Ohio deer hunters will have the rare opportunity this fall hunting season to participate in archery and gun hunts through an effort by the Ohio Division of Natural Resources (ODNR) to control deer populations.
The excessive deer populations in the nature preserves are causing substantial damage to the native plant communities around the state. That's led to the creation of deer hunts on four state nature preserves.
What were once very high quality habitats have faced negative impacts from the over-browsing of local deer. Wildflowers are one of the plant species experiencing the damage. "One example is Ohio's state wildflower, the large-flowered trillium, which was once commonly seen but now has nearly disappeared from many sites because of foraging deer," according to the ODNR.
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The decline in native plant populations are also allowing the spread of non-native species which only cause further damage to the ecosystems in these preserves.
The applications for these hunts are to be run by each nature preserve's manager and interested hunters will need to attend a meeting at the preserve they want to hunt in order to enter the drawing. Tickets cost $20 and only one ticket will be sold per hunter.
To be eligible to participate in these hunts, hunters must have a valid Ohio hunting license. The lucky hunters who have their tickets chosen will be allowed to hunt with a partner who does not have to be present at the meeting. Once the drawing is complete, hunters will immediately have an orientation and be assigned a time to hunt.
The hunts are doe-first hunts, which means that hunters are required to harvest an antlerless deer before taking a buck. This is to help ensure that the deer population will be reduced on the preserves. All Ohio hunting regulations must be observed during these hunts.
Hunt Locations and Meeting Dates:
• Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve (Jackson County) - The drawings will be held at the preserve office located at 1703 Katharine Road, Jackson, 45640 on Saturday, Sept. 6, at 9 a.m. Contact Jason Garey at 740-286-2487 or [email protected] to learn more about this opportunity
• Goll Woods State Nature Preserve (Fulton County) - The archery hunt drawing will be held at the preserve office, located at 26093 County Road F., Archbold, 43502 on Saturday, Sept. 20, at 9 a.m. Contact Ryan Schroeder at 419-445-1775 or [email protected] to learn more about this opportunity
• Lawrence Woods State Nature Preserve (Hardin County) - The archery hunt drawing will be held at the preserve parking area, located at 13278 County Road 190, Kenton, 43226 on Sunday, Sept. 14, at 1 p.m. Contact Ryan Schroeder at 419-445-1775 or [email protected] to learn more about this opportunity
• Seymour Woods State Nature Preserve (Delaware County) - The archery hunt drawing will be held at Alum Creek State Park, located at 3615 South Old State Road, Delaware, 43015 on Sunday, Sept. 7, at 9 a.m. Contact Loren Hart at 740-548-4631 or [email protected] to learn more about this opportunity.
For more information on these hunts, please click here.
Have you ever participated in a controlled hunt similar to these being offered in Ohio? How did you enjoy the experience? Share your stories in the comments section below.