Welcome to Ohio, a hunter’s paradise of abundant wildlife and breathtaking scenery. From the sprawling cornfields to the lush hardwood forests, this state offers an unmatched hunting experience. If you’re looking for white-tailed deer or trying your luck at waterfowl in tranquil wetlands, get ready for an adventure like no other. With thrills, skill, and nature all rolled into one package – it’s sure to be unforgettable!
In this comprehensive guide, we have covered all you need to know about hunting in Ohio. Hunting Seasons, regulations, license information, species information, and best places to hunt them, you will find it all here!
What Can You Hunt in Ohio?
Ohio has lots of white-tailed deer, with around 700,000 of them! That’s why many people love deer hunting here. You can hunt with bows from late September to early February, and with guns in November and December.
Wild turkeys are also popular to hunt in Ohio. You can hunt them in the spring from April to May and again in October. If you’re into smaller animals, Ohio has lots of squirrels, rabbits, and pheasants. They’re great for beginners or if you want a chill hunt. Oh, and if you like hunting birds like ducks and geese, Ohio’s lakes and rivers are perfect for that.
At over 700,000 strong, the white-tailed deer is Ohio’s only species of deer. From Appalachia’s rolling hills to the flat farmland in the north, these majestic creatures can be found all across the state.
Easily recognizable by their signature white tail that they raise as a warning signal when alarmed, hunters and conservationists alike appreciate them for more than just their beauty.
From late September through early February during archery season and November/December for firearms hunting, there are plenty of opportunities to bag your trophy buck in Ohio with strict regulations and bag limits in place to ensure sustainable practices.
White-tailed deer play an essential role within Ohio’s ecosystem too; helping keep plant growth under control by browsing on vegetation and providing food for other predators such as coyotes or bobcats. With thoughtful management from both hunters and conservationists alike, we can continue preserving this precious resource so future generations may also enjoy its wonders.
White-tailed Deer Season in Ohio
|Archery||Sep 30 – Feb 04|
|Gun||Nov 27 – Dec 03, Dec 16 – Dec 17|
|Muzzleloader||Jan 06 – Jan 09|
|Youth Gun||Nov 18 – Nov 19|
|DSA Archery||Sep 09 – Feb 04|
|DSA Early Gun||Oct 07 – Oct 09|
Ohio is a hotspot for wild turkey hunting, with these splendid birds found throughout the state. The spring season is especially vibrant, with the woods echoing the sounds of male turkeys vying for female attention.
For both seasoned and novice hunters, it’s a thrilling experience to witness and be a part of this natural display. However, turkeys are not easy targets. Their sharp eyesight and acute hearing mean hunters need to be well-prepared.
Effective camouflage is a must, and practicing your turkey calls can increase your chances of success. For equipment, a shotgun equipped with either an improved cylinder or modified choke is advised. Using a #4 or #5 shot typically yields the best results in the hunt.
Turkey Season Ohio
|Fall Turkey||Oct 14 – Nov 12|
|Spring Turkey Northeast Zone||Apr 29 – May 07, May 08 – May 28|
|Spring Turkey South Zone||Apr 22 – May 21|
Ohio is home to three squirrel species: the gray squirrel, fox squirrel, and the southern flying squirrel. The gray squirrel is the most common and is known for its acrobatic leaps in trees and varied fur color.
Fox squirrels, or “red squirrels,” have rusty-red fur, are larger than gray squirrels, and are speedy on the ground. They’re found in open areas like fields.
The southern flying squirrel can glide in the air using skin flaps between its legs. It’s nocturnal and hides in tree cavities during the day. Fall is the best hunting season for squirrels since they’re more active and easier to spot.
Most hunters use a .22 caliber rifle for squirrel hunting as it’s effective without harming the meat, but some opt for shotguns for added challenge. Always prioritize safety, wear the right gear, and ensure you have the required licenses when hunting.
