Ohio Wildlife Council Greenlights 2023-24 Hunting Seasons: Here’s What You Need to Know

On Wednesday, April 13, the Ohio Wildlife Council approved an amended proposal for the fall wild turkey hunting season dates in 2022, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. Furthermore, the council approved an amended opening date for whitetail deer archery in a three-county disease surveillance area.


For a 37-day fall turkey hunting season, the fall season will run from Saturday, Oct. 8 until Sunday, Nov. 13. Last year’s season was 52 days. One wild turkey may be harvested of either sex. A 37-day season matches the length of Ohio’s spring turkey hunting season if the south and northeast zones are combined. Fall turkey hunting is open in 70 out of Ohio’s 88 counties.


Seasons for deer hunting


Ohio’s most popular game animal is the white-tailed deer. The dates for this year’s deer hunting season are similar to last year’s. Hunters can only take one antlered deer, no matter where or how they take it, and a county bag limit cannot be exceeded. The hunting season dates for 2022-23 are:


  • Sept. 24, 2022-Feb. 5, 2023: Deer archery.
  • The youth deer gun will be held on November 19-20, 2022.
  • Gun season: Nov. 28-Dec. 4, 2022; Dec. 17-18, 2022.
  • Jan. 7-10, 2023: Deer muzzleloader.


It is best to hunt 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.


In 18 counties, bag limits will be increased. Clinton, Fayette, and Pickaway will have two deer limits (from one deer). Allen, Auglaize, Champaign, Clark, Darke, Mercer, Miami, Morrow, Muskingum, Perry, Preble, Putnam, Shelby, Van Wert, and Washington will have three deer (from two deer). It is intended to slow the growth of herds and provide additional hunting opportunities by increasing deer bag limits.


Seasons for deer hunting in disease surveillance areas

After the 2020 discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in two deer in Wyandot County a disease surveillance area was implemented. In 2021, further testing indicated another eight infected animals. The Ohio Division of Wildlife subsequently adopted new strategies to enhance the deer harvest, minimise the prospect of CWD spreading and promote measures to control its spread in Hardin, Marion and Wyandot counties. CWD is an incurable neurological disorder that affects white-tailed deer and other related species.


The original proposed start date of Sept. 1 was amended following feedback from hunters and landowners in the CWD surveillance area comprised of Hardin, Marion, and Wyandot counties.


Seasons of deer in the disease surveillance area:


  • Sept. 10, 2022-Feb. 5, 2023: Deer archery.
  • Oct. 8-10, 2022, is the early deer gun date.
  • Youth deer gun: November 19-20, 2022.
  • Deer gun season: Nov. 28-Dec. 4, 2022; Dec. 17-18, 2022.
  • Deer muzzleloader: January 7-10, 2023.


There are 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset when hunting is allowed.


Big Island, Andreoff, and Wyandot wildlife areas have also removed deer hunting restrictions. Public land restrictions had previously been removed at Killdeer Plains and Lake La Su An wildlife areas.


Seasons for wild turkey hunting in spring 2023


Turkey hunting dates for spring 2023 are as follows:


Season for youth: April 15-16, 2023, 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset.


Zone south:


  • 30 minutes before sunrise to noon, April 22-30, 2023.
  • 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset, May 1-21, 2023.
  • Zone northeast:
  • 30 minutes before sunrise to noon, April 29 to May 7, 2023.
  • 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset, May 8-28, 2023.


Regulations for hunting in general

New limb configurations and stock lengths have been added to the definition of a crossbow, allowing newer designs with shorter limbs and different limb configurations. A shoulder-mount stock is still required.


As long as the firearm meets existing regulations, a person may carry and hunt with a legally concealed firearm.


Lists of endangered and threatened species


In addition to species listed as endangered, threatened, extirpated, species of concern, and special interest, the Division of Wildlife reviews and updates them every five years. There were 58 species that were changed, added, or removed from the endangered and threatened species list this year. A complete list of species can be found at wildohio.gov.


As a result of years of citizen science reporting, three fish species, the alligator gar, the blacknose shiner, and the longhead darter, were downgraded to endangered status from extinct. Many dragonfly, damselfly, and butterfly species were updated as a result. After previously unknown populations of both crayfish species were discovered in Ohio, the blue crayfish and the crawzilla crawdad have been added to the list.


Council for Ohio Wildlife

All Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations are approved by the Ohio Wildlife Council, which is made up of eight members. Council meetings are held virtually and open to the public. Individuals interested in providing comments are requested to register by calling 614-265-6304 two days before the meeting. Comments must not exceed three minutes in length.


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