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The Future of Hunting in Ohio

If you could make one change to Ohio deer hunting regualtions ,what would it be?

  • Ban baiting.

    Votes: 32 74.4%
  • Modify camera use. (E.g. No cell cams in season, No cams on public, etc.)

    Votes: 9 20.9%
  • Change season dates. (E.g. Reduce opportunity, Alter NR guidelines, etc.)

    Votes: 9 20.9%
  • Modify crossbow use. (E.g. Special season, Medical/Age restrictions, etc.)

    Votes: 10 23.3%
  • Attempt to discourage leasing. (E.g. New fees, New access programs, combined with season changes, et

    Votes: 9 20.9%
  • Ban baiting, cameras, crossbows, guns and make people hunt in loin clothes using sharp sticks.

    Votes: 2 4.7%
  • Other, and I'll share my recommendation in this thread.

    Votes: 3 7.0%

  • Total voters
    43

cotty16

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
I have two hunting areas on private land 60 miles apart and several areas on public that I mainly Turkey hunt. I'm thankful for what I have and really don't think banning anything would help or change my hunting experience that much except banning two things! If we could ban EHD and Bush Honeysuckle l could deal just fine with everything else!
Let's add Autumn Olive that list. Sheesh that stuff sucks!
 

bowhunter1023

Owner/Operator
Staff member
48,843
274
Appalachia
Damnit...I knew this was coming and I'm still not prepared to defend. 🤣

My main purpose/thought behind it is to have more people create habitat. The deer will survive on natural browse, habitat is often taken away to plant crops. If we concentrated our time and effort on invasive species control and habitat projects, the entire woods would benefit, not just the deer. If turkeys had a place to nest, maybe those numbers would rise. If fawns had places to hide, they would have a chance.

I also have a strong belief that the reproduction of wildlife has been disrupted because of all the foods humans supply. They generally aren't native to the animals. I have no proof of any of this, I just believe that we have played to much with it.

Not to pick on you, Jesse, but let's use your farm has an example. You take major pride in your plots. You have mowed paths for access of equipment. You openly admitted to deer being more draw to crops. Ever wonder what some CREP/CRP would do? Especially up around the old homestead. No more mowed paths or secluded food plots. Make it all bedding/browse habitat. I have an extremely hard time believing that your farm wouldn't benefit beyond any food plot. You would be creating diversity for all.

All in all, I think we need to change the way we think about what is actually helping the wildlife. If you want to be a farmer, be a farmer. Plant your crops and mow your ditches. If you want to be a land/wildlife manager, do that. Being both isn't working out well right now. Not in a state that is so broken up by different property owners.
Sure have. I've added 5+ acres in the last decade. We have more new cover and browse than food by 5x and this is the worst season out of 18 for buck quality, so....... 🤷

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at1010

*Supporting Member*
4,909
139
Sure have. I've added 5+ acres in the last decade. We have more new cover and browse than food by 5x and this is the worst season out of 18 for buck quality, so....... 🤷

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your genetics are there but in a primarily closed canopy forest, with an abundance of does - it’s not shocking to see buck quality suffer slightly. Remember every doe is consuming 6-8% of their body weight in dry forage a day! This is a conservative estimate as I’ve heard higher before but likes use 8%. On a 120lb doe - that’s 9.6lbs of DRY forage a day. If you have 10 does on your farm that’s 96lbs a day in forage. Now extrapolate that out over a sq mile. If we continue to dive into this further - we have to consider the genetic impacts this has on the deer over time. Remember this won’t show its impact over night, more so around 7-10 years. Similarly habitat degradation doesn’t happen over night - it happens in years but then we look down and it’s all invasives.

I have theorized for a long time that much of the great deer numbers, quail, grouse, etc. in the 90s wasn’t driven by ODNR regulation. It was driven by the fact a lot of our woods were cut hard in the 80s. Now we are reaching a point where a lot of farms are being cut again, hard throughout SE Ohio. Many of them hadn’t been cut in 30-40 years. If you line up the successional habitat on a larger scale relative to anecdotal observations of deer quality and quantity - it’s pretty interesting if nothing else.

quantity and quality are inversely correlated. However the quantity can be higher as can the quality if the carrying capacity will allow for such based on the quality of the habitat.

again all happening over a non specific duration.

hope this is somewhat interesting. Checkout MSU deer lab for more info on epigenetic expression in whitetail deer.
 

