Proposed hunting seasons that begin in the fall of 2021 for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and small game were recently presented to the Ohio Wildlife Council, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODOW). Hunting season dates and limits are proposed by ODOW biologists.
As usual, only one deer may be antlered, regardless of where or how it is taken, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit. All county bag limits are proposed to remain identical to last season.
The proposed deer hunting season dates for 2021-2022 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.
A proposal will allow antlerless deer to 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.
It was further proposed to expand deer management permits to all 88 Ohio counties from Sept. 25 to Nov. 28. Hunters can use the deer management permit up to the county bag limit. The proposal 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 a deer 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 proposal also simplifies the use of these permits and allows for more targeted harvest in counties where necessary.
A complete list of proposed rule changes and proposed hunting and trapping season dates for 2021-2022 are available at wildohio.gov.
Ohio’s wild turkey hunting seasons for 2022 were also proposed to maintain a 30-day spring turkey season in the south zone and northeast zone, with opening days on Saturdays. The proposed spring turkey dates and hours for 2022: Youth season: April 9-10, 2022, 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset;
South zone: April 23-May 1, 2022, 30 minutes before sunrise to noon and May 2-22, 2022, 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset. Northeast zone: April 30-May 8, 2022, 30 minutes before sunrise to noon; and May 9-29, 2022, 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.
A proposal calls for a limit of one bearded wild turkey during the spring season on public hunting lands. The statewide limit during the spring remains at two bearded birds. This proposal is in response to several below average reproductive years, and is designed to maintain healthy wild turkey populations on public lands.
A proposal for duck blind lotteries and other types of lotteries would allow the Chief of the ODOW to choose how they are conducted. This proposal includes all Division of Wildlife drawings, including on Division of Parks and Watercraft properties.
A statewide hearing on all proposed rules will be held virtually on Thursday, March 18 at 9 a.m.