COLUMBUS, Ohio – Proposed hunting seasons that begin in the fall of 2021 for white-tailed deer, wild turkey, and small game were presented to the Ohio Wildlife Council on Wednesday, Feb. 10, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Hunting season dates and limits are proposed by Division of Wildlife biologists.

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, 2021 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, 2021. 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.

2022 wild turkey hunting seasons

Ohio’s wild turkey hunting seasons for 2022 were also proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council on Wednesday night. These proposed dates 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.

May 2-22, 2022, 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.

Northeast zone:

April 30-May 8, 2022, 30 minutes before sunrise to noon.

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.

Duck blind locations on public hunting locations

A proposal for duck blind lotteries and other types of lotteries would allow the chief to choose how they are conducted. This proposal includes all Division of Wildlife drawings, including on Division of Parks and Watercraft properties.

Ohio Wildlife Council

The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all Ohio Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. Council meetings are held virtually and open to the public. Individuals interested in providing comments are asked to call 614-265-6304 at least two days prior to the meeting to register. All comments are required to be three minutes or less.

A statewide hearing on all proposed rules will be held virtually on Thursday, March 18, 2021 at 9 a.m.

The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Visit wildohio.gov to find out more.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. The visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.

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