Ohio deer archery season starts Sept. 30

One of Ohio’s most popular outdoor traditions continues when deer archery hunting begins statewide on Saturday, Sept. 30, according to a Sept. 26 news release from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. The long-awaited opening day of archery season continues to see an increase in the harvest among Ohio’s hunters.

“Deer are Ohio’s most popular game animal, and hundreds of thousands of hunters spend time in the woods during the annual archery season,” ODNR Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker said in the release. “Through license and permit purchases, those hunters fund much of Ohio’s conservation work. They also can supply healthy protein for their families with a successful harvest.”

Hunters checked 210,977 deer in Ohio during the 2022-23 season, and a record 99,742 deer were taken with archery equipment, according to the release. There has been a dramatic increase in the popularity of archery hunting in the past decade, and the accessibility of crossbow hunting is part of the reason. Approximately 72% of last season’s archery harvest was with a crossbow, although hunting with compounds, recurves, and longbows are still popular.

The popularity of deer archery season is due in part to an extensive season, which offers ample opportunities for hunters to get outside, according to the release. The season continues until Sunday, Feb. 4, 2024. Deer hunting opportunities for gun hunters begin with the two-day youth season Nov. 18-19, followed by the seven-day gun season Nov. 27 to Dec. 3. An additional two-day gun season will occur Dec. 16-17, and late-season muzzleloader hunting will be Jan. 6-9, 2024.

New this season, nonresident students who are actively enrolled in an Ohio college or university may purchase Ohio resident hunting licenses and permits. Hunting licenses and deer permits can be purchased on the free HuntFish OH mobile app. App users can also view maps of public hunting areas, see the current hunting regulations, view sunrise and sunset times, and check game without a cellular connection. The app is available for Android and iOS users in the app store.

In the chronic wasting disease surveillance area of Hardin, Marion, and Wyandot counties, deer hunters could begin bow hunting Sept. 9 and may participate in an early gun season Oct. 7-9. Find more details in the 2023-24 Hunting and Trapping Regulations.

October and November are the most popular months for deer hunting because of increased deer activity during their breeding season. More than half of all deer harvested in the 2022-23 deer season were checked in October and November. Find tips to make the most of your time in the woods on the Wild Ohio Harvest Community’s Getting Started: Deer Hunting page at wildohio.gov.

Deer hunting presents a unique challenge, especially with archery equipment. Practicing with your equipment before a hunt can help you refine the patience and skill needed for a clean, ethical shot. Find a public shooting range near you to find a safe, accessible location to practice.

A deer management permit costs $15 and may be used to harvest antlerless deer. Deer management permits are used to improve the overall health of Ohio’s deer population and create better hunting opportunities. Deer management permits are valid on private land and select public hunting areas until Nov. 26, 2023, and during authorized controlled hunts.

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