Deer hunting is an extremely popular activity for sportsmen and women statewide, and Ohio’s white-tailed deer continue to provide hunters across the state with excellent opportunities for success as they head out into the field. Hunting remains the most effective management tool for maintaining Ohio’s healthy deer population, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
Hunters can contact the ODNR Division of Wildlife toll-free at 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) with questions about hunting. Special call center hours for the deer-gun seasons include: 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 17, for youth deer-gun season; 12-5 p.m., Sunday, Nov. 25, before the start of deer gun season; 7 a.m.-7 p.m., Monday, Nov. 26, to Friday, Nov. 30, and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, and 12-5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 2, for deer-gun season.
Ohio’s annual youth white-tailed deer hunting season gives young hunters an early opportunity to pursue the state’s most popular big-game animal on Nov. 17-18, and it is open to hunters with a valid youth hunting license and a deer permit. The deer-gun seasons run from Monday, Nov. 26, to Sunday, Dec. 2, and Dec. 15-16. Details about deer hunting rules are available in the 2018-2019 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations, where licenses are sold or at wildohio.gov. Only either-sex permits may be used after Sunday, Nov. 25, unless hunting in an ODNR Division of Wildlife authorized controlled hunt.
A new regulation for the 2018-2019 hunting season limits hunters to harvesting one antlerless white-tailed deer from public land per license year. In addition, antlerless deer may not be taken from public hunting areas from Monday, Dec. 3, 2018, through Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019. Authorized ODNR Division of Wildlife controlled hunts and controlled hunts occurring at specific Ohio State Parks properties are exempt from this regulation.
Deer bag limits are determined by county, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit. The statewide bag limit is six deer. Hunters may harvest only one buck in Ohio, regardless of method of take or location. Hunting hours for all deer seasons are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
Ohioans are encouraged to help enforce state wildlife laws by reporting violations to the division’s Turn-In-a-Poacher hotline by calling 800-POACHER (762-2437). The TIP program allows individuals to anonymously call toll-free to report wildlife violations. Tipsters may be eligible to receive a cash award.
Hunters are reminded that portions of Holmes and Tuscarawas counties have been declared a Disease Surveillance Area as part of Ohio’s ongoing efforts to monitor chronic wasting disease. A DSA was established in Salt Creek, Paint, Berlin, Walnut Creek and Clark townships in Holmes County, as well as Wayne and Sugar Creek townships in Tuscarawas County. Specific regulations apply to those hunting for deer within the DSA; hunters should visit wildohio.gov for more information.
Hunters harvesting deer within the DSA are required to bring their deer to a carcass inspection station for disease testing. Two locations have been designated as carcass inspection stations for the deer-gun seasons and the deer muzzleloader season. Both locations will be open and staffed from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. during the deer-gun and deer muzzleloader seasons: Sugarcreek Village Hall, 410 S. Broadway St., Sugarcreek, 44681; Walnut Creek Township Garage, 2490 Township Road 414, Dundee, 44624
New carcass rules apply to Ohioans who plan to travel out-of-state to hunt any species susceptible to CWD. This includes white-tailed deer, black-tailed deer, mule deer, elk, caribou and moose. No person is permitted to possess high-risk carcass parts of CWD-susceptible species from anywhere outside of Ohio, except when the carcass is in the following condition or the carcass consists only of the following parts:
De-boned meat; Meat that is cut and securely and completely wrapped either commercially or privately with no part of the spinal column or head attached; Quarters or other portions of meat with no part of the spinal column or head attached; Antlers; Antlers attached to a skull cap from which all soft tissue has been removed; Upper canine teeth from which all soft tissue has been removed; Hides and capes without any part of the head or lymph nodes attached; or Finished taxidermy mounts.
Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has a more than $853 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife remains committed to properly managing Ohio’s deer populations. The goal of Ohio’s Deer Management Program is to provide a deer population that maximizes recreational opportunities, while minimizing conflicts with landowners and motorists.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!
Ken Parrott is an Agricultural Science teacher with Northmor High School.