Ohio's popular deer-gun season opens statewide on Monday, November 29, offering hunters a full week to harvest a whitetail. The upcoming season will again include an extra weekend of gun hunting on December 18-19, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.
Deer can be hunted with a legal muzzleloader, handgun or shotgun from one half-hour before sunrise to sunset through December 5 and December 18-19. With a pre-hunting season population estimate of 750,000 white-tailed deer, the ODNR Division of Wildlife anticipates 115,000 to 125,000 deer will be killed during the nine-day season. Approximately 420,000 hunters are expected to participate in this year's season, including many out-of-state hunters.
The white-tailed deer is the most popular game animal in Ohio, frequently pursued by generations of hunters. Ohio ranks 8th nationally in annual hunting-related sales and 10th in the number of jobs associated with the hunting-related industry. Each year, hunting has a $859 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more.
Ohio is divided into three deer hunting zones. Beginning on the opening day of gun season and continuing through December 5 a limit of one deer may be taken in Zone A (20 counties) and two deer in Zone B (30 counties). A total of six deer may be harvested in eastern and southeastern Ohio's Zone C (38 counties) through the week long gun season. The antlerless deer permit will be valid for deer-gun week only in Zone C.
Beginning on December 6, the bag limit is three deer in Zone C and antlerless deer permits are no longer valid. Any time a hunter is allowed to take more than one deer, they must purchase an additional permit.
Those hunting in urban units and at Division of Wildlife-authorized controlled hunts will have a six-deer bag limit, and those deer will not count against the hunter's zone bag limit. Antlerless deer permits can be used for the entire season in urban deer units or Division of Wildlife-authorized controlled hunts. Antlerless deer permits must be purchased by November 28.
Hunters may take only one antlered deer, regardless of zone, hunting method or season. A deer permit is required in addition to a valid Ohio hunting license.
Approximately 60 to 75 sales agents throughout Ohio will be testing the newly designed fishing, hunting and trapping license and permit sales system during the 2010 fall hunting season. This test will be for licenses and permit sales only, electronic game check begins in spring 2011. Pilot licenses and permits will look different, but will still be valid. Each license buyer must have a Social Security Number (SSN) recorded in the system. Youth hunters and those hunters who have never had a driver's license swiped during the license buying process must provide their SSN. The Harvest Information Program (HIP) survey process will be different than in the past. Hunters will be asked to call a toll-free number to register. More information on the testing can be found at wildohio.com .
Hunters are encouraged to kill more does this season using the reduced-priced antlerless deer permit and donate any extra venison to organizations assisting Ohioans in need. The division is collaborating with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry to help pay for the processing of donated venison. Hunters who donate their deer are not required to pay the processing cost as long as the deer are taken to a participating processor. Counties being served by this program can be found online at fhfh.org.
Additional hunting regulations and maps of the state's deer zones are contained in the 2010-2011 Ohio Hunting & Trapping Regulations. This free publication is available wherever hunting licenses are sold, online at wildohio.com or by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE.
The 2010-2011 licenses will not be printed on weatherproof paper. Sportsmen and women should protect their licenses and permits from the elements by carrying them in a protective pouch or wallet.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com .