Ohio Deer Population:  About 680,000 deer in 2020, 670,000 in 2019, 660,000 in 2018 and 670,000 deer in 2017, nearly stable to modestly increasing in 2018 to 2020.  An estimated 660,000 deer in 2015, up from about 640,000 in 2014.  Hunting data indicates little change in 2016, a modest increase in 2017, down in 2018, but higher in 2019 and 2020.  The state has been trying to slowly increase the population.  Estimated at about 725,000 prior to the hunting season in 2013 and 2012.  A recent peak population of about 800,000 deer in the early 2000s.  Herd analysis at right.   Historical Ohio deer hunting data and news archive.

Ohio Deer News
... Comments will be accepted through Sunday, March 14 ... One regulation proposal would allow antlerless white-tailed deer to be taken from all public hunting areas from Sept. 25, 2021, to Feb. 6, 2022, provided that a hunter takes only one antlerless deer from these lands per license year...

... In past committee meetings, it was decided that the city would take a holistic approach to thinning the deer population... would include, in addition to utilizing sharpshooters, awaiting funding to use a sterilization method being championed by Cuyahoga County Councilwoman and South Euclid resident Sunny Simon...

... Tonkovich said the need to get whitetail numbers close to county population targets is behind a proposal that would expand the use of discounted deer-management permits on private land to all 88 Ohio counties ..,

... It was back in 2004 that Butera took in the three-day-old blind, dying fawn after her mother refused her.  Dillie went on to live in Butera’s home and become part of the family, even getting a bedroom of her own...

... Ohio Division of Wildlife ... say there were more deer out there this just-ended hunting season..,
      Great numbers recorded during deer season February 15, 2021 Ohio, Morrow County Sentinel
... Deer populations in Ohio have shown increased growth over the last several years. Expanding the use of deer management permits statewide on private lands helps keep populations near targeted numbers while also maintaining a healthy and robust deer population on public lands..,

...about a 7.2% bump. The average take during the past three years has been 180,921 ... A chunk of the increase in the deer kill is reflected in hunting license and permit sales in Ohio, Tonkovich noted.  As of mid-December, license sales were up about 5% from the previous year, while the sale of deer permits increased by about 4%..,

... Snow makes deer move more, making it easier to track.  Officials have also changed some tag limit regulations, and more hunters were out for gun and archery season... the number of hunters from last season to this season is up ..,

... “We are pleased to see an increased number of deer taken this season as Ohio’s hunters spent more time in the woods during the fall and winter,” ..,

... hunting seasons concluded Sunday, Feb. 7, 2021 with 197,735 deer harvested, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife. That total is the highest since 218,910 deer were taken during the 2012-2013 hunting season... hunters harvested 80,003 bucks, accounting for 40% of the total harvest. Does represented 48% of the harvest with 94,771 taken, while 19,629 button bucks were taken, for 10%. Bucks with shed antlers and bucks with antlers less than 3 inches long accounted for 3,332 deer, or 2% of the harvest..,

CWD, White-tailed deer in Ohio tests positive for wildlife disease December 15, 2020 Ohio, The Columbus Dispatch 
...  identified chronic wasting disease, CWD, in a tissue sample from a wild white-tailed deer in Wyandot County ...  this is the first time ODNR has recorded CWD in a wild deer, since the agency began routine surveillance and testing in 2002..,

... The state deer total for firearms and archery through Tuesday stood at 157,194, which is 9,285 more, an increase of 6.3 percent, than the 147,909 checked a year ago at the same point in the season...

... United States Department of Agriculture sharpshooters were in town ... culling deer ... the USDA counted 280 deer living in the city, or about 54.4 per square mile...

Deer totals up in county December 8, 2020 Ohio, Morning Journal News
... Deer hunting in Ohio has come a long way since the first gun season in 1943, when only three counties were open for hunting and 158 deer were taken. Today, deer hunting occurs in all 88 counties and an estimated 310,000 hunters participated during Ohio’s weeklong deer-gun season..

