Ohio Deer Hunting Season 2018-2019

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.

Dates for Ohio 2018 / 2019 White-tailed Deer Season
  • Archery: Sept. 29, 2018 – Feb. 3, 2019
  • Youth Gun: Nov. 17-18, 2018
  • Gun: Nov. 26 – Dec. 2, 2018; Dec. 15-16, 2018
  • Muzzle-loader: Jan. 5-8, 2019

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

Countdown to Ohio Deer Gun Season

The ODNR Booklet, Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations 2018-2019 (PDF), includes a section that lays out all of the hunting regulations relevant to deer hunting. Below is an excerpt from page 6 of that booklet (to see a large version, right click on the image and open the link in a new tab):

12/17/2018Nearly 10,000 Deer Checked during Ohio's Two-Day Gun Hunting Season

Ohio’s hunters checked 9,625 white-tailed deer during Ohio’s 2018 two-day deer-gun hunting season, Dec. 15-16, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). During last year’s two-day December deer-gun season, 14,115 deer were harvested.

12/3/2018More than 60,000 Deer Checked During Ohio’s Weeklong Gun Season

Despite enduring some poor weather, hunters in Ohio checked 60,557 white-tailed deer during the 2018 weeklong deer-gun season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Last year, hunters checked 72,814 deer over the same period.

11/27/2018Hunters Brave the Elements on First Day of Ohio's Deer-Gun Season

11/19/2018Ohio's Young Hunters Harvest more than 6,500 Deer During Youth Gun Season – News & Announcements

Ohio’s young hunters had a successful weekend and checked 6,563 white-tailed deer during the two-day youth gun season, Nov. 17-18, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). During last year’s youth gun season, 4,958 white-tailed deer were checked.

7/7/2018Ohio Deer Summary (PDF): 2017-18 Season Summary, 2018-19 Preview, & Survey Results

2/16/2018Public Invited to Comment on Ohio’s 2018-2019 Hunting Season Proposals

Ohioans are invited to offer public comment regarding the proposed and future hunting, trapping and fishing regulations at open houses scheduled across the state. The open houses will be held on Saturday, March 3, between noon and 3 p.m., and online comments will be accepted from now through Sunday, March 4.

2/8/2018Ohio Wildlife Council Receives 2018-2019 Deer Hunting Proposals

The Ohio Wildlife Council heard proposals for Ohio’s 2018-2019 white-tailed deer hunting season dates and bag limits at Wednesday’s meeting, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The proposed season dates are nearly identical to previous seasons.

Overview of proposed deer hunting seasons for 2018-2019:

  • Deer archery: Sept. 29, 2018-Feb. 3, 2019
  • Youth deer gun: Nov. 17-18, 2018
  • Deer gun: Nov. 26-Dec. 2, 2018; Dec. 15-16, 2018
  • Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 5-8, 2019

2/5/2018Ohio Hunters Harvest more than 186,000 Deer during 2017-2018 Season

Hunters checked 186,247 white-tailed deer throughout Ohio’s 2017-2018 deer season, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). Last year, 182,169 deer were checked during the 2016-2017 season. Read more →

1/10/2018Hunters Harvest more than 13,000 Deer During Ohio’s Muzzleloader Season

Hunters checked 13,268 white-tailed deer during Ohio’s muzzleloader season, Jan. 6-9, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). During last year’s muzzleloader season, 15,843 white-tailed deer were checked.

Hunters still have opportunities to pursue deer this winter, as archery season remains open through Sunday, Feb. 4.

12/18/2017More than 14,000 Deer Checked during Ohio’s Two-Day Gun Hunting Season

Ohio’s hunters checked 14,115 white-tailed deer during Ohio’s 2017 two-day deer-gun hunting season, Dec. 16-17, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). During last year’s two-day December deer-gun season, hunters faced less than ideal conditions and harvested 9,228 deer.

Hunters still have opportunities to pursue deer this winter. Muzzleloader season is Jan. 6-9, 2018, and archery season remains open through Sunday, Feb. 4, 2018. Find more information about deer hunting in the 2017-2018 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at wildohio.gov.

Check out the link for more information.

12/4/2017Nearly 73,000 Deer Checked During Ohio’s Weeklong Gun Hunting Season

72,814 deer checked this year, compared to 66,758 deer checked last year during the week-long gun hunting season.

11/28/2017Ohio’s 2017 Deer-Gun Season Opens with more than 22,000 Deer Harvested

Here’s a summary of the total deer harvested as of Nov 28, 2017:

Weapon Antlered Antlerless Total Deer
Archery 34,388 32,465 66,853
Gun 16,238 24,022 40,260
Both 50,626 56,487 107,113

A per county breakdown of the deer havest can be viewed at ODNR: Weekly Deer Harvest Report: 2017-2018 (Harvests reported through Nov 28, 2017) (PDF).

