COLUMBUS – Hunters checked 9,447 white-tailed deer during Ohio’s 2015 two-day deer-gun hunting season, Dec. 28-29, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The last time Ohio held a two-day December deer-gun season was in 2012 with 14,365 deer harvested. That year, the season was held on a weekend and accounted for just more than 6 percent of the entire deer harvest. This year’s two-day season total is projected to account for slightly more than 5 percent of all deer harvested.
Hunters still have opportunities to pursue deer this winter. Muzzleloader season is Jan. 9-12, 2016, and archery season remains open through Sunday, Feb. 7, 2016.
Deer Management Goals
The ODNR Division of Wildlife remains committed to properly managing Ohio’s deer populations. The goal of Ohio’s Deer Management Program is to provide a deer population that maximizes recreational opportunities, while minimizing conflicts with landowners and motorists.
Until recently, deer populations in nearly all of Ohio’s counties were well above goal. In the last few years, through increased antlerless harvests, most counties are now at or near goal. Therefore, to help stabilize deer populations, bag limits were reduced, and antlerless permit use has been eliminated in most counties for the 2015-2016 season.
The ODNR Division of Wildlife is in the process of revising Ohio’s population goals and is asking hunters that receive the survey to help by completing and returning their survey as soon as possible. Hunters for this year’s survey were randomly selected from the list of hunters who purchased a license and deer permit by Nov. 16. Landowner surveys have already been completed, and hunter surveys were mailed in early December. Public input is an important part of Ohio’s deer management program, and survey participants are asked to complete and return their surveys to ensure that hunters have a clear voice in helping to decide the direction of deer management in Ohio.
Hunting is the best and most effective management tool for maintaining Ohio’s healthy deer population. Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has a more than $853 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.
Find more information about deer hunting in the Ohio 2015-2016 Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at wildohio.gov. An updated deer harvest report is posted online each Wednesday at wildohio.gov/deerharvest.