Large mammals including deer and predators such as wolves and bear were wiped out in Ohio during the nineteenth century by hunting and deforestation. By 1904, there were no deer in Ohio. White-tailed deer were reintroduced to Ohio via a government stocking program in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Since their re-introduction to Ohio, deer have been very successful. They are found in every county in Ohio, both deep in the state forests, in local parks, and suburban fields and groves. Today, the deer population in Ohio exceeds 750,000.
Growth of the deer population has created problems and opportunities. Natural predators of deer have been eliminated from the state allowing deer populations to grow unchecked. Large deer herds in parks have demolished plants and small trees. Deer damage local farm crops and are involved in over 23,000 deer / car crashes each year. In 1943 a limited hunting program was established. Ohio hunters take over 200 thousand deer each year and generate more than $10 million in deer permit revenue for the state.
Deer hunting is permitted on certain public lands on limited dates with a proper permit. This includes parts of Wayne National Forest, most state forests, select parts of select state parks, most state wildlife areas, and select county parks.
The ODNR occasionally has limited hunts at state parks and nature preserves to control deer population – small numbers of permits are issued usually by lottery.
In our TrekOhio Guide to Parks & Preserves (see menu tabs on top of page), we have listed parks by county and we indicate which parks allow hunting. Please see the park web site for specific limitations. Hunters must comply with all state and local hunting regulations.
Here are the dates for Ohio 2015 / 2016 White-tailed Deer Season
- Archery: Sept. 26, 2015 – Feb. 7, 2016
- Youth Gun: Nov. 21-22, 2015
- Gun: Nov. 30 – Dec. 6, 2015; Dec. 28-29, 2015
- Muzzle-loader: Jan. 9-12, 2016
Hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset for all deer seasons.
Note: Lyme Disease
The tick that carries Lyme disease has become established in much of Ohio. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources would like to get the word out that this tick continues to be active throughout the winter and poses a risk to hunters. For more information, check out our post entitled Bad tick-related news for Ohio.
Update: According to ODNR, 65,485 deer were checked in during the entirety of Ohio’s gun hunting season, Dec. 1-7, 2014. This was about 10,000 deer less than were taken in the previous year’s gun hunting season when 75,408 were harvested. Below is a breakdown sorted by the number of deer killed in 2014 per county.
Update Using public ODNR seasonal deer harvest data, I created a geographic visualization of the deer harvest by county for the 2011-2012 through 2014-2015 deer seasons.
Deer Season Information / Regulations
- ODNR; 2015-2016 Deer Hunting Season Dates
- ODNR: 2015-2016 Hunting / Trapping Seasons
- ODNR: Licenses & Permits
- ODNR: Hunting & Trapping Regulations (web pages)
- ODNR: Hunting & Trapping Regulations (PDF brochure)
- ODNR: Ohio 2013-2014 Deer Season Statistics – with results by county
- ODNR: 2013 Acorn Crop Results (hunter intel)
- ODNR: Game check & tagging
- Hamilton County Parks: Bow hunting information for 2014-2015 season
- ODNR: List of Ohio public hunting areas as of Jan. 2014
- ODNR: Deer harvest statistics: 2014-2015
- ODNR: Deer Herd Condition Trends in Ohio (PDF)
Hunter Education / Target Ranges
- ODNR: Hunter Education
- NRA: Find an NRA class
- ODNR: Ohio “Becoming An Outdoors Woman” Program
- TrekOhio: Ohio Archery Ranges
- ODNR: Public Shooting Ranges
- WhereToShoot: Private Gun / Archery Range Locator
- NRA: Summary of Ohio Gun Laws
- TrekOhio: Acquiring Ohio Topographic Maps – sources for free maps
- TrekOhio: Poison Ivy & Poison Sumac
- Twitter: #HuntOhio on Twitter
- OSU Extension: Giant Hogweed – invasive plant, sap can cause severe blistering or blindness
- TrekOhio: Camping Checklist
- TrekOhio: Hiking with a Smartphone
- ODNR: Ohio record buck database
- Farmers & Hunters Feeding the Hungry – where to donate your deer to feed hungry people
- Wide Open Spaces: Top 10 Reasons Ohio Hunters Have it Good
- Deehunter.com: 25 Deer Hunting Tips for Success
- Outdoor Life: Strategies for Big, Late-Season Bucks
- DeerHuntingGuide.net: Ohio Deer Hunting
- ODNR: Field Dressing Your Deer (PDF)
- ODNR: Field Dressing a Deer (Video)
- ODNR: Venison Recipes
- Reddit: Gun FAQ
- National Muzzle Loading Rifle Association
- Whitetails Unlimited
- Ohio Bow Hunting Forum
- Reddit: Gun Forum
- Columbus Metro Parks: article describing how Sharon Woods Metro Park habitat was almost destroyed by deer overpopulation and what they did about it