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Oh Deer! It’s Deer Season in Ohio!

The following is a video transcript.

U.S. LawShield members, it’s Wilkes Ellsworth, your Independent Program Attorney for Ohio. It’s that wonderful time of year again. Deer hunting season is here, and hunters have been preparing for several months leading up to their trips. But when was the last time you refreshed your knowledge of gun laws for deer season?

Here are the top three hunting and gun laws you need to know to be ready. These are derived directly from the problems I saw actual U.S. LawShield members run into last year as they embarked on their hunting activities.

Hunting License and Deer Permit

First and foremost, you need to procure an Ohio annual hunting license. Every hunter looking to take a deer this season needs to do this. Now you would think that goes without saying, but you would be surprised how many people either do not know that or do not want to expend the time and money to do so.

Sometimes, they procure their license but fail to go that extra step and get their deer permit. Remember the license allows you to legally hunt in Ohio during the year, but the specific game permit allows you to hunt and take that specific animal. Without the permit, you cannot legally take the deer and complete the game check process, so make sure you always get the proper documents and have them with you at all times while you are hunting. Failure to take these steps can lead to a criminal prosecution.

Tag and Game Check

Tagging and game processing rules are very important, and you need to heed them. I spoke to a very nice man last year who was pursued by game wardens and charged for failing to properly tag his deer. He was hunting on his own family’s land, so reasonably felt he didn’t need to tag the deer where it fell. The rules are very strict in that you don’t need a license or a permit to hunt on your own property, but you still have to create your own game tag with your name, date, and time of the kill and place it on the deer where it falls. Once that is done, the deer is officially yours, and then and only then you can transport it.

The next step is to game check your deer by 12 noon the next day. Have your permit handy because you will need the information on it when you call in. You cannot take the deer out of the state of Ohio without a confirmation number from the game check process, and that number must be attached to the dealer. If anybody has friends coming in from out of state, make sure they are compliant as well.


Finally, let’s talk about trespassing. This comes up as much as any other issue that I see, especially during deer season. It can happen to any of us whether its something we did on purpose without knowing the ramifications or by accident just walking through the woods.

What is the basic law of trespass in Ohio? Well, ORC 2911.21 sums it up. It dictates no person without privilege to do so shall knowingly or recklessly enter or remain on the land as to which notice against unauthorized access or presence is given by actual communication to the offender or in a manner prescribed by law or by posting in a manner reasonably calculated to come to the attention of potential intruders, or by fencing or other enclosure, manifestly designed to restrict access. You can’t refuse to leave.

The Ohio rules on hunting have adopted this position and make it illegal to hunt on the land of another without permission. It is a violation if you don’t adhere to the posted signs and/or pursue a wounded deer or recover a dead deer from private property without the written permission of the landowner. This is where so many people get into trouble. Make sure you know your boundaries and don’t violate those without first getting permission.

Ohio Hunting and Trapping Regulations

I suggest everyone go to the Ohio Division of Natural Resources website and read the Ohio Hunting and Trapping regulations. You can print off the PDF version, read it online, or order a hard copy if you want. It adds quite a bit more to what I’ve already touched on today.

As always, if you have any questions on the laws related to hunting in Ohio or anything else, please do not hesitate to reach out to me. I am always available to help.

Between the red tape and fine print, we know sportsman’s laws are tough and can be confusing. A single hunting violation can cost you thousands of dollars. Call us or login to your member portal today and add HunterShield for game changing protection.

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