Ohio’s extra gun weekend delivers additional deer harvest

COLUMBUS — Ohio hunters harvested 9,392 deer during the extra weekend of gun hunting on Saturday, Dec. 18 and Sunday, Dec. 19, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Over the past three years, hunters checked an average of 12,734 deer during the same two-day period.

The top 10 counties for deer taken during the 2021 two-day deer gun season include: Coshocton (307), Tuscarawas (287), Licking (256), Guernsey (236), Ashtabula (232), Knox (229), Carroll (220), Muskingum (219), Ashland (210), and Holmes (208). Tuscarawas County was tops in the state during the 2020 extra gun hunting weekend with 598 deer checked, while hunters took 15,203 deer statewide.

Locally, 41 deer were checked in Fulton County and 21 in Lucas County over the two days.

After hunters checked 70,413 deer during the weeklong deer gun season Nov. 29-Dec. 5, the total harvest during the 2021 gun hunting season was 79,805 deer. Hunters harvested an average of 78,014 deer during the nine days of deer gun hunting over the past three years. In addition, young hunters harvested 7,634 whitetails during the two-day youth gun season, Nov. 20-21, and archery hunters have checked 82,145 deer through Sunday, Dec. 19.

Deer hunting occurs in all 88 counties and Ohio hunters have purchased 385,313 deer permits through Sunday, Dec. 19. Hotspots for deer hunting are found mostly in the eastern regions, including Ashtabula, Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Muskingum, Guernsey, and Knox counties.

During the deer gun weekend, hunters harvested 2,867 bucks (31% of deer taken), 5,261 does (56%), and 1,097 button bucks (12%). Bucks with shed antlers and bucks with antlers less than 3 inches long accounted for 167 deer, or 1% of the harvest.

Straight-walled cartridge rifles became legal deer hunting implements in Ohio in 2014 and continue to grow in popularity. During the deer gun weekend, straight-walled cartridge rifles were used for 53% of checked deer. Shotguns accounted for 38% of the total. In addition, 6% were taken with a muzzleloader and 1% with a handgun.

Because Ohio is known as a quality deer hunting state, many out-of-state hunters travel here during the season. The top five states for purchasing a nonresident hunting license in Ohio include: Pennsylvania (7,351 licenses sold), Michigan (5,262), West Virginia (3,799), North Carolina (3,206), and New York (3,164).

Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting generates more than $853 million in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging, and more, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundations’ Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.

Ohio still offers more deer hunting opportunities, including muzzleloader season, open Jan. 8-11, 2022 and archery season, open through Sunday, Feb. 6, 2022. Find more information about deer hunting at wildohio.gov. Previous harvest summaries and weekly updated harvest reports can be found on the Deer Harvest Summary page.

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.