Process for changing Ohio Deer & Turkey Hunting Laws
Rules that control deer and turkey hunting in Ohio are determined by the Ohio Wildlife Council.  They face a delicate task of balancing hunter desires with the management of wildlife.  Annual changes to the Ohio hunting regulations are based on state wildlife management assessments and the interest of the public. The public is afforded an opportunity each year to comment on proposed rule changes before the new year’s hunting regulations are published.


In early January, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife presents its proposed regulations for the next year to the Ohio Wildlife Council which may get revised slightly after reviewing data at the end of the deer season.  The ODNR Division of Wildlife releases the change proposals to the public by publishing them on their website.  Around the first week of March, an open house meeting is held in each of the state’s five wildlife districts to allow the public a chance to comment on the proposed hunting regulations.  If you want to show support for or against these changes, you may want to mark your calendar and attend this meeting which is open to the public.  About three weeks later, a state wide hearing is held at the wildlife district One Office in Columbus.  The Ohio Wildlife Council considers the public’s input and determines the new rules.


Proposed Changes to Regulations for 2015-2016 


During the 14 January and 11 February meetings, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife presented its proposals for hunting regulation changes for the next year to the Ohio Wildlife Council.  After receiving public input, changes were made to some of the proposed season dates.  The information below reflects those changes. There don’t seem to be any major rule changes being proposed that will impact turkey hunting.  The fall turkey season is being proposed to start on 10 October and end on 29 November 2015.  The youth spring turkey hunt is proposed for April 16-17 followed by the regular spring turkey season running April 18 through May 15, 2016.  The ODNR Division of Wildlife released the proposed 2015 turkey hunting season dates to the public on 16 January in a Wildlife News Release on their website at and 2015-2016 Ohio Hunting Regulations Proposals Amended.


On the 11th of February, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife presented its proposals for deer hunting regulation changes to the Ohio Wildlife Council and amended them after receiving public input.  Some major changes impacting deer hunting are being proposed for the 2015-2016 hunting season.  They include elimination of the use of antlerless permits in most counties, a reduction in bag limits, replacing the antlerless-only muzzleloader weekend with a two day deer-gun hunt in December and the addition of another rifle to the list of straight-walled cartridge rifles that are legal for deer hunting.


The ODNR has concluded that the deer herd in all but 10 counties have been reduced to the point that antlerless permits are no longer needed.  They propose eliminating antlerless permits for all but 10 counties and allowing only one antlerless permit in each of those 10 counties.  The statewide limit of 9 deer by hunting various counties is to be reduced to 6.


The extra hunting opportunities would changed.   The October antlerless-only muzzleloader weekend would no longer exist.  Instead, the two day gun hunt in December would be reinstated.  Also, a two day youth-gun hunt is being proposed for early October 2015.


The proposal includes adding the .450 Marlin to the list of legal rifles for hunting deer during the gun seasons.  The types of rifles already allowed are .357 Magnum, .357 Maximum, .38 Special, .375 Super Magnum, .375 Winchester, .38-55, .41 Long Colt, .41 Magnum, .44 Special, .44 Magnum, .444 Marlin, .45 ACP, .45 Colt, .45 Long Colt, .45 Winchester Magnum, .45 Smith & Wesson, .454 Casull, .460 Smith & Wesson, .45-70, .45-90, .45-110, .475 Linebaugh, .50-70, .50-90, .50-100, .50-110 and .500 Smith & Wesson.


Bag limits are also being adjusted to reflect the reduction in the deer population in many counties. A bag limit reduction is proposed for most counties.  No counties are to receive an increase.


Archery season is proposed to start on the 26th of September and continue through the 7th of February 2016.  Youth deer gun season is to be 10-11 October 2015.  The regular gun season is scheduled to be 30 Nov - 6 Dec 2015 with two extra days during 28 - 29 December 2015.  The statewide muzzleloader season is planned to start on the 9th of January and go through the 12th of January 2016.


The ODNR Division of Wildlife released the proposed deer hunting changes to the public on 13 February and 20 March in news release articles on their website at and 2015-2016 Ohio Hunting Regulations Proposals Amended.   You were given an opportunity to comment in person or submit comments in writing by clicking on a link to a form in the ODNR news release.  A statewide hearing of all the proposed rules was scheduled for 19 March 2015.  After considering public input, some changes were made to the original proposed season dates, the Ohio Wildlife Council is expected to vote on the revised proposed rules on 8 April 2015.


The new official hunting regulations, when finalized and published, will be available online from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources at their Wild Ohio Customer Center.   Be sure to review or obtain a copy of them prior to your hunting trip to ensure you are aware of any changes that get approved.  If you want to learn more about hunting white tail deer and wild turkey in southeastern Ohio visit




















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