COLUMBUS — Ohio hunters checked 15,163 deer during the extra weekend of deer gun hunting on Saturday, Dec. 17 and Sunday, Dec. 18, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.
In the same two-day period over the last three years, hunters checked an average of 12,944 deer. Hunters took 9,619 deer on the same weekend in 2021.
Deer hunting occurs in all 88 Ohio counties, although the eastern counties typically record the highest harvest totals. The top 10 counties for deer taken during the 2022 two-day gun season were: Coshocton (517), Tuscarawas (513), Ashtabula (473), Muskingum (431), Carroll (404), Licking (403), Knox (396), Guernsey (382), Ashland (368), and Columbiana (345). In 2021, Coshocton led the state with 313 deer harvested over these two days.
In Fulton County, 57 deer were checked during the two-day extra weekend. A total of 16 were brought in out of Lucas County.
“Hunting is a way for people to enjoy being outdoors, provide sustainable food for their families, and contribute to Ohio’s legacy of wildlife conservation,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Thank you to all who participated in a safe and successful weekend of deer hunting.”
Following the weekend season, gun hunters have checked a total of 97,326 deer this year, including 71,932 deer taken from Nov. 28-Dec. 4. In addition, youth hunters checked 9,515 deer Nov. 19-20, and archery hunters have harvested 85,272 deer through Sunday, Dec. 18, bringing the season total for all implements to 182,598 deer.
During the deer gun weekend, hunters harvested 4,418 bucks (29% of deer taken), 8,697 does (57%), and 1,792 button bucks (12%). Bucks with shed antlers and bucks with antlers less than 3 inches long accounted for 256 deer, or 2%.
Straight-walled cartridge rifles became legal deer hunting implements in Ohio in 2014 and have grown in popularity since then. Over the course of the deer gun weekend, 57% of successful hunters chose a straight-walled cartridge rifle, 34% used a shotgun, 6% selected a muzzleloader, 2% used archery equipment, and less than 1% chose a handgun.
Ohio’s reputation as an excellent deer hunting state has motivated 281,437 hunters to purchase deer permits as of Sunday, Dec. 18. Out-of-state hunters from Pennsylvania (7,157 licenses sold), Michigan (5,052), West Virginia (3,614), North Carolina (3,202), New York (2,943), and other states boost local economies as they travel to Ohio for a chance at harvesting a Buckeye State whitetail.
Hunters still looking to harvest a deer can take part in the ongoing archery season, which continues until Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, or the state’s muzzleloader season, Jan. 7-10, 2023.