Rut is near in Ohio, ahead of gun season

(Photo courtesy of Bob “Greenie” Grewell)

Athens, Ohio — Here in the Buckeye State, the rut is near or is happening right now.

Buckeye bowhunters who will be getting out this weekend have as good a chance as anybody in bagging a nice buck. And, the traditional gun season is still a few weeks away.

Ohio’s deer gun season opens on Monday, Nov. 27. Hunting remains the most effective management tool for maintaining Ohio’s healthy deer population, according to the Ohio DNR (ODNR).

Wildlife hotline

Hunters and others who have questions about hunting can contact the ODNR Division of Wildlife toll-free at 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543). The white-tailed deer gun hunting seasons occur at a time when Ohio hunters may have last-minute questions, and the ODNR Division of Wildlife will be available to assist. Special call center hours include:

  • 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 18, for youth deer-gun season.
  • 9 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 25.
  • 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Monday, Nov. 27, to Friday, Dec. 1.
  • The hotline will be closed on Thanksgiving Day.

Hunting season details, dates, hours and bag limits


Ohio’s annual youth white-tailed deer hunting season gives young hunters the opportunity to pursue the state’s most popular big-game animal on Nov. 18-19, and it is open to hunters with a youth hunting license and a deer permit.

During the deer gun seasons, deer may be hunted with a shotgun, a muzzleloader .38 caliber or larger, a handgun .357 caliber or larger, straight-walled cartridge rifles .357 to .50 caliber, or bows from Monday, Nov. 27, to Sunday, Dec. 3 and Dec. 16-17. Details about deer hunting rules can be found in the 2017-2018 Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations, available where licenses are sold or at wildohio.gov. Only either-sex permits may be used after Sunday, Nov. 26, unless hunting in an ODNR Division of Wildlife authorized controlled hunt.

Deer bag limits are determined by county, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit. The statewide bag limit is six deer. Hunters may harvest only one buck in Ohio, regardless of method of take or location. Hunting hours for all deer seasons are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

Poacher hotline


Ohioans are encouraged to help enforce state wildlife laws by reporting violations to the division’s Turn-In-a-Poacher (TIP) hotline by calling 800-POACHER (762-2437). Established in 1982, the TIP program allows individuals to anonymously call toll-free to report wildlife violations. The 800-POACHER hotline is open for calls 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Tips concerning wildlife violations can also be submitted at wildohio.gov. Tipsters may be eligible to receive a cash award.

CWD monitoring, deer carcass transport

Hunters are reminded that portions of Holmes and Wayne counties retain their designation as Disease Surveillance Area (DSA) 2015-01 again this year as part of the state’s ongoing chronic wasting disease (CWD) surveillance efforts. Additional rules apply to the harvest of deer from this area. A map of the area is available at any ODNR Division of Wildlife office and is posted on the division’s website at wildohio.gov.

Hunters harvesting deer within DSA 2015-01 are required to bring their deer head or the entire deer to a carcass inspection station for disease testing. Two locations have been designated as Carcass Inspection Stations for the seven-day gun, two-day gun and muzzleloader seasons. Both locations will be open and staffed from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. The dates for these seasons are Nov. 27-Dec. 3, Dec. 16-17 and Jan. 6-9, 2018.

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