Night Hunting in Ohio: Laws & Regulations

ohio night hunting

In case you are planning for a nocturnal hunting trip to Ohio, you need to be aware of the regulations. 

The fact is, there are plenty of details that you need to know. Obviously, you don’t want to step on the wrong side of the law.

So we are here to provide you with the right information and basic details.

In this article, we’ll talk about the prevailing night hunting laws in Ohio and some other aspects.

General Night Hunting Laws

Keep in mind that the Ohio Wildlife Council specifies the hunting dates and bag limits for each season. So here are some of the general laws related to night hunting in Ohio.

  • All the general information related to hunting and trapping is given in the wildlife section in the Ohio Administrative Code. All forms of hunting or trapping of game birds, game quadrupeds, or furbearing animals should be as per the provisions in this code.
  • All hunting and trapping activities should be as per the game hours mentioned in the latest revision of the above document.
  • Nuisance wild animals listed in the document can be hunted as per the permission obtained. They can also be trapped or taken alive as per the rules specified.
  • Unless you have a concealed carry license valid in Ohio it is necessary to display all weapons on the outermost garment during hunting.
  • Hunters active at night must carry a continuous white light. The light beam should be visible for at least 1/4 of a mile. When two hunters are hunting together, they may carry a common light between them. This is applicable for hunting and trapping of furbearing animals.
  • If you plan to hunt foxes, coyotes, or raccoons at night from a stationary position,  a single light beam of any color can be used.
  • Attaching an electro-mechanical, or electrical device on a longbow or crossbow, that can project a beam of light is prohibited.
  • The handguns used must have a barrel length of more than 5 inches. The chambered caliber should be .357 magnum or higher.
  • Shotguns should be below 10 gauge or smaller than .410 caliber. However, muzzleloading rifles or shotguns should be of .38 caliber or more. They should fire a single projectile per barrel.
  • The caliber used for both rifles and handguns should be more than 0.357 and less than 0.515. 
  • For both rifles and handguns, straight-walled cartridges with no shoulder should be used. Necked-down cartridges are not allowed for deer hunting. Also, shell casings for shotguns made from full metal are not permitted.
  • To hunt in private land, permission in writing from the landowner is necessary. The permission should be carried by the hunter during the period of hunting. Landowners hunting in their own land don’t need to obtain a hunting permit.
  • The hunting of other animals is restricted between the seven-day long deer gun season. Only the hunting of deer, coyote, waterfowl, or feral swine (wild boar) is allowed in this period within specified time limits.

Laws for Coyote Hunting at Night in Ohio

Firstly, a hunting license is required for shooting coyotes. However, there’s no bag limit or possession limit on coyotes. Next, pursuing or hunting furbearing animals between sunset to sunrise and the use of night vision equipment is allowed. But hunters also need to carry the type of lights mentioned in the above section. 

Note, the restriction on night hunting of coyotes during the deer gun and deer muzzleloader seasons remains. Between 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise, hunting is restricted.

Laws for Feral Hog Hunting at Night in Ohio

Note, feral hogs are marked as nuisance animals. They can be hunted all-round the year by any hunter with a valid Ohio hunting license. Night hunting can also be done by using night vision devices. However, during the deer gun and muzzleloader seasons, hogs can’t be hunted between 30 minutes after sunset and 30 minutes before sunrise.

Besides, live trapping of feral swine is also allowed. But you need to follow the specified rules and euthanize the animal immediately at the trap location. The use of a foothold trap or snare is illegal.

Laws for Deer Hunting at Night in Ohio

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources- Division of Wildlife specifies the deer season dates each year. The counties are classified into two -deer, three-deer, and four-deer ones. The hunting hours are between 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset. 

Now, there are two types of licenses that are provided- an either-sex deer permit and an antlerless deer permit. The either-sex permit allows the hunting of both antlered and antlerless deer. Whereas, the second permit allows the hunting of antlerless deer in selected counties. Deers with no antlers or with antlers less than 3 inches in length are classified as antlerless.

Laws for Raccoon Hunting at Night in Ohio

Raccoons are classified among the small game and furbearers in Ohio. There’s no bag limit or possession limit for raccoon hunting. But, a valid hunting license as well as a fur taker permit is necessary. 

Also, there isn’t any restriction on the hunting hours, except during the seven-day deer gun season. During that period, they can’t be hunted between the time period of 30 minutes before sunrise and 30  minutes after sunset. 

Laws for Rabbit Hunting at Night in Ohio

The usual rabbit hunting hours are between sunrise and sunset and the dates are specified every year by the Division of Wildlife of Ohio. Hunting is prohibited during the seven-day long deer gun season. Note, the hunting of snowshoe hares isn’t legal as they are a protected species.

Conclusion

There are plenty of regulations in Ohio to ensure the safety of the hunter as well as the civilians. So it’s best to familiarize yourself with the basic ones before moving out for a night hunting session. Also, make sure to go through the definition of terms for complete clarity on the issue.

Once you have secured the hunting permits, it’s time to pick the right gears for night hunting. Quite simply, if you want to beat the darkness you need to choose the right technology. And there are plenty of choices.

Check out some of the best night vision scopes and thermal scopes that will help you to make every shot count.

And isn’t that what you want?

About Kim Goodwin

Kim Goodwin holds a Master's in thermal engineering from the University of Rhode Island. At Thermo Gears, she reviews most equipment that uses thermal imaging technologies.