Feb. 10-March 13. A statewide hearing on all proposed rules will be held on Wednesday, March 20.

The proposed deer hunting seasons are similar to last year. As in years past, only one antlered deer may be harvested, regardless of where or how it is taken. Hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. The proposed statewide deer hunting dates for 2024-25 include: Deer archery: Sept. 28-Feb. 2, 2025; Youth deer gun: Nov. 16-17; Deer gun: Dec. 2-Dec. 8; Dec. 21-22;Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 4-7, 2025.

The wildlife council also heard a proposal to allow deer management permits to be valid until Dec. 22, the last day of the bonus deer gun hunting weekend. Currently, deer management permits are only valid until the day before the statewide seven-day gun season.

Bag limit increases from two to three deer were proposed in six counties: Butler, Clinton, Fayette, Greene, Madison, and Pickaway. Deer bag limit increases are designed to slow herd growth and increase hunting opportunities. A proposed bag limit map is available at

Wednesday’s proposals also included expanding the Chronic Wasting Disease disease surveillance area of Hardin, Marion, and Wyandot counties to include Auglaize and Jackson townships in Allen County. A CWD-positive deer was discovered in Allen County in 2023.

Additionally, the Division of Wildlife proposed reducing the number of mandatory CWD testing days for deer taken within disease surveillance areas from 14 to four. If approved, hunters within the disease surveillance area would be required to submit samples for testing during the first two days of the early disease surveillance area gun season (Oct. 12-13) and the first two days of the weeklong deer gun season (Dec. 2-3). The Division of Wildlife will continue to offer voluntary testing drop-off locations and monitor for CWD within and around the disease surveillance area.

Hunters in the expanded disease surveillance area will have additional opportunities to harvest deer, if approved:Early deer archery: Sept. 14-Feb. 2, 2025; Early deer gun: Oct. 12-14.

The Ohio Wildlife Council also heard proposals on fall wild turkey hunting dates, ruffed grouse hunting dates, and a revision to river otter trapping zones. The fall wild turkey hunting proposal would establish the season, open in 70 counties, as Oct. 1 to Oct. 27. The proposed season limit is one bird. The Division of Wildlife proposed a reduced ruffed grouse hunting season from Nov. 1 to Dec. 1, in 17 southern and eastern counties: Adams, Athens, Belmont, Gallia, Guernsey, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington. The proposed daily limit is one bird.

Another proposal would reclassify the state’s river otter trapping zones. Ohio currently has river otter bag limits split between A, B, and C zones, although no counties are assigned to Zone A. The proposal would rename Zone C, comprised of 22 counties and having a season bag limit of three, to Zone A. Zone B, which includes the rest of the state, would have a season bag limit of one. The total season bag limit would remain three.

The Division of Wildlife also submitted a proposal to remove the trumpeter swan from the state’s list of threatened species. After years of management and monitoring, trumpeter swan populations have exceeded the division’s goals for the species’ recovery.

• Deer season is finally over and the final harvest numbers are in. Ohio’s hunters checked 213,928 white-tailed deer during the 2023-24 deer hunting season that concluded on Sunday, Feb. 4. The final total represents all deer taken during archery, gun, muzzleloader, and youth seasons since Sept. 9, 2023.

During the Ohio deer seasons hunters took an estimated 12 million pounds of venison. This nutritious meat was enjoyed by their friends and families, and hunters donated some of this meat to food banks around Ohio.

This is the second year in a row that Ohio’s deer harvest has surpassed 200,000, and the 12th time overall (all since 2002). This season’s count was the highest in more than a decade (217,018 in 2012-13). Ohio’s statewide deer harvest, by year:2023-24: 213,928; 2022-23: 210,973; 3-year average (2020-2022): 201,890.

Ohio’s 2023-24 statewide deer harvest, by individual season: Archery: 100,951 (first season to exceed 100,000); Weeklong and two-day gun seasons: 85,587; Four-day muzzleloader season: 12,712;Two-day youth season: 10,039; Controlled firearm hunts: 4,639.

Top 10 Counties for 2023-24 Harvest:Coshocton: 7,740;Tuscarawas: 7,023; Ashtabula: 5,887; Muskingum: 5,789; Knox: 5,625; Licking: 5,429; Holmes: 5,324; Guernsey: 5,220; Carroll: 5,038; Trumbull: 4,703.

Most popular hunting implements: Crossbow: 75,462 (35%); Straight-walled cartridge rifle: 60,333 (28%); Shotgun: 31,901 (15%); Vertical bow: 29,696 (14%); Muzzleloader: 16,010 (8%); Handgun: 526 (less than 1%).

Deer harvest: Does: 99,584 (46.5%); Antlered bucks: 92,051 (43%); Button bucks: 18,973 (9%);Bucks with shed antlers or antlers shorter than 3 inches: 3,320 (1.5%).

Ohio hunters were issued 415,710 deer permits across all hunting seasons. Hunters from all 50 U.S. states purchased deer permits for use during the 2023-24 seasons. States outside of Ohio with the highest nonresident permit sales include:Pennsylvania (8,808); Michigan (5,874); North Carolina (4,029); West Virginia (3,893); New York (3,699).

Last year, hunters generated $1.9 billion in economic spending in Ohio, according to a recent report released by the Wildlife Management Institute, Responsive Management, and Southwick Associates. The research found that 5% of Ohio’s adults, about 500,000 individuals, participate in hunting, with 91% of those hunters taking part in deer hunting.

Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!

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

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