11/1/2017Ohio’s Traditional Deer-Gun Hunting Season Begins Nov. 27

This ODNR update includes information on hunting season details (including bag limits, dates and hours), deer carcass transport, the poacher hotline, chronic wasting disease, and the positive economic impact of hunting in the state.

9/28/2017State Parks Offer New Opportunities for Deer Hunters

Approximately 1,200 acres previously closed to hunting will be available to bow hunters as part of controlled hunts at Deer Creek, Malabar Farm, and Maumee Bay state parks. All hunts are archery-only. To buy a lottery ticket for a chance to hunt in these area, you must attend one of three lotteries that are being held on Saturday, Oct. 21st at 1 p.m. Check out the link for details.

9/26/2017Ohio’s Updated Hunter Education Course Provides Options for Aspiring Hunters

The course has been revamped and there are several ways of completing it.

  1. In-classroom – Usually takes 12 hours over two days. Cost: free. Find a nearby course to enroll in.
  2. Online Hunter Education for those 12 or older. Cost: $15.
  3. Home-Study Course for those younger than 12. Cost: $15. You start by taking the online course. After passing that, you attend a classroom session that lasts 3 or 4 hours and ends with another exam.

9/2/2017ODNR to Offer Special Deer Hunts on Seven State Scenic River Properties

Enter locally held lotteries for an opportunity to participate in archery deer hunts at seven locations bordering three of Ohio’s state scenic rivers. The lotteries are being held Sept. 10th and 16th. See above link for details.

8/17/2017ODNR to Offer Special Deer Hunts on Six State Nature Preserves

Those interested must attend a local ODNR meeting where they can buy a lottery ticket for a chance to hunt in the preserve (it costs $5). The six preserves and their meeting dates are Gallagher Fen (8/26/2017), Lake Katharine (8/27/2017), Blackhand Gorge (9/6/2017), Goll Woods (9/16/2017), Lawrence Woods (9/17/2017), and Sheepskin Hollow (9/20/2017). Attendance at the meetings are required. Do not attempt to enter via mail.

For complete information on the hunting requirements, how the hunt is conducted, and the exact time and place for the meetings, see the link above.

04/13/2017Ohio Wildlife Council Approves 2017-2018 Hunting Regulations (summarized below)

There has been a change in allowable rifles. Now any straight-walled cartridge rifle with a minimum caliber of .357 to a maximum caliber of .50 is allowed for deer hunting.

The statewide bag limit remains at six deer, with only one being antlered. Hunters must also respect each county’s bag limits and any other county restrictions. The county bag limits will remain the same as last year unless the county is listed below.

Increase in bag limit from 2 to 3 per county for the following counties:
Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Fairfield, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Tuscarawas, Vinton, and Washington
Decrease in bag limit from 3 to 2 per county for the following counties:
Allen, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding, Putnam, and Williams

Download the Ohio Deer Hunting Regulations for 2017-2018 (PDF) from ODNR for a complete listing of the regulations.

02/09/2017Ohio Wildlife Council Receives 2017-2018 Deer Hunting Proposals

Previous Deer Harvests

Note that ODNR publishes statistics on the deer harvested this season and last season at wildohio.gov/deerharvest.

  • During the entire 2016-2017 deer season, hunters harvested 182,169 white-tailed deer throughout Ohio. Compared to the previous year in which 188,329 deer were harvested, that is a decline of about 3.27%.
  • During the deer muzzleloader season (Jan 7-10, 2017) hunters harvested 15,843 deer, a 26.7% increase from the previous year
  • During the two day deer-gun season weekend (December 17-18, 2016) hunters harvested 9,228 deer, a 2.3% decrease from the previous year.
  • During the first week of deer gun season in 2016, hunters harvested 66,759 deer, a 9.0% decrease from the previous year.
  • On the first day of deer gun season in 2016, hunters harvested 18,776 deer, a 15.6% decrease from the previous year.
  • Young hunters harvested 5,930 deer during Youth Gun Season in 2016, a 17.9% decrease from the previous year.
  • 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.

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.

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.

Dec. 9, 2016 on coyotes: In the comments many people have expressed concern about coyotes preying on fawns. Many people are also under the impression that ODNR is to blame for this because they introduced coyotes into Ohio. I posted a question about this on the Facebook page for the Ohio Division of Wildlife. The Division of Wildlife denies that they are responsible for introducing coyotes into the state. In their own words:

…the Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife has never trapped and transplanted coyotes into Ohio. Coyotes have expanded their range naturally over time to encompass not only Ohio, but the entire eastern United States…

© Deborah Platt, Robert Platt and TrekOhio.com 2012 to 2021

51 thoughts on “Ohio Deer Hunting Season 2018-2019

  1. I agree with you my first deer was a spike, taken in cullman county at 16. I was so excited I dropped him in his tracks, and you’re right with the negativity, it can drive a new hunterfor ever hunting again.

