COLUMBUS -- In a continuing effort to control deer populations, specifically those affecting native plant communities, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources will coordinate special deer hunts at six state nature preserves across the state.
High deer populations can have an adverse impact on many sensitive habitats at several state nature preserves. In addition to direct browsing of native vegetation by deer, evidence suggests that deer browsing may promote the spread of garlic mustard, a non-native invasive plant which displaces many native Ohio plant species.
Preserve managers will handle hunting applications at the local level. Hunters must attend individual meetings if they are interested in particular hunts. During those events, hunters can enter the drawing by purchasing a single ticket for $5.
Other requirements include:
■ Hunters must possess a valid 2017-2018 hunting license in order to purchase tickets.
■ Names will be randomly drawn, and those selected will be assigned a specific time to hunt. An orientation will be conducted immediately following the drawing.
■ Hunters will be permitted to hunt with a partner, however, the partner is not required to attend the drawing or orientation.
■ Hunters interested in both the Lake Katharine gun and archery hunts will have to purchase separate lottery tickets for each event.
These hunts are "doe first" hunts, meaning a buck can be taken only after an antlerless deer is harvested. The harvest of does helps manage the deer population. Other special regulations will be addressed at the orientation meetings following the drawings.
Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve will again provide both archery and gun hunting opportunities. The Lake Katharine archery hunt will offer hunters two-week blocks of time to hunt. For the Lake Katharine gun hunt, hunters will be drawn for one of the two-day hunts, either Nov. 27-28 or Nov. 30Dec. 1, all during the regular statewide gun season. This year, an additional muzzleloader hunt will be offered the first two days of muzzleloader season, Jan. 6-7, 2018.
Hunts at Blackhand Gorge, Gallagher Fen, Goll Woods, Sheepskin Hollow and Lawrence Woods state nature preserves will be archery-only hunts. Successful lottery winners of these hunts will be offered two-week blocks of time to hunt.
Hunters may apply for hunts at multiple sites, but they must attend the meeting for each hunt in order to enter the drawing. Do not mail entry forms.
Hunt locations and meeting dates are as follows:
■ Gallagher Fen State Nature Preserve (Clark County) The archery hunt drawing will be held at the Buck Creek State Park office, located at 1976 Buck Creek Lane, Springfield, 45502 on Saturday, Aug. 26, at 10 a.m. Contact Michelle Comer at 937-537-6173 or email@example.com to learn more.
■ Lake Katharine State Nature Preserve (Jackson County) The drawings will be held at the preserve office, located at 1703 Katharine Road, Jackson, 45640 on Sunday, Aug. 27, at 10 a.m. Contact Josh Deemer at 740-285-5971 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
■ Blackhand Gorge State Nature Preserve (Licking County) The drawings will be held at the preserve office, located at 5213 Rock Haven Road, Newark, 43055 on Wednesday, Sept. 6, at 6 p.m. Contact Charlotte McCurdy at 330-298-9198 or email@example.com to learn more.
■ Goll Woods State Nature Preserve (Fulton County) The archery hunt drawing will be held at the preserve office, located at 26093 County Road F, Archbold, 43502 on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 9 a.m. Contact Ryan Schroeder at 419-445-1775 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.
■ Lawrence Woods State Nature Preserve (Hardin County) The archery hunt drawing will be held at the preserve parking area, located at 13278 County Road 190, Kenton, 43226 on Sunday, Sept. 17, at 1 p.m. Contact Ryan Schroeder at 419-445-1775 or email@example.com to learn more.
■ Sheepskin Hollow State Nature Preserve (Columbiana County) The drawings will be held at the Beaver Creek State Park office, located at 12021 Echo Dell Road, East Liverpool, 43920 on Wednesday, Sept. 20, at 6 p.m. Contact Charlotte McCurdy at 330-298-9198 or firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.