Thursday, July 24, 2008

OHIO NEWS: Akron Metroparks Move From Sharpshooters to Bow Hunting

GREATER AKRON — Bow hunters will be allowed into four areas of Summit County to hunt deer this fall and winter through a program planned by the local parks district.

Metro Parks, Serving Summit County announced July 16 that permits will be available for bow hunters as part of its deer management program.

The district has used sharpshooters, who are trained Metro Parks employees, for the past several years, according to Metro Parks spokesman Nathan Eppink. That program will continue this year as well.

The bow hunters, who must be Summit County residents, will be allowed into portions of the Columbia Run and Quick Road conservation areas in Boston Township; Furnace Run Metro Park in Richfield Township; and the Pond Brook Conservation Area in Liberty Park in Twinsburg. The areas are remote with limited public access.

“The reason we’ve opted for bow hunting is because of access,” Eppink said. “It’s easier for bow hunters to go in there than it would be for sharpshooters. It would be difficult to get equipment into those areas, and the deer densities there are much higher than we would like.”

Countywide, the deer population is high, Eppink said. He added Summit County has consistently ranked in the top five locations in the state for deer-auto collisions.

“They don’t have any natural predators here in Ohio,” Eppink said. “Wolves are no longer in the state and haven’t been for 100 years. The deer have learned to live among people.”

The large population also has led the animals to seek out food they wouldn’t normally choose, such as shrubs and birdseed.

“When density levels get to the level they are, not only do deer-vehicle collisions increase, but they are a threat to biodiversity,” Eppink said.

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