Squirrel Season Ohio
|Squirrel||Sep 01 – Jan 31|
Foxes are a common sight in Ohio, and their presence adds to the wildlife diversity of The Buckeye State. For those looking to hunt these beautiful creatures, there’s no shortage of places where you can find them – woodlands, fields, and brushy areas being their preferred habitats. When scouting for potential hunting spots, be sure to keep an eye out for distinct tracks with four sharp-clawed toes.
Hunting foxes is not easy; they’re brilliant animals that have adapted well to their environment and can detect movement from far away due to their excellent eyesight. So if you want any chance at taking one down, it’s essential that you remain still and patient while waiting for your prey – utilizing predator calls or decoys/scents may help lure them out too!
Camouflage is also key here – wear appropriate clothing to blend into your surroundings before attempting the shot (shotguns with small pellets or rifles with .22 caliber bullets work best). Also, remember to always abide by local regulations regarding hunting seasons & bag limits before getting started on this exciting pursuit.
|Fox||Nov 10 – Jan 31|
Ohio is home to a large population of raccoons that roam everywhere from cities to rural areas. These crafty critters are notorious for outwitting hunters, and make the perfect target when hunting at night.
Raccoons typically prefer habitats near water sources like rivers or streams, so it’s important to plan accordingly before setting off on your hunt. One popular tactic is using dogs with their strong sense of smell; just remember they must be specially trained first.
You can also get creative by using calls or decoys in order to lure these curious mammals towards you – this works especially well if you’re closeby to their den or feeding ground.
When selecting your weapon, shotguns and .22 caliber rifles are both great options as they pack enough punch against the thick fur of those pesky raccoons. Always aim for either the head or heart area in order to ensure an ethical kill each time.
|Raccoon||Nov 10 – Jan 31|
Feral hogs, also known as wild pigs or boars, were introduced to Ohio by early settlers for hunting purposes. Unfortunately, these animals managed to escape and reproduce at a rapid rate; leaving them with no natural predators in the area. This has caused their population numbers to skyrocket over time.
Hunting feral hogs can be an exciting experience. Luckily, there is no closed season for feral hog hunting here in Ohio. Before embarking on your hunt though, always make sure you are aware of all state regulations and that you possess the proper permit beforehand so there are no surprises down the line.
Also, remember safety first when approaching these animals- they may appear docile but can become aggressive very quickly if provoked! Make sure that you are equipped with all necessary protective gear before making any advances.
Feral Hogs Season
|Wild Boar||Jan 01 – Dec 31||No Limit|
Quail hunting is a perfect activity for anyone looking for hunting in Ohio. The Buckeye state has some of the best quail habitats around, with its varied landscape and thick cover providing perfect homes for these crafty birds.
Northern Bobwhites are by far the most common species found here, easily identified by their distinctive call that carries across fields and forests alike. They’re predominantly clustered in southern Ohio’s mix of agricultural areas and shrublands.
If you’re looking to bag one of these elusive birds, it takes patience, and skill – not to mention a keen eye and quick reflexes to successfully hit your mark on such fast flyers with excellent camouflage abilities.
That’s why having a well-trained bird dog can be so beneficial; they have an uncanny ability when it comes to sniffing out quail from within dense foliage before flushing them into open sights, giving you a better chance at making your shot count!
|Bobwhite Quail||Nov 03 – Nov 26||2 per day|
Ohio is one of the top destinations for rabbit hunting in the U.S., with its diverse environments and teeming populations of cottontails. From agricultural fields to wooded thickets, public and private land open for hunting, you’ll be sure to have a successful hunt here.
You’ll need binoculars to scout out your prey as well as a rifle or shotgun loaded with proper ammo. Make sure you’re up-to-speed on all local firearm regulations before going out into the field.
For optimum results, plan your trips during the early morning and late evening hours when rabbits are most active – don’t forget about safety either!
Wear bright clothing so other hunters can easily spot you at all times and practice good gun-handling etiquette while tracking down bunny targets in Ohio’s wildlands. With enough preparation, skillful aim, patience, and knowledge of the area, there’s no reason why your next rabbit expedition won’t end in success!
