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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

giles

Cull buck specialist
Supporting Member
If I remove my personal feelings on crossbows and just look at the numbers, maybe crossbows are hurting recruitment. They could be what killed deer camp which is a huge part of recruitment IMO.

You guys have given my busy mind to much to think about. I feel like Phil balancing on this fence. 😆
 

Hedgelj

Senior Member
Supporting Member
7,070
166
Mohicanish
If I remove my personal feelings on crossbows and just look at the numbers, maybe crossbows are hurting recruitment. They could be what killed deer camp which is a huge part of recruitment IMO.

You guys have given my busy mind to much to think about. I feel like Phil balancing on this fence. 😆
social media and the transition away from membership in groups to solo individualistic accomplishment is what killed the tradional deer camp
 

giles

Cull buck specialist
Supporting Member
social media and the transition away from membership in groups to solo individualistic accomplishment is what killed the tradional deer camp
I guess I always try and look within for problems rather than point fingers. I think its pretty well known around here that I love to hunt with others. Share as much of the process as I can. I'd rather do that than kill a big buck.
 

hickslawns

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
39,656
248
Ohio
If I remove my personal feelings on crossbows and just look at the numbers, maybe crossbows are hurting recruitment. They could be what killed deer camp which is a huge part of recruitment IMO.

You guys have given my busy mind to much to think about. I feel like Phil balancing on this fence. 😆
Turn off your spotlight. I feel the attack now. 🤣

I'm sticking with my initial thoughts: I watched as much as I could. It was plenty enough to know the guys in the podcast do not impress me. It confirms why I don't listen to hunting podcasts or watch hunting shows. It is enough to know things aren't going to change based on what hunters say. Politicians will keep doing politician things. Shake hands. Listen to the hunters. Then go about their business of appeasing the deep pockets.

Add 59 more pages to this thread if it makes you feel better. This is a dead horse.
 

Hedgelj

Senior Member
Supporting Member
7,070
166
Mohicanish
The future of Ohio’s deer herd. I’ve been checking the forum on my phone and it doesn’t work well for a post that is likely as long as this one will end up. I’ll try to not beat too many dead horses.

My first problem is similar to Phil, I didn’t find the hosts nor their attitudes towards deer hunting to reflect me or my values but that’s a minor issue because I don’t think I fit the typical hunter nowadays anyhow. I’m completely okay with that.

My next problem is to plan a future requires to know where we currently are. There was a famous Strouds campfire where one of the key members of the ODNR in regards to deer management had NO IDEA what the deer herd was, nor what their current management strategies were doing to the deer herd. I believe his comment was they were going to drop the numbers until the hunter numbers dropped and that is how they would know they either reached or overshot their goals. So if we still don’t know what the deer densities are, or the general make up of the herd in terms of buck to doe ratios, ages, etc how can we even start to plan for the future?

I would rather have a healthy herd with good viable numbers than anything else. Having a healthy herd (IMO) then allows individual land owners the ability to then adjust their hunting styles for the types of bucks they want to see. If you only want to see old bucks, stop shooting the younger ones. I have harvested 1 antlered buck since the 2002-2003 season. The one I harvested since was a small 6 point that was visibly limping as it trotted through the woods. Other than that, they’ve all been does or button bucks. I know there are some VERY large deer on this farm. I have had 1 opportunity to harvest a mature buck and I messed up and didn’t try to shoot it. Other than that, they’ve all been younger bucks and while I’ve been tempted I’m only interested in a mature buck. I enjoy venison and am completely fine harvesting does for meat, and if a nice buck comes by or I put a good stalk on one, then that’s an added bonus.

As Joe has stated multiple times they have only increased opportunities to kill deer between the early muzzy season, a LOOOOONG bow season, the bonus gun weekend, adding in straight wall cartridges, etc. Now more deer are killed by bowhunters than gun hunters so shortening that season would decrease the numbers of deer killed.

Baiting, I do it but at 2 locations on the farm. One of them is an easy to get to stand for opportunities for my Dad and my kids to see and or shoot deer. My daughter harvested her first doe from it this past season. So if they ban it, it won’t change my stuff that much. I can see it happening, especially if there is a link between it and CWD. But how will they enforce it or is it once again only for the law abiding?

Crossbows vs vertical bows. I don’t bowhunt a lot because of the stage of life with my kids I’m at. A crossbow allows me additional days in the woods. If you tell me I have to go vertical only I’m going to end up squirrel hunting more or something else because I don’t’ feel ethically appropriate vertical bow hunting. But I guarantee I’m in the minority on that. I also feel that crossbows are a good recruitment into hunting because of the low skillset needed to proficiently place an arrow somewhere.

What’s happened to deer camps? The same thing that has happened to membership in the Legion, VFW, Eagles, etc. It is decreasing because we no longer have to go outside of our homes to feel connected to one another. Social media (this site included) fills that void for many of us. There is also a much smaller emphasis on community in today’s society than there used to be. We are spread further out from our families and friends and our lives are filled with some much more extraneous bullshit that we don’t carve the time out to spend with people in our lives.

