Ohio hunting embraces the sport like no other. For a lot of Ohians, hunting isn’t just a past time – but a
way of life that covers a vast array of values. In Ohio, hunting is a tradition that goes back generations, with a rich history and culture embedded in the very DNA of many citizens.
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Unfortunately, for a vast majority of the American public, “hunting” isn’t typically something that comes to mind when thinking about of Ohio – making the state’s vast and diverse scenery and wildlife incredibly underrated.
Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or just getting started, Ohio hunting offers some of the best opportunities for game in the country. In this blog post, we will provide you with all the information you need to know about hunting in Ohio, from the required licenses and costs to the best places to hunt and the state’s rich hunting history. Let’s get started!
When is the Ohio Hunting Season?
Ohio has specific hunting seasons depending on which game you’re going for. The Ohio hunting seasons generally follow a similar schedule each year, but specific dates may vary – and updates to the season can come at weeks’ notice. Make sure you stay up to date on the Ohio hunting news on their official website.
Here are the dates for the 2023 Ohio hunting season:
Archery: Sept 25 – Feb 6
Youth Gun: Nov 20 – Nov 21, Gun: Nov 29 – Dec 5
Muzzleloader: Jan 8 – Jan 11, and Jan 15 – Jan 18
Turkey: Fall Oct 9 – Nov 28, (Spring Apr 23 – May 22)
Duck and Goose: Oct 23 – Jan 30
Squirrel: Sept 1 – Jan 31
Rabbit: Nov 5 – Feb 28
Pheasant: Nov 5 – Jan 9
Quail: Nov 5 – Nov 28
Before partaking in the activities of Ohio hunting, you must first obtain a valid and updated hunting license. Fortunately, Ohio is one of the easier states to obtain a license – by emitting a lot of the painful and unnecessary paperwork and tag lotteries a significant amount of other states enforce.
We’ve collected the most frequently asked questions regarding Ohio hunting licenses below, please navigate to
Who needs an Ohio hunting license?
Anyone who wants to hunt in Ohio needs a hunting license, regardless of age or residency status. However, the state offers a variety of license options to suit different hunting needs and preferences.
How much is an Ohio Hunting License?
The price of a hunting license will vary wildly depending on your age, residence status and what kind of wildlife you’re pursuing.
Resident Hunting License: $19
Non-Resident Hunting License: $125
Resident Senior Hunting License: $10
Youth Hunting License: $10
Small Game Permit
What are the requirements for an Ohio hunting license?
To obtain a hunting license in Ohio, you must meet a few basic requirements. First, you must not have any previous hunting or trapping convictions or license revocations. Additionally, if you were born on or after January 1, 1975, you must complete a hunter education course before purchasing a hunting license.
How do you buy an Ohio hunting license?
Ohio offers several convenient options for purchasing hunting licenses. You can buy a license online through the Ohio Department of Natural Resources website or in person at a participating retailer, such as a hunting or sporting goods store.
You can also purchase a license by phone by calling the Ohio Wildlife Licensing System at 1-866-703-1928. Permits work the same way.
When can you buy an Ohio hunting license?
You can purchase an Ohio hunting license at any time throughout the year. However, it’s important to note that licenses are only valid during the specific hunting season for the species you’re hunting.
So, for example, if you want to hunt deer during the gun season, you must purchase a deer permit before the season begins. It’s also worth noting that licenses purchased online may take up to 10 business days to arrive by mail, so plan accordingly if you need your license before a specific hunting trip.
Where to Hunt
Ohio hunting allows a lot of lands to use, as it is one of the few states that allow you to not just hunt on beautiful public lands such as state parks and the like – but also offers a huge variety of private hunting lands as well through something called The Cooperative Private Land Access Program.
The Cooperative Private Land Access Program
The Cooperative Private Land Access Program (CPLAP) in Ohio is a partnership between the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and private landowners to provide hunting opportunities on private lands that would otherwise be inaccessible to the public.
The CPLAP is designed to increase the amount of available hunting land for Ohio residents while also providing landowners with incentives to manage their land for wildlife.
Under the CPLAP, private landowners can enroll their property in the program and receive compensation for allowing public hunting access on their land. Participating landowners are required to allow hunting on their property for at least two years, and they must agree to abide by certain rules and regulations related to hunting safety and wildlife management.
In exchange, the ODNR provides liability insurance coverage for the landowners and helps to coordinate public hunting opportunities on the enrolled properties.
To participate in the CPLAP, interested landowners can contact the ODNR’s Division of Wildlife to request an enrollment application. Applications are reviewed on a rolling basis, and enrollment is subject to approval based on a variety of factors, including the size and location of the property, its habitat quality, and the landowner’s commitment to wildlife conservation.
The CPLAP is a valuable program for both landowners and hunters in Ohio, as it provides new hunting opportunities while also promoting responsible land management and wildlife conservation on private lands.
Ohio also has a variety of public lands available for hunting, including state parks, wildlife areas, and forests. Ohio has some of the most little-known natural beauty in the country, and during fall you will see a sea of colorful forests, beautiful crystal-clear rivers, and an abundance of majestic wildlife. Below are some of our favorite hunting locations on the public lands of Ohio.
