COLUMBUS, Ohio – Hunters in Hardin, Marion, and Wyandot counties have extra dates to harvest a white-tailed deer as the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife continues to monitor for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the region.
Since the fall of 2020, 11 wild deer have tested positive for CWD in Ohio, all in Wyandot and Marion counties. In response, a disease surveillance area was established in Hardin, Marion, and Wyandot counties. CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects deer and other similar species, including mule deer, elk, and moose.
Beginning this year, the Division of Wildlife established earlier hunting seasons to slow the spread of CWD by lowering deer concentrations within the disease surveillance area. Archery hunting season begins Sept. 10, and an early gun hunting season will take place Oct. 8-10 in Hardin, Marion, and Wyandot counties.
CWD sampling within the disease surveillance area is required for all deer harvested Oct. 8-10, Nov. 5-6, Nov. 12-13, as well as during the entire seven-day gun season (Nov. 28-Dec. 4). Staffed sampling locations will be available during the seven-day gun season at the addresses below. Outside the seven-day gun season, hunters should use self-serve kiosks for mandatory sampling.
Staffed sampling locations will be at the following locations:
- Big Island Wildlife Area Headquarters, 5389 Larue-Prospect Rd West, New Bloomington, OH 43341
- Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area Headquarters, 19100 CH 115, Harpster, OH 43323
- Wyandot County Fairgrounds, 10171 OH 53, Upper Sandusky, OH 43351
- Rural King, 233 American Blvd, Marion, OH 43302
- Hardin County Fairgrounds, 14134 County Rd 140, Kenton, OH 43326
- McGuffey Conservation Club, 6950 Township Rd 55, Ada, OH 45810
Hunters can use self-serve kiosks to drop their deer off for free voluntary sampling throughout the deer season (Sept. 10-Feb. 5). Kiosk locations are available at ohiodnr.gov/cwd and instructions for sample submission will be provided at the kiosk. Hunters statewide are encouraged to submit deer for sampling. Successful hunters are not required to surrender their deer. Those with questions on having their deer sampled can call (419) 429-8322.
Outside the disease surveillance area, hunters may test a harvested deer at the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory for a fee. Call (614) 728-6220 for more information.
In addition to mandatory testing, the following regulations apply within the disease surveillance area:
- The placement of or use of bait (salt, minerals, or any food) to attract or feed deer, as well as the hunting of deer by the aid of bait, is prohibited.
- The removal of a complete carcass or high-risk parts from the disease surveillance area is prohibited unless the carcass complies with deer carcass regulations, or the carcass is delivered to a certified taxidermist or processor within 24 hours of leaving the area. Additional information on carcass regulations and a complete list of certified processors and taxidermists can be found at ohiodnr.gov/cwd.
Normal agricultural activities, including feeding of domestic animals, as well as hunting deer over food plots, naturally occurring or cultivated plants, and agriculture crops are not prohibited.
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) and setting it out with their household garbage for trash pickup, when permitted by waste disposal facilities. Those without trash pickup can double bag the carcass and take it to a municipal solid waste landfill or bury the carcass at least 3 feet deep on the property of harvest. The Division of Wildlife will provide receptacles in the disease surveillance area for proper carcass disposal. The proper handling of carcasses, trims, and parts dramatically decreases the risk of spreading disease.
Archery season opens on Sept. 24 in the rest of the state and concludes on Feb. 5, 2023. Statewide youth gun (Nov. 19-20), gun (Nov. 28 – Dec. 4), bonus gun (Dec. 17-18), and muzzleloader (Jan. 7-10, 2023) seasons present firearms hunters with additional opportunities. Additional details on hunting seasons, bag limits, and regulations can be found in the 2022-23 Hunting and Trapping Regulations digest, available on the HuntFish OH app, wildohio.gov, or where licenses are sold.
The Division of Wildlife has conducted routine surveillance for CWD since 2002, with more than 33,000 deer tested. CWD has previously been detected at captive deer breeding facilities in Ohio. CWD has been detected in 30 states and four Canadian provinces.
The Division of Wildlife is responsible for protecting and managing Ohio’s fish and wildlife resources for the benefit of all Ohioans. We greatly appreciate the cooperation of hunters to help us monitor Ohio’s deer herd. For more information about CWD, visit wildohio.gov, contact your county wildlife officer, or call (419) 429-8322.
The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Visit wildohio.gov to find out more.
ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.