Ohio’s deer population is ‘just right’ December 3, 2020 Farm and Dairy
...   Deer had pretty much disappeared from Ohio by the early 1900s... A huge effort was made starting in the early 1930s to bring deer back by means of trapping and transferring,  ... the Division of Wildlife estimates that the herd grew by 80% from 1998 to 2008... Ohio’s deer population has been allowed to build the last few years and has probably stabilized ..,

... The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife is encouraging white-tailed deer hunters in Lucas, Fulton, and Williams counties in northwest Ohio to submit samples of harvested deer to be tested for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD)...

... rather than sharpshooters or bow hunters — to control the suburb’s deer population... Simon told the committee, the method could save the city money by providing a long-term solution rather than repeatedly spending money on sharpshooters...

ODNR sees spike in hunters as deer-gun season opens November 30, 2020 Ohio, Times Recorder 
... deer permit sales have increased by 3 percent in 2020 compared to the same time last year (245,739 permits in 2020; 238,552 permits in 2019)... The statewide limit is six deer, and only one can be antlered..,

Big bucks to be had in the Buckeye State November 28, 2020 Ohio, The Courier
... From the early 1970s statewide deer population of fewer than 50,000 animals to today’s number that’s more than 10 times that figure ... Early laws were designed to protect antlerless deer, which puts more pressure on the remaining bucks. The goal was to allow the deer population to grow..,

Hunters preparing for deer gun season in Ohio November 22, 2020 Ohio, The Columbus Dispatch 
...  wildlife division revenues.  Hunting licenses in 2019 generated some $10.8 million, about 15 percent of the $72.6 million total, and deer permits accounted for some $8.8 million, about 12 percent... federal dollars, some $23.8 million, or about 33 percent ...

... $58,000 price tag and the contractor, Precision Wildlife Management LTD, run by retired Shaker Police Lt. James Mariano ... the state limit set at 40 deer... Cleveland Food Bank will not accept “venison-certified” meat without full USDA approval ...

Chronic Wasting Disease, Hunters asked to help keep Ohio's deer healthy October 22, 2020 Ohio, WFMJ
... To help protect Ohio's deer herd from CWD, hunters should properly dispose of their deer carcasses by double-bagging all high-risk parts (brain, spinal cord, eyes, and lymphoid tissue) ... To minimize the risk of spreading CWD, hunters planning to hunt outside of Ohio are reminded to follow carcass regulations prior to returning...

... 19,375 deer-related crashes were reported on Ohio roadways in 2019, according to the stats from the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSHP).  Almost half, 46%, of those crashes happened in October, November, and December ...

Highland Heights enters into agreement with USDA for culling up to 100 deer, infrared count October 15, 2020 Ohio, Cleveland.com
... City Council unanimously approved Tuesday (Oct. 13) legislation that will allow for an infrared deer count and culling in the coming months... an infrared count nearly a year ago and found that there were approximately 286 deer in Highland Heights, for an extremely high average of 55 per square mile...

Ohio 2020 Acorn Mast Survey Results October 8, 2020 Ohio Division of Wildlife
... The 16th annual mast survey was completed on 38 wildlife areas. An average of 26.7% of white oaks and 69.8% of red oaks bore fruit this year ... Numerous studies have linked the abundance of mast crops to body condition, winter survival, and reproductive success of white-tailed deer ...

South Euclid council approves culling deer with sharpshooters September 30, 2020 Ohio, cleveland.com
... a 7-0 vote ... to enter into an agreement with the USDA’s wildlife division for the culling program ...survey showed that 32.7 percent of respondents strongly favored using lethal means ... 48.8 percent favored using non-lethal means, such as sterilization or contraceptives, as compared to lethal means...

