From the Ohio Department of Natural Resources
-- 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 website, huntohiofarms.com, will be available starting Aug. 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.
On Aug. 26, interested hunters can log on to the website and develop a profile of themselves that would include years of 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 who 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.