TOLEDO — As part of a comprehensive wildlife management program, Metroparks will allow bow hunting for deer beginning this fall on several park district properties where public access is limited.
“The dramatic growth of the white-tailed deer herd in Ohio has resulted in increased impacts on habitat,” said Steve Madewell, executive director of Metroparks of the Toledo Area. “With an ever-increasing deer population and limited natural predators, deer are adversely affecting plant populations across the park system.”
Deer over-population can result in damage to natural areas, reduce desirable food sources and adversely affect habitat for ground-nesting birds.
As populations continue to grow they can create a health risk to the deer themselves. For several years, all of the other major park districts in Ohio have used hunting, culling or a combination of the two as a deer management tool to reduce local deer populations.
“The park system has a responsibility to find a balanced, sustainable approach to resource management,” Madewell said.
As a pilot program, bow hunting is being permitted on properties that Metroparks has acquired for future parkland, but currently have limited public access.
Most of the properties are in a corridor between Oak Openings Preserve and Secor Metroparks in Western Lucas County.
“We have monitored deer browse and conducted aerial surveys for some time now, and it’s obvious that the deer population has continued to grow across the state, including both the urban and agricultural areas of Lucas County,” Madewell said. “The results of the archery program will be closely monitored and evaluated for its efficiency as a population control.”
Bow hunters who qualify can submit an application and will be selected on a lottery basis for a permit to hunt one of the properties for three weeks during bow hunting season, Sept. 28 through Feb. 2.
Each hunter will be permitted to bring a hunting partner.