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Hunters, landowners in favor of access program
Buckeye Farm News
Hunters and landowners agree – it’s time to put a dent in the state’s wild deer herd. So does OFBF and the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
OFBF and the Division of Wildlife put a proposed hunter access program before hunters last month in the form of a survey to gauge interest. The majority of the 1,438 respondents provided an overwhelmingly positive response that will put the program in action on a trial basis in Carroll, Harrison, Jefferson and Tuscarawas counties this fall.
“Part of the solution to reducing the overpopulated deer herd in Ohio is to make sure that hunters have access to the deer,” OFBF Director of Legislative Relations Chris Henney said. “The goal of this program is to create a bridge connecting farmers and landowners who have significant deer population problems with hunters who want to hunt deer but have trouble finding places to do so.”
He said the program provides landowners with a desired level of control of whom, and what type of hunter they allow on their land.
To be involved in the program, hunters will complete an online profile that could include the number of years hunting experience, willingness to harvest does, preferred type of hunting (archery, shotgun, muzzleloader), and willingness to submit to a background check at the request of the landowner.
“We are pleased to see hunters willing to put themselves through background checks and willing to take a doe before a buck,” Henney said. “Those are two integral parts from OFBF’s perspective to helping reduce the deer herd.”
Landowners will review a searchable database of deer hunters and then select hunters to whom they will grant hunting permissions.
Hunters will not be charged to submit their profiles to become eligible for the access program. There is also no additional charge to hunt on enrolled properties. All who submit their profiles are not guaranteed to receive hunting permissions.
Henney said although the program will be piloted in only four counties, hunters from any location will be able to sign up for the program.
He looks for the results to be two-fold. “If we open farms where hunting wasn’t previously allowed, we will hopefully reduce the deer herd, and in turn reduce the amount of crop damage caused by deer.”
Deer Hunters Survey Results
- 95% willing to harvest at least one antlerless deer before hunting/harvesting a buck
- 93% willing to complete an extensive hunter profile or resume
- 43% willing to travel up to one hour, 33% up to two hours and
- 24% up to three or more hours to hunt on private property
- 87% willing to hunt on private property where they would not have exclusive access
- 97% willing to complete a post-hunt survey detailing program experiences
- 93% willing to submit to a background check if requested by the landowner/farmer