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 January/February, 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 2016-2017 

During the 13 January meeting, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife presented its proposals for turkey hunting regulation changes for the next year to the Ohio Wildlife Council.  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 8 October and end on 27 November 2016.  The youth spring turkey hunt is proposed for April 22-23 followed by the regular spring turkey season running April 24 through May 21, 2017 for the south zone and May 1 through May 28, 2017 for the northeast zone.  The ODNR Division of Wildlife released the proposed 2016-2017 hunting season dates (except deer) to the public on their website at


On the 10th 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.  Few changes impacting deer hunting are being proposed for the 2016-2017 hunting season.  The most significant is the change to the two-day deer gun hunt during December.  They propose moving it to the middle of the week after Christmas, i.e. Wednesday and Thursday 28-29 December 2016.  With it no longer being on a weekend, there may be fewer hunters in the woods since many people would have to take off work to participate.  The use of antlerless permits and bag limits are proposed to be mostly unchanged.  See the ODNR chart for details by county. The statewide limit of 6 deer by hunting various counties and only one antlered deer would  still remain in effect.


Archery season is proposed to start on the 24th of September and continue through the 5th of February 2017.  Youth deer gun season is to be 19-20 November 2016.  The regular gun season is scheduled to be 28 Nov - 4 Dec 2016 with two extra days during 28 - 29 December 2016.  The statewide muzzleloader season is planned to start on the 14th of January and go through the 17th of January 2017.


The ODNR Division of Wildlife released the proposed deer hunting changes to the public on 11 February in a news release article on their website at   You are given an opportunity to comment on the proposals in person or in writing.  Open houses to receive public comments will be held on Saturday, March 5 at the ODNR Division of Wildlife District One, District Two, District Three and District Four offices and the Greene County Fish and Game Association clubhouse in Xenia. Directions to the open houses can be found at or by calling 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543). For Ohioans who are unable to attend an open house, comments will be accepted online at The online form will be available until Sunday, March 6.


A statewide hearing on all of the proposed rules will be held at the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s District One office on Thursday, March 17, at 9 a.m. The council is expected to vote on the proposed deer and turkey hunting rules and season dates during its meeting on Wednesday, April 13, after considering public input.


The new official hunting regulations, when finalized and published, will be available online from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  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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