Ohio Deer Population:  About 740,000 deer in 2023 based on hunting data with one reported estimate of over 800,000.  About 680,000 deer in 2021 and 2020. 670,000 in 2019, 660,000 in 2018, and 670,000 deer in 2017.  Nearly stable to modestly increasing in 2018 to 2021.  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 20..19 and 2020.  The state had been trying to slowly increase the population into 2020 and decrease in 2021.  Estimated at about 725,000 prior to the hunting season in 2013 and 2012.  A recent peak population of about 750,000 to 800,000 deer in 2006 and early 2000s.  

Ohio Deer News

Mill Creek Metroparks Deer survey results available June 12, 2024 Ohio, WFMJ.com

... the 2024 Infrared Deer Survey results are now available here.  Thermal Signare data shows that the average number of deer per sq.mile within park boundaries is 187 for all parks and an additional 137 within the 300-400 buffer zone near the park...

A chronic pain for whitetails June 7, 2024 Ohio, Farm and Dairy

... In December 2020, Ohio confirmed its first chronic wasting disease positive wild deer in Wyandot County ... Since that first positive, 49 wild deer in Ohio have been identified as having CWD, all in Allen, Hardin, Marion and Wyandot counties... During the 2023-24 season, 2,734 deer were tested and positive samples were found in Allen (1), Hardin (1), Marion (4) and Wyandot (21) counties..,

State provides update on deer disease May 14, 2024 Ohio, Sandusky Register

... In 2023 and 2024, 27 deer were found to be chronic wasting disease-positive, including one out of 923 tested in Hardin County, four of 618 in Marion County, 21 of 1,193 in Wyandot County and one out of the 73 tested in Allen County ..,

Mill Creek, Judge affirms deer-kill program in Mill Creek MetroParks May 7, 2024 Ohio, The Vindicator

... The deer group has argued that MetroParks did not have the legal authority to carry out its deer reduction plan, which resulted in 204 deer being killed and removed from the MetroParks from Oct. 1, 2023, to late January. The MetroParks has said it expects to resume the reductions this fall...

Mill Creek, Deer rights group gets win in ongoing lawsuit against Mill Creek Mill Creek board May 5, 2024 Ohio, WFMJ

... Judge Jon Campbell, whose been appointed to oversee this case, notified board members of the park that they need to address 11 complaints raised by the deer rights group.  Chief among them is the accusation that the board failed to exercise due diligence in the performance of their duties to the public...

Mill Creek, Deer group files formal complaint April 13, 2024 Ohio, The Vindicator

...  filing that resulted lists several ways in which the deer supporters believe the commissioners failed in their duties. One is allegedly ignoring an earlier petition ...  the group has “raised reasonable concerns about hunting activities near their homes, and (the) commissioners refused to modify or adopt basic safety measures ...

Ohio's 2024-25 Hunting and Trapping Seasons Approved April 12, 2024 Ohio Department of Natural Resources

     The 2024-25 deer hunting seasons are similar to last year. As in years past, only one antlered deer may be harvested, regardless of where or how it is taken...

Open Season: Taxidermist and Deer Processor Defeats Government Intrusion April 1, 2024 Ohio, AgWeb

... When Jeremy Bennett denied wildlife officers entry to his private business for a warrantless inspection, he was prosecuted...  Bennett, backed by IJ, filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court ...ODNR ... changed the regulation ... also agreed to pay Bennett $5,000 for his prior legal expenses ...

Mill Creek, Magistrate rules Mill Creek deer reduction program can survive March 27, 2024 Ohio,  The Vindicator

... Butler found that Ohio law grants the park district the responsibility for the “preservation of good order within and adjacent to parks” ... “there has been no evidence presented that disputes the ecological impact on the park” of having a high number of deer...

     The deer divide at Mill Creek MetroParks March 3, 2024 Ohio, The Vindicator

... “I have never witnessed more than three or four deer at a time, and I’ve walked my dogs often both north and south.” [ veterinarian Donald Allen] ... instead of focusing on the golf courses, “Return that land to nature and stop poisoning the soil to create pristine grass. Stop killing the beavers, river otters, deer, Canada geese and other creatures in the park...

Ohio's 2024-25 hunting seasons proposed to Wildlife Council February 15, 2024 The Highland County Press

... Bag limit increases from two to three deer were proposed in six counties: Butler, Clinton, Fayette, Greene, Madison and Pickaway. Deer bag limit increases are designed to slow herd growth and increase hunting opportunities. A proposed bag limit map is available at wildohio.gov...

Ohio Police Officers Work Together to Save Deer Tangled in Outdoor Hammock February 9, 2024 People on MSN

... Ohio's New Philadelphia Police Department shared a video to their Facebook page of ... working together to help a deer free its antlers from a hammock made of thick ropes....

