2005 Bowhunter Survey

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The Ohio Bowhunter Survey is a program the Division of Wildlife uses to track year-to-year changes in furbearer populations, and to record sightings of special interest species such as black bear, bobcat and river otter. Because bowhunters typically spend many hours in the field observing wildlife, this group of outdoorsmen and women provide some of the best information on certain wildlife species that are difficult to monitor using other survey methods.

The information provided by bowhunters, such as the number of animals observed for each species, the amount of time spent bowhunting and the county in which that person hunted, can provide a measure of how abundant those species are in Ohio . This information is summarized and reported as the average number seen for every 1,000 hours hunted statewide. Annual trends in observation rates of furbearers seen by Ohio bowhunters can be found in the Raccoon Trend, Opossum Trend, Coyote Trend, Gray Fox Trend, Red Fox Trend, and Skunk Trend figures.

Bowhunters can also provide a measure of the relative abundance and distribution of these species in Ohio . Observation rates for individual species are calculated for each county and sorted from the lowest observation rates to the highest for each individual species. Counties with observation rates falling in the lower 25% range for that particular species are assigned a “Low” rating, counties in the upper 25% range are assigned a “High” rating, while the remaining 50% are assigned a “Medium” rating. Results for the relative abundance and distribution of each species can be found in the Raccoon Distribution Map, Opossum Distribution Map, Coyote Distribution Map, Gray Fox Distribution Map, Red Fox Distribution Map, and Skunk Distribution Map.

The total Number of Bowhunters participating in the survey has varied during the past several years, along with the Total Hours that bowhunters contributed each year. During the 2004 season, more than 1,120 bowhunters contributed 61,912 hours, with the Distribution of Hours averaging 54.2 hours per bowhunter.

For the 2005 survey, a new data form was mailed to participants in September, which will allow the Division of Wildlife to compile the information more rapidly using a new computer program and scanner. This is designed to significantly reduce the amount of time needed to manually enter the data and report the results.

In addition, the Division of Wildlife would like to congratulate James Farmer of West Chester , Ohio , as the winner of the 2004 drawing for a brand new compound bow, donated by Fairfield Outdoors in Lancaster . We would like to thank Shane Hyme and the staff at Fairfield Outdoors for donating the bow, which is awarded to a randomly-drawn participant who returns their survey by the December 10 th deadline.