From the ODNR
-- Ohio’s popular deer-gun season will run an additional weekend, Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 19-20, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.
The extra weekend days were added beginning in 2006 in response to comments received from hunters for more weekend time to hunt. Deer can be hunted with a legal muzzleloader, handgun or shotgun from one half-hour before sunrise until sunset on Dec. 19-20. Ohio’s pre-hunting season population was estimated at 650,000 white-tailed deer.
So far this season, 178,633 deer have taken. A total of 53,959 deer was killed during the first six weeks of the statewide archery season, which began September 26 and continues through February 7, 2010. The special youth season, held November 21-22, resulted in young hunters bagging 9,331 deer. Hunters checked 114,633 deer during the statewide deer-gun season, Nov. 30 - Dec. 6. Another 474 deer were taken during the early muzzleloader deer season held in October at Shawnee, Salt Fork and Wolf Creek state wildlife areas.
The white-tailed deer is the most popular game animal in Ohio, frequently pursued by generations of hunters. Ohio ranks 8th nationally in annual hunting-related sales and 10th in the number of jobs associated with the hunting-related industry. Each year, hunting has a $859 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more.
Ohio is divided into three deer hunting zones. After Nov. 29, a limit of one deer may be taken in Zone A (20 counties) and two deer in Zone B (30 counties). Beginning on Dec. 7, the bag limit is three deer in Zone C and antlerless deer permits are no longer valid. Any time a hunter is allowed to take more than one deer, they must purchase an additional permit.
Those hunting in urban units and at Division of Wildlife-authorized controlled hunts will have a six-deer bag limit, and those deer will not count against the hunter’s zone bag limit. Antlerless deer permits can be used for the entire season in urban deer units or Division of Wildlife-authorized controlled hunts. Antlerless deer permits are no longer available and must have been purchased prior to Nov. 29.
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. Hunter orange is required. Only deer, coyote and waterfowl can be hunted during the extra deer-gun weekend.
Donations of extra deer will be accepted through the entire deer season which ends on Feb. 7, 2010. Hunters who give their deer to a food bank are not required to pay the processing cost as long as the deer are taken to a participating processor and funding for the effort lasts. Counties being served by this program can be found online at www.fhfh.org.
Additional hunting regulations and maps of the state’s deer zones are listed in the 2009-2010 Ohio Hunting Regulations. This free publication is available wherever hunting licenses are sold, online at wildohio.com or by calling 1-800-WILDLIFE.
Ohio hunters and birdwatchers are reminded that they will need to be aware of one another as the pursue deer and birds on this 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 wherever they have written permission to hunt. And, while hunters are required to wear hunter orange in the field, birders should also give consideration to wearing a hunter orange vest or hat during the deer-gun weekend.
The 2009-2010 licenses will not be printed on weatherproof paper. Sportsmen and women should protect their licenses and permits from the elements by carrying them in a protective pouch or wallet.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR web site at www.ohiodnr.com