COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio's popular white-tailed deer archery hunting season starts Saturday, Sept. 28, and is open through Feb. 2, 2014, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Approximately 205,000 bowhunters will participate in one of the longest deer hunting seasons in the nation. This number represents more than half of the Ohioans that will hunt deer this season.
Ohio is introducing an antlerless deer muzzleloader hunting season Oct. 12-13. It is legal to bowhunt during this weekend, but no bucks may be killed regardless of hunting implement. Deer hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset for all deer seasons. Archery season is also open during the week of deer-gun season, Dec. 2-8.
The statewide limit is nine deer (excluding ODNR Division of Wildlife authorized controlled hunts), but hunters cannot exceed a county bag limit. Only one buck may be killed regardless of county or hunting method. Only one antlerless permit may be used per county, and antlerless permits are not valid after Sunday, Dec. 1.
Archers hunting during the statewide gun, youth gun and muzzleloader seasons must meet the hunter orange requirement by visibly wearing a vest, coat, jacket or coveralls that are either solid hunter orange or camouflage hunter orange. This requirement applies statewide on both public and private land.
A new tagging procedure administered by the ODNR Division of Wildlife requires hunters to make their own game tag to attach to a deer. Game tags can be made of any material (cardboard, plastic, paper, etc.) as long as it contains the hunter's name, date, time and county of the kill. Go to the Deer Hunting Resources page at wildohio.com for more information on changes to the game check process.
All hunters must report their deer harvest using the automated game-check system. Hunters have three options to complete the game check:
• Online at ohiogamecheck.com;
• Call 877-TAG-ITOH (824-4864);
• Visit a license agent. A list of agents can be found by calling 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543).
Game-check transactions are available online and by telephone seven days a week, including holidays. Landowners exempt from purchasing a deer permit, and other people not required to purchase a deer permit, cannot use the telephone option.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife remains committed to properly managing Ohio's deer populations through a combination of regulatory and programmatic changes. Progress toward reducing locally abundant herds can be expected as strides have already been made in reducing deer herds in many counties closer to target levels.
Ohio hunters are encouraged to harvest more does this season to help the needy in their area. The ODNR Division of Wildlife is working 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 fhfh.org.
Many archery hunters were successful in 2012-2013. Bowhunters harvested 85,432 deer, an increase of 3 percent from the previous season. Crossbow hunters bagged 47,496 deer and longbow hunters took 37,936. The top three Ohio counties for the combined 2012-2013 crossbow and longbow harvest were Licking, Coshocton and Tuscarawas, respectively. Archers accounted for 39 percent of the 218,910 deer harvested during Ohio's combined 2012-2013 archery, muzzleloader and gun seasons.
Deer hunting in Ohio continues to be a popular activity for many who enjoy the outdoors. Ohio hunters checked 218,910 deer during the 2012-2013 season. 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.
ODNR reminds the public that all deer hunters are required to have a valid Ohio hunting license and a valid deer permit. A detailed listing of deer hunting rules is contained in the 2013-14 Ohio Hunting Regulations, available where licenses are sold, or at wildohio.com.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.