By Dan Armitage, host of Buckeye Sportsman, Ohio’s longest-running outdoor radio show
Hunters in Hardin, Marion and Wyandot counties have extra dates to harvest white-tailed deer as the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife continues to monitor Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) in the region.
Since fall 2020, 11 wild deer have tested positive for CHD in Ohio, all in Wyandot and Marion counties. In response, a disease control zone was established in Hardin, Marion and Wyandot counties. CWD is a fatal neurological disease that affects deer and other similar species, including mule deer, elk, and moose.
Starting this year, the Wildlife Division created earlier hunting seasons to slow the spread of AI by reducing the deer concentration in the disease control zone. The archery hunting season began on September 10 and the early gun hunting season will take place from October 8 to October 10 in Hardin, Marion and Wyandot counties.
An IUD sample is required within the disease surveillance zone for deer harvested October 8-10, November 5-6, November 12-13, as well as during the entire seven-day gun season (November 28-December 4). ). Staffed sampling locations will be available during the seven-day gun season at the following addresses. Outside of the seven-day gun season, hunters must use self-serve kiosks to collect mandatory samples.
Employee sampling locations will be at the following locations:
• Big Island Wildlife Area Headquarters, 5389 Larue-Prospect Rd West, New Bloomington, OH 3341
• Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area Headquarters, 19100 CH 115, Harpster, OH 43323
• Wyandot County Fairgrounds, 10171 OH 53, Upper Sandusky, OH 43351
• Rural King, 233 American Blvd, Marion, OH 43302
• Hardin County Fairgrounds, 14134 County Rd 140, Kenton, OH 43326
• McGuffey Conservation Club, 6950 Township Rd 55, Ada, OH 45810
Hunters can use the self-serve booths to release their deer for free voluntary sampling throughout the deer season. Kiosk locations are available at ohiodnr.gov/cwd and instructions for submitting samples will be available at the kiosk. All state hunters are encouraged to submit deer for sampling. Successful hunters are not required to surrender their deer. Those with questions about sampling their deer can call (419) 429-8322.
Hunters outside the disease control zone can test harvested deer at the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory for a fee. For more information, call (614) 728-6220.
In addition to mandatory tests, the following rules apply in the disease control zone:
• Placing or using bait (salt, minerals or any food) to attract or feed deer, as well as hunting deer with bait, is prohibited.
• Removal of a complete carcass or high-risk parts from a disease surveillance area is prohibited unless the carcass meets deer carcass regulations or is delivered to a certified taxidermist or processor within 24 hours of the carcass leaving the area. Additional information on carcass regulations and a complete list of certified handlers and taxidermists can be found at ohiodnr.gov/cwd.
Normal agricultural activities, including the feeding of domestic animals, including food plots, natural or cultivated crops, and deer hunting on agricultural crops are not prohibited.
To help protect Ohio’s deer herd from AI, hunters should dispose of deer carcasses with all high-risk parts (brain, spinal cord, eyes, and lymphoid tissue) double-bagged and disposed of with household garbage for pickup. when permitted by waste disposal facilities. Non-trash pickers can double bag the carcass and take it to a municipal solid waste landfill or bury the carcass at least 3 feet deep in a collection area. The Wildlife Division will provide containers in the disease control area for proper carcass disposal. Proper handling of carcasses, trims, and parts dramatically reduces the risk of disease spread.
Archery season in the rest of the state opens on September 24 and ends on February 5, 2023. Statewide youth gun (Nov. 19-20), gun (Nov. 28-Dec. 4), bonus gun (Dec. 17-18) and muzzleloader (Jan. 7-10, 2023) seasons provide additional opportunities for firearms hunters. Additional details on hunting seasons, bag limits and regulations can be found in the HuntFish OH app, at wildohio.gov or in the 2022-23 Hunting and Trapping Regulations digest where licenses are sold.
The Wildlife Division has been conducting routine surveillance for AI since 2002, and more than 33,000 deer have been tested. CWD was previously detected in captive deer breeding facilities in Ohio and has been found in 30 states and four Canadian provinces.
Wildlife officer cadets begin training
The 31st Ohio Wildlife Officer Cadet Training Academy opened Aug. 22 to train the next class of 11 cadets. Cadets are hired from a pool of nearly 800 applicants and will undergo more than six months of training before becoming Ohio wildlife officers. They will graduate in March 2023 and be assigned to individual counties, with one officer remaining on duty.
Ohio wildlife officers have statewide authority to enforce wildlife regulations and protect state lands, waterways and property. As state law enforcement officers, they contribute to public safety in their local areas and in Ohio’s great outdoors. They also speak to hundreds of clubs and groups about conservation and wildlife programs, conduct fish and wildlife research, and provide technical advice and guidance on wildlife management issues, hunting, fishing, and other outdoor recreation.
Cadets seeking state law enforcement certification will complete approximately 21 weeks of Ohio Peace Officer Basic Training, and all cadets will receive an additional 8-10 weeks of specialized training from the Division of Wildlife. Training includes law enforcement procedures and agency policies, as well as wildlife and fisheries management, communication skills, ATV and vehicle operations, as well as advanced firearms and self-defense topics.
Officer Denamen was honored
Speaking of Wildlife Officers, Scott Denamen, Ohio Wildlife Officer Supervisor at Shikar-East Ohio, was recently named Ohio Wildlife Officer of the Year by Shikar-Safari Club International. Officer Denamen presented the award at the August meeting of the Ohio Wildlife Council. Shikar-Safari Club International is a conservation-based organization that presents annual awards to deserving wildlife law enforcement officers in all states, provinces and territories of the United States and Canada. The annual award honors a public officer whose efforts demonstrate outstanding performance and achievement among law enforcement officers whose efforts protect nature.