Hunters harvested 70,413 deer during the 2021 deer gun week that concluded Dec. 5. Over the past three years, hunters checked an average of 65,280 deer during the same weeklong period, which marks an 8% increase in 2021. Deer gun season is open again Dec. 18-19.
During the deer gun week, hunters harvested 25,263 bucks (36% of deer taken), 36,096 does (51%), and 8,021 button bucks (11%). Bucks with shed antlers and bucks with antlers less than 3 inches long accounted for 1,033 deer, or 1% of the harvest.
“All deer taken by hunters are required to be entered into Ohio’s game check system,” said Kendra Wecker, Division of Wildlife chief “The information collected during the game check process is critically important to the Division of Wildlife for planning quality deer management into the future.”
The top 10 counties for deer taken during the gun week include Coshocton (2,403), Tuscarawas (2,204), Muskingum (2,107), Ashtabula (2,039), Knox (2,023), Guernsey (1,968), Carroll (1,767), Licking (1,712), Holmes (1,645) and Washington (1,483). Coshocton County also led the state in 2020 with 2,281 deer checked. Statewide in 2020, hunters took 71,651 deer.
Straight-walled cartridge rifles have become more popular each year since becoming legal for deer hunting in 2014. During deer gun hunting week, straight-walled cartridge rifles were used for 49% of checked deer. Shotguns accounted for 43% of the total. In addition, 6% were taken with a muzzleloader, 1% by archery equipment, and less than 1% with a handgun.
Through Dec. 5, 2021, 80,178 deer have been taken by Ohio archery hunters. Plus, Ohio’s youth hunters checked 7,634 deer during the two-day youth gun season, Nov. 20-21.
Many out-of-state hunters travel to Ohio during the season. The top five states for purchasing a nonresident hunting license in Ohio include Pennsylvania (7,929 licenses sold), Michigan (5,533), West Virginia (3,898), North Carolina (3,740), and New York (3,597). Deer hunting participation remains high for all hunters, with 383,770 deer hunting permits sold or issued through Dec. 5.
While gun hunting remains a favorite season, the number of hunters pursuing deer with archery equipment is growing rapidly. For the eighth year in a row, more deer were harvested during the 2020-21 archery season than during the gun season. The number of hunters who hunt using multiple implements is also increasing. In 2020, nearly 75% of gun hunters also participated in the archery season.
The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Visit wildohio.gov to find out more.