There’s also a weird dichotomy going on. We as a country are more and more removed from hunting and killing and eating our food but yet there is a STRONG farm to table movement. I feel this movement could and can be used to benefit hunters as this is one of the best farm/woods to table foods possible.

Deer trophy hunting has blown up. Many of the social media “stars” are obsessing over their next huge one. So just like how social media stars have transformed aspects of popular culture, they have transformed deer hunting culture. That’s one of the things that has drawn me to Steve Rinella. The only time I heard him discuss the size of a antlers on a deer species was that it had enough points to be a legal animal. I also love to find out the new and possibly better ways to enjoy my harvest on the table.
 
I’m glad to see the same nonsense that drove me away from Dumbassville has made its way here. I support banning nothing that isn’t banned now. I support hunters and hunter access to all technology. Cameras and crossbows and lions and tigers and bears oh my!! Crossbows and corn piles are not ruining your hunt. Hate to break it to ya.
 
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hickslawns

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
39,656
248
Ohio
Well said @Hedgelj . Let's not forget the ever increasing youth sports. They start younger. They have school season. They have summer and winter leagues. There are clubs. There is a skill level for everyone. I remember legion baseball available in junior high school "IF" you were good enough to make the team. We are a busier society. Just a few more reasons the deer camps have died.
 

triple_duece

Ragin Cajun.
9,112
159
Forgot to mention outlaw man drives. Imagine “hunters” pushing little blocks where deer have no chance running across the open fields w hunters surrounding it.

Want more bucks? Quit shooting the button heads. That amazes me 🤷🏼‍♂️
 

bowhunter1023

Owner/Operator
Staff member
48,840
274
Appalachia
If we are going to make this about bucks, let's make this about bucks.

4. If we are banning bait, let's also ban food plots. Sorry everyone, habitat is gonna have to be the draw to your property.

I have not put that much thought into it. My purpose of this is to create more habitat for all animals to use. Reduce the varmints overpopulation. This also reduces the nose to nose transmission of disease and sickness.

Hey @giles, you had time to think about it ;)

It struck me as odd when I first read this that you'd not consider food plots as part of the habitat that draws deer to your property. That's kind of my first nitpick. The second is continuing the convo on commercial crops, do kale and turnips count? Because those are commercial, albeit on a smaller scale than corn and beans. Third, how exactly do food plots contribute to the proliferation of varmints? Especially if you are excluding corn from the food plot category (unless there's some undefined level of income derived). Lastly, I see far more deer congregating in secluded inside corners of corn and bean fields than I do in my food plots, so how do we prevent that? What about apple orchards?

In all honesty, I'm not picking on you. I know you'll provide some thoughtful insight, and it's good for all of us to see how like-minded people can approach topics from differing angles. This is one of my "mountains" in the world of concessions. I'd give up cameras before food plots, which is saying something!
 

Jackalope

Dignitary Member
Staff member
38,785
260
I’m glad to see the same nonsense that drove me away from Dumbassville has made its way here. I support banning nothing that isn’t banned now. I support hunters and hunter access to all technology. Cameras and crossbows and lions and tigers and bears oh my!! Crossbows and corn piles are not ruining your hunt. Hate to break it to ya.

Ha. Some don't know the history there. Or why when someone posts the name of that other site it auto changes to "dumbassville". 😅 We got in a spat with the owner there about 12 years ago and we created this place.

With that said I see you're pretty new so I wanted to explain. We rarely if ever talk about this anymore. And we have a long history of advocacy on the topic of Ohios deer herd. The biggest difference here is everyone pretty well knows each other, and most have shared a campfire many many times. Nothing here is malicious and it's mostly all just banter and discussion. The biggest difference here compared to there is people are capable of having a civil discussion and aren't moderated to death. Discussion is healthy providing it's done in a mutually respectful manner. Some may have an opinion that through talking and reading others' posts may adapt their opinion. That's what makes us all wiser and not a bunch of groupthink robots.
 

Jackalope

Dignitary Member
Staff member
38,785
260
Hey @giles, you had time to think about it ;)

It struck me as odd when I first read this that you'd not consider food plots as part of the habitat that draws deer to your property. That's kind of my first nitpick. The second is continuing the convo on commercial crops, do kale and turnips count? Because those are commercial, albeit on a smaller scale than corn and beans. Third, how exactly do food plots contribute to the proliferation of varmints? Especially if you are excluding corn from the food plot category (unless there's some undefined level of income derived). Lastly, I see far more deer congregating in secluded inside corners of corn and bean fields than I do in my food plots, so how do we prevent that? What about apple orchards?

In all honesty, I'm not picking on you. I know you'll provide some thoughtful insight, and it's good for all of us to see how like-minded people can approach topics from differing angles. This is one of my "mountains" in the world of concessions. I'd give up cameras before food plots, which is saying something!


