Ohio Launches Web-based Hunter Access Program

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The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife has teamed up with the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation and the Quality Deer Management Association to announce the development of a Web-based deer hunter access program.

The Web site, huntohiofarms.com, will be available starting August 26 as part of a two-year pilot project to be focused in Harrison, Jefferson, Tuscarawas and Carroll counties. The program will then be evaluated to determine its acceptance within the hunting and farming communities. If successful, it would then be expanded to include the entire state.

Starting August 26, interested hunters can log on to the Web site and develop a profile of themselves that would include years hunting experience, preferred method of harvest (e.g., archery, gun, muzzleloader), available dates and counties they would like to hunt. Farmers, in one of the four pilot counties, would search the hunter database and contact those hunters directly that meet the landowner’s criteria. Hunters who participate would have to agree to a set of rules and regulations governing the use of the land. Hunters unwilling or unable to abide by these established guidelines would be removed from the database. Both participating landowners and hunters will be required to complete an annual exit survey detailing their experience with the program.

There is no charge to participate or hunt enrolled properties. Enrollment in the program does not guarantee a place to hunt.

Access to deer is key to successful 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. Visit the ODNR web site at www.ohiodnr.com.