A state wildlife officer said the area’s deer population has remained steady in recent years.
Austin Dickinson, Defiance County’s officer, addressed the matter as the guest speaker at the weekly Defiance Rotary meeting at St. Paul Lutheran Church parish.
“Population-wise deer are pretty steady in most counties of northwest Ohio,” said Dickinson. “A few counties have a slight upward trend, but for the most part everything that we’ve had from our population surveys — everything is pretty steady, so the population isn’t really increasing a whole lot. We haven’t had to change our regulations, county-harvest wise for most counties probably in probably five years. Most of them have been the same harvest number.”
The deer hunting limit in Defiance County is two per year, one of which can be a buck, according to Dickinson. However, hunters can possess six deer statewide — by hunting in several different counties — with only one buck allowed.
One issue of concern for some is the amount of damage caused by deer — through vehicle collisions or to landscapes, gardens and crops.
Dickinson acknowledged the latter problem for property owners.
Those outside municipal corporation limits, he explained, can receive a permit through the state to help eliminate foraging deer. In this case, Dickinson said, he can pay a visit to the landowner to take a look at the problem.
“... I will go out to a site visit and just confirm that there is deer damage on the property, and then we’ll issue a permit for them to kill a specific number of deer and try to lessen the damage that they’re receiving to mainly crops ...,” said Dickinson. “They (permits) don’t really get used a whole lot. We issue in every county in northwest Ohio probably somewhere up around a dozen a year. The number of deer that are killed off through those permits is very low, but it’s kind of like a piece-of-mind thing for most people that get them.”
Applications for the permits are available on the Ohio Department of Natural Resources Division of Wildlife’s website (http://wildlife.ohiodnr.gov/species-and-habitats/nuisance-wildlife/deer-damage-complaint-procedure).
Persons in urban areas battling deer damage to their landscapes or gardens will have to find other remedies. That’s because most areas aren’t conducive to hunting — either with firearms, which can’t be discharged legally within the city limits, or by bow and arrow — within towns, Dickinson indicated.
As for Defiance, he said deer have many “corridors” where they are safe.
“It’s tough in certain urban areas,” said Dickinson. “This city is a good example. There’s some really good habitat in Defiance. You’ve got the rivers running through town and there are just some really nice corridors where they are safe. You can’t hunt inside the city limits due to municipal ordinance, and that’s the case for most municipalities. So it’s really tough in and around town because they do have some really great habitat.”
In that case, Dickinson and state wildlife officers can advise residents about what to do.
“A lot of times we’ll act in an advisory capacity with people — offer some different options if they are really having a problem with deer,” he said. “There are different things you can do. If it’s garden-related, it’s landscaping-related, you can put out different products. You can use different scare tactics. ... A lot of times that stuff doesn’t work. You have to play around with it. Sometimes it’ll work for a week or a month and then it won’t work anymore. But if you’re really having problems, you really just have to be active and be an active part of controlling them and the damage that they do ... .”