  2. Need a law that stops baiting, hunting over a bait pile isn’t hunting, these outfitters call themselves pros, nothing ethical about this.

    1. I agree with you Wayne however that would mean people would actually have to scout, and sit still in a stand waiting for a deer. In today’s world nobody is going to do that…instant gratification throw a bag of corn out and blow away the first deer that shows up. Ohio hunting has gone down the tubes…fewer deer and lesser quality deer. Can’t avoid “change” I guess.

    2. I agree with Greg and Wayne however if Ohio wants to really fix things:
      1. Ban crossbow except for handicapped hunters or over age 65.
      2. Bring back check stations
      3. Limit non-resident hunting like Iowa does via lottery system.
      4. Lastly…reduce length of season…4.5 months is WAY TOO LONG! There are actually hunting days in end of Sept, all of Oct, Nov, Dec, Jan, and early Feb – for 6 calendar months! Ridiculous!

  3. As awful as our 2016-2017 deer season is, it will no doubt become the new norm for the future. Farms, habitat, and public lands are being developed at a record rate to make room for more houses and stores – deer are being poached in record numbers due to the DNR abandoning check stations, and the comments below are totally correct, the DNR could care less. Understand one thing, the DNR exists to make money, so they can then in turn exist, so then can make more money – they don’t care about the wildlife, or the hunters, it’s all driven by $$$$$$$$$$$.

  4. Amen William Lassiter! I agree 100% there is no reason on earth to have a 4 month deer season. Great comments on here, per all the DNR comments, yes they are corrupt and the auto insurance companies are truly the ones dictating our regulations, but it starts with each and every hunter – just because the limit is 2 deer or 4 deer or 6 deer doesn’t mean you have to kill 2, 4, or 6. my god 1 deer is plenty. put the greed and ego aside.

  5. Marlin Mooney the deer season is almost 4.5 months long and you are asking for another day? I agree with the Mike Evans comment, shorten the darn season big time down to 1.5 – 2 months. As hunters, we need to do what we preach, and that is to respect the wildlife, have ethics, and not be greedy. 2 month season would be MORE than sufficient. and lower the limit to ONE deer.

    1. I am very disappointed on how Ohio deer hunting has changed so drastically for the worse. The bag limit is outrageous, the check-in process is a joke and shotgun season should be in mid December not end of November so close to the rut. Ohio is the 7th most populated state and if the odnr does not change some of the rules our hunting will be worse than the hunting in PA. We see harvesting numbers every year but does that account for the amount of fawns killed by coyotes or even remotely consider the horrible hit the whitetail population took in 2009 and 2012 to EHD? Oddly enough no, the ODNR actually increased bag limits and allowed for computer/phone called check ins, which has made the poachers extremely happy. we need to do something now so that we can make a difference for the future of Ohio deer hunting.

  6. Can you imagine the backlash if the ODNR admitted PUBLICLY on FB that they released coyotes in Ohio? They will NEVER publicly admit that. However face to face over a cup of coffee they will, as 2 different ODNR officers did to me. ODNR did indeed release coyotes in Ohio. I’m sure they would have spread here on their own in time, but the ODNR planted them first just as other states meddle with wolves and other predators to control game. It’s not a secret. By the way, ODNR is a government agency, government agencies lie and deny to the public every day. IF you still don’t believe the ODNR toyed with coyotes to Ohio, Google and research how the City of Chicago released dozens of radio collared coyotes in their downtown area to prey on rats, geese and cats. This is what DNR agencies do, they play God. And if it backfires they deny being involved.

  7. Old McDonald those stats are pretty accurate. If you go to any meetings or seminars held by wildlife biologists they are currently estimating 50-60% mortality rate on fawns by coyotes through Ohio, and even higher in western states. You will always have certain areas impacted more than others, but state wide the impact the coyotes are having is incredible, and yes the Division of Wildlife introduced coyotes to Ohio in the early 1980’s – just talk to them in person and they’ll tell you.

  8. 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.

  9. 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!

  10. 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. 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?

    2. i agree with you except on cross bow bought a new compound bow 4 years ago started sighting it in then had a mini stroke now cant pull bow back have tried everything to get back to where i was when i bought might have to go to cross bow this is not a medical issue is last resort

  11. 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.

  12. 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

  13. 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.

  14. 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?

  15. Hello,
    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. 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.

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

  17. 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

  18. 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. 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. 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.

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

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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

  23. 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.

  24. 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 .

  25. 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

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