Bighoun52

Active Member
536
53
In the woods
Great thread and discussion from multiple angles. Listened to the whole pod on my way home from my property in Ohio. As non resident land owner, I can tell you, the price hike of out of state licenses wouldn’t affect myself much. I would pay a good bit more actually but that’s coming from someone that owns the ground. Don’t know how it would affect guys using outfitters and/or hunting public ground.
I have thought a lot about recruitment of new hunters. I have two boys (6 and 4) and want to do anything/everything I can to get them and keep them engaged in what I love to do. I have come to the conclusion, I’m going to make them wait. In pa when I was growing up we had to wait till 12 to hunt. I was so ate up with it by the time I was 12 I was drooling to get out there. Now kids are killing at 5 and 6 years old. Not much waiting to do so usually either. Some kids will stick to it just because of who they are but I think a lot of kids get bored with it. Every child is different so don’t think I’m attacking anyone that takes their young children and gets them a deer. Just what I’m doing personally.

I also agree with some that the camp camaraderie and the fun of small game is missing with these kids. The focus is so much on shooting the biggest buck that we quit rabbit hunting and squirrel hunting. That was the funnest part for me growing up.

all the other arguments are going to come down to your position in your hunting life. A large land owner isn’t going to want baiting because they want to manage for larger older deer. Small land owner is going to want to bait because not a ton else they can do. Meat hunters are going to want to drive, because that’s the easiest way to get the deer dead. It’s all perspective.
 
Ban or at least limit the amount when baiting. They were right about Michigan banning, allowing and then banning again. It is rampant in the state where it is banned now, however more and more people started learning how to plant food plots and create better habitat that is more attractive and sustaining than a pile of corn, sugar beets or carrots. For those that like to say food plots are baiting, that is the furthest thing from the truth. Baiting can be refreshed at any time and the quantity can be increased exponentially. A food plot depends on a growing season, getting it planted with time to grow, getting the right amount of rain, etc.. When it's done......it's DONE and if it fails......it FAILS. So please stop saying it is baiting, you look silly....MmmmmK

Start charging resident landowners for deer tags, hunting license can still be free if hunting on their own land. Deer do not know property boundaries, often travel long distances spanning several properties, even miles and are considered a state animal. There is always a call for charging more for NR's so why not the residents who really do impact the local deer herd directly.

Early primitive weapons deer weekend. States like Michigan and even Ohio have perverted the idea of muzzleloader seasons into being anything but primitive. I think a good idea is a single weekend, 2 days, perhaps in mid to late October (as previously discussed), where flintlock and side hammer caplock rifles and muzzleloading handguns can be used. Throw these forgotten guys (and perhaps girls) a bone.

Archery Season. Ohio was one of the first states that allowed crossbows during archery season. I don't think that should change. There are too many kids getting their introduction to deer hunting with the use of crossbows, too many members here have benefited from them as well. Creating new hoops to jump through for someone else (because this week you can still shoot your vertical bow and somehow you are better) doesn't mean that everyone should have to change what has been precedent for so long. "This one has wheels and that one doesn't" gets pretty hard to draw the line when it has been precedent. Perhaps we throw the traditional guys a bone and create an early 2-3 day season before regular bowhunters get started in September??

Trail cameras. I love my trail cameras. Cell cams have been a delight and a headache since I have started using them. I don't feel they should be regulated at this point. They are a necessity for me to surveil our property for tresspassers as well as critter monitoring. Outfitters likely use them as the guys discussed. Perhaps that is something that should be looked at a little more, an electronic device used to aid in the......you get it. As for public land I disagree with people saying they have a right to privacy because they might poop there (so they should be banned). The Supreme Court in many 1st amendment situations have always said you have NO expectation to privacy when you are in public. That is how you can be recorded without permission at any time from a public space, sidewalk, roadway, etc.. It should not be any different on public lands that your tax dollars paid for.

