COLUMBUS – Ohio’s 2021 white-tailed deer archery hunting season is off to a strong start with 16,095 deer harvested through Sunday, Oct. 17, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. The average harvest total for the same date during the past three years is 20,112 deer taken.
Deer archery season began on Saturday, Sept. 25 and is open until Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022.
Ohio’s top 10 counties for deer harvested during the first 23 days of the 2021-22 deer season include: Coshocton (643), Trumbull (535), Tuscarawas (529), Ashtabula (522), Holmes (489), Licking (466), Knox (411), Guernsey (403), Muskingum (372), and Richland (328).
In Fayette County, 15 deer have been harvested to this point. The three-year average of deer harvested in Fayette County from 2018 to 2020 is 23, according to ODNR.
“We are excited to see Ohio’s deer hunters return to the woods again this fall,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Many of Ohio’s hunters have been practicing all summer with their bows in preparation for deer season. Deer tend to be highly active during October and November, making these months popular for many bowhunters.”
The number of hunters pursuing deer with archery equipment continues to grow. During the 2020-21 deer season, 48% of deer were taken with archery equipment, including 33% using a crossbow and 15% using a vertical bow. Overall, archery hunters harvested more than 93,000 deer last season, the highest total on record.
Deer hunting occurs in all 88 counties and an estimated 310,000 hunters participate. In 2020, nearly 410,000 deer permits were purchased or issued. Hotspots for deer hunting are found mostly in the eastern or south-central Ohio. Coshocton County led the state with 6,715 deer taken during the 2020-21 season.
Deer hunting, particularly with archery equipment, takes patience and skill to ensure an ethical and clean shot. Getting acclimated to new equipment or reacquainting with your old favorites is always essential before heading into the woods. Ohio offers many options to improve your skills. Find a place to practice near you on the Public Shooting Ranges page at wildohio.gov.
Hunters harvested 197,735 deer during the 2020-21 season. Among this total were 80,003 bucks, accounting for 40% of the total harvest. Does represented 48% of the harvest with 94,771 taken, while 19,629 button bucks were taken, for 10%. Bucks with shed antlers and bucks with antlers less than 3 inches long accounted for 3,332 deer, or 2% of the harvest. Deer harvest summaries can be found on the Deer Harvest Summary page at wildohio.gov.
Ohio offers many more opportunities for hunters to pursue deer. Young hunters have a chance to harvest a deer during the youth gun weekend, Nov. 20-21. The deer gun season is Monday, Nov. 29, through Sunday, Dec. 5, and again on Dec. 18-19. Deer muzzleloader season is Saturday, Jan. 8, through Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022. Find complete details in the 2021-22 Ohio Hunting Regulations.
Landowners can now receive an incentive to allow hunters access during specific hunting seasons through the Ohio Landowner and Hunter Access Partnership Program. Visit the Ohio Landowner and Hunter Access Partnership Program page at wildohio.gov to sign up as a landowner or hunter. For those who want to try hunting Ohio’s public land, go to wildohio.gov for a list of locations.
The free HuntFish OH mobile app can be downloaded to conveniently purchase fishing and hunting licenses, check game, view wildlife area maps, and much more. The HuntFish OH mobile app is available for Android and iOS users and can be found in the app store. Users can access the Division of Wildlife’s online system to check harvested deer while out in the field, even without a Wi-Fi connection.
The Division of Wildlife wants to help new and experienced hunters make the most of their outdoor adventures. Visit the Wild Ohio Harvest Community page at wildohio.gov for information on getting started, hunting opportunities, and delicious wild game recipes.
The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Visit wildohio.gov to find out more.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.