Ohio Department of Natural Resources to hold special deer hunt in parts of Southwest Ohio
White tailed-deer in Ohio have no natural predators. Historically, its population was kept stable by wolves, cougars and Native American hunters.
No predators can lead to overpopulation and overgrazing of native plants like rare orchids and spring flowers. Deer can also cause damage to farmland crops.
In the 2021-2022 hunting season, Ohio hunters harvested over 190,000 deer, but sometimes some areas have denser populations than others.
Jeff Johnson, the chief of the division of natural areas and preserves at ODNR, said controlled deer huntings are not new, and can be an effective way to protect sensitive plant habitats.
“If one species, which is native starts to impact everything else, then that's when we have to start looking at management opportunities for that,” Johnson said. “And it's not that we want to eradicate all deer, we just want to keep them at a level that is not going to have a tremendous impact on the rest of the diversity.”
State preserve officials have observed deer populations over grazing on native plants, they can also carry non-native plant seeds. So to minimize the population, ODNR holds special hunts every year, according to Johnson.
“Any time we have a rare and endangered [plant] species and there's population impacts from deer on those is extremely big concern of ours,” he said. “You take away the blooming period, which means you're not going to have a seed set, so you're not going to have those species into the next season.”
Preserve managers will handle hunting applications at the local level. Some of the counties in the special hunt include Butler, Clark and Warren. ODNR will hold lotteries to award the hunting licenses.
Upcoming hunt locations and interest meetings:
Caesar Creek: Warren County
- Meeting Date: Saturday, September 10, 2022, 1:00 p.m.
- Meeting Location: Caesar Creek State Nature Preserve Parking Lot, 4080 Corwin Rd. Oregonia, OH 45054
- Manager Contact: Eric Sagasser, 937-418-8710 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Gallagher Fen: Clark County
- Meeting Date: Saturday, September 10, 2022, 9:00 a.m.
- Meeting Location: Gallagher Fen SNP parking area, 4709 Old Columbus Road, Springfield, 45502
- Manager Contact: Michelle Comer – 937-537-6173 or
Hueston Woods: Butler and Preble County
- Meeting Date: Sunday, September 18, 2022, 1:00 p.m.
- Meeting Location: Hueston Woods State Park Conference Center, 6301 Park Office Road, College Corner, OH 45003
- Manager Contact: Eric Sagasser- 937-418-8710 or email@example.com
Alejandro Figueroa is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.