Rabbit Season in Ohio
|Cottontail Rabbit||Nov 03 – Feb 29||4 per day|
|Ring-necked Pheasant||Nov 03 – Jan 14||2 per day (males only)|
|Chukar Partridge||Nov 03 – Jan 14||2 per day (males only)|
|Skunk||Nov 10 – Jan 31|
|Weasel||Nov 10 – Jan 31|
|Opossum||Nov 10 – Jan 31|
|Coyote||Jan 01 – Dec 31||No Limit|
|Groundhog||Jan 01 – Dec 31||No Limit|
|Public Land||Oct 08 – Nov 27||1 per day|
|Private Land||Oct 08 – Jan 01||1 per day|
|Eurasian Collared & Mourning Dove||Sep 01 – Nov 05, Dec 09 – Jan 01||15 per day|
|Lake Erie Marsh Zone||Oct 14 – Oct 29, Nov 04 – Dec 17||6 per day|
|North Zone||Oct 21 – Oct 29, Nov 11 – Dec 31||6 per day|
|South Zone||Oct 21 – Oct 29, Dec 09 – Jan 28||6 per day|
Coot & Merganser Season
|Lake Erie Marsh Zone||Oct 14 – Oct 29, Nov 04 – Dec 17||Mergansers: 5 Coots: 15|
|North Zone||Oct 21 – Oct 29, Nov 11 – Dec 31||Mergansers: 5 Coots: 15|
|South Zone||Oct 21 – Oct 29, Dec 09 – Jan 28||Mergansers: 5 Coots: 15|
|Canada, White-fronted, Snow, Blue & Ross’s Geese, Brant||Oct 14 – Oct 29, Nov 04 – Dec 17, Dec 31 – Feb 04||Lake Erie Marsh Zone|
|Canada, White-fronted, Snow, Blue & Ross’s Geese, Brant||Oct 21 – Oct 29, Nov 11 – Feb 05||North Zone|
|Canada, White-fronted, Snow, Blue & Ross’s Geese, Brant||Oct 21 – Oct 29, Nov 18 – Feb 12||South Zone|
Youth/Military Waterfowl Season
|Youth||Sep 30 – Oct 01|
|Military/Veterans||Sep 30 – Oct 01|
|Blue-winged, Green-winged, & Cinnamon Teal||Sep 02 – Sep 17|
|Virginia & Sora Rail||Sep 01 – Nov 09||25 per day|
|Woodcock||Oct 13 – Nov 26||3 per day|
|Gallinule||Sep 01 – Nov 09||15 per day|
|Wilson’s Snipe||Sep 01 – Nov 22, Dec 09 – Jan 01||8 per day|
|American Crow||June 02 – Mar 03|
Ohio Hunting License Information
Every hunter in Ohio needs a valid hunting license. Residents 18 years of age or older can easily obtain a regular hunting license for just $19, while young hunters between 9-17 can take advantage of the youth license option.
Non-residents are not left out either; they too have two choices available – an annual non-resident permit costing $180 or a three-day small game license that’s perfect for short visits.
You may also need additional permits depending on what type of game you plan on pursuing during your hunt – deer permits, turkey permits, and waterfowl stamps. These are easy enough to get online or at an authorized licensing agent as well.
But before you go ahead with any of these steps, bear in mind that all hunters in Ohio must first complete a hunter education course covering topics such as firearm safety, ethics, and conservation – this applies to both residents and non-residents alike! So don’t forget: knowledge is power when it comes to being safe out there!
Where Can You Hunt in Ohio?
Ohio offers both public and private hunting lands. One of the most popular hunting spots in Ohio is Wayne National Forest, featuring an impressive 240,000 acres of public land. A paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, it offers a plethora of game including deer, turkey, and small critters.
Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area is another great choice for hunters – boasting over 5600 acres of wetlands and upland habitats it’s ideal for waterfowlers looking to bag their limit.