Leasing. I am in the boat where if a landowner feels they need to lease their land then so-be-it. What I do see (or hear from friends) is a lot of the leasing that impacts them is being done by the local outfitters. Can't blame the landowner but maybe the outfitters need to be looked at a little more than the NR hunter that leases land for himself and a couple buddys. Access is the key you will often hear, yet when a guy secures his own access he is making a deal with the devil, God forbid he's a NR. When I hear of the thousands of acres one outfitter has leased up that tells me a couple things..... that's a shit ton of corn that is going to get dumped.......and that's a lot of cell camera being deployed. Oh and no one can hunt it but his hunters who are not there to shoot does like the guy who secured his own access just might. What does it take to become an outfitter in Ohio?? Money and land, lots of it. Regulations?? Hmm...
 

giles

Cull buck specialist
Supporting Member
There are pockets of hinge and TSI in play, but we were advised not to cut the marketable timber for another 15 years and I'm still at my dad's mercy on that.
So it is a timber farm first and deer hunting second?

I still think if you made those open fields up top all CREP you would be impressed with the change. You could likely even get paid for it to along along with the timber money.
 

bowhunter1023

Owner/Operator
Staff member
48,843
274
Appalachia
So it is a timber farm first and deer hunting second?

I still think if you made those open fields up top all CREP you would be impressed with the change. You could likely even get paid for it to along along with the timber money.
It's an "I don't own it and need the landowner's approval to make drastic decisions" type of farm. I do what I can while respecting the fact he wants the timber to stay and mature.
 
289
37
Ohio
Ban corn piles. Use any legal weapon to hunt. Beat the deer at their game. Nonresidents need to pay more. Whitetail deer in Ohio are a prime resource and we should treat them like that. Shit I dropped $800 last year for an over the counter tag to hunt elk in Colorado and the majority of those tags go unfilled. Jackelope mentioned big buck hunters are the problem. I think he’s on too something. I have the privilege to hunt quality private land. I drive myself crazy searching for the biggest buck around. I get frustrated with the neighbors who have small parcels and sit over corn piles with their crossbows. Literally eats me alive. I’d started going to PA and hunting public land a couple years ago with my cousin. I don’t run cameras. I have very low standards in PA. Sometimes I think I enjoy it more than chasing 150” deer in Ohio. It has brought back a lot of the fun I had hunting during my youth.
 

5Cent

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
12,228
212
North Central Ohio
Ban corn piles. Use any legal weapon to hunt. Beat the deer at their game. Nonresidents need to pay more. Whitetail deer in Ohio are a prime resource and we should treat them like that. Shit I dropped $800 last year for an over the counter tag to hunt elk in Colorado and the majority of those tags go unfilled. Jackelope mentioned big buck hunters are the problem. I think he’s on too something. I have the privilege to hunt quality private land. I drive myself crazy searching for the biggest buck around. I get frustrated with the neighbors who have small parcels and sit over corn piles with their crossbows. Literally eats me alive. I’d started going to PA and hunting public land a couple years ago with my cousin. I don’t run cameras. I have very low standards in PA. Sometimes I think I enjoy it more than chasing 150” deer in Ohio. It has brought back a lot of the fun I had hunting during my youth.

That's what deer hunting should be....inches ruined it 25yrs ago....

My wife kicked me square in the junk this weekend when talking with my oldest about how we need to stay focused late season and fill the freezer. She quickly reminded me I didn't pull the trigger many times already. My access is the best it's been my entire life, I'm walking a line and I talk out of both sides of my mouth. I grew up hoping to see a deer in a 1 deer county, which is now a 3 deer county. PA was it's brown it's down, a big woods experience like no other. Can't eat those antlers.....

I have no reason to say anything bad for Ohio's deer herd even though I don't see deer as much as I'd like. Is it great no, is it better than when I started hunting in 96/97, absolutely!
 

LonewolfNopack

Junior Member
1,500
127
The woods
I just wished I like to do other stuff besides hunting. If I did, I’d quit. I’d definitely quit deer hunting if we had more birds around. Birds are more fun because they don’t have stupid-ass antlers. Fishing is cool. Maybe I should start doing that again.