It's all bait, planted, dumped, or naturally growing. If your hunting a food source then you're hunting bait. 🤣
 

giles

Cull buck specialist
Supporting Member
Hey @giles, you had time to think about it ;)

It struck me as odd when I first read this that you'd not consider food plots as part of the habitat that draws deer to your property. That's kind of my first nitpick. The second is continuing the convo on commercial crops, do kale and turnips count? Because those are commercial, albeit on a smaller scale than corn and beans. Third, how exactly do food plots contribute to the proliferation of varmints? Especially if you are excluding corn from the food plot category (unless there's some undefined level of income derived). Lastly, I see far more deer congregating in secluded inside corners of corn and bean fields than I do in my food plots, so how do we prevent that? What about apple orchards?

In all honesty, I'm not picking on you. I know you'll provide some thoughtful insight, and it's good for all of us to see how like-minded people can approach topics from differing angles. This is one of my "mountains" in the world of concessions. I'd give up cameras before food plots, which is saying something!
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.
 
How do I avoid shooting button bucks? I look closely at the head AFTER I look closely for stained tarsal glands...

Now, non stained tarsal glands do not guarantee its a doe, stained tarsals pretty much confirm a young buck.

Also, small deer alone? More often a button buck. Could be a doe if mom was shot already, but usually a button buck.

2 small deer? The bigger one is usually the button buck.

Lastly, do I care if someone shoots a button buck? No! Do I want to shoot a button buck? Also no, that's why I look at more than the head. Many buttons barely show a difference in hair line when you are standing over them. That is why I look at the hocks for staining and the situation regarding how the deer comes in.

No judgement here, just some potential visual aids. I have a buddy who shoots more buttons then does. I've shot maybe 2 or 3 in 50+ years in the woods.

Hope this helps someone.
 
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cotty16

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
1. I feel bad for today's youth that have learned to "hunt" only with bags of corn.

2. Ban baiting

3. The pursuit, the failures, the successes, the ups and downs, the chess match... they are much more appreciated when you hunt deer on their terms and you didn't shoot a deer with their face stuffed in a pile of corn. I did it once. I'll never do it again. It took away from the whole experience. Maybe that's just me.

4. I have no problem with weapon choice. I don't care if someone uses a crossbow. I'm sure guys who use trad equipment look at my compound as cheating. Bottom line is, did you beat that deer fair an square? (see bating above)

5. I don't know what to say about NR hunters. I follow a few other pages on FB that are dedicated to whitetail hunting. Missouri is one. I see them arguing about the same stuff we are. They hate NR hunters and they want to ban baiting.

6. I think the season dates are fine.

7. I don't see cameras as a negative. They aren't drawing deer in. They drive us nuts because they'll either make you think there's nothing in the area to hunt or they'll show you deer you hold out for that you may never see because the dickhead neighbor is spending $10k on corn piles annually. LOL
 

cotty16

Dignitary Member
Supporting Member
You are among the most respected opinions on this topic for me, but I'll disagree (with a slight adjustment) to your timeline while agreeing that one or the other of us lives in a bubble ;)

I have two anecdotes to go on for this observation: My house and the farm. My first hunt at the house was Christmas Day 1999. You could throw a rock out the back door and hit a deer in those days, and it seemed like I saw a good buck on most hunts and the ruts were INTENSE. In those days, there were only 2 bowhunters on the 300ish acres that influences the hunting back there. Me and one other guy, and neither of us baited. Today, there are 8 adult males, 4 of us with kids that hunt, and all 8 of us are running bait. Coincidentally, where we once had multiple older age class bucks, with the big boys being B&C contenders, we had exactly one mature buck between us this year. We have 1,000% "high-graded" our local herd. Oh, and the observed rut is nonexistent these days.

On the farm, you know the saga of Duece in '07-08, a deer that will never be replicated without some HUGE changes inside the 640. From 2008-2015, my target buck was 5+ and 160+. This year, he's maybe 4, most likely 3, and maybe 140. Again, the quantity and quality have been diminished in recent years, and what changed? Leasing by NRs and bait. For sure, the good old days are behind me and my bubble has burst.
I can add to this and I don't own property. Just by hunting club ground, which is not far off from public, my sightings were outstanding. Why? I learned to hunt natural habitat. That's all that existed. You learned to find the food, use the terrain to your advantage, find those funnels, etc...

What has changed? BAITING! My sightings are not nearly what they used to be. I haven't forgotten what I'm doing. I still do everything I always have. Most seasons I'm still successful, but the chances are far fewer. I just can't compete against every dude in the woods with a UTV and unlimited supply of corn they haul to their stand. Everyone I talk to about hunting either baits and sees a shit ton of action or doesn't bait and it's pretty slow unless you happen upon a hot doe.

Ban baiting to level the playing field. Don't shorten the season. Don't change bag limits (you won't have to). Don't ban cameras... they're too much fun.
 

Clay Showalter

Southern member northern landowner
6,358
145
Guilford County
How does the reduction of habitat, primarily in the big farmed areas affect numbers? It would be interesting to look at harvest numbers by county over the last 10 years.
 

Wiley E Coyote

Active 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!