Rain, snow greet hunters on opening day of deer-gun season


COLUMBUS — Ohio hunters checked 10,904 white-tailed deer during a snowy and rainy opening day of the gun hunting week, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Over the last three years, hunters took an average of 17,145 deer on opening day. Last year, there were 15,513 deer taken during the gun opener. The deer-gun season was open until Sunday, Dec. 6, and will be again Dec. 19-20.

“The recovery of the white-tailed deer is a remarkable wildlife management success story in Ohio,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Almost completely removed from the landscape at one time, deer now provide an abundant, healthy source of protein and many meals for Ohioans. Good luck to all of our hunters this week.”

The top 10 counties for deer harvest on the opening day of the gun season include: Coshocton (356), Tuscarawas (352), Knox (336), Muskingum (328), Licking (308), Ashtabula (289), Carroll (279), Holmes (278), Guernsey (277), and Harrison (258). In 2019, Coshocton County also led the state on opening day with 664 deer taken.

Ohio is known as a quality deer hunting state, and as a result attracts many out-of-state hunters. The top five states for purchasing a nonresident hunting license in Ohio include: Pennsylvania (6,639 licenses sold), Michigan (4,634), West Virginia (3,567), North Carolina (2,814), and New York (2,168). Deer hunting participation remains high for all hunters, with 353,539 deer hunting permits sold or issued through Monday, Nov. 30.

Ohio archery hunters have taken 78,607 deer through Monday, Nov. 30. Plus, Ohio’s young hunters checked 5,909 white-tailed deer during the 2020 two-day youth gun season, Nov. 21-22.

Deer hunters are reminded to download the HuntFish OH mobile app, which allows hunters to check in their deer while in the field, even without a Wi-Fi connection. When a hunter checks game without a clear signal, harvest information is recorded and stored until the hunter moves to a location with better reception. Users can also purchase licenses and permits and view wildlife area maps through the app. HuntFish OH is free and available for Android and iOS users through the app store.

Ohio offers more opportunities for hunters to pursue deer. Deer-muzzleloader season is Saturday, Jan. 2, through Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2021. Deer-archery season is open now through Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021.

A county list of all white-tailed deer checked by hunters during opening day of the 2020 deer-gun hunting season is shown below. The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for opening day 2020, and the three-year average of deer harvested on opening day in 2017, 2018, 2019 is in parentheses. A three-year average provides a better overall comparison to this year’s harvest numbers, eliminating year-to-year variation because of weather, misaligned season dates, timing of the crop harvest, and other unavoidable factors. Harvest numbers below are raw data and subject to change. These numbers may include controlled hunts.

Adams: 166 (249); Allen: 48 (74); Ashland: 218 (353); Ashtabula: 289 (637); Athens: 180 (357); Auglaize: 69 (76); Belmont: 184 (286); Brown: 181 (208); Butler: 64 (57); Carroll: 279 (430); Champaign: 76 (93); Clark: 23 (39); Clermont: 122 (118); Clinton: 38 (60); Columbiana: 215 (349); Coshocton: 356 (723); Crawford: 98 (137); Cuyahoga: 7 (12); Darke: 61 (65); Defiance: 209 (204); Delaware: 73 (102); Erie: 26 (54); Fairfield: 129 (154); Fayette: 18 (23); Franklin: 33 (32); Fulton: 79 (91); Gallia: 152 (282); Geauga: 77 (121); Greene: 26 (41); Guernsey: 277 (495); Hamilton: 12 (24); Hancock: 57 (101); Hardin: 109 (122); Harrison: 258 (389); Henry: 82 (96); Highland: 206 (230); Hocking: 179 (328); Holmes: 278 (485); Huron: 161 (282); Jackson: 132 (270); Jefferson: 141 (198); Knox: 336 (558); Lake: 18 (39); Lawrence: 103 (174); Licking: 308 (457); Logan: 135 (170); Lorain: 73 (150); Lucas: 27 (23); Madison: 25 (31); Mahoning: 88 (160); Marion: 57 (100); Medina: 64 (125); Meigs: 166 (295); Mercer: 63 (72); Miami: 29 (46); Monroe: 185 (285); Montgomery: 26 (29); Morgan: 181 (340); Morrow: 129 (156); Muskingum: 328 (592); Noble: 216 (325); Ottawa: 15 (26); Paulding: 136 (119); Perry: 170 (279); Pickaway: 27 (75); Pike: 98 (150); Portage: 88 (121); Preble: 39 (52); Putnam: 65 (76); Richland: 253 (325); Ross: 157 (233); Sandusky: 39 (53); Scioto: 89 (145); Seneca: 126 (189); Shelby: 55 (87); Stark: 119 (200); Summit: 13 (23); Trumbull: 213 (371); Tuscarawas: 352 (612); Union: 67 (72); Van Wert: 55 (45); Vinton: 97 (233); Warren: 51 (49); Washington: 171 (386); Wayne: 112 (208); Williams: 166 (203); Wood: 53 (62); Wyandot: 133 (180).

2020 Total: 10,904

Three-Year Average Total: (17,145)