For those seeking more adrenaline-pumping challenges, Shawnee State Forest provides rugged terrain with dense forests that will excite both deer and turkey hunters alike. And if private land is your preference, then Ohio has plenty of options; from guided hunts on exclusive grounds to full-service hunting clubs.
Public Hunting Places in Ohio
Wayne National Forest
With over 240,000 acres of wild landscape to explore, Wayne National Forest is a paradise for anyone hunting in Ohio. From white-tailed deer and black bear to small game like squirrels and rabbits, the forest boasts an array of game species for any type of hunt. Waterfowl are also in abundance here, making it the perfect spot for bird hunters seeking some outdoor adventure.
For those looking for something more unique than traditional hunting methods can offer – there are controlled hunts available too! These permits allow you to take on elk or bison in their natural habitat – offering a thrilling experience that’ll test even your most honed skillset.
Whether you’re stalking through dense forests or perched up high in a tree stand – Wayne National Forest has endless opportunities waiting just around the corner.
Shawnee State Forest
Shawnee State Forest is an ideal hunting spot for the most daring of hunters. Boasting a range of wildlife from white-tailed deer to black bears and bobcats, this forest offers something for everyone. But it’s not just the game species that make Shawnee so special; its rolling hills, lush valleys, and dense forests create a stunning natural backdrop – perfect for a memorable hunt.
The forest has plenty to offer in terms of amenities too – with over 80 miles of designated trails and roads open to hunters getting around couldn’t be easier. Plus, there are several primitive campsites scattered throughout if you want to extend your stay in pursuit of your prey!
Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area
Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area is an outdoor paradise covering 5,671 acres of wetlands, forests, and grasslands. It’s the perfect habitat for species like deer, waterfowl, turkeys, and small game to thrive.
For avid hunters looking for a challenge, there are designated areas with strict regulations set in place – ideal for both archery and gun hunting. With plentiful food sources around Killbuck Marsh, you won’t be short of opportunities when it comes to tracking down those majestic bucks.
As well as being a great spot for deer hunting, this wildlife area also offers some fantastic options if you’re into waterfowl or turkey hunting. Whether it’s early teal season or late goose season, there will always be something on offer at Killbuck Marsh – making sure no one goes home empty-handed.
Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge
Hunting in Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge is an experience like no other. Located within the heart of Ohio, this refuge provides an unparalleled opportunity to explore nature and indulge in the thrill of hunting. From its dense forests and sprawling wetlands, it’s home to a variety of game species including waterfowl, deer, turkey, and small game – offering something for every type of hunter.
For those seeking a more hands-on approach, you can take your pick between bowhunting or gun hunting – whichever suits your style best! But if you’re looking for more than just bagging that trophy buck, then there’s plenty here too; from spotting bald eagles overhead as they soar majestically through the air to being serenaded by choruses of migrating birds.
Jackson Lake State Park
Jackson Lake State Park is the perfect destination for those hunting in Ohio. From white-tailed deer to wild turkeys, waterfowl, and small critters like rabbits or squirrels, this park has it all!
It’s no wonder why; its lush forests, open fields, and wetlands provide a bountiful habitat that attracts an abundance of wildlife. Plus, Jackson Lake itself boasts over 100 acres of marshland and open water ideal for hunting ducks and geese during their migratory season.
But if you’re after upland birds such as pheasant or quail then fear not – there are also designated areas for those hunters too. And with a bit of luck on your side, you might even come across some woodcock or grouse hiding in the hillside. Aside from hunting, you can also try fishing at Jackson Lake State Park.
Private Hunting Places in Ohio
If you are looking for a private and exclusive hunting experience, then Ohio has various private hunting lands, but you’ll need a permit or membership to access them.
These areas are managed for the best hunting conditions and safety. When picking a place, think about what animals you want to hunt; some places focus on deer or turkey, while others offer more variety.
Check the land size and terrain to match your preferences. Also, look into the amenities like lodging, meals, or guided hunts. Knowing these details can help plan your hunting trip better.