Wayne National Forest
Located in southeastern Ohio, Wayne National Forest covers over 240,000 acres and is known for its diverse habitats and abundant wildlife. Hunters can find deer, turkey, grouse, squirrel, and other game species in the forest, which is characterized by its rolling hills, forests, and streams.
Shawnee State Forest
Also located in southeastern Ohio, Shawnee State Forest is a popular hunting destination for its large population of white-tailed deer. The forest covers over 60,000 acres and features a mix of hardwood forests, fields, and streams.
Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area
This wildlife area in northeast Ohio is home to a variety of game species, including waterfowl, deer, turkey, and small game. The marsh is an important stopover for migrating waterfowl, and hunters can take advantage of the numerous hunting opportunities in the area.
Hocking Hills State Park
Known for its rugged terrain and stunning scenery, Hocking Hills State Park is also great for hunting for deer, turkey, and other game species. The park covers over 2,000 acres and is characterized by its deep gorges, waterfalls, and forests and is truly a pinnacle of the beauty that comes with Ohio hunting.
Salt Fork State Park
Located in eastern Ohio, Salt Fork State Park is the largest state park in Ohio and offers a range of hunting opportunities for deer, turkey, and small game. The park features a mix of forests, fields, and wetlands, providing a diverse range of habitats for wildlife.
Zaleski State Forest
Located in southeastern Ohio, Zaleski State Forest covers over 28,000 acres and is known for its large population of wild turkey. The forest features a mix of hardwood, pine forests, and numerous streams and lakes.
Maumee Bay State Park
This park is situated along the shores of Lake Erie and offers a unique hunting experience for waterfowl, deer, and small game. The park is characterized by its wetlands, marshes, and sand dunes, and is an important stopover for migrating waterfowl.
Ohio Hunting Goes Back Millenias
Hunting has a long and rich history in Ohio, dating back thousands of years to the time of the region’s earliest inhabitants.
The native people of Ohio, including the Adena and Hopewell cultures, were skilled hunters who relied on the land’s abundant wildlife for food, clothing, and tools. These early hunters stalked a variety of game, including deer, elk, bison, and small game such as rabbit and squirrel.
As European settlers began to colonize Ohio in the 18th and 19th centuries, hunting remained an important part of life for many Ohioans, but by the mid-1800s, unregulated hunting and habitat loss had caused many of Ohio’s game species to become scarce or disappear altogether.
In response, Ohio began to establish laws and regulations to protect its wildlife, including the first game laws in 1852.
Over time, Ohio’s wildlife populations began to rebound, and hunting once again became a popular pastime for many residents. Today, Ohio offers a wide range of hunting opportunities, from deer and turkey hunting to small game and waterfowl hunting in a safe, ethical and controlled enviornment.
The Loveland Frog
The Loveland Frog is a legendary creature that is said to inhabit the banks of the Little Miami River in southwestern Ohio. The creature is described as a humanoid frog that stands on two legs and has a distinctive, leathery skin. According to legend, the Loveland Frog was first sighted in 1955 by a businessman who was driving near Loveland, Ohio.
The businessman claimed that he saw three bipedal, frog-like creatures standing upright by the side of the road. He described the creatures as being around three to four feet tall and having a distinctly frog-like appearance, complete with webbed feet and a snout-like nose. The creatures allegedly had leathery skin and a texture similar to that of a lizard.
Over the years there have supposedly been many sightings of the Loveland Frog, and some have even claimed to have captured the creature on film. However, there has been no conclusive evidence to support the existence of the Loveland Frog, and one might even believe that the creature is nothing more than a local legend.
Despite this, the story of the Loveland Frog remains a popular topic among Ohioans and folklore enthusiasts. The legend has even spawned several books and documentaries, as well as countless online discussions and debates.
While the truth behind the Loveland Frog may never be known, its legend continues to capture the imaginations of Ohioans and hunters alike. Whether or not the creature actually exists, the story of the Loveland Frog is a fascinating reminder of the rich folklore and traditions that make Ohio such a unique and captivating place.
Maybe you get to spot the Loveland Frog on your next hunting adventure? (I hope not)
Why Ohio Hunting
Ohio is a state rich in hunting opportunities and history. From its early native inhabitants to modern-day trappers, Ohio has long been a destination for those seeking to experience the thrill of the hunt.
With a wide variety of game species, affordable hunting licenses, and public land access programs like the Cooperative Private Land Access Program, Ohio hunting offers something for any man or woman ready to brave it’s gorgeous nature.
Ohio hunting traditions and practices have evolved over time, from unregulated hunting and habitat loss to today’s responsible and sustainable hunting practices. By embracing these practices and working to conserve its wildlife and habitats, the Ohio hunting heritage will continue to thrive for generations to come.
Whether you’re a seasoned hunter or just starting out, Ohio is an excellent place to pursue the sport. With its rich history, diverse landscapes, and abundant wildlife, Ohio offers a truly unforgettable hunting experience. So grab your gear, get your license, and head out into the great outdoors to discover all that Ohio has to offer for hunter!
Looking for information on hunting in other states? Check out our other state guides here.