There are pluses and minuses to any kind of survey. Seeking input from a large cross section of a certain segment of the population is not always easy.
The Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) annually sends out about 10,000 emails to hunters seeking input from deer hunters. The results of this deer hunter survey (DHS) has left something to be desired, according to Dr. Mike Tonkovich, the DOW’s deer program administrator. The DOW again has the same survey online as it did in 2016 in hopes of hearing from more hunters as well as comparing the results of both.
Even though the DOW stresses that input from the survey is valuable to the future of Ohio’s deer management program, only about 800-900 hunters return the survey.
As Tonkovich pointed out, “Even if those were evenly distributed across all 88 counties, that leaves us with 10 per county, which is, well worthless to be totally honest! That said, if we are dealing with statewide issues such as public land regulations or timing of the youth season for instance, then these surveys can be informative.
“The reason we are running this survey is to see, once again, how similar or dissimilar the results are between our annual DHS that we mail and an open survey such as this. We did a similar thing in 2016 and found the results to be very similar. However, we only asked a couple of questions,” he added.
The online survey found at wildohio.com is similar to the one emailed to those 10,000 hunters last fall. Tonkovich urges hunters to go online and fill out the survey.
In 2016, about 1,500 hunters replied to the online survey. Currently, about 1,400 hunters have taken the survey.
Among the questions are whether you have hunted of public land or private land you own. It also asks if you would consider hunting on public land next year.
The survey also asks what is most important to you when deciding where to go deer hunting. It asks you to list eight instances in order how they influence where you choose to deer hunt. Those eight include:
Odds of encouraging other hunters that could disrupt your hunt
Potential for other hunters in the area to pose a safety concern
Likelihood that you will see a deer
Opportunity for a quality buck
Access to treestands and/or blinds that have been set up prior to the hunt
Ability to use vehicles (bicycles, ATVs, trucks, etc.) to transport equipment and/or retrieve harvested animals.
Distance from your home (length of time to travel to the property)
Familiarity with the property (known stand locations, prior scouting intel, etc.)
The survey also asks the likelihood about different scenarios that you would apply ($3 application fee) for a hunting opportunity on public land. These include:
One in which you and a hunting parter were the only hunters permitted on the area for a weekday (Monday-Thursday.)
One in which you and a hunting parter were the only hunters permitted on the area for a weekend day.
The survey also explains what habitat-based deer management units (DMU) and the allocation of deer management permits are and how they are utilized. It also asks some questions on these management tools.
Survey respondents are asked to provide any other comments.
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Tom Thompson, of Indian Ridge Sporting Clays, of Roundhead, will be the guest speaker at the Jan. 30 meeting of the Allen County Sportsmen & Farmers Association, located at 1001 South Kemp Road. The meeting begins at 7 p.m.
The club will host a turkey shoot Sunday (Jan. 19) beginning at 11:45 a.m. Prizes will be turkeys, hams and chickens. Breakfast will begin at 10:30 a.m.. Cost is $5 per person. For more information, contact Bill Stratton at 419-236-9082.
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Opening the spring wild turkey season earlier and requiring a fur take permit of those who hunt or trap coyotes are the two main changes among proposed small game and migratory bird hunting seasons that begin in the fall of 2020 that were presented last Wednesday to the Ohio Wildlife Council, according to the DOW.
The turkey season proposal would have the 2021 spring turkey season on Saturday rather than Monday in both the south zone and northeast zone. This proposal is designed to provide two additional weekend days for wild turkey hunters, according to the DOW. The south zone opening date was proposed for April 24, 2021, and the northeast zone opening date was proposed for May 1, 2021. The 2021 youth turkey hunting season dates were proposed for April 17-18, statewide.
The coyote proposal would add the coyote to the furbearer trapping season. This proposal was made to better align with other furbearer hunting and trapping regulations, and will ensure proper training will be completed prior to trapping coyote by requiring the fulfillment of a trapper education course, according to the DOW.
Ohio resident landowners are not required to have a hunting license or fur taker permit when hunting or trapping on land they own.
A complete list of proposed hunting season dates for 2020-2021 are available at wildohio.com. Proposals concerning Ohio’s white-tailed deer hunting seasons will be presented at the next Ohio Wildlife Council meeting, scheduled for Feb. 19..
Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL