Moving into its third year, Lake Metroparks' controlled archery deer hunt program is expanding to include one additional property.
Besides allowing controlled archery hunting at its River Road Reservation in Madison Township the agency is also setting up an archery hunt for a portion of Indian Point Park in Leroy Township.
This parcel is bordered on the west by Vrooman Road, to the south by I-90 with a steep hillside delineating the remainder of the controlled section.
Here the parks system will make available four sections, each ranging in size from 16 to 20 acres.
While the parks system will provide electronic game feeders at each of the four locations – just as it has always done at River Road – selected hunters will be allowed to set up their own either commercially made tree ladder/climber or ground blind anywhere within that person's designated hunting unit.
The parks system will again at River Road provide commercially made two-person stands near maintained electronic feeders along with one-handicapped accessible ground blind.
Each location traditionally seen little human intrusion, both being historically closed to public access.
Lake County residents and Lake County business owners only are eligible to apply. The on-line and in-person lottery-only application process begins tomorrow, Aug. 1, says Tom Koritansky, Lake Metroparks' Natural Resources Manager.
“We're looking forward to a good third season, especially in light of this expanded hunting opportunity,” Koritansky said. “But the program is essentially open only to those who pay property taxes in Lake County.”
Tom Adair, the parks system's Park Services Director, notes as well that this new hunting zone is home to a small band of self-sustaining sika deer, the offshoot of a tribe of such animals that had escaped years ago from a nearby private sanctuary.
Hunters will be permitted to take a sika deer.
The application process (once again) begins Aug, 1 and continues through Aug 25, A drawing to determine those selected to hunt is scheduled for Aug, 27 with on-line notification set for Aug. 30.
As has been the case for those picked to hunt River Road in the past, selected hunters for each property must successfully pass an archery proficiency test, available at either Great Lakes Outdoor Supply in Madison Township or else Gander Mountain's Mentor store.
This test can be taken beginning Aug. 1 but must be completed no later than Sept. 13.
“We encourage hunters who are interested in participating to get proficiency test out of the way so you're ready to go if picked,” Adair said.
Likewise, all selected hunters will once again need to attend a mandatory pre-hunt rules and regulation meeting. The parks system will establish times, dates and locations for these required meetings.
Returning is last year's well-received rule change that allows a lottery applicant to name a designated partner. Such a set-up will mean that on days in which the primary selected hunter is unable to participate than the back-up partner can take over, though both persons are not allowed to hunt at the same time.
“We're really trying to promote this partner program because we want to see bodies in stands; people hunting,” Koritansky said.
Both Adair and Kortansky said a primary hunter can name a partner on an application, and vice-verse, increasing the odds of being selected.
That said, any one person can hunt just once during the duration of the program with all those persons being selected having a two-week predetermined slot.
Similarly a hunter may request a park preference, though no guarantee is promised, Adair says.
“Applicants may indicate their preference but any assignment is dependent upon the order in which the applicant's number is drawn in the lottery,” Adair says. "That's because the number of available slots – four for Indian Point and eight for River Road – are limited.”
And as in the past a selected hunter is permitted to “buddy up” with a non-hunting observer, Koritansky says.
An electronic set of rules and application package will be available beginning Aug. 1 by accessing Lake Metroparks' web site www.lakemetroparks.com. Go to the “Conservation/Wildlife Management” link.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn