Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Can't be picked unless you apply for an Ohio controlled deer/waterfowl hunt

Even with nearly a quarter-century years worth of preference points – plus this year’s pay-up-front $15 application entry – I still failed to draw a permit for a state of Maine moose-hunting license.

Maine holds an annual lottery for such tags, applicants choosing which district they would like to hunt, which period within the season, and whether you’d like a permit for a bull or a cow. If the sexual preference as to the tag I’d prefer is applicable, of course.

In my case I spell out my ideal choices but always check off the hail-Mary clause when asked if I would take anything, anywhere and for any moose.

Well, darn, tootin’, I note, not that it so obviously has done me any good. Fact is I once calculated, and while employing data provided by Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife that I could be 125 years old before the odds actually favor my name being drawn.

I’ve read stories that say a Maine non-resident’s chances of drawing a Maine moose tag are anywhere from three percent to all the way up to eight percent.

Though I doubt that I’d be able to hunt moose (or much of anything else) another 60 years from now I will continue to apply for the opportunity to draw a Maine moose-hunting tag.

However the odds of being picked for one of Ohio’s managed-controlled lottery deer hunts are not seemingly much better, either. Nor do I hold my breath in anticipation when I apply for a controlled waterfowl hunt.

Applications for each are now being accepted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ Division of Wildlife. And which will continue to accept said applications through July 31.

Each lottery drawing application requires a non-refundable $3 fee. For (general) adults the Wildlife Division has eight different deer hunts and five different waterfowl hunts.

The agency also has established two women-principally deer hunts, three mobility-impaired-only deer hunts, two early waterfowl season hunts, 11 youth-only deer hunts, four youth-only waterfowl hunts, three mentored youth deer hunts, and six youth mentored waterfowl hunts.

Not all of the hunts are created equal in the eyes of the odds bookie, either.

Maybe the odds of being selected for a controlled Ohio deer hunt are better than being picked for a Maine moose-hunting tag but the process is such that failure to be selected is the rule and not the exception.

A couple of 2014 adult deer hunts with the greatest odds against being selected were the Mercer Wildlife Area Archery Hunt (odds of being selected were one in 73), and the Transportation Center Adult Antlerless Deer Gun Hunt (odds of being picked were one in 111).

Okay so those two special hunts didn’t have either many slots or applicants.

Even so, the popularity of applying for a NASA Plum Brook Station deer gun hunt was enough in 2014 that many came but few were chosen. Last year 4,695 people applied for a permit to deer hut at Plum Brook though only 336 were randomly plucked by a computer. That places the odds of being selected at one in 14.

Meanwhile 2,350 people applied for an Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge deer hunt last year though just 25 were picked for odds of one in 94.

The ever-popular Ravenna Arsenal adult deer gun hunt continues to be – well – ever popular with applicants. Last year 4,798 people (the largest number for any of Ohio’s many controlled hunts) applied but only 176 folks were lucky with the odds being one in 28.

Similarly 3,546 people applied to hunt the Mosquito Creek Refuge during the statewide muzzle-loading season but a paltry 150 names were spat out by the computer. That placed selection odds of one in 24.

For adults being selected for a waterfowl hunt are really not all that good either. Last year 2,363 adults applied to hunt ducks and geese at Magee Marsh though only 192 were picked. And thus the odds were one in 13, the same odds of being selected at the adjacent Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.

Over at the Mosquito Creek Refuge, 1,426 people applied for 120 permits with the odds of being selected in 2014 at one in 12.

The waterfowl hunts at Pickerel Creek are popular as well with 1,352 people applying for the (yikes!) 40 slots with the odds of being selected at the why-bother-applying one in 34.

Alas, the growth of youth hunting, women hunting and even hunting by folks with some form of serious mobility issues also has led to long odds of being picked.

For example, 244 women applied to hunt during the Killdeer Plains deer hunt established for them though just 18 females were picked. That placed the odds of being selected at one in 14.

And for the youth deer gun hunt at the Wildlife Division’s Hebron Hatchery, 107 youngsters applied but only two were selected. Thus the odds of being picked were one in 54.

Still, unless one applies one can never win. This is why I’ll go through the list of Ohio’s select, controlled deer and waterfowl hunts and then decide which ones I want to drop $3 in order to apply for a permit. And pretty much full-well knowing that I won’t be picked for any of them, of course.

Then again, come next February I’ll get a notification from Maine that it’s time to apply for that state’s annual moose tag lottery. And without hesitation I’ll send a check for $15 to that state’s treasurer.

Such is the stuff that dreams are made of.

For further information about Ohio’s deer and waterfowl hunting lottery program, review what is available and electronically enter an application, visit the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s web site at www.wildohio.gov.

Persons may also call 800-945-3543 in order to be provided with a paper application.

Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

 Jeff is the retired News-Herald reporter who  covered the earth sciences, the area's three county park systems and the outdoors for the newspaper. During his 30 years with The News-Herald Jeff was the recipient of more than 100 state, regional and national journalism awards. He also is a columnist and features writer for the Ohio Outdoor News, which is published every other week and details the outdoors happenings in the state.



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