Carry on. 🥃
I took up fall and winter fishing including ice fishing. I've deer hunted maybe 10 total hours this year and haven't missed it at all. Kinda going back to my roots and not looking back. I can only guess as more people are pushed out of decent hunting spots or get tired of not seeing any deer on public lands that more will follow this path. It's a really self defeating route for a game agency that wants to get more people involved. I don't place the blame on them though. It's 100% a change in my mindset and what I find enjoyable vs what I do not. I got tired of sitting in a stand mad. Thats when I knew it was time to do something else.
 
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triple_duece

Ragin Cajun.
9,112
159
I wanted to kill a buck and just duck hunt putting as many bird on the ground for Pearl. Well teal season was decent to me but first split sucked major ass. I came up to the camp and ducking hunting is at the worst I’ve ever seen it. All sloughs and lakes are dried up completely. Got some flooded areas the state pumped in but it won’t be enough and everyone will blow it up sky busting (new style of hunters). Looks like a few runs to Venice will be the ticket. I cut my teeth duck hunting w lead and 10 bird limits. The amount of ducks then till now is maybe 10%. No you can’t short stop the whole migration like everyone thinks. We just don’t get the cold weather like years past.
 

Wiley E Coyote

Active Member
I would like to have more deer in my area but I've still had a fun year! From scouting and planning last spring to putting up stands in late summer. Getting up early to hunting long hours I've had a awesome season. I still have my buck tag in my pack but I've also passed on more deer then I can remember in a long time. My camera's have shown me the big bucks have been under my stands in the daylight but I've made bad choices and been in other stands.😂 That's what makes the game so fun. Deer hunting isn't easy and it shouldn't be. You have to adapt, There's going to be seasons were bucks are everywhere then the next year very few. It goes up and down that's how mother nature works. If it's no fun I'd definitely find other things to do. I'm having a blast myself! And plan on enjoying it the rest of my time on this planet that I'm able to. Good Hunting to everyone going out this weekend and congrats again to y'all sitting at home eating jerky 😄🦌
 

Creamer

Active Member
1,575
81
Athens
I won't hide from it, my vote was to regulate crossbows. Honestly, it was a 51/49 type decision between crossbows and baiting. I also won't lie, I have a feeder in my back yard where I feed the local deer (but don't/can't hunt them in our sub-acre), and have run corn on private ground in the past. That being said, I'd be perfectly fine with baiting going away. Like Rex said, there's too many hunters that wouldn't know what to do without bait.

Back to crossbows, I'm in favor of regulation, not elimination. I see perfectly valid reasons for allowing them in certain situations. Youth, physically limited hunters, elderly hunters, etc... What I will freely say (and accept any negativity that comes at me for it) is that I don't like able-bodied hunters using them and calling it archery. I feel like I have a good perspective on it, because I started hunting bow seasons in my youth with a crossbow. After a couple of years and a couple of deer killed, I transitioned to a compound bow in my teens. About 6 years ago, I switched again to traditional gear. I am not speculating, because I have done it. I didn't have to practice at all with a crossbow. It took minimal effort and it removed a lot of the difficult aspects of hunting deer with archery gear that I learned the hard way exist when I switched to a compound. I admittedly do not like hunters taking advantage of a longer archery season by pressing the easy button and using a piece of equipment that hardly qualifies as archery. I know it shoots an arrow, but that doesn't make it the same. A motorcycle and a bicycle both have two wheels and make you go, but they ain't the same thing. In my opinion, if you are physically capable and want to hunt ARCHERY season, you should be shooting a vertical bow that you have to draw and shoot, unless you are otherwise unable to do so.

Fire away, boys. :oops:
 

Gern186

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
10,142
201
NW Ohio Tundra
I've shot over 50 deer with a compound bow. I bought a crossbow for my kids to use before they were able to shoot the minimum poundage required by the state of Ohio archery regulations. A few years ago I decided I would shoot a deer or 2 with the crossbow because it was something new and different. I liked it. So i continue to use it. You guys that want to outlaw them I hope you are using stick and string bows and arrows made by hand. Technology is Technology. Dont sit here and tell me because I'm able bodied I should be using a certain kind of weapon. Been there done that. As long as it's legal I will shoot whatever the fuck i want. I've yet to shoot a deer with a crossbow that hasn't been in the range of compound bow distances.