Deer hunting limit reduction in Delaware County raises eyebrows
[Reprinted from original]
The Ohio Division of Wildlife giveth, and the Ohio Division of Wildlife taketh away. But things always change when humans are in charge, often because of the conflict between being responsible and being responsive.
Last week, the division proposed reducing the 2020-21 season deer limit in Delaware County from four to three.
“Some people might wonder what’s up with that in the fastest-growing area of the state,” said wildlife deer specialist Mike Tonkovich. “The growth is mostly in the southern one-third of the county, and the reality is that in the northern two-thirds of the county hunters have done a pretty good job reducing the deer herd.”
While landscape-eating, vehicle-colliding deer thrive in the suburbs, such whitetails remain largely off-limits to game managers because of municipality gun use and no-hunting laws.
Consequently, the Wildlife Division is doing what it can based on what it knows about whitetail population patterns at the county level.
The division defines its mission of managing deer populations as a balancing act that serves hunters enough deer to keep them interested while maintaining numbers low enough to placate landowners, namely farmers and orchard growers.
The Ohio Farm Bureau, meanwhile, twisted the division’s arm over a coyote trapping proposal made last month. The plan was to officially include coyotes among the state’s designated furbearers, as stated in the Ohio Revised Code, and establish a trapping season for them.
Currently, coyotes can be hunted and trapped year-round by those with a hunting license. Coyotes ranged into Ohio from the West about 100 years ago, filling a habitat niche left by the extirpation of eastern wolves and other predators as the result of agricultural expansion. Smart and adaptable, coyotes are not considered welcome guests by most people.
Coyotes take young sheep, cows and deer, as well as dog and cats. Though rare, they have attacked people.
But by forcing hunters to buy a permit and restricting trapping, it’s likely that fewer coyotes will be killed. And though some dedicated coyote hunters exist, most hunting consists of taking shots at coyotes passing under a tree stand. Those hunters who kill an unlucky coyote would now have to hold a permit to do so.
The farm bureau took the lead in the coyote dance. An update at its website last week said:
“After hearing concerns from Ohio Farm Bureau, the (Division of Wildlife) will be putting its suggested rule changes regarding coyote trapping and hunting on hold for now. (It) will engage with Farm Bureau and other stakeholders regarding this issue before proceeding further with their proposals impacting coyote trapping and hunting regulations.”
Kendra Wecker, the division’s chief, said by email that the agency “will prepare a revised proposal for this summer.”
Hunters reportedly are unhappy about the coyote proposal.
Probably unrelated, coyote pelts have drawn big money during two Ohio State Trappers Association auctions this year. Coyote is in demand because a Canadian company uses the canine hair to line the hoods of its coats, which sell for $900 and up.