Hunting Hours

Hunting hours for white-tailed deer are defined as follows:

  • Start Time: 30 minutes before sunrise
  • End Time: 30 minutes after sunset

Tag and Check

When you harvest a white-tailed deer, it is essential to follow the tag and check process, which includes the following steps:

  1. Tagging: After successfully harvesting a white-tailed deer, ensure that you immediately tag the animal as required by regulations. Proper tagging helps in identifying the deer and ensures compliance with hunting laws.

  2. Game Check: Following the tagging process, hunters are obligated to complete the game check process. This step typically involves reporting the harvest to the relevant wildlife authorities. It is a crucial aspect of responsible hunting, as it helps in monitoring and managing deer populations.

Hunting Permits

To engage in deer hunting in Ohio, hunters must ensure they have the necessary permits in addition to a valid Ohio hunting license, unless exempt. There are two main types of permits:

  • Either-Sex Deer Permit
  • Deer Management Permit

Either-Sex Deer Permit

The either-sex deer permit provides hunters with the flexibility to hunt both antlered and antlerless deer. Here are the key details regarding this permit:

  • Usage: The either-sex deer permit allows hunters to target either an antlered or antlerless deer during any of the deer hunting seasons and controlled hunts.

  • Purchase: This permit can be purchased individually throughout the entire deer season, making it accessible for hunters throughout the hunting season.

  • Antlered Deer Limit: Hunters need to be aware that only one antlered deer may be taken during the season. An antlered deer is defined as having at least one antler measuring 3 inches or longer in length.

Deer Management Permit

The deer management permit serves a specific purpose in the context of deer hunting in Ohio. Here are the key details regarding this permit:

  • Usage: Deer management permits are exclusively used for taking antlerless deer. Hunters holding this permit are not authorized to harvest antlered deer.

  • Not Valid on Public Lands: It's essential to note that deer management permits are not valid on public lands, except in specific locations, including Andreoff, Big Island, Killdeer Plains, Lake La Su An, and Wyandot wildlife areas, as well as authorized controlled hunts.

Youth Deer Gun Season

The youth deer gun season provides an opportunity for young hunters to participate in deer hunting while adhering to specific regulations. Here's what you need to know:

  • Bag Limits: Deer taken by youth hunters during the youth deer gun season contribute to both the county and statewide bag limits. It's important for youth hunters to be aware of these limits and stay within the legal harvesting boundaries.

  • Hunter Orange Clothing: For safety reasons, all youths and nonhunting adults must visibly wear the required hunter orange clothing during the youth deer gun season. This precaution helps ensure the safety of all participants in the hunting area.

Hunting Other Game During Deer Firearm Seasons

Hunting other game during deer firearm seasons comes with specific regulations. Here's an overview of the rules for different types of game:


  • Hunter Orange Requirement: Waterfowl hunters are not required to wear hunter orange clothing.
  • Shot Size: Waterfowl hunters have the flexibility to use any shot size for their hunting endeavors.

Coyote and Feral Swine

  • Hunter Orange Requirement: Coyote and feral swine (wild boar) hunters are required to wear hunter orange clothing.
  • Hunting Hours: These hunters may only hunt during legal deer season hours.
  • Hunting Implements: They must use hunting implements legal for the ongoing deer firearm season.
  • Licensing: Coyote and feral swine hunters need to possess a valid hunting license and a valid deer permit to engage in their activities.

Furbearers (Except Coyote)

  • Hunter Orange Requirement: Furbearer hunters, excluding coyote hunters, are required to wear hunter orange clothing during legal deer season hours.
  • Shot Size: They are limited to using a shotgun with No. 4 shot size or smaller during these hours.
  • No Restrictions: From 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise, there are no specific restrictions regarding shot size or hunter orange clothing.

All Other Game

  • Shot Size: Hunters pursuing all other game may use a shotgun with No. 4 shot size or smaller.
  • Hunter Orange Requirement: They are also required to wear hunter orange clothing.

Deer Hunter Permissions

A successful deer hunter in Ohio enjoys several privileges and permissions, including:

  1. Assisting Other Hunters: A hunter can aid or assist another deer hunter if the deer permit has been filled in, they do not carry any hunting implement commonly used to kill wild animals, and they possess a valid hunting license. However, those exempted from needing a hunting license and deer permits for deer hunting on their property must have a hunting license and deer permit to aid another hunter off their property or hunt deer off their property.