Mill Creek, Group wants park board recalled over deer culling February 6, 2024 Ohio, WKBN.com

... “We had deer with arrows stuck in their shoulders and their being walking around people’s homes, around the golf course. We have hunters walking through people’s backyards,” said Chris Flak, with the Save the Deer group.

     Youtube Video:  "Save or Mill Creek Park Deer" group back in court.  - February 5, 2024

213,928 deer checked during Ohio’s hunting season makes it busiest in 11 years; Use of bows on the rise February 6, 2024 Ohio, Cleveland.com on MSN

... For the first time, the number of deer taken by bow exceeeded 100,000 ... The number of does killed totaled 99,584, followed by antlered bucks at 92.051, button bucks, which are male fawns, at 18,973, and bucks with shed antlers or antlers less than three inches at 3,320...

South Euclid, How have sharpshooters and deer sterilization reduced car accidents in South Euclid? February 2, 2024 Ohio, Cleveland.com

... While it is cheaper to shoot deer ($200-$400 per deer) than it is to sterilize them (between $500 to $1,500), there are some good reasons for using both programs. For one, some people enjoy seeing deer around their neighborhood and do not like the idea of people shooting them, Mays said. It’s also not practical or safe to always shoot deer ...  In the three years South Euclid ...traffic accidents involving deer in the city have decreased 60%   ...

Clifton, Doe, A Deer, A (Sterilized) Female Deer February 2, 2024 Ohio, Interlochen Public Radio

... They sterilized deer number 96 while I was there. And Clifton’s deer population has gone down by about 40 percent, which they consider a success.  Plus, the whole thing costs a lot less now, partially because there’s only a handful of does to target each year...

Mill Creek, Low flying plane conducting another deer survey in Mill Creek MetroParks January 23, 2024 Ohio, WFMJ.com

... The company uses infrared technology that captures 15 frames per second. Then, deer are tracked manually, meaning no AI is involved in counting the deer. The accuracy is about 85%, the most accurate out of all other forms of population tracking. Holthouse ensures the count is fairly accurate...

CWD, Area holding fatal deer disorder in Ohio has been expanding January 21, 2024 Ohio, Yahoo! Sports

... Infected deer in Ohio were first identified in 2014 at a fenced facility. Two additional outbreaks occurred later among captive deer, although no leakage was detected into the local wild population... CWD showed up in a mature wild buck in late 2020 not far from Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area in Wyandot County. A doe taken from the same general area in January 2021 also proved infected... 16 new positives in 2023..,

Wild animals used to call Ohio home January 10, 2024 Sentinel Tribune

...  Prior to English settlement Ohio had 24 million acres of forest. With the rapid loss of forests and uncontrolled hunting, wild turkey and white-tailed deer in the year 1909 were declared extinct in the State of Ohio ...  Ohio’s white-tailed deer herd is approaching the three quarter of a million mark..,

Court to rule whether potentially record-setting Ohio deer antlers were taken illegally January 7, 2024 Ohio, Columbus Dispatch

... Alexander speculated before the legal problems that the rack might fetch $100,000 or more ...the deer had been known for a number of years in Wilmington and often frequented a cemetery ...

North Olmsted marksmen prepare for deer culling in wooded areas January 3, 2024 Ohio, Yahoo News

... The city has been culling deer in the same manner since at least 2016 ... Some residents are concerned about the proximity of the shooting to homes ...  I want deer in our back yard. We used to see one a day...

Ohio hunters kill fewer deer this year during 2023 gun season December 5, 2023 Ohio, Columbus Dispatch

... hunters harvested 70,118 deer − down from 71,931 deer killed last year during the seven-day season.  The state's three-year average for deer killed during the seven-day gun season is 71,322..,

Hunting with guns started Saturday in MetroParks; deer-density debate continues December 5, 2023 Ohio, The Vindicator

...Derico [ natural resources manager for the Mill Creek MetroParks] said the most recent survey method employed in the MetroParks was in July when trail cameras were used. The results were an estimated deer density of 125 deer per square mile.  In the spring, MetroParks officials said using aerial, nighttime thermal imaging technology indicated that the number of deer in the MetroParks was 387 per square mile...

