Ohio farmers can relate to recent action being taken by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to reduce deer damage. High quality habitats at several state nature preserves have been negatively impacted by over-browsing deer. For example, large flowered trillium—Ohio's state wildflower and once commonly seen—have nearly disappeared from many sites because of foraging deer. In an effort to control deer populations affecting native plant communities, ODNR will coordinate special gun and archery deer hunts at five state nature preserves across the state.
"Each year we evaluate the impact deer have on native plant communities in Ohio's best natural areas," says Glenn Cobb, deputy director of ODNR. "Thanks to the positive impact of previous hunts, this year we are continuing efforts on five preserves with large deer populations."
Applications for the hunts will be handled locally by individual preserve managers. Hunters must attend individual meetings if they are interested in particular hunts. At that time, hunters can enter the drawing by purchasing a single ticket for $20.
Other requirements include:
•Hunters must possess a valid 2013-14 hunting license in order to purchase tickets.
•Each special archery hunt permit holder may take another hunter with him or her during the two-week period, although only one of the two hunters must attend the drawing and orientation.
•Names will be randomly drawn, and two hunters at a time will be assigned a two-week block of time to hunt.
•The orientation for the hunters will be conducted immediately following the drawing.
These hunts are "doe first" hunts, meaning a buck can be taken only after an antlerless deer is harvested, which helps ensure the deer population is reduced. Special regulations will be addressed at the orientation meetings following the drawings. All ODNR Division of Wildlife rules and regulations will be followed, including bag limits and tagging procedures.
All areas will be open to archery only except Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve, which will provide both archery and gun hunting opportunities. The Lake Katharine gun hunt drawing will be conducted at the same time and in the same manner as the archery hunts. Gun hunters will be drawn for one of two possible two-day hunts (Dec. 2-3 or Dec. 5-6) during the weeklong statewide gun season. Orientations for the gun hunt will occur on the first morning of the hunt period.
Hunters may apply for hunts at multiple sites, but they must be present at the meeting for each hunt in order to enter the drawing. Do not mail entry forms.