Ohio Deer Hunting Season 2015-2016

Photo courtesy Jerry Keenan, license: CC BY 2.0

Buck, not photographed by me

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.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources is conducting several controlled hunts again this year. They are accepting applications to participate up to July 31, 2015. Participants will be chosen by random drawing.


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

Hunter Education / Target Ranges

Additional Information

© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and TrekOhio.com 2015

13 thoughts on “Ohio Deer Hunting Season 2015-2016”

  1. 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?

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. mike steer says:

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

  5. 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

  6. 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.

  7. mary says:

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

  8. 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 .

  9. 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

  10. 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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