Few Season Changes in Store for Popular Deer Hunting State

Changes in the bag limit for white-tailed deer and formal approval of a specific firearm category were among the regulations approved for the upcoming season.

Ohio is a fantastic state for big buck hunters.

The Ohio Wildlife Council met April 12, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and approved the 2017-18 hunting and trapping seasons. White-tailed deer hunting changes include modifications to bag limits for several counties throughout the state.

Overview of deer hunting seasons for 2017-2018:

  • Deer archery: Sept. 30, 2017-Feb. 4, 2018
  • Youth deer gun: Nov. 18-19, 2017
  • Deer gun: Nov. 27-Dec. 3, 2017; Dec. 16-17, 2017
  • Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 6-9, 2018

An increase in the bag limit, from two deer per county to three deer per county, was approved for Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Fairfield, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Tuscarawas, Vinton and Washington counties. These changes are designed to slow the rate of herd growth, while still allowing herds to increase.

A reduction in the bag limit, from three deer per county to two deer per county, was approved for Allen, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding, Putnam and Williams counties. These changes are designed to encourage herd growth in these counties.

All other county bag limits remain the same. The statewide bag limit remains at six deer. Only one deer may be antlered, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit.

In other rule changes, any straight-walled cartridge rifle with a minimum caliber of .357 to a maximum caliber of .50 is now allowed for hunting deer in Ohio. There have been three seasons of hunting deer with straight-walled cartridge rifles in Ohio with no biological impacts to the herd or additional hunter incidents. Defining the allowable rifles makes the rule easily understood and easily enforced, while also being inclusive of a great number of rifle options.

The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all of the ODNR Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. The council votes on the proposed rules and season dates after considering public input.

Council meetings are open to the public. Individuals who want to provide comments on a topic that is currently being considered by council are asked to register at least two days before the meeting by calling (614) 265-6304.