Tonk Talks Turkeys?

Show Notes

No Tonk Doesn’t talk Turkeys. This week in the world of Ohio Outdoors is all about 4 legged critters with Antlers. Jack-a-lopes…Or Deer. It’s Deer. Paul and Muntz sit down and talk with the master of Ohio Deer, Mike Tonkovich of the the Ohio Dept of Wildlife. Deer season starts in 10 days so it made sense to talk to Mike. Great updates and insight into the world of Ohio Whitetails.  For the intro Paul is flying solo while travelling. News from around the state-Stuff got kinda weird down in Cincinnati with some Turtles, a DNR officer, and some dude from Philly. Can’t make this stuff up. BIG WINNERS announced for our 100th episode giveaway. We’ll be in touch Gents. Thanks for listening. Good luck in the Deer woods! Tag us in your hunt pics.

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Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Welcome

back to another episode of the Ohio Outdoors Podcast. Oh gosh, flying solo tonight, months, is under the weather a little bit I'm actually on location. I'm here at the that's where I'm at, the beautiful Mohegan Lodge here in Richland County for an event really enjoying my time up here, went took a tour of Malabar Farms today if you've never been to that place, really neat the home of Louis Bromfield.

Conservationist, really instrumental in a lot of modern agriculture and conservation practices. His farm homestead here here in Richland County, Malabar Farms, really neat. If you haven't been there, like I said, get there, bring the family, check it out. Pretty cool place. So lots a lot going on in today's episode.

We are talking all things fall, wild turkey [00:01:00] hunting. I'm just kidding. Don't hit stop. We're talking all about those freaking four legged animals that everyone seems to love so much. The white tailed deer here in the wonderful Buckeye State. So we've got Mike Tonkovich on front of the program for another visit with with Andrew and I giving you guys an update on Ohio's deer herd.

Some good news some indifferent news, some bad news. Always a good time with with Mr, with Mr. Tonkovich. So stay tuned for that. So a couple things here real quick. Let's dive into the to the news. I'll do this obviously since Andrew's not here today, but this is just a crazy story.

Coming out of Cincinnati. You guys can check this out on the ODNR's website. Turtle trafficking. Okay, first off, didn't know that was a thing. Turtle trafficking suspect indicted for assault of wildlife officer. Dangerous job. We We wanted everyone in our law enforcement careers to be safe, but an individual suspected of trafficking red eared slider turtles in Cincinnati and striking a [00:02:00] state wildlife officer with his vehicle was recently indicted in Hamilton County by a grand jury according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Officer Brad Turner. Assigned to Preble County, received a turn in a poacher tip report regarding turtles being sold. Cincinnati Officer Turner and State Wildlife Officer Andrew Daudel, assigned to Butler County, responded to the location. They found two mid sailing red eared slider turtles without the required propagation permit.

One of the suspects during the encounter, Alonzo Oliver Tucker of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania fled. Glen in his vehicle, striking Officer Turner as the accelerated officer Turner, was treated at the Christ Hospital and released the same evening. So good news there that Officer Turner was was I'm sure, shaken up.

And a little. Man, what a scary moment that must have been. So officer turned the heel up. Thanks for your service. So the officer sees more than 100 red eared sliders and investigation into Ohio wildlife violations for both suspects. Is pending, so always something going on in the world [00:03:00] of wildlife regulation.

So another neat story for those folks in central Ohio ODNR celebrates its first completed H2Ohio project in Franklin County as part of Governor DeWine's H2Ohio initiative that's been going on ongoing for a couple of years Walnut Creek Treatment Wetland Restoration. Is the first funded and completed project in Franklin County.

So congratulations to everyone involved with that project. So let's see here. We are how many days? Where's my calendar? See months is normally has all this stuff pulled up. So today when you guys are listening to this, it's going to be the 21st. So we're just 10 days, 10 days. Let's stay wide open.

Statewide archery, whitetail season. So I know you guys are chomping at the bit looking forward to that season. Andrew and I went went up to the DSA. We hunted a little piece of public [00:04:00] track in those counties. And if you haven't been paying attention to the regulations or listening to the show, the DSA, the disease, Surveillance area is the locations in Marion, Wyandotte, and Hardin County, both public and private ground up there that there's been some issues with CWD, some positive tests, and we'll talk about that with with Tonic here in a little bit, but, so the state has opened up the hunting, the archery season opened up on September 10th, so Muntz and I went up there, went Kind of Friday night, did a little bow hunting.

About, I don't know, six minutes into the bow hunt, I realized that it was hot. Way too hot for a freaking archery hunt. And... I was hatin on deer hunting already. Just hatin on it. Why am I here? I hate it. I did have fun. I had a lot of fun. Got up, climbed up up the tree. Got that out of the way for the first time for the year.

