Hunters will have their first opportunity to pursue white-tailed deer when archery season opens on Saturday, Sept. 30, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Ohio’s 2017-2018 deer seasons include:

• Archery: Sept. 30, 2017-Feb. 4, 2018

• Youth gun: Nov. 18-19

• Gun: Nov. 27-Dec. 3, and Dec. 16-17

• Muzzleloader: Jan. 6-9, 2018

Deer hunters will find the hunting regulations similar to last year, but bag limits were changed in certain counties.

County-wide bag limits have increased from two deer per county to three deer per county in Athens, Belmont, Carroll, Coshocton, Fairfield, Gallia, Guernsey, Harrison, Hocking, Jackson, Jefferson, Lawrence, Meigs, Monroe, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, Perry, Tuscarawas, Vinton and Washington counties. These changes are designed to slow the rate of herd growth, while still allowing herds to grow.

County-wide bag limits have decreased from three deer per county to two deer per county in Allen, Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding, Putnam and Williams counties. These changes are designed to encourage herd growth in these counties.

All other county bag limits remain the same. The statewide bag limit remains at six deer. Only one deer may be antlered, and a hunter cannot exceed a county bag limit.

New for the 2017-2018 hunting season, any straight-walled cartridge rifle with a minimum caliber of .357 to a maximum caliber of .50 is now allowed for hunting deer in Ohio. There have been three seasons of hunting deer with straight-walled cartridge rifles in Ohio with no biological impacts to the herd or additional hunter incidents.

Deer hunting hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes past sunset for all deer seasons. This includes gun and muzzleloader seasons. Additional details about deer hunting rules are contained in the 2017-2018 Ohio Hunting Regulations, available where licenses are sold or at wildohio.gov.

Licenses and permits can be purchased online at wildohio.gov and at hundreds of participating agents throughout the state.

The ODNR Division of Wildlife remains committed to properly managing Ohio’s deer populations through a combination of regulatory and programmatic changes. The goal of Ohio’s Deer Management Program is to provide a deer population which maximizes recreational opportunities, while minimizing conflicts with landowners and motorists.

Hunting is the best and most effective management tool for maintaining Ohio’s healthy deer population. Ohio ranks fifth nationally in resident hunters and 11th in the number of jobs associated with hunting-related industries. Hunting has a more than $853 million economic impact in Ohio through the sale of equipment, fuel, food, lodging and more, according to the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Hunting in America: An Economic Force for Conservation publication.