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