  2. Harvesting Multiple Deer: A deer hunter is allowed to take more than one deer per day as long as the harvested animal's information has been recorded on the permit or submitted to the game check.

  3. Hunting Over Bait: Deer hunters are permitted to hunt deer over bait, except on public land and in the Disease Surveillance Area, where specific regulations apply.

  4. Deer Handling and Processing: A hunter can leave a deer or deer parts with a taxidermist, fur buyer, cold storage facility, locker plant, or meat processing plant, provided that the confirmation code is attached to the animal and all its separate parts. Those receiving a deer from another person must retain the confirmation code with the animal and its separate parts.

  5. Carrying Deer Permit: Hunters have the option to carry a printed or electronic copy of the deer permit for convenience.

  6. Possession of Communication Device: Hunters are allowed to possess a communication device while hunting.

  7. Using Leashed Dogs: A hunter can use a leashed dog to recover a wounded deer during hunting activities.

  8. Archery Hunting During Youth Deer Gun Season: Archery hunters can engage in archery hunting during the youth deer gun season, provided they are not accompanying a hunter participating in the youth deer gun season and are wearing hunter orange.

Deer Hunter Restrictions

Deer hunters in Ohio are subject to certain restrictions and limitations. Here's a list of actions that a deer hunter may not do:

  1. Exceeding Firearm Shell Limit: Hunters are prohibited from using a shotgun or specific straight-walled cartridge rifle loaded with more than three shells in the chamber and magazine combined.

  2. Possessing a Loaded Firearm: It is illegal to possess a loaded firearm during any of the deer firearms seasons at any time other than 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Muzzleloading firearms are considered unloaded when the cap is removed or priming powder is removed from the pan, or when the battery is removed on electronic systems.

  3. Using Muzzleloading Handgun: Hunters cannot use a muzzleloading handgun to hunt deer.

  4. Multiple Firearms: Hunters are not allowed to have more than one hunting firearm while hunting deer.

  5. Carrying Firearms with Bows: It is prohibited to carry a firearm while deer hunting with a longbow or crossbow.

  6. Light Emitting Devices: Having attached to a longbow or crossbow any mechanical, electrical, or electronic device capable of projecting a visible beam of light is not allowed, with the exception of devices such as range finders that utilize nonvisible light.

  7. Using Dogs: The use of dogs to hunt deer is prohibited.

  8. Possession of Shotshells: Hunters are not allowed to possess shotshells containing shot during any deer gun season.

  9. Pursuing Wounded or Recovering Deer: It is unlawful to pursue wounded deer or recover dead deer from private property without the written permission of the landowner.

  10. Tree Stand and Tree Alterations: Constructing, placing, or using a permanent-type tree stand, or placing spikes, nails, wires, or other metal objects into a tree to act as steps or to hold a tree stand on public hunting lands is prohibited. Additionally, making any of these changes to trees on private property without first obtaining the permission of the landowner or their authorized agent is also not allowed.

  11. Landowner Game Check: A tenant of the property may not check a deer as a landowner unless the tenant is an individual who resides on the land for which they pay rent, and their annual income is primarily derived from agricultural production conducted on that land.

  12. False Game Check: Submitting a game check under the account of anyone other than the hunter who harvested the animal is not permitted.

Legal Deer Hunting Equipment

During different deer hunting seasons in Ohio, specific equipment is allowed. Here's a breakdown of the legal deer hunting equipment for each season:

Archery Season

  • Longbow or Bow: Minimum draw weight is 40 pounds, including compound bows and recurve bows. Arrow tips need a minimum of two cutting edges, which may be exposed or unexposed, and a minimum 3/4-inch width. Expandable and mechanical broadheads are legal.

  • Crossbow: Minimum draw weight is 75 pounds. Arrow tips must have a minimum of two cutting edges, which may be exposed or unexposed, and a minimum 3/4-inch width. Expandable and mechanical broadheads are legal.

Gun Season

  • Shotgun: 10 gauge or smaller shotgun using one ball or one rifled slug per barrel (rifled shotgun barrels are permitted when using shotgun slug ammunition).

  • Straight-Walled Cartridge Rifles: All straight-walled cartridge calibers from a minimum of .357 to a maximum of .50 (includes .350 Legend).

Ohio Deer Hunting Laws & Regulations
  • Cartridge Type: Shotguns and straight-walled cartridge rifles can be loaded with no more than three shells in the chamber and magazine combined.

  • Archery Equipment: See Archery Season regulations.

  • Muzzleloading Rifle: .38 caliber or larger.

