Ohio Deer Hunting Season 2016-2017

The velvet from this bucks antlers is dangling behind his ear.

The velvet from this buck’s antlers is dangling behind his ear.

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 2016 / 2017 White-tailed Deer Season

  • Archery: Sept. 24, 2016 – Feb. 5, 2017
  • Youth Gun: Nov. 19-20, 2016
  • Gun: Nov. 28 – Dec. 4, 2016; Dec. 17-18, 2016
  • Muzzle-loader: Jan. 7-10, 2017

Hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset for all deer seasons.


  • 12/6/2016 – During the first week of deer gun season, hunters harvested 66,759 deer, a 9% decrease from last year.
  • 11/29/2016 – On the first day of deer gun season, hunters harvested 18,776 deer, a 15.6% decrease from last year.
  • 11/21/2016 – Young hunters harvested 5,930 deer during Youth Gun Season. See more here.

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.

Ohio hunters harvested 188,335 deer during the 2015-2016 hunting season, a 7.16% increase over last year. See the ODNR press release for full-details including county-by-county statistics.

Deer Season Information / Regulations

Hunter Education / Target Ranges

Additional Information


Here’s a visualization I created of the 2015-2016 hunt using Google Fusion Tables. Click on the county to see a pop-up containing the county name and number of deer harvested in the 2015-2016 deer hunting season. If the pop-up extends beyond the border of the map, you can pull the map left or right until the pop-up is completely visible.

© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and TrekOhio.com 2012 to 2016

35 thoughts on “Ohio Deer Hunting Season 2016-2017”

  1. Paul Towers says:

    Mike Evans, you say 50% of the fawns are preyed upon by coyotes, I’d bet you it’s even higher. In Wisconsin and other states biologists have radio collard does, and when they would have drop their fawns the biologists would go out only to find 3 out of every 4 were already killed/consumed by coyotes. They are indeed efficient killing machines. It has become a huge problem in Ohio with no real practical solution.

  2. James L says:

    Mike Evans I totally agree. Just like many government offices the DNR started out with the right intent but now only care about the $$$$$$ now. The deer season is WAY too long, limits too high, and yes I remember back in the day when everybody used recurves or compounds, now it’s instant gratification with the crossbow. And yes the DNR needs to keep it all simple, typical government over complicating things and making a mess of everything!

  3. Mike Evans says:

    The DNR has lost their way. They listen to only the auto insurance companies. They Introduced coyotes to Ohio which are now killing 50% of all the fawns, and it’s biting them in the butts now…no way to eradicate the coyotes at this point. Shotgun season is too long, and the entire deer season is over 1/3 of the entire year. 1. Shorten the season 2. Bring back check stations 3. No crossbows unless handicapped or 65 years of age or older. DNR please stop complicating things…simple is better. Learn from Iowa and other states that know how to manage.

    1. Old McDonald says:

      Mike Evans, you say “They Introduced coyotes to Ohio which are now killing 50% of all the fawns”.

      I sure wish that the coyotes on my farms were that ambitious.

      Oh, and can you provide a credible source for your statistic?

  4. Brad V says:

    Gun season needs moved back a couple weeks. Always 1st Mon. after turkey day. No snow last couple years. I say 1st or 2nd Mon of Dec.

  5. tim rittenhouse says:

    i think that the spring-valley shooting range should close during gun season every day it has been hopping shooting non-stop ,i hunt that area i believe that it disrubts the hunting in that area

  6. Marshall says:

    I really think deer populations are deminishing. I think a limit of 2 deer per Hunter is sufficient. It’s not like people need deer to live off of. I been bow hunting this year and the deer are not there like they used to be. Also ODNR needs to change the squirrel season to open iin October instead of September to allow bow hunters time alone in the woods without pressure from squirrel hunters.

  7. Jeffrey Fenton says:

    I would like an Hunting/Trapping Regulation booklet for this season of 2016-2017. Our Wal-Mart (which is the only store here) doesn’t have them. I’ve been there ALOT n keep checking too. Could you PLEASE send me one?

    1. Bob Platt says:

      You can call the ODNR Division of Wildlife (1-800-WILDLIFE) or download the PDF version of the document above (I fixed the link, which had been broken).

  8. Mario says:

    I plan to be in Cleveland Ohio on around November 2016. I would like to hunt for fox squirrels. Can you please tell me what public land I may use.
    Thank you
    Mario, Connecticut

    1. Deb Platt says:

      We are not affiliated with the Ohio Dept. of Natural Resources (ODNR) or any government agency, but I tried to see what I could find out for you. I was able to find this PDF published by the ODNR on January 1, 2014. It lists “STATE-OWNED OR ADMINISTERED LANDS DESIGNATED AS PUBLIC HUNTING AREAS“. I’m not sure which are sufficiently close to Cleveland to work for you. You could try checking our our list of parks, preserves and wildlife areas in Northeast Ohio, then choose nearby counties and see if any of them include the hunting areas that are open to the public included on the PDF.

