Water and Wings
By KEN PARROTT
As I talked about in my last column, one of the favorite hunting seasons in Ohio is almost here. Approximately 205,000 bow hunters, representing more than half of all Ohioans who hunt deer, will participate in the statewide archery deer hunting season opening Sept. 29, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
During last year’s four-month archery season, bow hunters killed 82,732 deer, a decrease of three percent from the previous year. Crossbow hunters took 44,979 of that number and longbow hunters took 37,753 deer. Overall, archers accounted for 38 percent of the 219,748 deer taken during Ohio’s combined 2011-12 archery, muzzleloader and gun seasons.
Licking County was the state leader in both the vertical bow and crossbow harvest. Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Ashtabula and Guernsey rounded out the top five counties in crossbow harvest, while Coshocton, Tuscarawas, Muskingum and Hamilton completed the list of top five counties in vertical bow harvest.
Hunters must report their deer harvest, but are no longer required to take their deer to a check station for physical inspection. Instead, hunters have three options to complete the automated game check; On the Internet at wildohio.com, by telephone at 877-TAG-ITOH (877–824-4864) (this option is only available to those who are required to have a deer permit to hunt deer), and at all license agents. A list of these agents can be found at wildohio.com or by calling 800-WILDLIFE.
Game-check transactions will be available online and by telephone seven days a week and during holidays. Landowner hunters who are not required to purchase a deer permit must use the Internet or any license agent to check their deer.
Hunters who tag their deer as a landowner harvest cannot use the phone-in method. All authorized license sales agents will also check in your game. A list of these agents can be found at wildohio.com or by calling 800-WILDLIFE.
Ohio hunters are encouraged to kill more does again this season, using the reduced-priced antlerless deer permit to help the needy in their area. The Division of Wildlife is collaborating with Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry (FHFH) to help pay for the processing of donated venison.
Hunters who donate their deer to a food bank are not required to pay the processing cost as long as funding for the effort lasts. More information about this program can be found online at fhfh.org.
All deer hunters are required to have a valid Ohio hunting license and a valid deer permit. This year, the $15 antlerless deer permit will be valid Sept. 29-Nov. 25 in all Zones, A, B and C. The $15 antlerless permit may be purchased only until Nov. 25.
This year’s statewide archery season remains open from Sept. 29– Feb. 3, 2013, including the week of deer-gun season Nov. 26-Dec. 2. Deer-gun hunters will also be able to enjoy an additional weekend of hunting Dec. 15– 16.
Archers may hunt one half-hour before sunrise to one half-hour after sunset, except during the statewide gun, youth and muzzleloader seasons when they are one half-hour before sunrise to sunset. Archers hunting during the statewide gun, youth or muzzleloader seasons must meet the hunter orange requirements of those seasons.
To hunt deer in Ohio, hunters must possess a deer permit in addition to a valid hunting license. State law allows hunters to take only one antlered buck per year, regardless of the type of deer season, deer permit or weapon used for deer hunting. A detailed listing of deer hunting rules is contained in the 2012–13 Ohio Hunting Regulations, available where licenses are sold, or may be viewed online at wildohio.com.
•State wildlife and animal health officials have confirmed localized outbreaks of a common white-tailed deer disease in eight Ohio counties including Ashtabula, Columbiana, Geauga, Holmes, Paulding, Portage, Ross and Summit.
Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory confirmed that of the 20 samples, 13 deer had epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD). State animal health officials stress EHD occurs annually in deer herds across North America.
A similar hemorrhagic disease called bluetongue has been known to occur throughout the United States and Canada, but should not be confused with EHD. There are no cases of bluetongue disease confirmed in Ohio.
White-tailed deer contract EHD from the biting midges, which typically live near water. White-tailed deer, along with mule deer, elk, bighorn sheep and pronghorn antelope are susceptible to the disease. T
The disease is not spread from deer to deer or from deer to humans. Once infected, deer show symptoms within five to 10 days. Infected deer initially lose appetite and fear of man, grow progressively weaker, often salivate excessively and become unconscious. Many deer die within 36 hours of the onset of symptoms.
Midges can also spread EHD among cattle and sheep. These outbreaks may occur at the same time deer are being impacted.
However, this is not a case of the disease spreading from deer to livestock or vice versa, but is an indication that the biting midges are present in large enough numbers to spread the disease.
State wildlife officials stress to those planning to hunt impacted areas this fall that although this disease does not affect humans nor impact the safety of consumed deer, hunters should report deer that appear to be sick or diseased to their local wildlife officer. Deer that appear unhealthy should never be taken for human food.
According to the University of Georgia’s annual Southeastern Cooperative Wildlife Disease Study, EHD is the most common ailment affecting deer in the Eastern United States. The disease is common in portions of the northern Great Plains and the southeastern United States, and was first identified in 1955 in New Jersey.
•Beaver and river otter trapping on public land requires a special permit, according to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. Controlled beaver and/or river otter trapping opportunities on 75 wildlife areas, state parks and other publicly managed lands statewide will be awarded through a system of random drawings. Applicants may apply online or print an application and mail it in along with all fees, and applications may also be obtained from district offices.
The application period will be Sept. 15-Oct. 15. The application fee is $3 per event. Trappers may apply for each event once annually, and people who apply more than once per event will be disqualified and forfeit his or her application fee.
Independent drawings will be held for each event. Application fees are non-refundable, and all applications must be submitted in the name of an adult that holds a current hunting license.
Results will be available by mid-November. Applicants will be notified by U.S. mail of the results. Additionally, each applicant can check his or her customer account online to view lottery results for events for which they applied.
Until next time, Good Hunting and Good Fishing!