Better known for its steelhead fishing opportunities, Lake Metroparks also annually provides the chance for some lucky deer hunters to have their own catch of the day.
However, the hook for this deer hunting possibility is for Lake County residents only. Plus, owners of businesses based in Lake County.
In other words if a person or business pays property taxes in Lake County they are good to go in terms of eligibility for participating in Lake Metroparks’ annual drawing for the agency’s controlled archery-only deer-hunting program.
A lone exception to this Lake County resident-only rule is a series of hunts embracing veterans with service-related injuries.
This overall package of hunts is intended to help manage the deer herds at several Lake Metroparks’ properties.
Last year lottery-selected hunters connected on 13 does and six bucks. These animals coming from seven parks system’s designated deer-management units.
These units are – with their respective 2014 deer kill – Big Creek Corridor (two deer), Lake Erie Bluffs (three deer), Indian Point Park/Vrooman Road Corridor (four deer), Indian Point Park/Upper Area (one deer), Blair Road Property (two deer), and River Road Maintenance Property (seven deer).
Registration for the lottery already is underway, says Tom Koritansky, Lake Metroparks’ Natural Resources Manager.
The registration process is available through an online portal via Lake Metroparks’ web site - www.lakemetroparks.com - and which extends to 11:59 p.m., August 25th.
In-person registration is available, too. Such sign-ups will be taken through 4:30 p.m., August 25th at the parks system’s headquarters, 11211 Spear Road, Concord Township, Koritansky says.
“Once again, we’ll be selecting eligible participants through a lottery and then assigning them to locations and groups based on the order in which they were chosen in the drawing,” Koritansky said.
Koritansky said as well that the Lake Metroparks’ controlled archery-only deer hunts will run concurrently with Ohio’s archery deer-hunting season; that being September 26 through February 7.
“Since there are 19 weeks in the state’s archery deer-hunting season, we will structure our hunts into five, three-week groups and set for the first 15 weeks of the season, and a pair of two-week groups set for the last four weeks of the season,” Koritansky said.
Other eligibility stipulations for the lottery – besides the requirement of being a Lake County resident or a Lake County business owner – include being at least 18 years old.
Participants who are successful in this - the lottery's fifth installment - will have the option of naming a partner to hunt in their place whenever that successful applicant is unable to hunt, Koritansky says.
“Understand that partners must meet the same eligibility requirements as do the primary hunter,” Koritansky says. “But participants will be permitted to bring one non-hunting guest who must remain in the vicinity of the hunter at all times, so there won’t be any deer drives.”
As has been required with previous Lake Metroparks archery-only deer hunts, each participant must successfully pass a proficiency test with their archery tackle. Likewise all participants are required to attend one of the mandatory pre-hunt meetings in order to receive a permit.
Sites for this year’s hunts include River Road Park in Madison Township, Indian Point Park along Vrooman Road in Leroy Township, Lake Erie Bluffs and south of Clark Road in Perry Township, and the agency’s Blair Road property, south of the Grand River, in Leroy Township.Participants at Blair Road hunt within one general area. There will be up to two participants hunting at a time at the Blair Road Property.
Koritansky says that participants hunting at the River Road Park unit will hunt from pre-determined locations with stands provided by Lake Metroparks.
“Participants do have the option of bringing their own professionally made stand or blind, and can hunt within a 100-yard radius of each of these sites,” Koritansky says. “We will have eight stands at River Road Park.”Participants at Indian Point Park and Lake Erie Bluffs will be required to hunt within assigned areas also, says Koritansky.
Likewise, hunters may tote their own professionally manufactured stand or blind if they so choose.
“We'll have three areas available at both Lake Erie Bluffs and Indian Point Park,” Koritansky said. “However, one area was removed at Indian Point this year because of the construction of the new high-level Vrooman Road bridge.”
Results for the hunt lottery are planned for posting on Lake Metroparks’ web site as well as available at the parks system’s administrative office on August 27th.
As for the special veterans-only hunts, Koritansky says that service-connected disabilities were the criteria used in the past and will rule again this year.
Veterans-only hunt applicants also must be at least 18 years old.However, applicants for the veterans-only hunts feature the additional requirement that they be sent directly to Lake Metroparks headquarters or else completed in person at the agency’s office.
Prospective veterans-only hunt applicants that are completed in person have as their deadline 4:30 p.m., August 25th and if mailed, postmarked by August 25th, Koritansky said
“Those persons selected for the veterans hunts will be assigned hunting sessions throughout the archery deer-hunting season and will be based on the overall number of applicants, their needs and accommodations as well as the level of interest,” Koritansky says.“We may employ a lottery system to select participants if the number of applicants exceeds the number of available hunting slots.”
Importantly too, says Koritansky, is that each participating veteran may be joined by a non-hunting guest.
Hunting for veterans with service-connected disabilities will take place at the Big Creek Corridor – Williams Road Property, Indian Point Park – Upper, and Hell Hollow Wilderness Area.
Participants hunting at these locations will hunt from stands or blinds installed by Lake Metroparks.
There are three locations available at the Big Creek property and two available at Indian Point – Upper. Another two locations will be made available at Hell Hollow if the capacity at the other two properties is exceeded.
The schedule for the veteran-only hunts will be posted by September 4th.
Interested applicants can get more information about the controlled hunt programs by visiting www.lakemetroparks.com/conservation/wildlifemanagement.
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 125 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.