Ohio’s deer gun hunting season begins

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Ohio's deer-gun season opens to all hunters, Nov. 29. (ODNR photo)

COLUMBUS — An estimated 300,000 hunters will make their way to Ohio’s forests and fields as this year’s deer-gun hunting season kicks off, Nov. 29.

In 2020, hunters harvested a total of 92,310 deer during the gun seasons, with 71,651 deer taken during the week-long gun season, plus 14,864 deer during the gun weekend. 

Youth hunters harvested 5,795 deer during the two-day youth weekend. 

The 2020 statewide gun season total increased nearly 10% from the three-year average of 83,935 deer. 

Last year, nearly 410,000 deer permits were purchased or issued. 

“Ohio is a deer-rich state that has built a national reputation for quality deer hunting based on sound long-term wildlife management of this important resource,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Deer are far and away Ohio’s most important game animal. The deer harvest produces approximately 10 million pounds of venison each year for people to enjoy.” 

Hunters 17 and under had the opportunity to pursue deer with a firearm during the two-day youth season, Nov. 20-21. All hunters have the chance to hunt the 2021 gun season from Nov. 29 to Dec. 5, and again, Dec. 18-19. 

While deer hunting is widespread throughout Ohio, harvest hotspots are found mostly in the eastern half of the state. 

Hotspots

Coshocton (3,037 deer harvested), Tuscarawas (2,996), Ashtabula (2,850), Muskingum (2,611), and Knox (2,611) counties led the state in gun harvest in 2020. 

Before heading out this year, check the 2021-22 Ohio hunting regulations booklet for county-specific bag limits and updates on permits. Special regulations apply for hunters within the newly established chronic wasting disease surveillance area in all or portions of Wyandot, Hardin and Marion counties. 

Hunters may take only one antlered deer. Legal hunting equipment for all deer gun seasons includes specific shotguns, muzzleloaders, handguns, straight-walled cartridge rifles and archery equipment. 

More information is available at wildohio.gov or by calling 800-945-3543.

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