Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Lake Metroparks sets sights on an expanded controlled archery deer hunt

With only seven or so weeks ago until Ohio archers can launch their first arrows at deer, Lake Metroparks is still ahead of the curve.

The agency has revamped its controlled/by lottery archery-only hunts for the up-coming 2014-2015 Ohio deer-hunting season.

For starters the parks system will offer controlled hunts at four locations, up from the two sites utilized last year.

Besides allowing lottery-selected hunters at Lake Metroparks’ River Road Reservation in Madison Township and a portion of Indian Point Park in Leroy Township, added is a swath of Lake Erie Bluffs Park in Perry Township, and also a portion of the agency’s Blair Road/Walden II property, also in Leroy Township.

Other tweaks include allowing selected hunters to be afield for three week increments. That change is one additional week from what was utilized during the program’s previous three years of operation.

Another change is that Lake Metroparks will no longer provide corn, used as bait to attract deer within bow or crossbow range.

Neither will the parks system offer tree stand ladders or ground blinds at Lake Erie Bluffs, Indian Point, and Blair Road, said Tom Koritansky, Lake Metroparks’ natural resources manager.

“We will still be providing ladder stands and feeders at River Road,” Koritansky said, “but no corn.”

Koritansky says the reason the parks system will give the lottery-selected hunters an additional week is because hunters will need to determine where to set up and whether salting the site with deer-attracting food stuffs is necessary.

“We are also eliminating the doe-first rule,” Koritansky also said. “We ran with that rule for the first few seasons but we just didn’t see the results we were hoping for.”

While ladder stands and you-fill-it game feeders will again make their appearances at River Road, selected hunters will still have the opportunity to enjoy a 50-yard diameter wiggle room. This somewhat short leash will give a hunter some freedom as to where to install a personally owned stand or blind, Koritansky says.

Much more elbow is planned for the other three sites. At Lake Erie Bluffs, for example and says Koritansky, the three hunting units there consist of 15 acres, 30 acres, and 40 acres, respectively.

“Each of them is a mix of meadow, forest, brush and some wet spots,” he said.

Copy that at both Blair Road and Indian Point, too, where each selected hunter will have a designated portion of the respective property in order to make set-up adjustments if desired, Koritansky says.

In all, the River Road property will field eight sites, Indian Point will consist of four hunt units, Lake Erie Bluffs will have three sections, and Blair Road will offer two units.

As to who gets to hunt which location, that choice will come about by the order of the lottery draw. 

Get drawn early and the pickings will be better, says Koritansky.

Asked as to which location stands tallest in the deer-hunting saddle, Koritansky says each of the four properties offer fine opportunities for the archer looking for a controlled situation where he – or she – won’t be blitzed by trespassing interlopers looking to cash in on a restricted piece of real estate.

Still, the odds of being selected are around one pick for every three applicants. Last year 108 primary hunters were drawn from a field of 313 applicants. Another, smaller, group of applicants were plucked and who were on stand-by as alternates.

An alternate list is intended to be maintained again this season, says Koritansky

“We did utilize some of the hunters on the alternate list too,” Koritansky said.

And though only one person at a time can occupy a hunting unit or zone, a selected archer can name a partner. In such instances the partner can fill in if the actual lottery-selected hunter is unable to be afield on that particular day.

“This option has been well received but you have to remember that the partner still must abide by the same requirements as does the selectee,” Koritansky says.

Among those stipulations is the requirement to pass an archery proficiency test and attend the appropriate orientation seminar/class, Koritansky says.

Testing for the archery proficiency qualification is scheduled for Great Lakes Outdoors Supply store in Madison Township as well as Gander Mountain’s Mentor store.

A rule left unchanged since the program began is that the lottery is open only to Lake County residents and owners of businesses in Lake County. In short, the lottery is open only to the very people whose property taxes go to help support Lake Metroparks.

The application process is available on-line via Lake Metroparks’ web site at Persons also may apply in person at the agency’s registration department, located within the parks system’s Concord Woods Nature Park headquarters on Speer Rod in Concord Township.

Prospective archery hunters can apply from August 7 to September 1, inclusive.

Complete rules and further information is available via these two processing venues as well.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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