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. Further information is available here. Sign-up information here. Deadline to sign-up for controlled hunts in July 31, 2013.
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 2013 / 2014 White-tailed Deer Season
- Archery – Sept 28, 2013 – Feb 2, 2014
- Muzzle-loader (antler-less deer only) – Oct 12-13, 2013
- Youth Gun – Nov 23-24, 2013
- Gun – Dec 2-8, 2013
- Muzzle-loader – Jan 4-7, 2014
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 (12/9/2013): Ohio hunters harvested 75,408 deer during the Dec 2-8 gun hunting season. The cumulative (to date) deer harvest for the 2013-2014 deer season is 162,720 deer, a 5% drop from last season. More information in the ODNR press release here.
Update (01/19/2014): Ohio hunters harvested 16,464 deer during the four day muzzleloader season January 4th-7th. Read more in ODNR’s press release.
Deer Season Information / Regulations
- ODNR: 2013-2014 Hunting / Trapping Seasons
- ODNR: License & Permit Finder
- ODNR Divison of Wildlife: Regulations & Bag Limits
- ODNR: Hunting Regulations
- ODNR: Statistics from this year’s hunt
- ODNR: County by county statistics from last year’s hunt
- ODNR: 2013 Acorn Crop Results (hunter intel)
- ODNR: Game check & tagging
- Mansfield News Journal: Hunters can check their deer via SmartPhone
Hunter Education / Target Ranges
- ODNR: Hunter Education
- NRA: Find an NRA class
- 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
- 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