COLUMBUS, OH -- Many good deer hunting opportunities remain for hunters planning to participate in the statewide muzzleloader deer season December 27-30, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
Hunters may use longbows and crossbows, but most will instead be using muzzleloading rifles and shotguns. The four-day blackpowder deer season, as it is better known, also allows hunters to take more than one deer where rules allow for a higher bag limit. Only one antlered deer may be taken during Ohio's deer hunting seasons.
Last year, hunters killed 12,334 deer during the statewide blackpowder season.
"Weather plays an important role in the success hunters have during the blackpowder deer season. Aside from any severe weather, hunters again should expect to enjoy a safe and enjoyable late-season hunt," said ODNR Division of Wildlife Chief Mike Budzik.
Archery hunters tagged 26,735 deer during the first six weeks of the statewide archery season that began October 7. The archery season continues through January 31. Hunters tagged 96,290 deer during the statewide deer gun season held November 27 through December 3. Another 250 deer were taken during the special bucks-only primitive deer season held October 23-28 on the Shawnee, Salt Fork and Wolf Creek wildlife areas.
Ohio's deer population prior to hunting season was estimated at 475,000. The Division of Wildlife expects as many as 125,000 hunters will hunt deer during the four-day blackpowder season.
The counties where most deer were taken during last year's blackpowder season included Washington, Athens, Meigs, Guernsey, Licking, Muskingum, Gallia, Jackson, Hocking and Jefferson.
These top ten counties from last season are in Zone C, one of three zones established by wildlife managers to selectively control Ohio's deer population. Hunters may take a limit of two deer in Zone C. For those hunters in southeast and eastern Ohio who did not tag a deer during the archery or gun seasons, or who may have tagged one deer, they still have a good opportunity to take a deer during the statewide primitive season.
Hunters who tagged a deer either in Zone A or Zone B are also allowed to buy another deer permit and take an additional deer within any Zone C county. Regulations allow hunters to take a limit of four antlerless deer when using urban deer permits in Ohio's five urban deer zones.
Legal hunting hours during the statewide primitive deer season are one-half hour before sunrise to sunset. Deer must be checked by 8 p.m. of the day after harvest, except those killed on December 30, which must be brought to a deer check station by 8 p.m. that day.
Ohio's small game, furbearer and waterfowl seasons also will be open December 27-30 in addition to the blackpowder season. Small game hunters, in addition to deer hunters, must visibly wear a coat, jacket, vest or coveralls that are either solid hunter orange or camouflage hunter orange in color regardless during the statewide primitive deer season. A hunter orange cap or hat alone no longer satisfies Ohio's legal requirements. This modified hunter orange regulation became effective in 1999.