OHIO — Deer gun hunting season is about to get underway, and while Ohio’s youngsters will get to go first, adults will not have to wait long.
Ohio’s deer gun hunting season for children ages 17 and under will be Saturday and Sunday, Ohio Division of Natural Resources announced Thursday. All hunters will have their opportunity Nov. 29 to Dec. 5 and then again Dec. 18 and 19.
According to ODNR, deer gun hunting saw an increase in popularity amid the pandemic last year. The state saw a 10 percent increase in the number of permits issued in 2020 compared to 2018 and 2019, ODNR reported. The state reported 410,000 deer permits were purchased or issued.
Deer hunting permits have generally decreased in previous years since a 2009-10 peak of 625,000 permits being issued. The result has been a decline in deer harvested during deer gun hunting season, according to ODNR.
Although before 2020, deer gun hunting had been trending downward, 2020-21 saw a record 93,576 deer harvested during deer archery season. The 2021-22 deer archery season began Sept. 25 and ends Feb. 6.
During the youth hunting weekend in 2020, 5,795 deer were harvested, according to ODNR. All told, 92,310 deer were harvested during deer gun hunting season in 2020.
“Ohio is a deer-rich state that has built a national reputation for quality deer hunting based on sound long-term wildlife management of this important resource,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Deer are far and away Ohio’s most important game animal. The deer harvest produces approximately 10 million pounds of venison each year for people to enjoy.”
According to ODNR, harvesting hotspots were found in eastern Ohio in 2020. Coshocton (3,037 deer harvested), Tuscarawas (2,996), Ashtabula (2,850), Muskingum (2,611), and Knox (2,611) counties led the state in deer harvested in 2020, ODNR reported.
ODNR encourages hunters to familiarize themselves with this year’s rules and regulations for deer hunting, which are available on its website.