... “I do think we’ll see about 190,000 deer taken this year,” he said. “Most of the increase will come in the antlerless harvest because of changes in the regulations.”  biologist Mike Tonkovich, the deer project administrator for the Ohio Division of Wildlife..,

... Lyndhurst has not had a deer count conducted since 2014 ...  it was extremely inaccurate and (Lyndhurst) mayor (Joseph) Cicero, at the time, was very dissatisfied with the validity of the count.” ... Lyndhurst is considering using USDA sharpshooters ...

South Euclid expected to use USDA sharpshooters to cull deer, but also look to sterilization September 15, 2020 Ohio, The Plain Dealer Cleveland
... about 28 deer per square mile in South Euclid ... [well withing the deer density capacity for a suburban area] ... the city’s council is in agreement that deer will again be culled early next year after another infrared count ... Councilwoman Sunny Simon favors sterilization as a means of more effectively limiting deer population...

ODNR continues to work on Chronic Wasting Disease prevention September 14, 2020 Ohio, Wooster Daily Record
... Latest pen with CWD positive is depopulated ...  the five-year ban on what the landowners could do with the property expired, and in a proactive move, The Division of Wildlife stepped up to make sure no wild deer would be stepping on the site... there are still (CWD) prions on the land ...

Highland Heights planning another infrared deer count, second round of culling September 11, 2020 Ohio, cleveland.com
... On Nov. 25, 2019, the USDA conducted a deer count in Highland Heights and found that the city, at 5.2 square miles, held 280 deer -- or 54.4 deer per square mile. The average per square mile was considered quite high, as the optimum number of deer in a city per square mile is thought to be 15 to 20. [This article links to a page on this website which shows that the optimum number of deer is NOT 15 to 20, that a suburb can support over 100 deer per square mile and some communities are targeting 50 deer per square mile.] ...

Richmond Heights’ deer population problem could cost up to $200,000 to solve September 2, 2020 Ohio, The Plain Dealer Cleveland 
... DeNicola said that many Richmond Heights deer could easily be culled through lethal means in more wide open spaces ... The deer that live near homes would require a trap-and-euthanize method, which is more costly than shooting deer. Such means of culling would also take place in view of many residents, which DeNicola said can be disturbing to some...

... Police said the fawns were tired but happy, you can hear them let out a “deer cheer” of appreciation after being rescued. [video in story] ...

... if your issue is flowers in a neighborhood, it makes no sense to wipe out a family of deer and have 50 more come in. ... DeNicola told of how contraception or sterilization can be expensive, at a cost of about $1,000 per deer, but that it can be a more effective way of reducing the number of deer within a community...

...last October, when a survey of residents showed ... contraception or sterilization, 48.8 percent were in support...  through bow hunting, perhaps 20 percent of the deer can be captured, but that through the dart/surgical method he described, he can capture 100 percent of the city’s deer. “I can sterilize all of the females ...

... Those found guilty of an offense would be charged with a fourth-degree misdemeanor for the first offense, and a first-degree misdemeanor for subsequent offenses. A fourth-degree misdemeanor is punishable by up to 30 days in jail, and a first-degree misdemeanor carries a jail sentence of as many as 180 days ...

... Continenza said, hunting, as the least expensive alternative of three -- including using sharpshooters and sterilization -- will be examined more closely... count found that South Euclid had 130 deer or more living within its borders, or about 28 per square mile...

...  An infrared count ... about 28 per square mile ... If asked to choose between using lethal or non-lethal means to control the deer population, 62.4 percent would stated they would choose non-lethal methods, compared to 37.7 percent favoring lethal means...

  Kayakers find deer swimming in Lake Erie, steer it to safety May 27, 2020 Ohio, FOX8 Cleveland
... the deer kept swimming north, out farther into the lake...  they were able to get the deer closer to the beach. Eventually, it got back on land ...

... third case of Chronic Wasting Disease in a captive breeding facility ... a 6-year-old female mule deer that had been purchased from out of state ...  "Depopulation is pending the indemnity plan approval.” ...