Chronic wasting disease confirmed in a deer killed in Allen County December 1, 2023 Ohio, hometownstations

... One deer killed in Jackson Township in Allen County was confirmed to have the fatal disease ..,

CWD testing continues in Ohio surveillance area November 29, 2023 Farm and Dairy

... The Division of Wildlife confirmed that six deer in the disease surveillance area have tested positive for CWD since the summer of 2023, including one in Hardin County, the county’s first. Since the fall of 2020, 28 wild deer have tested positive ..,

Ohio's Weeklong Deer Gun Hunting Season is Under Way November 28, 2023 WCSM Radio

... Ohio hunters checked 19,359 white-tailed deer during the opening day of gun hunting season ...  In 2022, hunters took 17,197 deer on opening day ... Residents and nonresidents have purchased a combined 349,313 deer permits this year..,

Ohio's gun hunt season could be exceptional due to 'no shortage of deer' November 26, 2023 The Columbus Dispatch

...  Under better than average weather conditions,” Tonkovich said, “that being slight snow and cold, I would expect a gun season harvest like we have not seen in years.” ... a late start to the archery season, fewer hunters, dwindling access to hunting terrain and a bias toward taking antlered whitetails..,

Mill Creek, Judge upholds decision to deny stopping controlled deer hunt November 20, 2023 Ohio, WKBN Youngstown

... Mahoning County Common Pleas Judge Anthony Donofrio upheld a magistrate’s decision to deny a preliminary injunction that would have stopped the controlled hunting of deer within Mill Creek MetroParks. The hunt will continue for now...

Ohio deer gun hunting season to begin November 20, 2023 Ohio, WDTN

... Bag limits have changed in seven counties with limits increasing to three deer in Belmont, Gallia, Geauga, Harrison, Jefferson and Monroe counties and decreasing to two in Butler County.  As in the past, only one antlered deer may be harvested regardless of where or how it is taken..,

Fish and Wildlife Recreation Contributes Billions to Ohio's Economy November 20, 2023  Scioto Post

... Hunters generated $1.9 billion in spending last year and supported 12,000 jobs. Each of the state’s 500,000 hunters spent an average of $3,500. Approximately 5% of Ohioans older than 18 hunt. White-tailed deer were the most popular game species, with 91% of hunters taking part. Firearms were used by 83% of hunters, a bow by 72%, and many used both...

AAA reminds drivers to stay alert as Ohio reaches peak season for deer crashes November 13, 2023 Ohio, WFMJ.com

... statistics from OSP show that since 2018, there were 104,328 deer-related crashes in Ohio... 47% of those crashes occurred between the months of October and December each year...

Local company uses drones to help hunters recover deer November 9, 2023 Ohio, WKBN Youngstown

...  Deer Drone Recovery is an eye in the sky, helping hunters. It is illegal for hunters to use this for a deer hunt. The service is only to aid in recovery... It has thermal imaging, plus a 200-time zoom on its camera...

Medina, Voters approve bow hunting within Medina city limits November 8, 2023 Ohio, FOX 8 News

... In Tuesday’s election, 5,552 residents (58%) voted in favor of the ordinance and 4,006 residents (42%) voted against it ... the ordinance 

Mill Creek, Arguments resume in lawsuit aimed at stopping deer harvest November 7, 2023 Ohio, The Vindicator

... the plaintiffs are not challenging ODNR’s authority to carry out the deer reduction program; it is challenging the park district’s authority.  It states that the magistrate’s ruling cites “deer cases” such as one involving the Cleveland Metropark in her decision, but that case involves the ODNR’s authority to authorize a deer reduction program, not a park district’s authority...

   Mill Creek , Verbal attacks on Malloy a new low November 5, 2023 Ohio, The Vindicator

... he is a well-known hunter ... Hunting is supposed to be a challenge, not walk into a zoo, put food down and start shooting. That is exactly what Mill Creek’s Aaron Young and Nick Derico are having hunters do...

Arrows. Bloody sidewalk. Worthington deer poaching incident prompts Ohio investigation November 4, 2023 Ohio, AOL

... Facebook post with pictures, an apparent case of suburban deer poaching along a quiet Worthington street.  ... No Columbus suburbs allow hunting within their city limits. Gahanna ended a controlled hunting policy in 2019 following an incident where an animal was shot but not immediately killed in front of a crowd of people...

Survey shows good acorn production in 2023 November 1, 2023 Ohio,  Farm and Dairy

... The 2023 survey of acorn abundance on select Ohio wildlife areas shows an average of 40% of white oaks and 54% of red oaks bore fruit, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife. The long-term average for white oak production is 37%, and 54% for red oaks... acorn abundance has been linked to body condition, winter survival and reproductive success ..,

Ohio Data:  About 680,000 deer in 2021 and 2020, 670,000 in 2019 and 660,000 in 2018.   The 2022 hunt total was 2.2% above 2021 and 2023 was 1.4% above 2022.  Good acorn production in 2023 will improve winter survival and reproduction success.   A news report in early 2023 of 680,000 although the hunting data indicates an increase in 2022 with another 2023 press report of 800,000 deer.  For 2023, proposed deer hunting limits were increased in six counties and deceased in one, but the antlerless quota was kept at one per hunter.