      Here’s information on licenses and permits. Here’s information on small game hunting regulations. Since you are visiting in November, I noticed there are restrictions at the very end of the month:

      The daily bag limit is six. Red, gray, black, and fox squirrels can be taken. Hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset. Closed during the seven-day deer gun season, November 30 – December 6, 2015.

  9. Doyle C. Krogman says:

    mary yes u can use bow in youth season as long as you wear the required amount of florescent orange clothing

  10. C j wise says:

    I think the deer gun season should be for two weeks. Instead of one. I know I was tried once but heard nothing about why it was discontinued. It surely would give a lot of people the opportunity to hunt when jobs or other reasons would not permit it. We are the people who support hunting and pay good money that goes to the maintenance or upkeep of wildlife and we the people should have the say so as to how long the season should last. Should the weather not permit.hunting such as several days of hard rain. Bitter cold heavy snows or other inclimate reasons could surely put a damper on a persons hunting season. Not being able to get time off from work at that time is also a realistic hazard. We the people buy license pay taxes and support those involved in game management and surely have the right to enjoy a good hunt when it is available. I am just one person, but surely not the only one who feels this way, but I have spoken my piece………….

    1. mark cummins says:

      Delaware county marion counties need to shut down deer season for lack of deer atleast for 2 years or they will all be gone

  11. copenaustin says:

    I would like to see high powered rifles to be legal.

  12. daniel dreussi says:

    Last years season was hotter than normal crops got harvested very late and it don’t help you have muzzloader season early either seen 3 deer in 3 months after it got cold seen hundred

  13. Shawn young says:

    one of the reason the deer kill is down is poaching, once they changed the regulations of not checking them in but calling it in hunters go out and kill and don’t call. It’s a terrible regulations need to change back.

    1. mark cummins says:

      I agree this check in your deer on the phone is a bunch of crap how many people do it .this is another reason for the deer decrease in marion and delaware counties

    2. Joe myers says:

      I agree they have made it entirely to easy for people to poach deer all they need is to buy one tag and use it all year as long as they have there home made game tag and process there own deer.

    3. Jon Elkins says:

      Totally agree Shawn.

  14. pat says:

    I’d like to see 450 bushmaster rifle caliber added to the acceptable cartridge list for deer gun season. What steps are needed to add?

    1. Mike Solmen says:

      I have sent two email messages to the Ohio DNR requesting the addition of the .450 Bushmaster but have heard nothing back.

  15. j.b. says:

    The early muzzaloader season is a joke. It puts too much pressure on the deer before the rut. I never hunted that weekend. The bag limit should be dropped back to three deer. This years deer harvest proves it.

  16. John says:

    Unfortunately, the deer “herd” in Washington county does not exist anymore. Under ODNR management from the 1950’s and 1960’s it peaked in 2006. Since then, in just under 8 years, the current ODNR has returned the deer numbers in both the woods and harvest to numbers that can only be found prior to 1989. This years numbers will be down nearly 50 percent from those recorded for 2006-2007. The current ODNR is making excuses for the numbers and poor decisions for Ohio’s deer count. Take a look at the Buckeye Big Buck website numbers for 2006, each year until 2013. When we have less deer, we have less big deer.

  17. mike steer says:

    mary yes u can use bow in youth season as long as you wear the required amount of florescent orange clothing

  18. mike steer says:

    i have been an avid bow hunter since 1983 a genesis 25 pound bow is a target bow designed for youth beginners it would kill a deer with sharp broad head and proper shot placement but i would not recomend it because theres not enough kinetic energy ohio law is 40 lbs but i wouldnt use less than 50 lbs and always use sharp broad heads and practice through out the year and know the anatomy of the deer so you know exactly where to shoot the deer double lung or heart shots is the best

  19. Need to talk to somebody about hunting in Ohio,just got a address in Indiana 2 weeks ago .Can I still hunt in Ohio? Indiana says that I have to have a address before I can hunt here in Indiana for 60 days before I can get a license.

    1. Bob Platt says:

      I’d suggest calling the Ohio Dept. of Wildlife (1-800-WILDLIFE) and asking them.

    2. nathan says:

      you can hunt in ohio u just have to buy a out of state tag

  20. mary says:

    Can we still hunt with our bow during youth weekend if we don’t have youths hunting with us?

  21. Sabrina says:

    I don’t like the fact that we have an early muzzleloader season in October before the rut. I also disagree with the bag limit . Six deer is to many ! The population has gone way down in the last few years , they need to drop it back down to 3 deer .

  22. Mike c says:

    Im new to hunting and was just wondering were can i legally hunt thata close i live on Cleveland’s west side please help im really interested in this sport

  23. Baylen adams says:

    Can I use me 25 pound Mathews genesis compound bow to hunt deer at 10-15 yards ?

    1. Bob Platt says:

      Here’s a link to ODNR’s hunting regulations brochure. They set a minimum draw on bows to help assure a clean kill of the deer – on page 9 of the brochure they set a minimum draw on bows to 40 lbs and crossbows to 75 lbs.

    2. shelz says:

      Draw weight has to be at least #75.

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