Ohio’s statewide crow hunting season ends March 3 and reopens in early June. Trappers have until March 15 to pursue mink, muskrat, raccoon, opossum, skunk and weasels.

Ohio’s deer season by the numbers

By Dan Armitage, freelance outdoor writer

Check it out: Ohio hunters checked 213,928 white-tailed deer during the 2023-24 deer hunting season that concluded on Feb. 4, a total that represents all deer taken during archery, gun, muzzleloader, and youth seasons since Sept. 9. Note that 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:

1. Coshocton: 7,740. (Last season, Coshocton County also led the state

with 7,590 deer checked.)

2. Tuscarawas: 7,023

3. Ashtabula: 5,887

4. Muskingum: 5,789

5. Knox: 5,625

6. Licking: 5,429

7. Holmes: 5,324

8. Guernsey: 5,220

9. Carroll: 5,038

10.Trumbull: 4,703

Most popular hunting implements:

1. Crossbow: 75,462 (35%)

2. Straight-walled cartridge rifle: 60,333 (28%)

3. Shotgun: 31,901 (15%)

4. Vertical bow: 29,696 (14%)

5. Muzzleloader: 16,010 (8%)

6. 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%)

Permit sales:

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:

1. Pennsylvania (8,808)

2. Michigan (5,874)

3. North Carolina (4,029)

4. West Virginia (3,893)

5. 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. 

New season’s hunting and trapping dates 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 Feb. 7. A complete list of proposed rule changes and proposed hunting and trapping seasons dates for 2024-25 are available at wildohio.gov.

Those who wish to comment on Division of Wildlife proposals can do so online at wildohio.gov through March 13. A statewide hearing on all proposed rules will be held on Wednesday, March 20.  Those include:

Deer hunting proposals

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, 2024-Feb. 2, 2025

• Youth deer gun: Nov. 16-17, 2024

• Deer gun: Dec. 2-Dec. 8, 2024; Dec. 21-22, 2024

• Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 4-7, 2025

 The wildlife council also heard a proposal to allow deer management permits to be valid until Dec. 22, 2024, 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 wildohio.gov. 

The proposals also included expanding the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) 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.

The Division of Wildlife also 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, 2024-Feb. 2, 2025

• Early deer gun: Oct. 12-14, 2024

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 October 1 to 27, 2024, with a proposed season limit of one bird.

The proposed a reduced ruffed grouse hunting season would go from Nov. 1 to Dec. 1, 2024, in 17 southern and eastern counties: Adams, Athens, Belmont, Gallia, Guernsey, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington with a proposed daily limit of 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 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.

 The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. Council meetings are open to the public. Individuals interested in providing comments are asked to call 614-265-6304 at least two days prior to the meeting to register, and all comments are required to be three minutes or less.

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