Deer gun season: What’s new, how to be safe this year as it begins

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Jayme Emmert of ODNR said this season hunters can pursue small game during deer gun season

(WKBN) – Deer gun season opened Monday, Nov. 30 in Ohio, and the cold weather might help some hunters while others loath the snow.

“Deer do become more active in colder weather,” Jamey Emmert of ODNR said. “It does make, in some respects, a more active, more enjoyable hunt for hunters. You just have to dress warm.”

On top of dressing warm, hunters need to dress brightly, wearing blaze orange so that they are noticeable to other hunters to help prevent accidents.

“And for those of you who are out and about, enjoying a hike, and just going for a nice walk during deer gun season, it’s always a good idea to wear orange as well,” Emmert said. “In many parks, there are boundaries where hunters can go and where they can’t go and where pedestrians can go, but it’s still a good practice to wear some orange and just let hunters know you’re out there, too.”

Also, hunters should be careful climbing tree stands, especially as the temperatures drop and ice starts forming.

New this year, hunters can pursue small game during deer season and don’t need additional tags. Small game includes rabbits, pheasants and squirrels.

“We want to expand opportunities,” Emmert said. “A lot of hunters are gravitating toward archery season, early archery season, myself included. I’m a fair-weather hunter, and I like to hunt a little bit more comfortable for me, and not so cold and blustery.”

She said about 50% of the harvest comes from archery season, which wasn’t the norm as little as 15 years ago, so fewer hunters are pursuing deer during deer gun season.

“We determined that it would be safe for other hunters to be out and about pursuing other species as well as deer,” Emmert said.

Youth gun season recently ended. Emmert said they saw 6,000 deer harvested during the two-day season and an increase in youth gun permit sales.

“We were excited to see that there were a lot of youngsters taking advantage of the opportunity to get out and hunt when maybe they would otherwise be distracted with other things going on in their lives, Emmert said.

They’ve also created a new app for iPhones and Androids called HuntFish OH.

“It’s really terrific, we’re adding to it all the time, continuously improving it. We’re a little bit biased, but we’re pretty proud of it, so we encourage hunters to check it out,” Emmert said.

Deer gun season ends Dec. 6 with a bonus weekend Dec. 19 and 20. Archery season continues until Feb. 7 and deer muzzleloader season runs Jan. 2 to Jan. 5.

All of the rules and regulations can be found on the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website and the 2020-2021 regulations can be found here.

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