2022-23 Deer Hunting Proposals Presented to Ohio Wildlife Council

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio Wildlife Council received proposals for the 2022-23 white-tailed deer hunting season on Wednesday, Feb. 9 from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. If approved, deer hunting bag limits will increase in 18 counties in September 2022.

The 2022-23 deer hunting dates are similar to last season. As in years past, only one antlered deer may be harvested, regardless of where or how it is taken, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit. The proposed deer hunting season dates for 2022-23 include:

  • Deer archery: Sept. 24, 2022-Feb. 5, 2023.
  • Youth deer gun: Nov. 19-20, 2022.
  • Deer gun: Nov. 28-Dec. 4, 2022; Dec. 17-18, 2022.
  • Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 7-10, 2023.

Hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

Deer bag limit increases are designed to slow herd growth and provide additional hunting opportunities. Deer bag limits were proposed to be increased in 18 counties. Three counties are proposed to increase to two deer (from one deer): Clinton, Fayette, and Pickaway. Fifteen counties are proposed to increase to three deer (from two deer): Allen, Auglaize, Champaign, Clark, Darke, Mercer, Miami, Morrow, Muskingum, Perry, Preble, Putnam, Shelby, Van Wert, and Washington. A proposed bag limit map is available at wildohio.gov.

Proposed disease surveillance area deer hunting seasons
Wednesday’s proposals also included separate deer hunting regulations in an expanded Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) surveillance area in Hardin, Marion, and Wyandot counties.

A disease surveillance area was established following the discovery in 2020 of two CWD-positive deer in Wyandot County. Further testing revealed eight more CWD-positive deer in 2021. The Division of Wildlife has proposed additional measures to increase the deer harvest, decrease the possibility of disease transmission, and limit the spread of CWD in Hardin, Marion, and Wyandot counties. CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer and other similar species.

Proposed deer seasons in the disease surveillance area include a longer archery season that opens Sept. 1, and an early gun season during three days in early October.

  • Deer archery: Sept. 1, 2022-Feb. 5, 2023.
  • Early deer gun: Oct. 8-10, 2022.
  • Youth deer gun: Nov. 19-20, 2022.
  • Deer gun: Nov. 28-Dec. 4, 2022; Dec. 17-18, 2022.
  • Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 7-10, 2023.

Hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

Further, public land deer hunting restrictions are proposed to be removed at Big Island, Andreoff, and Wyandot wildlife areas. Public land restrictions were previously removed at Killdeer Plains and Lake La Su An wildlife areas.

Proposed 2022 and 2023 wild turkey hunting seasons
Ohio’s wild turkey hunting seasons for 2023 were also proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council on Wednesday night. These proposed dates maintain a 30-day spring turkey season in the south zone and northeast zone, with opening days on Saturdays.

The proposed 2023 spring turkey dates:

  • Youth season: April 15-16, 2023, 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.
  • South zone:
    • April 22-April 30, 2023, 30 minutes before sunrise to noon.
    • May 1-21, 2023, 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.
  • Northeast zone:
    • April 29-May 7, 2023, 30 minutes before sunrise to noon.
    • May 8-28, 2023, 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.

The fall 2022 wild turkey season was proposed to be reduced by three weeks during the January meeting of the Ohio Wildlife Council. The proposed dates are Oct. 15-Nov. 13, 2022.

Endangered and threatened species listings
Every five years, the Division of Wildlife reviews and updates the species listed as endangered, threatened, extirpated, species of concern, and special interest. This year, 58 different species listings were proposed to be changed, added, or removed from the endangered and threatened species list. A complete list of proposed species is available at www.wildohio.gov.

Three fish species, the alligator gar, blacknose shiner, and longhead darter were proposed to be downgraded to endangered from extirpated. Many updates to dragonflies, damselflies, and butterflies were proposed following years of thorough citizen science reporting. Two crayfish species, the blue crayfish, and the crawzilla crawdad, were added to the list after previously unknown populations of both species were discovered in Ohio.

General hunting proposals
It was proposed to remove the requirement that a crossbow have traverse limbs and a stock that is at least 25 inches long. A shoulder-mount stock will still be required under this proposal. This will update the definition of a crossbow to allow newer designs that are shorter and have differing limb configurations.

It was also proposed to remove the restrictions for carrying a concealed firearm while hunting. Under this proposal, a person may carry and hunt with a legally concealed firearm.

Ohio Wildlife Council
The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all Ohio Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. Council meetings are held virtually and open to the public. Individuals interested in providing comments are asked to call 614-265-6304 at least two days prior to the meeting to register. All comments are required to be three minutes or less.

A complete list of proposed rule changes and proposed hunting and trapping season dates for 2022-23 are available at www.wildohio.gov. Everyone who would like to comment on Division of Wildlife proposals can do so online at wildohio.gov from Feb. 14-March 16. A statewide hearing on all proposed rules will be held on Thursday, March 24, 2022 at 9 a.m.

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 www.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 www.ohiodnr.gov.

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