Deer, hunters, thriving in Franklin County park

Whitetails are thriving in and around the last remaining public
hunting grounds in Franklin County, as a result of a management
strategy that encourages both archers and gun hunters, according to
John Watts, resource manager for the county’s metro park
system.

There’s no need for sharpshooters or culling on 2,000 acres of
public hunting area at Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park on the
county’s western edge, thanks to the outdoor enthusiasts who pursue
the park’s deer.

“Public hunting, especially by bow hunters, does well for us
there,” Watts said.

About 1,200 acres of the 7,000-acre park are open to hunting
during the year, with another 800 acres open for the week of Ohio’s
deer-gun season. Hunters may take all legal species except badger,
coyote, crow, fox and groundhog.

“We manage for both recreation and resource protection,” Watts
said.

A March 2008 aerial survey estimated about 160 whitetails in the
linear park that encompasses portions of Big and Little Darby
Creeks. That number has increased dramatically over the last three
years.

“There are some sizeable animals in there, including some big
bucks,” Watts added.

Franklin County Wildlife Officer Brad Kiger said it all depends
on how you define “big.”

While no exact data exists on the size and number of deer bagged
in the park each year, Kiger said he’s seen a number of 10 and
12-point bucks come out. But, the biggest deer are generally found
on private property that surrounds the park as hunting pressure
“pushes” older, smarter animals beyond public boundaries, Kiger
added.

Battelle Darby Creek Metro Park is located at 1775 Darby Creek
Dr. near Galloway. The public hunting area borders Big Darby Creek
in the park’s southern section.

 

Categories: Ohio – Jane Beathard

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