Crisp air and changing colors of fall are fast approaching, and that means the state’s extremely popular deer archery hunting season opens Sept. 25.
Last season, Ohio archery hunters harvested more than 93,500 deer, the highest total on record. Deer harvested with archery equipment made up 47% of all deer taken during 2020-21, marking the eighth year in a row that more deer were harvested with a bow than during the weeklong gun season (71,651).
“White-tailed deer are highly active during October and November because of the breeding season, making these months popular for bowhunters,” said Kendra Wecker, Division of Wildlife chief. “Ohio’s long-term management plan has led to quality deer hunting recognized as some of the best in the nation.”
Overall, hunters harvested 197,721 deer during 2020-21, 9% higher than the three-year average. The total includes 83,332 bucks, 94,763 does and 19,626 button bucks.
Coshocton County once again led the state with 6,791 deer harvested. Other counties with a high deer harvest include Tuscarawas (6,158); Ashtabula (5,662), Licking (5,549); Knox (5,247); Muskingum (5,171); Holmes (4,833); Guernsey (4,809); Carroll (4,123) and Trumbull (4,014).
Ohio is known nationwide for its trophy deer hunting, and a searchable list of the Buckeye Big Buck Club record book is available at wildohio.gov. The top nontypical buck scored 304 6/8 and was harvested by Michael Beatty in Greene County in 2000. The two top typical bucks scored 201 1/8, harvested by Brad Jerman (2004 in Warren County) and William Kontras (1986 in Clark County). All three deer were taken with archery equipment.
Deer hunting, particularly with archery equipment, takes patience and skill to ensure an ethical and clean shot. Getting acclimated to new equipment or reacquainting with old favorites is essential before heading into the woods. Ohio offers many options for hunters to improve skills. Find an archery or shooting range here.
Landowners can now receive an incentive to allow hunters access during specific hunting seasons through the Ohio Landowner and Hunter Access Partnership Program.
The free HuntFish OH mobile app can be downloaded to conveniently purchase fishing and hunting licenses, check game, view wildlife area maps and more. The HuntFish OH mobile app is available for Android and iOS users and can be found in the app store.
Users can access the Division of Wildlife’s online system to check harvested deer while out in the field, even without a Wi-Fi connection. A complete list of deer hunting regulations is listed in the 2021-22 Ohio Hunting Regulations.