COLUMBUS, Ohio - Approximately 345,000 bowhunters, representing more than half of all Ohioans who hunt deer, are expected to participate in the statewide archery deer hunting season that opens September 24, according the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.
During last year's four-month archery season, bowhunters killed 85,012 deer, a decrease of seven percent from the previous year. Crossbow hunters took 44,123 of that number and longbow hunters took 40,889 deer. Overall, archers accounted for 35 percent of 239,475 deer taken during Ohio's combined 2010-11 archery, muzzleloader and gun seasons.
Licking County led the state in both the vertical bow and crossbow harvest. Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Ashtabula, and Holmes rounded out the top five counties in crossbow harvest, while Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Muskingum, and Knox completed the list of top five counties in vertical bow harvest.
“I expect both the pre-hunt deer population and the harvest to be near their three-year averages of 750,000 and 250,000 deer, respectively,” said Mike Tonkovich, Division of Wildlife deer project leader.
All hunters must still report their harvest of deer, but they are no longer required to take their deer to a check station for physical inspection. Hunters will have three options to complete the automated game check:
- On the Internet at www.wildohio.com or www.ohiogamecheck.com
- By telephone at 1-877-TAG-ITOH(1-877-824-4864). This option is only available to those who are required to purchase a turkey permit to hunt turkeys.
-At all license agents
Game-check transactions will be available online and by telephone seven days a week and during holidays. Landowner hunters who are not required to purchase a deer permit must use the Internet or any license agent to check their deer. Hunters who tag their deer as a landowner harvest cannot use the phone-in method. All authorized license sales agents will also check in your game. A list of these agents can be found at wildohio.com or by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE.
The Division of Wildlife remains committed to reducing populations where needed. Through a combination of both regulatory and programmatic changes, progress toward reducing locally abundant herds can be expected.
Ohio hunters are also encouraged to kill more does again this season, using the reduced-priced antlerless deer permit to help the needy in their area. The Division of Wildlife is collaborating with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) to help pay for the processing of donated venison. Hunters who donate their deer to a food bank are not required to pay the processing cost as long as funding for the effort lasts. More information about this program can be found online at www.fhfh.org.
All deer hunters are required to have a valid Ohio hunting license and a valid deer permit. The $15 antlerless deer permit will be valid September 24 through November 27 in Zones A and B. The $15 antlerless deer permit will be valid through December 4 in Zone C only. However, the $15 antlerless permit may be purchased only until November 27, 2011.
This year's statewide archery season remains open from September 24 through February 5, 2012, including the week of deer-gun season November 28 through December 4. Deer-gun hunters will also be able to enjoy an additional weekend of hunting December 17 and 18. Archers may hunt one half-hour before sunrise to one half-hour after sunset, except during the statewide gun, youth and muzzleloader seasons when they are one half-hour before sunrise to sunset. Archers hunting during the statewide gun, youth or muzzleloader seasons must meet the hunter orange requirements of those seasons.
To hunt deer in Ohio, hunters must possess a deer permit in addition to a valid hunting license. State law allows hunters to take only one antlered buck per year, regardless the type of deer season, deer permit or weapon used for deer hunting.
A detailed listing of deer hunting rules is contained in the 2011-2012 Ohio Hunting Regulations, available where licenses are sold, or may be viewed online at wildohio.com.