Ohio DNR Explores Ways to Improve Hunter Access

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The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife has teamed up with the Ohio Farm Bureau to consider a pilot program that will help manage local deer herds and expand hunter access.

The two agencies are exploring the possibility of developing a web-based deer hunter access program. Through the program, which would be run on a trial basis in selected counties, landowners could review a searchable database of deer hunters and select hunters to whom they would grant hunting permissions. A survey, available at wildohio.com, will help determine deer hunters' interest in participating in such a program.

To be involved in the program, hunters would have to complete an online profile that could include the number of years hunting experience, willingness to harvest does, preferred type of hunting (archery, shotgun, muzzleloader), and willingness to submit to a background check at the request of the landowner.

The program's concept provides landowners with a desired level of control and hunters benefit from increased hunting opportunities.

Hunters will not be charged to submit their profiles to become eligible for the access program. There is also no additional charge to hunt on enrolled properties. All who submit their profiles are not guaranteed to receive hunting permissions.

Access to hunt deer is a major component to successful deer management. Because 95 percent of Ohio's land base is held in private ownership, access to private property is vital to the success of Ohio's deer management program. Access to private property is a privilege that cannot be legislated. For that reason it is essential that hunters and landowners work cooperatively to develop positive relationships that facilitate the harvest of deer, specifically does, from private property.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. To access the survey, deer hunters are encouraged to visit the front page of the Division of Wildlife website at wildohio.com.