White Tailed Deer

The white-tailed deer is a proud, graceful creature. A testament to the strength and silence of a perfect wilderness excursion.

Ontario’s deer herds are managed through a selective harvest system. During the gun season, for example, the opportunities to hunt antlerless (does and fawns) white-tailed deer are more regulated, while buck hunting remains open. At other times, the overall number of white-tailed deer tags available to hunters may vary, depending on whether conservation specialists have determined that populations should be increased, or whether they have reached a desirable point. In 2003, Ontario implemented a Chronic Wasting Disease surveillance and testing program; Chronic Wasting Disease has never been detected in Ontario deer or elk. There is no open season for hunting elk or caribou in the province.

What does this mean for the hunter?

Two things: numbers and size. White-tailed deer in Ontario are monstrous, requiring large bodies to weather the chilly climate. As a result, antler size is comparably vast. Judge the difference yourself: while most white-tailed bucks average 140 to 250 pounds (63 to 114 k), Ontario bucks can top 300 pounds (136 kg). Even the mild winters of recent years have contributed to buck growth. Some believe that now is simply the best opportunity to hunt deer in Ontario in the last 100 years.

Preference to track or drive white-tailed deer through farm country or through big forest can both be satisfied in Ontario. Farm-country hunters concentrate on woodlots and creek bottoms near agricultural fields. Most hunt from tree stands or ground blinds near trails, rubs, scrapes, feeding areas, or by using drives to push deer to waiting stands. Big-woods hunters use these same techniques in deer funnels and logging cuts, but also incorporate still-hunting and tracking into their bag of tricks. Incredible expanses of land and availability of game allow you to tailor your experience as you would hope.

To find an outfitter or trip to hunt white-tailed deer, click here.

What you should know

As with any game in Ontario, you should be aware of the seasons and hunting licences required. In the case of white-tailed deer, there are some additional considerations you might want to keep in mind when planning your hunt:

  • White-tailed deer season is notoriously changeable (warmish autumnal weather one moment, sub-zero and snowing the next). The warmer you dress, the more enjoyable your hunt will be.
  • Hunters orange must be worn during open gun seasons for both white-tailed deer and moose.
  • In some WMUs, non-resident hunters must hunt through an outfitter.

For more information on the licences and regulations necessary to hunt deer in Ontario, click here.

For more information on important dates, open seasons and tag draws, click here.

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