Ohio Wildlife Council sets 2022 fall hunting seasons

COLUMBUS – The Ohio Wildlife Council approved an amended proposal for the upcoming 2022 fall wild turkey hunting season dates during its regularly scheduled meeting April 13, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife.

The council also approved an amended white-tailed deer archery season opener in a three-county disease surveillance area in north-central Ohio. This year fall wild turkey hunting will run from Oct. 8 until Nov. 13 for a 37-day season. Last year season was 52 days. The season limit is one wild turkey of either sex. These season dates were amended based on comments from fall turkey hunters.

A 37-day season matches the length of Ohio’s spring turkey hunting season when the south and northeast zones are combined. Fall turkey hunting is open in 70 of Ohio’s 88 counties.

Deer seasons

White-tailed deer are Ohio’s most popular animal game. The 2022-23 deer hunting dates are similar to last season. As in years past, only one antlered deer may be harvested, regardless of where or how it is taken, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit.

Deer archery is Sept. 24 to Feb. 5. Youth deer gun is Nov. 19-20. Deer gun is Nov. 28 to Dec. 4 and Dec. 17-18. Deer muzzleloader is Jan. 7-10. Hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

Bag limits will increase in 18 counties. Three counties will increase to two deer (from one deer): Clinton, Fayette and Pickaway. Fifteen counties will increase to three deer (from two deer): Allen, Auglaize, Champaign, Clark, Darke, Mercer, Miami, Morrow, Muskingum, Perry, Preble, Putnam, Shelby, Van Wert and Washington.

Deer bag limit increases are designed to slow herd growth and provide additional hunting opportunities.

Disease surveillance area

A disease surveillance area was established following the 2020 discovery of Chronic Wasting Disease in two places in Wyandot County. Further testing revealed eight more CWD-positive deer in 2021. The Division of Wildlife has implemented additional measures to increase deer harvest, reduce the possibility of disease transmission, and limit the spread of CWD in Hardin, Marion and Wyandot counties.

CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects white-tailed deer and other similar species. Deer archery hunting in the CWD surveillance area comprised of Hardin, Marion and Wyandot counties will begin Sept. 10. The original proposed start date of Sept. 1 was amended following feedback from hunters and landowners.

Deer seasons in the disease surveillance area include deer archery, Sept. 10 to Feb. 5, early deer gun Oct. 8-10, youth deer gun Nov. 19-20, deer gun from Nov. 28 to Dec. 4 and Dec. 17-18 and deer muzzleloader Jan. 7-10.

Hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. Further, public land deer hunting restrictions are removed at Big Island, Andreoff and Wyandot wildlife areas. Public land restrictions were previously removed at Killdeer Plains and Lake La Su An wildlife areas.

Spring turkey

The spring 2023 turkey hunting dates are April 15-16, 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset, for youth season; April 22-30, 30 minutes before sunrise to noon, and May 1-21, 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset, for the south zone; and April 29 to May 7, 30 minutes before sunrise to noon, and May 8-28, 30 minutes before sunrise to sunset, for the northeast zone.

General hunting

The definition of a crossbow was updated to include new limb configurations and stock lengths. This will allow newer crossbow designs that are shorter and have differing limb configurations. A shoulder-mount stock is still required for a crossbow.

Restrictions were removed for carrying a concealed firearm while hunting. A person may carry and hunt with a legally concealed firearm, so long as the firearm meets existing regulations.

Endangered species

Every five years, the Division of Wildlife reviews and updates the species listed as endangered, threatened, extirpated, species of concern and special interest. This year, 58 different species listings were changed, added or removed from the endangered and threatened species list. A complete list of species is available at wildohio.gov.

Three fish species, the alligator gar, blacknose shiner and longhead darter, were downgraded to endangered from extirpated. Many species of dragonflies, damselflies and butterflies were updated following years of thorough citizen science reporting.

Two crayfish species, the blue crayfish and the crawzilla crawdad, were added to the list after previously unknown populations of both species were discovered in Ohio.

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