COLUMBUS, OH - Ohio's deer-gun season returns Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 15-16, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife.Hunters can use a legal shotgun, muzzleloader or handgun to pursue white-tailed deer Dec. 15-16 from a half-hour before sunrise to sunset. The extra weekend days were added in 2006 in response to hunters' requests for extended weekend hunting hours.
Ohio hunters and birdwatchers are reminded to be aware of one another as they pursue deer and birds on the shared weekend. Hunters need to remember that there may be other people - both hunters and non-hunters - in the woods. Birders are also reminded that hunters are allowed to hunt on private land where they have written permission. Deer hunters are required to wear a hunter orange vest, coat, jacket or coveralls in the field. Birders should consider wearing a hunter orange vest or hat during the deer-gun weekend for their own safety.
Hunters may take only one antlered deer, regardless of zone, hunting method or season. A deer permit is required in addition to a valid Ohio hunting license. Hunters must purchase an additional permit to hunt more than one deer. Hunters harvested 86,964 deer during the traditional deer-gun season, Nov. 26-Dec. 2.
Ohio is divided into three deer hunting zones. One deer may be harvested in Zone A (six counties) and two deer in Zone B (44 counties). Three deer may be harvested in Zone C (38 counties).
Those hunting in urban units and at Division of Wildlife-authorized controlled hunts will have a six-deer bag limit, and those deer do not count against the hunter's zone bag limit.
The white-tailed deer is the most popular game animal in Ohio, frequently pursued by generations of hunters. Ohio ranks eighth nationally in annual hunting-related sales and 10th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has an $859 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more.
More information about Ohio deer hunting can be found in the 2012-2013 Hunting and Trapping Regulations or at wildohio.com. Hunters can also share photos by clicking on the Photo Gallery tab online.
Hunters must still report their deer harvest, but they are no longer required to take their deer to a check station for physical inspection. Hunters have three options to complete the automated game check: Online at wildohio.com.
By telephone at 877-TAG-ITOH (824-4864). This option is only available to people 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 (945-3543).
Hunters are encouraged to donate any extra venison to organizations assisting Ohioans in need. ODNR Division of Wildlife is collaborating with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry to help pay for the processing of donated venison. Hunters who donate deer are not required to pay the processing cost as long as the deer are taken to a participating processor. To see which counties are involved in this program, go to fhfh.org.
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.