MOUNT VERNON — The state of Ohio earned an important victory recently. Following tests on Ohio’s white-tail deer herd, the state was declared to be free of Chronic Waste Disease, a degenerative brain disease that affects elk, mule deer and white-tailed deer. It marks the seventh-straight year Ohio has been cleared of the disease.
“The Division, along with the Department of Agriculture, completed collecting and testing 1,021 samples from last fall,” said Knox County Wildlife Officer Mike Miller. “They were all from hunter-harvested deer, and most were from deer-gun season. They were collected from all around the state and tested at the Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory in Reynoldsburg. They tested 966 samples, and there was no evidence of the disease anywhere in Ohio.
“Also, the Division has been collecting road kill deer and testing for Chronic Waste Disease, and so far none of those have been found to be contaminated. Other diseases that were also checked were EHD – Epizootic Hemorrhagic Disease – and Bovine Tuberculosis. So far, none of the deer tested have shown to have any of those diseases.”
Chronic Waste Disease has been found in 15 states, including New York, Wisconsin, Illinois and West Virginia, and two Canadian provinces since the late 1960s. The results of Ohio’s testing are a positive for the state’s hunters.
“This shows that we still have a healthy deer herd, and no habitat problems,” Miller said. “Overall, our herds are in pretty darn good shape. Hopefully it will stay that way.”
For more information, visit wildohio.com or the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance at cwd-info.org.
FLAMING ARROWS: The third annual statewide National Archery in the School competition will take place on March 6 in Columbus, and this year, the competition is heating up and should be better than ever. The event, which takes place in conjunction with the Arnold Classic at the Ohio Expo Center, pits the best shooters in the state against each other. Participating schools compete for awards in elementary school, middle school and high school divisions. Then, qualifying teams and individuals in each division will represent Ohio at the NASP National Competition this summer in Kentucky.
“The state archery competition is where it all comes down to the bitter end,” said Miller. “The students compete with each other for the state championship. There is a lot of pressure on them to perform, but they usually perform their best because they’ve had to compete throughout the year. This is where it all culminates.”
The program began with 12 schools as a pilot program in 2004. This year, there are over 300 participating schools, which means the competition is better than ever.
“It should be a good time for people to go watch,” Miller said. “The kids really enjoy it. It really helps them as far as self confidence. It is a life sport on top of it. We are always trying to develop life sports and life hobbies, just like softball, bowling or golf. Archery is one of those.
“Archery used to be in more schools 20 and 30 years ago. It kind of got out, but the National Archery in the Schools program is a great program, and it is helping the sport rebound.”
There are no area schools participating in the competition, though, Granville elementary and middle schools will send teams to compete. Miller would like to see the area schools take an interest in the program.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have any schools participating here in the county,” said Miller. “I haven’t promoted it as far as going out to the schools and districts in the county, but that is because of a lack of time. I know some of the schools know about it, but it takes an individual who has a real interest to step up and help form the program. So far, we haven’t had anyone do that. Hopefully, in the county, someday we will.”
For more information on the upcoming event, visit www.ohionasp.com or www.arnoldsportsfestival.com.
DEER DAMAGE COMPLAINTS HOLD STEADY: For the second year in a row, Knox County landowners killed about 40 percent of the deer permitted with the use of deer-damage permits. A total of 161 permits were issued county wide.
“We did our annual deer damage report, and in Knox County, there were a total of 167 complaints received,” said Miller. “In six of those, there were no permits issued. The total number of deer allowed to be killed by these permits was 2,438, but the total deer killed was 1,002. That is 41 percent of the permits issued that were used.”
Compared to 2007, the total number killed was down slightly. Compared to the Central District, however, Knox County had better results.
“There were more permits issued last year than the year before, but they killed 36 less deer,” said Miller. “It was still about 40 percent of the permits used, so it is actually holding steady to where it was. In our district — all of Central Ohio — there were a total of 400 deer damage complaints last year with 385 permits issued. A total of 4,819 could have been killed on those permits, and there were only 1,719 killed, which is a use ratio of 35 percent.”
The biggest problem with the deer-damage permits once again was the lack of use. Miller would like landowners who ask for the permits to put them to good use.
“We need the landowners who get these permits to take them seriously and go out and use them,” Miller said. “I know in the county that there are landowners who get a permit every year, but never use it. If you get the permit, use the permit. Another way to help thin the herd if you are not going to use the permit is to allow greater hunter access during the hunting seasons.”
OPPORTUNITY FOR INPUT: The Division of Wildlife will be holding open houses across the state, giving the public an opportunity to provide input on the proposed 2009-10 hunting regulations. Open houses are scheduled for the same day and time in Akron, Athens, Columbus, Findlay and Xenia.
“On Sunday, March 1, from noon to 3 p.m. at each of the five district offices across the state, there will be a public input time for people to make comments, both verbally and in writing,” said Miller. “If you interested and want more information, call 1-800-WILDLIFE.
“It is more of a 1-on-1 opportunity to voice your concerns. There are stations broken down by forest game, upland game, wetland game and furbearers. The rules and regulations for each station are posted and you can read them. Then you can discuss your ideas, and have the opportunity to, in writing, submit your ideas and comments. … People have quite a bit of influence. In my career, I’ve seen regulations change after comments by the public. Sometimes, you never know. People may have an idea that no one had thought of. All of the comments are given consideration, and are forward to the administration.”