Friday, August 5, 2016

Lake Metroparks sets rules, application time frame for its annual controlled archery deer hunts

Lake Metroparks is reminding hunters that it’s not too early to begin planning and preparation.

Then again, that’s true for other government bodies that host controlled deer hunts. Including the Ohio Division of Wildlife, which on Tuesday, August 9th, will release the results of its annual controlled deer and waterfowl hunts.

And on September 6th and 7th the Kirtland-based Holden Arboretum will conduct its meetings with selected hunters regarding the organization’s annual controlled deer hunts, chiefly by archery tackle means. A few changes have occurred here with Holden having pared back on those hunters who either had not been participating or else had failed to achieve the degree of success necessary to stay in the program.

For Lake Metroparks the agency is accepting on-line applications for its series of controlled archery-only deer hunts at four locations. These hunts, however, are open only for Lake County residents or owners of businesses anchored to Lake County.

Also, Lake Metroparks is maintaining controlled archery deer hunts at two other locations for veterans with service-related injuries. These hunts are not resident-restricted, though.

“Our hunt program will run pretty much as it did last year with the lottery accepting applications through August 30th,” said Tom Koritansky, Lake Metroparks’ natural resources manager.

Last year, said Koritansky, the parks system received 337 applications for the 147 available slots and issuing 208 permits. That latter figure incorporated partner hunters, or those persons who can sub for the original applicant should that person not be available on a particular drawn day.

In all, the locations where the controlled hunts will commence include River Road Reservation in Madison Township (eight hunt sites), Indian Point Park-Lower in Leroy Township (three sites), Blair Road-South in Perry Township (two sites), and Lake Erie Bluffs Park in Perry Township (three sites).

For the veterans the locations include Indian Point Park –Upper in Leroy Township (two ground blinds), and Big Creek-Williams Road in Concord Township (one ground blind and two tree ladder stands).

Lake Metroparks’ controlled deer hunt program began in 2011 at just the River Road location, Koritansky said.

Since the inaugural series of hunts the agency has seen 77 deer shot by hunters. Among them were the 15 deer taken last year, one of which was a female sika deer along with five antlered white-tails. A small but thriving population of sika deer lives in eastern Lake County, the offspring of a group that escaped from a-once private estate in Leroy Township.

“Other hunters said they passed on shooting sika deer, too, and for various reasons,” Koritansky said also.

As for the best location, that would be River Road Park, with the only property not seeing any deer being taken was Indian Point Park-Upper.

Koritansky said he doubts that the construction of the Vrooman Road Bridge and all of the associated hubbub was the chief factor in the lack of deer being taken there last year.

The rules linked with the hunts have not changed. Among them include completing the application on-line with the exception being for the veteran hunts, which are handled by applications being dropped off at the parks system’s headquarters at Concord Woods Park in Concord Township.

Selected hunters also must attend a mandatory orientation meeting, successfully complete a qualification test with their archery tackle at one of two Lake County sporting goods stores with a suitable target range, and follow all applicable Ohio hunting rules and laws.

As for the hunting itself, Koritansky says that the first group of hunters will be given two-week slots at the start of the season, followed by five, three-week segments. Assignment to a particular hunting time and location is dependent upon the order in which an applicant’s number is drawn in the lottery.

“That is so we can accommodate more hunters and give each one a reasonable opportunity to kill a deer through the rut,” he said.

For all hunters except for the handicapped veterans individuals, are responsible for bringing their own ground blinds, tree ladder stands and bait, if they desire to use such products, Koritansky says..

Handicapped hunters can be accommodated as well at some of the locations though here, too, lottery-winning hunters must bring their own bait, Koritansky says.

Lake Metroparks will again go the extra mile for veterans with service-related injuries and make additional effort to help ensure their safety, comfort and opportunity to take a deer, Koritansky.

Asked if the hunts have helped reduce the respective deer herds at the individual parks, Koritansky says “it’s still a little early to tell.”

“But we do know that controlled deer hunts are a good deer-management too,l which is why we’re continuing with the program,” he said.

Lottery results will be posted September 1st.
For further – and full - information and to apply, visit Lake Metroparks’ web site at, then go to “2016-2017 Wildlife Management Program” and then follow the appropriate prompts.

- Jeffrey L. Frischkorn

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