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Ohio Hunting Seasons

HECS Hunting

December 8, 2022

Every year, approximately 553,000 people suit up in their best hunting gear and head out to punch a tag in the vast fields of Ohio. The state has an excellent hunting season, with some counties allowing hunters to harvest four antlerless deer! 

So whether you’re hoping to take home a white-tailed deer or participate in a different game hunt, Ohio has a great variety of wildlife to keep every hunt exciting. 

The process for obtaining a license and necessary permits for Ohio hunting is easy: while permits will need to be renewed yearly, residents can purchase a lifelong hunting license to experience the thrills of the hunt during any open season they desire.

Deer Hunting Season in Ohio

You’re hoping to participate in Ohio deer hunting season with the many hunters who go afield yearly. But what should you expect while hunting in Ohio? Here’s everything hunters need to know before embarking on their next hunt.

Deer Hunting Season Dates

The Ohio deer season kicks off in late September and continues into early February, giving hunters a wide range of opportunities to punch a tag. However, if you’re hoping to use a firearm to take down the white-tailed deer, you’ll need to adhere to Ohio’s specific seasonal dates for guns and muzzleloaders.

SeasonDates
Deer Archery SeasonSeptember 24th – February 5th
Youth Deer Gun SeasonNovember 19th & 20th 
Deer Gun SeasonNovember 28th – December 4th December 17th & 18th 
Deer Muzzleloader SeasonJanuary 7th – January 10th

The firearm season goes quickly, so mark your calendar with these hunting dates!

Where to Hunt in Ohio

No matter where you are in Ohio, a beautiful public hunting ground is nearby. Here are some popular hunting locations among the locals:

Residents and visitors can explore additional public hunting areas near their location on Ohio’s Department of Natural Resources website. 

Approved Hunting Equipment in Ohio

Here’s a list of the approved methods of deer hunting for the archery and firearm season in Ohio: 

  • 10 gauge shotgun or smaller 
  • Straight walled cartridges with no more than three shells loaded in the chamber
  • .38 caliber muzzleloading rifles
  • 10 gauge muzzleloader or smaller shotgun 
  • Handguns
  • Crossbow 
  • Longbow

If you have any questions about legal hunting equipment in Ohio, please consult the Hunting and Trapping Regulations for more information. 

Cost of Deer Hunting Permits and License

You can purchase hunting licenses in Ohio for one, three, five, or ten years. Depending upon the hunter’s age, youth (17 years or younger) and seniors (66 years and older) will receive a discounted rate.

One YearThree YearsFive YearsTen YearsLifetime
Youth$10$27.04$45.07$90.14$430.56
Adult$19$54.08$90.14$180.27$449.28
Senior$1027.04$45.07N/A*$84.24

* A ten-year license is not available for seniors. 

In addition to obtaining a hunting license, you must purchase an Ohio hunting permit to harvest a buck or a doe. Deer hunting permit costs are broken up by age and residency status:

  • Youth: $16.00
  • Adult Residents: $31.20
  • Nonresidents: $76.96
  • Senior Residents: $12.00

Unlike hunting licenses — which can remain valid for several years — hunting permits must be purchased during every deer season.

Deer Hunting Rules

In the state of Ohio, only one antlered deer can be harvested during the entirety of deer hunting season. Each county sets limits for harvesting doe, so Ohio hunters need to check their area’s regulations. Most counties have a 2 to 4 antlerless deer bag limit. 

According to the rules set by the Ohio Wildlife Council, hunters are free to begin 30 minutes before sunrise but must exit wildlife areas 30 minutes after sunset. While traversing the wild, outdoorsmen must wear an orange jacket, coat, coveralls, or vest for visibility.

In 2020, Ohio discovered that a small population of deer had contracted Chronic Wasting Disease. This disease is neurological, so the Department of Natural Resources recommends that outdoorsmen dispose of the brain, spinal cord, and other neurological tissues. 

Under no circumstances should hunters consume the brain, eyes, spleen, or lymph nodes of deer with Chronic Wasting Disease. If you would like to get a tagged deer tested, contact the Ohio Department of Agriculture at 614-728-6220.

Other Hunting Seasons in Ohio

Deer hunting isn’t the only available open season in Ohio — some animals can be harvested all year round! Here are some additional hunting seasons that you might not find in other states:

AnimalSeason Dates
TurkeyFall: October 8th – November 13th Spring (South Ohio): April 22nd – May 21st Spring (Northeast Ohio): April 29th – May 28th
SquirrelSeptember 1st – January 31st 
QuailNovember 4th – November 27th
Mink & MuskratsNovember 10th – February 28th
BeaversDecember 26th – February 28th
Coyotes, Wild Boards, and GroundhogsAll year round

If you’re hoping to hunt waterfowl such as geese, ducks, and coots, you’ll need to determine your hunting location. Ohio has three zones (North, South, and Lake Erie Marsh) with varying dates for open seasons on waterfowl.

Conclusion 

Every year, outdoorsmen hunting in Ohio generate 1.4 billion dollars for the state’s economy! So whether you’re a local hunter or a visitor looking to punch a tag, the great outdoors of Ohio are guaranteed to deliver a hunt you’ll never forget. 

Season dates will vary by county across the state. For specific dates, rules, and regulations in each Ohio county, visit the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website for more information.

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About the Author : HECS Hunting

Mike is a lifelong bowhunter and self described “science geek” who has over 50 years experience bowhunting big game animals all over the world. Mikes passion is hunting elk and he has taken 48 elk with a bow to date. Mike has taken 31 big game species with a bow worldwide and counting. Besides being a bowhunting fanatic Mike is also a recognized inventor who is always looking to new innovation to help him become more successful in the field. With 11 patents and involvement in countless outside projects within the hunting industry Mike has a reputation as a innovative problem solver in his 30 year career in the hunting industry.

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