Why and How to Hunt Ohio for Trophy Whitetails
It wasn’t too many years ago that Ohio wasn’t even on the radar when it came to states that were holding big whitetails. But, that is changing. Ohio is quickly becoming a state on just about every serious deer hunter’s bucket list. With a deer management program that allows the harvest of multiple does and only one antlered deer per season, a situation is created in which an ideal buck to doe ratio gives deer the chance to reach their full potential. This coupled with ideal habitat and productive soils makes Ohio one of the best choices to pursue that deer of a lifetime.
Ohio Deer Hunting Regulations
Because hunters in Ohio are only allowed to harvest one antlered deer per year, this gives many bucks the opportunity to live to the age needed to be true trophies. Many states that allow hunters to harvest more than one antlered buck may develop hunters with the mindset that they will shoot the first buck they see and then wait for a trophy to come along to harvest with their second tag. Ohio hunters can only kill one buck and like other one-buck states, that one buck will satisfy a hunter’s goals.
Ohio has one of the longest deer seasons of any state. Bow season begins September 29 and runs through February 3. Gun season runs November 26 to December 2 and December 15-16. Muzzleloader season opens January 5-8. Youth deer gun season is November 17-18.
Fortunately, Ohio is a state where you can purchase your non-resident tags over the counter. This will allow hunters plenty of time to plan their hunt with an outfitter without having to worry if they will get drawn for a tag or not. Ohio is home to an estimated 750,000 whitetails with approximately 400,000 permits sold annually. Unlike some states that charge hundreds of dollars for a permit, Ohio can be hunted for much less. The total cost for a license and permit for a nonresident is $182.50. The hunting license is $141.50 and a deer permit is $41. Residents will spend a total of $43, $19 for a hunting license and $24 for a deer permit.
Crunching the Numbers
The Boone and Crockett entries for Ohio are very impressive. The state has a total of 591 typical entries and 385 non-typical entries. The largest typical on record measures 201 1/8” and is number 11 of all time.
The largest non-typical that comes from Ohio was unfortunately found dead. This magnificent animal measured 328 2/8” and ranks as the second-highest scoring non-typical pf all time. Even though this deer was not killed by a hunter, it goes to show you the opportunities that do exist in Ohio for trophy whitetails. The top deer killed by a hunter at this time measurers 295 3/8”. This buck ranks number 8 all-time.
The truth is that any hunter has the opportunity to harvest a monster whitetail within the state. But, realistically, your best odds are going to be with a trustworthy deer outfitter that manages the property and the deer herd to produce deer that reach their full potential.
The 2017-2018 season saw some giants fall to Ohio hunters. The top typical measured out at a whopping 194 3/8” and was killed with a crossbow. The biggest non-typical measured 240 0/8” and was taken with a muzzleloader. In other weapons categories for non-typical (NT) and typical (T) goes as follows:
- Longbow – 237 5/8” (NT), 182 4/8” (T)
- Crossbow – 218 6/8” (NT), 194 3/8” (T)
- Shotgun – 234 1/8” (NT), 184 3/8” (T)
- Muzzleloader – 240 0/8” (NT), 185 5/8” (T)
- Straight Wall Rifle Cartridge – 194 0/8” (NT), 157 6/8” (T)
- Revolver – 166 6/8” (T).
The terrain, habitat, and soil throughout much of Ohio has a lot to do with the growth of monster whitetails too. Much of the state is made up of agricultural lands consisting of corn and soybeans. These row crops growing on extremely fertile soil, supplying the deer with all the nutrients they need to make it to trophy potential.
Other than Ag fields Ohio is dominated by Oak-Hickory forests, filled with beech, maple, and commonly encountered species across the Midwest. These forests are scattered in the agriculturally dominated areas giving deer ample space. When the terrain becomes more significant the agriculture shifts into steep and rugged forest. The habitat of Ohio makes it one of the ideal deer hunting states, giving plenty of nutrition to deer, yet still providing them with ideal edge and forest habitat.
Outfitters, hunters, and landowners throughout the state are gradually working together to improve the habitat throughout the state. This added with great deer management and selective harvest practices along with hard work from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to ensure seasons and bag limits are in the best interest of the deer first, and the hunter second, make the state one of the best deer hunting states not just in the Midwest but throughout the country. Unfortunately, 95% of Ohio is privately owned, meaning to get to this prime habitat and deer hunting opportunities you might have to go with an Ohio hunting outfitter.
Ohio Deer Hunting Outfitters
With the majority of Ohio being locked away with private ownership, most out of state hunters need to either have access to private land or look for an outfitter. To get a chance at a true trophy class whitetail an outfitter will be your best choice. Ohio has many deer hunting outfitters to choose from, but all are not created equal. If you are looking to hunt Ohio, one of the best deer hunting states, check out the deer outfitter selection guide below.
If you’ve done your research, you know that finding a quality deer hunting outfitter is hard work. From top notch accommodations, trophy class deer, to having both free range and preserve hunting, one Ohio hunting outfitter that stands out is Briarwood Sporting Club.
Briarwood Sporting Club is an Ohio deer hunting outfitter that is home to some of the nation’s largest whitetail deer. It offers both estate and open range deer hunting. Deer populations on the estate are managed for world class potential, while open range hunting gives hunters a more affordable, DIY experience. The club provides exceptional lodging, service, accommodations, and an unrivaled and prestigious experience. This includes cabins filled with all modern amenities, private jet travel, tailored food and drinks, plenty of room for large hunting parties, and arranged meals. Interested in seeing this for yourself? Check out all of the top notch accommodations in the blog below or check out the prices for hunting at Briarwood Sporting Club Here.