With a little more than two months to go before the first arrows can legally fly, the city of Mentor is gearing up for its second-ever controlled archery deer hunt.
Prospective participants can stop by Mentor City Hall and visit the recreation department for the required packet of information and forms regarding the controlled hunt.
These packets also will become available via Internet PDf downloading in the near future, says Nicholas Mikash, the city's natural resources specialist.
Mikash says the program also has undergone some tweaking that will aid hunters in helping to reduce the city's substantial deer herd.
Meanwhile, Lake Metroparks is currently fine-tuning its own controlled archery deer hunt. The agency's three park board members will be fully briefed on the program as presented by the executive director, no later than at their August park board meeting.
As for Mentor, this is the second year for the city's controlled archery deer-hunting program, which has been praised by many participants for its thoroughness and fairness.
In all, permitted hunters killed 131 deer in Mentor during last year's program.
And city sharpshooters shot another 210 or so more deer in a culling operation where allowing archery hunting was not practical such as some parks.
For this year, permitted hunters will have the opportunity to hunt more than just one pre-approved parcel that meets the program's criteria, Mikash says.
Too, City Council will likely take up some other regulatory changes that, if approved, would also prove beneficial to permitted hunters, Mikash says.
Requirements established last year impacted who, how and where a permitted hunter could establish himself – or herself.
This year's requirements will largely mirror those followed last year as well.
Among the stipulations created last year was that all prospective hunters had to first successfully pass a proficiency test, given at one of several area outdoors supply stores which maintain an archery tackle shooting range.
Prospective hunters had up to three attempts in order to qualify, using the archery equipment the participant planned to use during the hunt.
Successful applicants were likewise required to notify the city within 24 hours of any animal killed, though police inspection of the deer was not required. At least one other Lake County community does require visual inspection of a killed deer by a police officer.
Other rules included that each longbow, compound bow, or crossbow arrow had to have the hunter's permit number written on it with indelible ink.
In order to participate a hunter needed a minimum of five acres made up of no more than three contiguous parcels.
Also, hunting on Sunday was prohibited, hunters had to position themselves on an elevated stand at least eight from the ground, were required to request a police officer to assist should an animal run off the approved hunting site, which itself needed inspection prior to being used, hunters had to be a minimum of 18 years old, and the first deer taken had to be an antlerless animal.
The hunts were open to both Mentor residents and non-residents.
For more information regarding Mentor's controlled archery deer hunt, contact Mikash at 440-974-5717 or visit the city's web site at www.cityofmentor.com.
This year's Ohio statewide archery deer-hunting season will run Sept. 28 through Feb. 4, 2014.
Hunting hours are one-half hour before Sunrise until one-half hour after sunset.
Several significant changes were made by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Wildlife related to the various up-coming deer-hunting seasons. Among them is the abandonment of the Urban Deer Hunting zones which saw very liberal bag limits and which had included all of Lake County in one such enclave.
In its place, hunters may kill up to four deer anywhere in Lake County but only one of which can be an antlered animal.
As for permit requirements those too have undergone revision. For the Wildlife Division's Four-County Deer Zone – which enfolds all of Lake County – a hunter can use up to three either-sex permits but just one antlerless-only tag and which is not valid after Dec. 1.
There has been some discussion within the Wildlife Division of liberalizing regulations in special cases like that of Mentor, but as of now no such easing of restrictions has officially surfaced.
For further details on this year's up-coming hunting seasons, visit the Wildlife Division's web site at www.ohiodnr.com/wildlife.
- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn