‘Deerharmony.com’ will be reality on Ohio Web in 2009

Columbus – It’s an idea that’s been talked about for the past
couple of years, and it will come to fruition this fall: a
matchmaking program for farmers and deer hunters.

“We’ve been jokingly calling it deerharmony.com,” said Luke Miller, a
research and wildlife management administrator for the DNR Division
of Wildlife. Miller was referring to the popular singles
matchmaking program called eharmony.com.

What “it” is amounts to an online database that allows
landowners suffering deer damage problems to find hunters. It is
being offered this fall for the first time to landowners in four
Ohio counties.

Starting Aug. 24, hunters could log onto HuntOhioFarms.com and create a
profile for himself or herself. Landowners in Tuscarawas, Harrison,
Jefferson and Carroll counties can choose from the hunters in the
database to help them with their deer damage problems.

The program is being tried as a pilot project this fall, thus
the limited county involvement.

But, hunters don’t have to be from those counties in order to
create a profile. He or she just has to be willing to travel to
those counties if selected.

The project is being coordinated by the Division of Wildlife,
the Quality Deer Management Association, and the Ohio Farm
Bureau.

If successful, it would be a pioneering achievement.

“There are programs in other states like this, but this is the
first one that is Web-based,” Miller said.

Here’s how it works: prospective hunters first log onto HuntOhioFarms.com. Once there, he or
she will be asked to answer a questionnaire that will include
queries such as years experience, whether he or she has taken a
hunter education course, or whether he or she is willing to submit
to a background check.

“Some (landowners) are going to require a background check and
some won’t,” Miller said.

“A lot of these farmers, they don’t know who these hunters are
or whether they’ve had problems in the past, whether it be a
hunting violation or a felony,” he said.

Landowners also will be able to log on to the Web site to create
their own profiles, which would include questions such as how much
deer damage they are experiencing.

Landowners who elect to use the site will be able to see
hunters’ profiles but it does not work in reverse – hunters will
not be able to view landowner profiles, said Miller.

The goal from the beginning has been to reduce the state’s
burgeoning heard of does.

“The main purpose of this is to shoot antlerless deer,” Miller
said.

If the program is successful, it could be expanded in the next
year.

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