Ohio’s 2020-2021 Hunting Seasons Approved by Wildlife Council
Hunting dates and bag limits for seasons that begin in September 2020 were approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council on Wednesday, May 13, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
“Ohio’s hunting and trapping seasons are developed by wildlife biologists, combining public input with the best science available,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Our population safeguards are designed to support the important activities of hunting and trapping, while sustaining Ohio’s wildlife. The Buckeye State has some of the best hunting opportunities in the nation, and we are proud to continue serving all Ohioans.”
Ohio’s white-tailed deer hunting seasons for 2020-2021:
- Deer archery: Sept. 26, 2020-Feb. 7, 2021
- Youth deer gun: Nov. 21-22, 2020
- Deer gun: Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2020; Dec. 19-20, 2020
- Deer muzzleloader: Jan 2-5, 2021
Some 2020-2021 county bag limits have changed in response to deer hunter and farmer surveys. The statewide deer bag limit remains at six deer, only one of which may be antlered, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit.
Small game and furbearer hunting is now open during the seven-day deer gun season, Nov. 30-Dec. 6, 2020. All hunters (except waterfowl hunters) are required to wear hunter orange clothing during these seven days. Keeping small game and furbearer seasons open provides consistency and more hunting opportunities. Also, Lake La Su An Wildlife Area in Williams County is now exempt from the antlerless deer restrictions enacted on public lands following the weeklong gun season. This is because of the proximity of Lake La Su An to the Chronic Wasting Disease-positive area in Michigan.
New regulations approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council on for the upcoming hunting seasons:
- The 2021 spring turkey season begins on Saturday rather than Monday in both the south zone and northeast zone. This provides two extra weekend dates to hunt. The south zone opens Saturday, April 24, 2021, and the northeast zone opens Saturday, May 1, 2021.
- The 2021 youth wild turkey season dates are April 17-18, 2021, statewide.
- Quail hunting is closed on all state-owned and controlled public hunting areas, with the exception of Tri-Valley Wildlife Area and controlled hunts on Crown City Wildlife Area. The bag limit for quail hunting is reduced to two birds in 16 southern Ohio counties. This change is in response to the continued long-term reduction of Ohio’s quail population. Reduction of the daily bag limit provides for the opportunity to hunt this species, but reduces the potential impact to fragmented populations.
- Ruffed grouse hunting season is from Oct. 10 to Nov. 29, 2020, on state-owned and controlled public hunting areas, and from Oct. 10, 2020, to Jan. 1, 2021, on private land. The ruffed grouse bag limit has been reduced to one bird statewide. Ohio’s ruffed grouse population has experienced a long-term decline since the 1980s. Population declines and emerging disease concerns have prompted reduced hunting season dates and bag limits. Reduction of the season dates on public hunting areas provides the opportunity to hunt this species, while reducing the potential impact to fragmented populations.
- Members of the U.S. armed forces and veterans are permitted to hunt waterfowl for two days, Oct. 3-4, 2020, corresponding with the dates for the 2020 youth waterfowl season. The same bag limits during the regular season apply. This special season for U.S. armed forces and veterans has been made available within the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service guidelines.
- Waterfowl season in the north zone begins one week later, on Oct. 24, 2020, to allow for more November hunting days in that zone.
- The bag limit for scaup has been reduced to one bird during the first 15 days of the season in each zone, and two birds during the last 45 days of the season in each zone.
The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all Division of Wildlife rule and regulation changes. The Ohio Wildlife Council voted on the proposed rules and season dates after considering public input.
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.