Ohio’s white-tailed deer muzzleloader hunting season opens Friday, Jan. 2, 2015, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Deer-muzzleloader hunting season runs through Monday, Jan. 5, 2015.
Hunters can pursue deer in Ohio with a muzzleloader or bow during this four-day season. Hunters checked 16,464 deer during the 2014 four-day muzzleloader season.
Hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Ohio’s small game, furbearer and waterfowl seasons are also open during the muzzleloader season. All hunters (except waterfowl hunters) must wear a visible solid hunter orange or camouflage hunter orange coat, jacket, vest or coveralls during the muzzleloader season.
Hunting is the best and most effective management tool for maintaining Ohio’s healthy deer population. Hunters have harvested more than 151,000 deer so far in the 2014 hunting seasons. Deer-archery season remains open through Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015. During the 2013-2014 seasons, Ohio hunters checked 191,459 deer.
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 through a combination of regulatory and programmatic changes. 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. This ensures that Ohio’s deer herd is maintained at a level that is both acceptable to most, and biologically sound.
Until recently, the populations in nearly all of Ohio’s counties were well above their target numbers. In the last few years, through increased harvests, dramatic strides have been made in many counties to bring those populations closer toward their goal. Once a county’s deer population is near goal, harvest regulations are adjusted to maintain the population.
In an effort to keep Ohio’s wild deer herd free of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD), successful hunters in Holmes County are urged to have their deer tested and processed at a local facility in the county and have the carcass remain within the county as well.
Hunters who received a 2014-2015 Ohio deer hunter effort and harvest survey are encouraged to complete it when the season ends. This survey is an important tool in Ohio’s deer management program, and information provided in the survey is vital for establishing deer hunting regulations. The survey is conducted with a random sampling of hunters to help eliminate bias.