  • Muzzleloading Shotgun: 10 gauge or smaller using one ball per barrel.

  • Handgun: With a 5-inch minimum length barrel, using straight-walled cartridges .357 caliber or larger. The barrel is measured from the front of the cylinder or chamber to the end of the barrel.

Muzzleloader Season

  • Muzzleloading Rifle: .38 caliber or larger.

  • Muzzleloading Shotgun: 10 gauge or smaller using one ball per barrel.

  • Archery Equipment: See Archery Season regulations.

Ohio Landowner-Hunter Access Partnership Program

The Ohio Landowner-Hunter Access Partnership Program offers a unique opportunity for Ohio hunters to access private properties for hunting purposes. Here are the key details of this program:

  • Public Access: Through this program, hunters gain access to private properties for hunting. This allows them to explore new hunting areas beyond public lands.

  • Online Check-In System: Access to private properties is facilitated through an online check-in system. Hunters can register and check in through this system.

  • Operating Season: The program operates annually from September 1st to June 1st.

  • Operating Hours: Public access is available between the hours of 5:30 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. during the specified operating season.

  • Hunting Opportunities: Most hunting opportunities are permitted through this program, with the exception of deer gun hunting and trapping.

This program offers an innovative way for hunters to diversify their hunting experiences by accessing private lands while adhering to specific operating seasons and hours. It provides a valuable opportunity for hunters to explore additional hunting opportunities beyond the usual public hunting areas.

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) Awareness

Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) is a serious concern for white-tailed deer in Ohio. Here are important facts and guidelines to be aware of:

  • Nature of CWD: CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer. While there is no strong evidence to suggest that CWD is transmissible to humans, it poses a significant threat to the deer population.

  • CWD Cases in Ohio: In December 2020, Ohio confirmed its first CWD-positive wild deer in Wyandot County. Since then, 22 additional positive cases have been confirmed.

Ohio Deer Hunting Laws & Regulations

  • Disease Surveillance Area (DSA): To monitor the prevalence of CWD and implement regulations to slow its spread, a Disease Surveillance Area (DSA) has been established. The DSA includes Wyandot, Hardin, and Marion counties, and special rules apply to deer hunting in these counties.

Ohio Deer Hunting Laws & Regulations

DSA Rules Include:

  • Baiting Prohibition: The placement or use of bait (salt, minerals, or any food) to attract or feed deer within the DSA boundaries is prohibited, as is hunting deer by the aid of bait.

  • Agricultural Activities: Normal agricultural activities, including feeding domestic animals and hunting deer over food plots, naturally occurring or cultivated plants, and agricultural crops, are not prohibited in the DSA.

  • Proper Deer Carcass Disposal: Hunters are required to properly dispose of a deer carcass, double-bagging all high-risk parts (brain, spinal cord, eyes, and lymphoid tissues) and disposing of them with household trash. Importing high-risk carcass parts into Ohio or removing them from a disease surveillance area is illegal unless the animal is delivered to a Division of Wildlife certified processor or taxidermist within 24 hours.

  • Reporting Sick Deer: If you observe a deer that appears sick, acts abnormally, or has a visible ear tag, it is important to contact a Division of Wildlife district office or state wildlife officer.

  • Mandatory Sampling: Mandatory sampling is required for ALL deer harvested during specific days within the DSA. Staffed sampling locations are available during the seven-day gun season, and self-serve kiosks are available for sample submission outside of those days.

  • Deer Carcass Regulations: To minimize the risk of spreading CWD, possessing high-risk carcass parts from Cervids (deer, moose, elk, and caribou) harvested outside Ohio or removed from a disease surveillance area is prohibited. Specific rules apply to the possession and transport of carcass parts.

  • Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD) Awareness: The Division of Wildlife seeks reports of sick or dead deer to track potential disease outbreaks, including EHD. Common symptoms of EHD include disorientation, fever, swelling, and respiratory issues.

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The legal advice provided on Wild Advisor Pro is intended as a summary of the hunting, camping, hiking, and fishing laws and regulations and does not constitute legal language or professional advice. We make every effort to ensure the information is accurate and up to date, but it should not be relied upon as legal authority. For the most current and comprehensive explanation of the laws and regulations, please consult the official government websites or a qualified legal professional. Wild Advisor Pro is not responsible for any misunderstandings or misinterpretations of the information presented and shall not be held liable for any losses, damages, or legal disputes arising from the use of this summary information. Always check with the appropriate governmental authorities for the latest information regarding outdoor regulations and compliance.