Well, so much for THAT idea.
The notion that Ohio's farmers would welcome hunters with open arms in order to help control the state's deer herd has crashed and burned.
Ohio's Division of Wildlife is reporting that the HuntOhioFarms.com Web site will be discontinued due to lower than anticipated participation from Ohio’s farming community.
In its press release the Wildlife Division says:
"The HuntOhioFarms.com Web site was launched in August 2009 in order to educate Ohioans on crop damage by deer, while at the same time increasing awareness of hunting opportunities. This was a joint effort between the Ohio Farm Bureau (OFB) and the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
"After the first year, more than 9,000 hunters had enrolled with 83 landowners signing on in the four-county test area. The OFB and the Division of Wildlife agreed to expand the program to 38 counties across southeast Ohio in 2010. Despite direct mailings by the Division of Wildlife and marketing efforts by the OFB, an insufficient number of landowners signed up for the program. At the end of year two, an additional 5,000 hunters had enrolled with only 40 additional farms.
"Access to private lands for hunting is integral to managing local deer populations and minimizing agricultural damage. The Division of Wildlife will continue to work with the OFB, as in the past, to find practical solutions to deer crop damage using deer hunting and other means as needed."
Obviously it is past time for Ohio's farmers and their powerful lobbying groups to stop whining about the state's large deer herd. They had an opportunity to contribute to a meaningful control method and chose not to do so.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn