What do you do to help manage Ohio's deer population?
I address a variety of questions and concerns involving deer including human/wildlife conflicts, law enforcement issues and working with cities and villages and other land holding agencies to institute recreational hunting on specified lands.
What types of deer-related law enforcement issues do you encounter?
As a general rule, hunting without written permission on someone's land during deer hunting season is the most common complaint a wildlife officer will receive.
Other common deer hunting violations we see while on patrol during the deer season are unplugged shotguns, failure to wear hunter orange and loaded firearms after sunset.
What are some examples of human-wildlife conflicts?
Human/wildlife conflicts differ depending on the type of situation. We receive complaints from large and small-scale operations, including farms where deer eat crops such as corn and soybeans and nurseries where deer browse stock such as pine trees and shrubs.
Deer Damage Report
We also receive complaints from homeowners who experience landscape and garden damage from deer. When wildlife officers receive a complaint about deer damage, we ask the landowner to complete a Deer Damage Investigation Report.
There are also concerns in some areas such as airports and roadways where accidents with deer can threaten human life.
How do you address these concerns?
We use various methods, sometimes in combination depending upon the situation. Most commonly, we recommend exclusionary fencing and taste repellants to deter the deer. Sometimes lethal methods (hunting permits) are used.
We can issue two types of permits for this purpose. One allows landowners or other licensed hunters to kill antlerless deer, during the legal hunting season, on the property where damage is occurring. The deer taken on this property are not counted towards the hunter's annual bag limit.
The other permit allows for hunting outside the regular hunting season on the property where damage is occurring. These may be valid year-round to control damage at orchards, nurseries, inside municipalities and for safety purposes at airports.
What is most challenging about your job?
Every day brings a different challenge, but one issue that tugs at the emotional heartstrings of all involved are orphaned fawns separated from the doe by death or from well-meaning people who find them alone and believe the mother has been killed. Does do not stay with their fawns twenty-four hours a day. The vast majority of time the doe is within a couple hundred yards and will return for the fawn at dusk. But if a fawn is taken from its location, the mother will not be able to find it.
In either case, fawns can be delivered to a licensed wildlife rehabilitation center, but in cases that involve injury or poor health the fawn must be euthanized.