By 1812Blockhouse and Ohio Department of Natural Resources
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.
Richland County saw a modest uptick in the amount of deer checked.
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.
“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) (NOTE – The first number following the county’s name shows the harvest numbers for 2021-22, and the three-year average of deer harvested from 2018 to 2020 is in parentheses).
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.
Richland County’s total was 3,793, up from an average of 3,553.
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.
The popularity of hunting with archery equipment continues to grow, with 49% of deer taken during the 2021-22 archery season, including 35% using a crossbow and 14% using a vertical bow. Gun harvest contributed 51% of the final tally. This includes 19% with shotguns, 23% with straight-walled cartridge rifles, 9% with muzzleloaders, and less than 1% with handguns.
Across all deer seasons, hunters harvested 85,580 bucks, accounting for 43% of the total. Does represented 46% of the total with 89,858 taken, while 18,161 button bucks were taken, for 9%. Bucks with shed antlers and bucks with antlers less than 3 inches long accounted for 3,389 deer, or 2%. 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 us 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.