Man cited for allowing youth to hunt alone
A Columbus man recently paid $175 in fines and costs in Madison County Municipal Court for allowing his 12-year-old son to hunt unaccompanied during the statewide youth deer-gun season, Nov. 17-18.
Thomas H. Whiteman, Jr., 42, was cited by county wildlife officer Matt Teders on Sunday, Nov. 18, as the pair hunted a woodlot near state Route 38, south of the U.S. 42 intersection. The charge is a third-degree misdemeanor.
According to court documents, Teders spotted Whiteman walking near the woods about 8:30 a.m., attempting to “push” deer toward his son, who was concealed in a ground blind a distance away. Teders checked the blind and found the boy alone and not wearing the required “hunter orange” attire.
The wildlife officer cited Whiteman for allowing underage hunting and issued a warning for failing to dress the boy in safety orange.
Ohio wildlife regulations for designated statewide youth hunting seasons (deer, waterfowl, wild turkey, small game) require children age 17 and younger be accompanied by a non-hunting adult age 18 or older. At other times, children age 16 and 17 can hunt by themselves, Teders said.
“Accompanied” means staying close enough to maintain “uninterrupted, unaided visual and auditory communications,” according to the 2012-2013 Ohio Hunting & Trapping Regulations.
Leighland Arehart, law enforcement supervisor for the Division of Wildlife’s central Ohio district, said adults must be able to clearly see and hear young hunters in their charge at all times for safety reasons.
“We have few incidents during youth hunting seasons because adults are really focused on the kids,” Arehart said.
Efforts to keep young hunters within eye and ear shot can vary according to the terrain and circumstances. Hunting in a stubble cornfield is very different from hunting in a thicket. An open field allows distance between the adult and child, while a woodland requires them to stay close, Arehart noted.
Mild, sunny weather contributed to good hunting during both the recent youth and regular deer-gun seasons.
Young hunters checked 9,178 white-tailed deer during Ohio’s two-day youth season. Twenty-one were checked in Madison County.
The statewide total represents a 5.7 percent increase from 2011 (8,681) and is the highest total since 2009 (9,269). Youth hunters have checked at least 8,300 deer every year since 2005.
During the traditional week-long deer-gun season that ran Nov. 26 to Dec. 2, hunters harvested 86,964 whitetails with 141 checked in Madison County.
The statewide harvest yielded an anticipated slight decrease of 3.7 percent from 2011, when 90,282 deer were checked.