ohio deer hunting

Do Ohio hunting laws to allow for pistol caliber rifles, or straight-walled cartridges? What types of firearms are permitted for deer hunting in Ohio? These are questions that Ohio Farm Bureau Policy Counsel Leah Curtis gets asked every year. She answers these questions in this Legal with Leah with a look back to 2013, when Ohio Farm Bureau passed grassroots policy to support a change to Ohio’s hunting laws.


Ohio Farm Bureau · Legal With Leah – Firearms Permitted For Deer Hunting


Listen to Legal with Leah, a podcast featuring Ohio Farm Bureau’s Policy Counsel Leah Curtis discussing topics impacting farmers and landowners.


Ty Higgins [00:00:00] What types of firearms are permitted for deer hunting in Ohio? A question we get every single year at Ohio Farm Bureau. So our Policy Counsel Leah Curtis is in to talk about it for this Legal with Leah. This is a very hot topic. A lot of people have questions just about every time fall rolls around here in the Buckeye State and really something that we took a look at a few years ago and really got some things done across the state.

Leah Curtis [00:00:24] So back in 2013, we had a grassroots effort from our members, as most of our policy is, to change the Ohio hunting laws to allow for pistol caliber rifles or what sometimes people refer to as straight-walled cartridge rifles. So either name, obviously the same, but our delegates passed this policy in 2013 and then began the advocacy effort at the state level to work with ODNR to try to get this to be allowed for our hunters here in Ohio. So with the 2014-15 hunting year is when ODNR had finally put into their regulations that these types of firearms would be allowed for deer hunting during gun season and youth gun season. So that was a big change. It’s something that some groups had been working for a long time to try to achieve, and then we, of course, were able to join that effort there in 2013 once our policy passed. And I think that really provided a lot of help to the initiative because as the largest group of landowners, we have a lot of hunters in our ranks, but also it’s our land where those those hunters are taking part in their sport. And so safety concerns, those kind of things are always going to be important to ODNR and hearing from landowners on that makes a lot of difference.

Ty Higgins [00:01:40] What calibers are allowed?

Leah Curtis [00:01:42] So specifically talking about these pistol caliber rifles, these will be all straight-walled cartridge caliber from a minimum of .357 to a maximum of .50. However, they can be loaded with no more than three shells in the chamber, chamber and magazine combined. So keep that in mind if you are using one of these firearms when you’re hunting for your deer.

Ty Higgins [00:02:03] And like I mentioned, this has been over five years now with this rule and still get questions about it. How can those that get out there in the woods in the fall find out more?

Leah Curtis [00:02:14] So actually, it’s really easy. The ODNR Hunting Regulations web page. And I would suggest if you’re going to Google for it, you might just try ODNR hunting regulations. They have a web page that actually shows you what are the allowable equipment for any hunting season. So be it gun season, youth gun season, archery, muzzle loader, deer, fur trapping, basically anything you’re going to hunt in Ohio, you can look on that web page. It’s very simple to navigate dropdown menus. It shows you what you’re allowed to use within the state.

Ty Higgins [00:02:47] And we should mention, after at least six seasons, no known issues of biological impact or additional hunter accidents. This was good policy.

Leah Curtis [00:02:55] Yes. And you know, it has other benefits, too. These are usually easier for youth hunters to use, and maybe even somebody that wants a lighter firearm, someone who might have limited physical capabilities, they all can participate in hunting sports a little bit easier this way.

Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
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