Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ohio hunt lottery has very long odds against being drawn

There will not be an opportunity for me to participate in a controlled deer hunt at either Ravenna Arsenal or Plum Brook this year.

Nor even the chance to sit in a goose-hunting blind at the Mosquito Creek Waterfowl Refuge for that matter.

Then again, I’m not alone. The odds of being drawn for one of the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s controlled deer or waterfowl hunt events are typically long and lean.

This, in spite of the fact that the Wildlife Division has found a way to constrict the number of questionable applicants. Instead of allowing anybody and everybody to apply for a permit the agency insisted that an applicant also possess a hunting license.

“In the past a lot of people would submit the names of family and friends as a way to increase their odds,” said Korey Brown, the Wildlife Division’s administrator for things like the special hunt drawings. “What we did by requiring a hunting license resulted in a reduction of applicants by about 30 percent. That made applying more fair.”

In all, Wildlife Division statistics note, 7,741 individuals applied for at least one deer-hunting lottery event.

On average, each individual applicant applied for 3.7 events, Brown’s statistic gathering says.

And while 64 individuals won permits for two different events, no one was selected for more than two events, Brown’s statistics say, too.

Also, a total of 26,081 events were applied for and which generated $78,243 in registration fees.

Some of the results point to how staggering were the odds stacked against an applicant. For the ever-popular NASA-Plumbrook Research Station controlled deer-hunting event, 5,543 applications were processed though only 159 permits were drawn. Those are 35-to-one odds.

And the Ravenna Arsenal deer-hunting event odds were not a whale of a lot better, either. Here, 5,052 applicants were processed with 270 permits drawn for odds of 19-to-one.

There were even worse odds. For the Ottawa adult deer hunt, 2,353 applications were processed though only 28 permits were drawn for odds of 84-to-one.

The Mercer adult archery deer hunt saw 688 applications received but only six permits drawn for odds of 115-to-one.

Even the special Salt Fork youth deer gun hunts saw restrictive odds with 397 applications processed with 150 permits drawn for odds of three-to-one.

And the chances for being drawn for a waterfowl hunt permit went against the applicant as well. The chances of being drawn for an adult waterfowl hunt at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge were 13-to-one against an applicant while the odds of being picked for a blind at Mosquito Creek were 11-to-one against an applicant.

Brown did say that without a drawing for Magee Marsh hunts this year - the unit is closed for maintenance - up to 6,000 applicants were not received. This resulted in a decline in the total number of all applications received by the agency.

Asked if the Wildlife Division is or will consider using preference points for unsuccessful applicants, Brown said that is unlikely.

Part of the reason, says Brown, is that Ohio has only a few enormously popular deer hunts where preference points would make sense. Such an operation would require software that the agency does not possess and would cost a “considerable amount of money” to buy for so few events, Brown says.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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