COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 2024-25 Ohio hunting and trapping season dates for white-tailed deer, waterfowl and other migratory game birds, furbearers, small game, and additional species were proposed to the Ohio Wildlife Council on Wednesday, Feb. 7, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). The Division of Wildlife also proposed removing the trumpeter swan from the state’s threatened species list.
A complete list of proposed rule changes and proposed hunting and trapping seasons dates for 2024-25 are available at wildohio.gov. Everyone who would like to comment on Division of Wildlife proposals can do so online at wildohio.gov from Feb. 10-March 13. A statewide hearing on all proposed rules will be held on Wednesday, March 20.
Deer hunting proposals
The proposed deer hunting seasons are similar to last year. As in years past, only one antlered deer may be harvested, regardless of where or how it is taken. Hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. The proposed statewide deer hunting dates for 2024-25 include:
- Deer archery: Sept. 28, 2024-Feb. 2, 2025
- Youth deer gun: Nov. 16-17, 2024
- Deer gun: Dec. 2-Dec. 8, 2024; Dec. 21-22, 2024
- Deer muzzleloader: Jan. 4-7, 2025
The wildlife council also heard a proposal to allow deer management permits to be valid until Dec. 22, 2024, the last day of the bonus deer gun hunting weekend. Currently, deer management permits are only valid until the day before the statewide seven-day gun season.
Bag limit increases from two to three deer were proposed in six counties: Butler, Clinton, Fayette, Greene, Madison, and Pickaway. Deer bag limit increases are designed to slow herd growth and increase hunting opportunities. A proposed bag limit map is available at wildohio.gov.
Wednesday’s proposals also included expanding the Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) disease surveillance area of Hardin, Marion, and Wyandot counties to include Auglaize and Jackson townships in Allen County. A CWD-positive deer was discovered in Allen County in 2023.
Additionally, the Division of Wildlife proposed reducing the number of mandatory CWD testing days for deer taken within disease surveillance areas from 14 to four. If approved, hunters within the disease surveillance area would be required to submit samples for testing during the first two days of the early disease surveillance area gun season (Oct. 12-13) and the first two days of the weeklong deer gun season (Dec. 2-3). The Division of Wildlife will continue to offer voluntary testing drop-off locations and monitor for CWD within and around the disease surveillance area.
Hunters in the expanded disease surveillance area will have additional opportunities to harvest deer, if approved:
- Early deer archery: Sept. 14, 2024-Feb. 2, 2025
- Early deer gun: Oct. 12-14, 2024
Additional hunting proposals
During Wednesday’s meeting, the Ohio Wildlife Council also heard proposals on fall wild turkey hunting dates, ruffed grouse hunting dates, and a revision to river otter trapping zones.
The fall wild turkey hunting proposal would establish the season, open in 70 counties, as Oct. 1, 2024 to Oct. 27, 2024. The proposed season limit is one bird.
The Division of Wildlife proposed a reduced ruffed grouse hunting season from Nov. 1 to Dec. 1, 2024, in 17 southern and eastern counties: Adams, Athens, Belmont, Gallia, Guernsey, Jackson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Pike, Ross, Scioto, Vinton, and Washington. The proposed daily limit is one bird.
Another proposal would reclassify the state’s river otter trapping zones. Ohio currently has river otter bag limits split between A, B, and C zones, although no counties are assigned to Zone A. The proposal would rename Zone C, comprised of 22 counties and having a season bag limit of three, to Zone A. Zone B, which includes the rest of the state, would have a season bag limit of one. The total season bag limit would remain three.
Trumpeter swan delisting proposal
The Division of Wildlife submitted a proposal to remove the trumpeter swan from the state’s list of threatened species. After years of management and monitoring, trumpeter swan populations have exceeded the division’s goals for the species’ recovery.
Ohio Wildlife Council
The Ohio Wildlife Council is an eight-member board that approves all Division of Wildlife proposed rules and regulations. Council meetings are open to the public. Individuals interested in providing comments are asked to call 614-265-6304 at least two days prior to the meeting to register. All comments are required to be three minutes or less.
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.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.