Trapped Fawn Saved By Westlake Police May 26, 2020 Ohio, Patch
... found the fawn wedged between fences. The fawn's mother was stomping nearby ...The officer had to get a breaching tool to free the fawn ...

... ODA investigators found a doe with CWD in a herd on the farm ... CDW has never been found in Ohio’s wild deer herd population, according to ODA...

... The statewide deer bag limit remains at six deer, only one of which may be antlered, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit...

USDA count of deer in South Euclid stands between 130-167  March 12, 2020 Ohio, Cleveland.com
... estimates that there are between 130 and 167 deer in the city.  Two USDA deer counters each used hand-held thermal imagers while driving down each city street between 6 and 9:50 p.m. on the day of the survey. During that time, 130 deer were actually seen...

Group believes Ohio has foundation to bring elk back February 29, 2020 Ohio, Toledo Blade
... after European settlement in America and eventually Ohio, overhunting and habitat loss caused the elk to disappear from Ohio by 1838.” ... we’ve seen healthy elk herds established in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky ...

Deer proposals would offer changes in 42 counties February 28, 2020 Ohio, The Lima News
... While some counties will move to three-deer counties and others will drop to two-deer counties, there are three counties (Clinton, Fayette and Pickaway) that have a one-deer limit. Metropolitan areas continue to have a four-deer limit...

Lyndhurst, A look inside Lyndhurst's deer culling program February 28, 2020 Ohio, WKYC-TV Cleveland
... For the first three years of their program, deer were trapped and euthanized by an outside entity. Success was limited ... "This year we transitioned to sharpshooters, our own personnel, on public lands," ... He knows some don't agree with killing the deer ...

Deer limit reduction in Delaware County raises eyebrows February 23, 2020 Ohio, Columbus Dispatch
... the division proposed reducing the 2020-21 season deer limit in Delaware County from four to three... . “The growth is mostly in the southern one-third of the county, and the reality is that in the northern two-thirds of the county hunters have done a pretty good job reducing the deer herd.” ..,

Deer culling discussion migrates into Mayfield Village February 19, 2020 Ohio, Cleveland.com
... “We don’t really have that big of a problem, not the same problem Highland Heights has,” Bodnar said. “And the areas that seem to be experiencing the problem are not appropriate for sharpshooting.”  The Highland Heights culling program, which is to be carried out by USDA sharpshooters, will only take place on public property...