The state has not issued a recent population estimate, but comments to the press give a rough estimate of between 600,000 to 750,000 in 2021 with one reported estimate of 680,000 near the end of the year and a couple of reports at 700,000.

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 was proposed for 2021 to reduce the population.   Better hunting  weather in 2021 compared to 2020 increased the deer kill.  A stable to moderately increasing deer population in 2019 and 2020, increasing in 2021 and 2022.


About 670,000 deer in 2019 and 660,000 in 2018.  Population numbers are estimated from hunting data, deer-vehicle collisions and comments from ODNR about population trends [sources].  Deer license sales fell by 35% from 2007 to 2021.

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.   A 2018 survey put the hunter success rate at about 34 percent for private land hunters and 14 percent for public land hunters.

About  670,000 deer in 2017 up from about 640,000 in 2016, 660,000 deer in 2015, and 640,000 in 2014.  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.   About 25,000 captive white-tail deer in over 500 deer breeding farms, 2016.

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 mid-2011 and 750,000 in October.  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.  Hunters requested reduced bag limits after the Ohio deer harvest fell by 12.5% in 2013.

A population estimate at  675,000 in 2009.  An estimate of the peak population of 800,000 deer in 2006 and a National Park Service peak estimate of 750,000 in the early 2000s..   "In the mid- to late-2000s, deer populations across most of the state had reached record-highs - well above population goals that had been established in 2000. Through a combination of liberal bag limits, reduced cost antlerless permits, education on the importance of an adequate doe harvest, and other programmatic changes; deer populations in most areas of Ohio were reduced to goal (or nearly to goal) by 2014. Starting in 2013, regulations became increasingly conservative to alleviate harvest pressure on antlerless deer and stabilize populations."  Source: Ohio Department of Natural Resources, 2022, page 18.

The eastern and southeastern forests have matured, reducing deer habitat.  Read the ODNR analysis of deer trends

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.   1970:   17,000.   About 750,000 in early 2000s.  In 2001 pre-hunt 500,000 to 525,000 and  475,000 pre-hunt in 2000.  In 1995, 550,000.

Graph Below is from the Ohio Division of Wildlife, October, 2021.   Hunter Observations 2004 to 2020

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, World Class Whitetails, tested positive in March, 2015.   A buck tested positive on a hunting preserve in 2017.  In December 2020, the first case of CWD in a wild deer taken in Wyandot County.  In January 2021, a positive yearling doe was killed in a controlled hunt at Killdeer Plains Refuge. Eight hunter-harvested deer tested positive during the 2021-22 deer season in southern Wyandot and northern Marion counties.  Eleven deer tested positive from fall 2020 to September, 2022 with three more into November.  As of December, 2022, a total of 14 deer tested positive since testing began in 2000.  By November 2023, 28 positives on total -- 16 new positives in 2023.  In 2023 and 2024, 27 positives.  As of June 2024, 49 wild deer have tested positive.

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.  A large outbreak in 2022 focused in the southwest but spreading throughout the state.

History.  White-tail deer were plentiful in pre-colonial Ohio.   The word name “Scioto”, as in the the Ohio Scioto river and county, is an American Indian word meaning “deer.”, a name reflecting the abundance of deer in the area.  Deer were still common when Ohio became a state in 1803, but were wiped out by 1904 as a result of uncontrolled hunting and clearing of forests for farmland - declared extinct in Ohio in 1909.   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.  Around 1980, shotgun hunters took about 90 percent of the deer.  In 2014 about half were taken by bow hunters, including crossbows.  In 2014 the state moved to a more. county based management. 

The graph below is from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.  From page 3:  "From the early 1980s through 2011, the number of fawns harvested per adult doe has steadily declined (Figure 6)... Several factors may explain this trend. First,

recent attempts to reduce deer numbers have beensuccessful, possibly creating improved  habitat conditions, which in turn, has increased or maintained reproductive performance. Second, with fewer

harvest opportunities, hunters may have become less selective, harvesting a greater proportion of fawns than in years prior

Elk  The last Elk in Ohio was reportedly killed in 1840 in Ashtabula County.  The Ohio Geological Survey talks of “ample evidence” of an abundance of buffalo and elk in northern Ohio.

Wolves  “In the 1800s, wolf pelts sold for $15 apiece — the equivalent to more than $300 per pelt today.  Because of this inflated reward rate, wolves were fully extinguished from Ohio in 1842."

Coyotes first arrived in 1919.

Bobcats a small breeding population mostly in the southeast.