Thursday, December 27, 2012

Mentor's controlled first-ever archery deer hunt's success well above expectations

With a to-date known kill of 101 animals, at least one Mentor official is pleasantly surprised with the success of the city’s first-ever controlled archery deer hunt.

Mentor Natural Resource Specialist Nick Mikash said when the city first launched the controlled hunt he was expecting a total season take “somewhere in the 50s.”

“Obviously we’re well above that figure,” Mikash says.

Before approving the hunt in September, Mentor’s city council faced an acrimonious debate between council members as well as residents who took sides either in favor of the activity or were opposed to archers shooting deer.

The ordinance was passed 5-2 by City Council and requires 5 acres or more on up to three contiguous properties.

Participants also have to pass a proficiency test with the type of archery tackle they will use during the hunt, must hunt from an elevated stand at least 8 feet above the ground, only, no Sunday hunting, each arrow has to include the hunter’s permit number, and must secure Mentor Police assistance should an shot deer run off of the permitted property and before recovery is undertaken.

Other rules apply as well, the city’s intent on minimizing conflicts between hunters and residents.

With only one instance where a hunter was cited for trespassing without first seeking police help, the program has proven problem-free, Mikash says.

The breakdown of the known to-day kill includes 74 does, 14 antlered deer (bucks) with the remainder being fawn bucks, called “button bucks.”

Button buck is a commonly used term to designate a young-of-the-year male deer with just a “bump” of antler growth where next year a branched antler would form.

In all, Mikash says as well, 58 hunters are participating and only 16 of them have each failed to shoot at least one animal.

However, says Mikash also, three hunters have each legally killed six deer, with several other permittees having legally killed 3, 4 or 5 deer each.

As for whether the hunt has thus far helped reduce the city’s over-population of deer, Mikash says he’s heard from residents who say they are seeing fewer animals while others are noting no change.

Too, says Mikash, the to-date harvest has indicated “hot spots” where a goodly number of deer have been shot while other areas of the city have seen few animals taken.

Mentor’s controlled archery deer hunt runs parallel with that of the state’s, the conclusion of which is Feb. 3.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn
Twitter: @Fieldkorn

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