The month of September signifies changing leaves, the harvest season and the beginning of bow hunting in Ohio. Approximately 205,000 bow hunters, representing more than half of all Ohioans who hunt deer, will participate in the statewide archery deer hunting season opening Saturday, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
During last year's four-month archery season, bow hunters killed 82,732 deer, a decrease of three percent from the previous year. Crossbow hunters took 44,979 of that number and longbow hunters took 37,753 deer. Overall, archers accounted for 38 percent of the 219,748 deer taken during Ohio's combined 2011-12 archery, muzzleloader and gun seasons.
Licking County was the state leader in both the vertical bow and crossbow harvest. Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Ashtabula and Guernsey rounded out the top five counties in crossbow harvest, while Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Muskingum and Hamilton completed the list of top five counties in vertical bow harvest.
Hunters must report their deer harvest, but are no longer required to take their deer to a check station for physical inspection. Instead, hunters have three options to complete the automated game check:
- On the Internet at wildohio.com.
- By telephone at 877-TAG-ITOH (877-824-4864). This option is only available to those who are required to have a deer permit to hunt deer.
- At all license agents. A list of these agents can be found at wildohio.com or by calling 800-WILDLIFE.
Game-check transactions will be available online and by telephone seven days a week and during holidays. Landowner hunters who are not required to purchase a deer permit must use the Internet or any license agent to check their deer. Hunters who tag their deer as a landowner harvest cannot use the phone-in method. All authorized license sales agents will also check in your game. A list of these agents can be found at wildohio.com or by calling 800-WILDLIFE.
ODNR’s Division of Wildlife remains committed to reducing populations where needed. Through a combination of both regulatory and programmatic changes, progress toward reducing locally abundant herds can be expected.
Ohio hunters are also encouraged to kill more does again this season, using the reduced-priced antlerless deer permit to help the needy in their area. The Division of Wildlife is collaborating with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) to help pay for the processing of donated venison. Hunters who donate their deer to a food bank are not required to pay the processing cost as long as funding for the effort lasts. More information about this program can be found online at fhfh.org.
All deer hunters are required to have a valid Ohio hunting license and a valid deer permit. This year, the $15 antlerless deer permit will be valid Sept. 29-Nov. 25 in all Zones, A, B and C. The $15 antlerless permit may be purchased only until Nov. 25.
This year's statewide archery season remains open from Sept. 29- Feb. 3, 2013, including the week of deer-gun season Nov. 26-Dec. 2. Deer-gun hunters will also be able to enjoy an additional weekend of hunting Dec. 15- 16. Archers may hunt one half-hour before sunrise to one half-hour after sunset, except during the statewide gun, youth and muzzleloader seasons when they are one half-hour before sunrise to sunset. Archers hunting during the statewide gun, youth or muzzleloader seasons must meet the hunter orange requirements of those seasons.
To hunt deer in Ohio, hunters must possess a deer permit in addition to a valid hunting license. State law allows hunters to take only one antlered buck per year, regardless of the type of deer season, deer permit or weapon used for deer hunting.
A detailed listing of deer hunting rules is contained in the 2012-13 Ohio Hunting Regulations, available where licenses are sold, or may be viewed online at wildohio.com.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.com.