OFBF's policy to better control deer damage helped lead to the hunter access program, which is expanding.

Program to connect hunters and farmers is growing

Editor’s Note: This program is defunct.

A pilot program created by Ohio Farm Bureau, the Division of Wildlife and hunting groups to address deer damage and give hunters access to land is being expanded.

Last year, the groups launched www.huntohiofarms.com to allow farmers to search for hunters who they felt would be a good fit for their farm. In its first year, the program was targeted to farmers in four Ohio counties but now is being expanded to all of hunting zone C, which includes 38 counties across central, southern and eastern Ohio.

Farmers in these counties can use the website to search for hunters based on their hunting preferences, hunting implement of choice, their availability and other information. Farmers can also follow up with hunters anonymously through the website or directly via e-mail or phone.

The effort is in response to farmers saying they are leery of inviting hunters onto their land for a variety of reasons: they fear property damage or safety issues or they’re frustrated that only bucks are harvested. At the same time, responsible hunters say they have a hard time gaining trust from farmers who have had a bad experience in the past.

“This website is designed to alleviate the anxiety of having hunters come on to your property, because you can get information about them before any contact is made,” said Chris Henney, Ohio Farm Bureau director of legislative relations. “It’s one more tool to help farmers manage the deer population.”

It takes five to 10 minutes for farmers to register on the website and begin searching for hunters, Henney said. Farmers’ information is not disclosed.

The website also includes additional resources for farmers, such as release of liability waivers and permission to hunt forms. For more information, visit www.huntohiofarms.com.

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