The Ohio Wildlife Council approved all 2021-22 hunting regulations during its regularly scheduled meeting last Wednesday, April 7, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Hunting season dates and limits are proposed by Division of Wildlife biologists.
Regulations for the 2021-22 white-tailed deer hunting seasons were included in Wednesday’s vote. As in years past, a hunter may take no more than one antlered deer regardless of where or how it is taken, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit.
The deer hunting season dates for 2021-22 include:
- Deer archery: Sept. 25, 2021-Feb. 6, 2022.
- Youth deer gun: Nov. 20-21, 2021.
- Deer gun: Nov. 29-Dec. 5, 2021; Dec. 18-19, 2021.
- Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 8-11, 2022.
- Hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.
- All county bag limits remain identical to last season.
Updated this year, antlerless deer may be taken from all public hunting areas from Sept. 25 to Feb. 6, 2022, provided that a hunter takes only one antlerless deer from these lands per license year. Ohio’s public land deer regulations have resulted in improved hunter satisfaction on public hunting areas. Expanding the antlerless deer dates provides additional opportunities to public land hunters.
Deer management permits have been expanded to all 88 Ohio counties and may be used from Sept. 25 to Nov. 28. Hunters can use the deer management permit up to the county bag limit. The permit does not include public hunting areas, except Lake La Su An Wildlife Area, Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area, and during controlled hunts.
Only antlerless deer may be harvested with a deer management permit. An antlerless deer in Ohio is defined as any deer without antlers, or with antlers less than 3 inches long.
Deer populations in Ohio have shown increased growth over the last several years. Expanding the use of deer management permits statewide on private lands helps keep populations near targeted numbers while also maintaining a healthy and robust deer population on public lands. This also simplifies where hunters can use the permit and allows for more targeted harvest in counties where necessary.
A complete list of Ohio’s 2021-22 hunting seasons is available at wildohio.gov.
Waterfowl hunting regulations approved by the OWC for the 2021-2022 seasons includes an increase in the combined number of Canada geese and white-fronted geese that may be harvested daily during the waterfowl hunting season. The daily bag limit has been increased from three to five across all waterfowl hunting zones. A limit of one brant does not change.
A change from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service allows for this increase throughout the Mississippi Flyway, which includes Ohio and other Midwest states. During Ohio’s goose hunting season, Canada geese are most harvested, while white-fronted geese and brant are less common. This change is designed to allow additional harvest of abundant, resident Canada geese, and is based on research that shows limited impact to the migratory subspecies.
Hunter preference surveys support the increased bag limit.
A notable update permits active military and veterans to hunt alongside a youth hunter during the special youth, active military, and veterans waterfowl hunting weekend. Previously, a youth hunter was required to hunt with a non-hunting adult, and this change allows eligible participants to hunt together.
Ohio’s wild turkey hunting seasons for 2022 maintain a 30-day spring turkey season in the south zone and northeast zone, with opening days on Saturdays.
Public land wild turkey hunters are limited to one bearded wild turkey during the 2022 spring season. This new regulation is in response to several below average reproductive years, and is designed to maintain healthy wild turkey populations on public lands. The statewide limit during the spring remains two bearded birds.