COLUMBUS — Ohio’s annual white-tailed deer gun hunting week is off to a good start, with hunters checking 17,193 deer on Monday, Nov. 28, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
Ohio’s gun season is open until Sunday, Dec. 4, and again on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 17-18.
In 2021, hunters took 21,754 deer on the opening day of the gun season, which traditionally falls on the Monday after Thanksgiving. From 2019-21, hunters harvested an average of 16,057 deer during the gun season opener.
In Highland County, hunters checked in 244 deer on opening day opposed to 237 on opening day a year ago.
“It’s great to see thousands of hunters taking part during this year’s deer gun season,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “The Ohio deer harvest provides food for thousands of people and venison is a staple for many families. The average adult deer harvested in Ohio provides about 60 pounds of meat that hunters can take home to their families.”
The top 10 counties for deer harvest on the opening day of Ohio’s gun season were: Coshocton (591), Tuscarawas (584), Muskingum (584), Ashtabula (548), Knox (474), Carroll (464), Guernsey (434), Licking (430), Columbiana (397), and Washington (373). In 2021, Coshocton County also led the state with 850 deer taken on opening day.
Hunting is a longstanding tradition in Ohio, but the deer population has not always been so robust. Fifty years ago, hunters harvested 5,074 deer during the entire 1972 season, far fewer than were checked on opening day alone this year.
In the 2022-23 deer season, archery and firearms hunters have taken a total of 109,848 deer through Monday, Nov. 28. The archery harvest represents 81,949 deer, and youth hunters took 9,515 deer in the youth gun season.
Ohio’s abundant white-tailed deer population attracts hunters from outside the state too. Many nonresident hunters travel from Pennsylvania (6,901 licenses sold), Michigan (4,851), West Virginia (3,514), North Carolina (3,096), and New York (2,854). Both residents and nonresidents have purchased a combined 346,212 deer permits this year, with either-sex permits still on sale at license agents, on the HuntFish OH mobile app, or at wildohio.gov.
The seven-day gun season concludes on Sunday, Dec. 4, and firearms hunters will have another opportunity to harvest deer the weekend of Dec. 17-18. The muzzleloader season will be Saturday, Jan. 7, until Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2023. Bowhunting remains open until Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023. Find complete details in the 2022-23 hunting and trapping regulations.
All deer harvested in Ohio are required to be checked in the Ohio Wildlife Licensing System. This mandatory reporting gives the Division of Wildlife a long-term data set that aids biologists in monitoring deer health, distribution, and relative abundance.
Deer hunters who find success in the coming seasons can use the HuntFish OH mobile app to check game in the field, even without a Wi-Fi connection. Additionally, the free app gives users access to wildlife area maps, online resources, and license purchasing and display options.
Visit ohiodnr.gov to find a public hunting area near you. After your harvest, find delicious recipes on the Wild Ohio Harvest Community webpage.
Information for this story was provided by the ODNR Division of Wildlife.