Ohio Data:   Based on harvest and other data, about 680,000 deer in 2020, 670,000 in 2019 and 660,000 in 2018.  The state has not issued a recent population estimate.  About  670,000 deer in 2017 up from about 640,000 in 2016, 660,000 deer in 2015, and 640,000 in 2014. About stable to moderately increasing in 2019 and 2020.  Population numbers are estimated from harvest data, deer-vehicle collisions and comments from ODNR about population trends.  Regulation changes and more hunters as a result of the pandemic contributed to a 7% increase in the deer kill for 2020.  An increased kill of antlerless deer proposed for 2021 to reduce the population.  
     Hunting regulations prior to 2018-19 were designed to allow for moderate herd growth given the downward trend since 2009-10.  A decline in the 2018 deer hunt was partially attributed to weather and restrictions on public land. A stable trend for the population in 2016 and stable to a slight increase for 2017 and 2018. The ODNR population goal from 2014 to 2016 was to restrict hunting to allow the population to increase. In 2017 restrictions were eased to moderate growth, but below average acorn production down in 2017 so less food for deer.    To boost the population there was a significant reduction in antlerless permits and reduced deer limits, contributing to the decline in the 2016 hunt results.  
     About 20 deer per square mile in 2016. The hunting limit in 2016 was six deer total, one buck.  A lower than average mast crop, early harvest of farm crops, and good weather contributed to the increase in the 2015 deer kill. Ohio issued fewer deer permits in 2015 and 2014 as hunters complained that deer have been over harvested.  A 2018 survey put the hunter success rate at about 34 percent for private land hunters and 14 percent for public land hunters.
     The Ohio deer population was estimated at 700,000 to 750,000 prior to the hunting season in 2013 and 2012.  Another estimate of 700,000 to 750,000 in 2011.  About 515,000 resident deer hunters.  Although ODNR no longer makes a formal estimate, they agree that the deer population declined into 2014 as a result of a hard winter, following a general decline since about 2008.  Coyote predation is also becoming an issue.  About 800,000 deer in 2001. Hunters requested reduced bag limits after the Ohio deer harvest fell by 12.5% in 2013.   The eastern and southeastern forests have matured, reducing deer habitat.  Read the ODNR analysis of deer trends.  About 25,000 captive white-tail deer in over 500 deer breeding farms, 2016.
     Population estimates:   The Division of Wildlife estimates that the herd grew by 80% from 1998 to 2008.   Population estimates:  1940: 2,000.    1950: 12,748.   1960: 8,000.    1968:  22,000.   1965:  17,000.  A peak of 750,000 in early 2000s.
     Peak of the rut is November 11 to November 17.  Protection of white deer:  Since 1987, when there was a public uproar over a white deer being killed, a deer more than 50 percent white cannot be legally harvested.  10,000 years ago reindeer/caribou lived in what became Ohio.
      Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD).  The state has been testing for CWD since 2002, the first positive case discovered in a Holmes County hunting preserve in 2014.  When the owner violated a quarantine order by moving deer from the facility, ODA ordered that all 300 deer should be destroyed.  A second deer from the hunting preserve, Wold Class Whitetails, tested positive in March, 2015.   A buck tested positive on a hunting preserve in 2017.  In 2019, the first case of CWD in a wild deer taken in Wyandot County.
      Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease (EHD).   Confirmed in August, 2017, in a wild whitetail buck from Lorain County and spreading with intensity to Middleburg and Berea.  Previous outbreak in 2012.  
      History.  White-tail deer were plentiful when Ohio became a state in 1803, but were nearly wiped out by 1904 as a result of uncontrolled hunting and clearing of forests for farmland.  In 1857 Ohio’s government set a season lasting about a month, but without bag limits. Deer were declared extinct in 1909. From 1897 until 1942, there was no deer season in Ohio.  Restocking efforts in the 1920s and 1930s brought deer back to 28 counties by 1937. Hunting resumed in 1943 when 164 bucks were killed.  The deer population was estimated at 17,000 in the early 1970's. By the early 1990's, the herd was thought to be too large so hunting limits were increased, resulting in "fewer deer than we thought" by 1997 when hunting limits were reduced. The herd expanded into the early 2000's reaching about 750,000.  One estimate puts the peak population at 800,000 in 2006. Restrictions were lifted again beginning in 2007, the population has been declining since.  Population estimated at 650,000 in 2005, down from 700,000 in 2004. In 2014 the state moved to a more. county based management.  Around 1980, shotgun hunters took about 90 percent of the deer.  In 2014 about half were taken by bow hunters, including crossbows. 

     Elk  The last Elk in Ohio was reportedly killed in 1840 in Ashtabula County.
     Coyotes first arrived in 1919.
     Bobcats a small breeding population mostly in the southeast.

Other useful links: 
SolonDeer: information about deer management in the city of Solon
AvonLakeDeer.com: information about deer management in the city of Avon Lake
- An Update on the Status of Ohio's Deer Herd
Ohio Department of Natural Resources
Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves
Ohio Division of Wildlife

Ohio Deer Management Strategy: " The goal of Ohio's deer program is to provide a deer population that maximizes recreational opportunity including viewing, photographing, and hunting while minimizing conflicts with agriculture, motor travel, and other areas of human endeavor. This has been our goal for over 40 years."