COLUMBUS — Ohio’s 2021-22 deer hunting season concluded Sunday, Feb. 6, with 196,988 deer checked, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Ohio’s average harvest compiled from the past three seasons is 184,746 deer.
The final totals represent all deer harvested during archery, gun, muzzleloader, and youth hunting seasons that began on Sept. 25, 2021. Since September, hunters harvested 96,209 deer with archery equipment, while 79,805 deer were taken with firearms during the 2021 weeklong and two-day gun seasons. In addition, 12,141 deer were harvested with muzzleloaders in January 2022. Youth hunters found success during the November 2021 youth season with 7,634 deer checked.
In Gallia County, 2,621 deer were harvested in the 2021-22 season, with 2,372 being the average harvested in 2018-20. In Meigs County, 34,18 were harvested this season, with 3,056 in the previous three year average.
“Ohio’s deer population is one of the strongest in the nation, which is confirmed by these season totals,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Ohio is a national leader in deer management in part because of the tremendous cooperation between landowners and hunters. Thanks to all those who participated in the hunting season this year.”
The top 10 counties for deer harvested during the 2021-22 deer season include: Coshocton (7,144), Tuscarawas (6,303), Muskingum (5,331), Knox (5,290), Licking (5,244), Ashtabula (5,193), Guernsey (5,104), Holmes (4,905), Carroll (4,197), and Trumbull (3,994).
Last season, hunters in Coshocton County checked 6,791 deer, the most of any county in Ohio. The statewide harvest in 2020-21 was 197,721.
Deer hunting occurs in all 88 counties, and Ohio hunters purchased 396,370 permits across all hunting seasons. Hotspots for deer hunting are found mostly in eastern Ohio, including Ashtabula, Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Muskingum, Guernsey, and Knox counties.
According to a news release from ODNR, the popularity of hunting with archery equipment continues to grow, with 49 percent of deer taken during the 2021-22 archery season, including 35 percent using a crossbow and 14 percent using a vertical bow. Gun harvest contributed 51 percent of the final tally. This includes 19 percent with shotguns, 23 percent with straight-walled cartridge rifles, 9 percent with muzzleloaders, and less than one percent with handguns.
Across all deer seasons, hunters harvested 85,580 bucks, accounting for 43 percent of the total. Does represented 46 percent of the total with 89,858 taken, while 18,161 button bucks were taken, for nine percent. Bucks with shed antlers and bucks with antlers less than 3 inches long accounted for 3,389 deer, or two percent. Weekly reports can be found on the Deer Harvest Summary page at wildohio.gov.
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.
Anyone interested in learning to hunt or becoming a mentor to a new hunter can visit the Wild Ohio Harvest Community page for information on how to get started, hunting-related workshops as well as special hunting opportunities for mentors and new hunters.
Follow the Division of Wildlife on Twitter and Facebook for instant news stories, outdoor recreation ideas, local wildlife information, and so much more. The Your Wild Ohio Explorer page provides wildlife success stories and ways to help wildlife throughout the seasons. Visit wildohio.gov to find locations to hunt, fish, trap, and view wildlife. Follow on Instagram to view the best of Ohio’s wildlife photography. And don’t forget about the HuntFish OH mobile app, available for Android and iOS users through the app store. Users can purchase licenses and permits as well as view wildlife area maps.