Worked all the kinks out before before the big season hit. I'll tell you what, that timber ninja saddle was legit. It took [00:05:00] me... A little fooling around with it to get it dialed in where I was super comfortable and I'm going to be honest, it was like sitting in a freaking hammock. So check those guys out, Timber Ninja Outdoors, use the code Ohio, O H I O get yourself some free shipping when you check that out.

So since we're talking about Timber Ninja last week we had our 100th episode. Thanks to everyone for listening to the show. We've said that a million times. We'll never stop saying it. So we did a little giveaway, our sponsors of the show really came through for us and tried to, help us do something nice for the listeners of this program.

So thanks to Timber Ninja, thanks to X Vision, Half Rack, Go Wild and Blackgate. For supplying us with those free things some really neat gifts. So you, a lot of you guys follow the rules, like the post did the things. So we've got the giveaways, the drum roll if you will, Andrew, wherever you're at.

So number one here, Johnny Schwartz, you get the Timber Ninja Outdoors package. Brandon Keller, you get the X vision range finder package, [00:06:00] Pat Gallant, you get the half wrap meat lug. Thanks. Pretty sweet. Tyler Smith, the go wild gift card. Brandon Hines, you get the black gate hunting products trail camera.

So thanks to those guys for getting those out. So Johnny Swartz, Brandon Keller, Pat Gallant, Tyler Smith, Brandon Hines. We will be in touch. Thanks so much for listening to the show and all the support from you guys and Man, enjoy that stuff. I'll tell you what, that half wrapped meatloaf is legit.

Right now it's full of beer at my house, so pretty neat stuff there. So the giveaway, that was a lot of fun. Thanks again for participating in that. So I don't want to belabor this point, man. I miss Andrew. I miss turkey season, deer season starting, but what else do you want from me, right? Tonic's the real star of this show today.

So thank you for sticking around listening to this and thank you to Tonic for your time and all of your support over the years for the deer hunters in the state and for the wildlife [00:07:00] in the state. So thanks so much again for listening to this show. We'll be back hopefully full strength next week.

Talk to you guys.

But anywho, deer season is right around the corner, right? So we are we're on that precipice of, in some areas already open in the DSA. So we just want to cover some of that kind of stuff and get an update, get everybody jazzed, ready to go. Make sure that we're on the same page when it comes to any new guidelines and stuff like that.

So I guess my first question, Mike is leading into this year. What's your overall status of the herd health in the state of Ohio? That's a great place to start. So two things when we, I guess we'll specify when we're talking about herd health we're not talking about necessarily condition, but I think you're, I think Andrew, what you're getting at is, are we dealing, what [00:08:00] do we know about EHD and CWD?

Not so much, what's reproductive, what are reproductive rates and Fonds Bordeaux, that kind of stuff. Strong there, of course, but I'm reluctant to have this conversation but we'll have it anyway. Thus far we have, okay. yet to confirm hemorrhagic disease in the same state that we confirmed 47 counties last year.

It's last year was bizarre. This year is even more. How we go from 47 counties mile wide inch deep in hemorrhagic disease. And this year we've tested one deer from Claremont County. It was not detected. We've got one Going either today or tomorrow. That we'll test and I don't know, of course, I have no way of knowing what that's going to turn up.

But that is it. That's it. This time last year, we probably would have confirmed, two dozen samples by now. So I have no idea what to make of that, weather's a component. And last year I will mention I don't know, we probably had this conversation last year, but last year was part of the fifth five year cycle.

It goes back to seven 2007, 12 [00:09:00] at do the math. 22 was, was that fifth year? So I don't know. It's becoming I guess evidence is building that there may be something to that five year cycle of, rather extensive outbreaks and severity of outbreaks. So right now we're quiet and I think folks are probably enjoying that.

But we haven't heard a peep. Just not a peep. And that's very interesting. So my job, we deal with life cycles of insects and how it affects plants and different things like that. A five year cycle sounds perfectly acceptable to me. It makes a whole lot more sense than just having, Oh, it's a dry condition.

Every summer and the summer gets dry. September is dry. That's just what happens. We got rain here yesterday for the first time in two weeks and. Then, but you don't have it. So I don't know. The whole life cycle idea makes a whole lot more sense to me and how something like that could be.

The challenge Clint yesterday said, talk, I'd love to sit down with the experts. And I said I can give you his number. I said, but I don't think he's going to tell you anything more than I can tell you [00:10:00] because we know what we know. Mark Reuter, Dr. Mark Reuter at the Southeast Cooperative Biologic Disease Study Lab there in Athens, Georgia, probably one of the foremost authorities on the subject.

And there's just, there's a lot that we don't know. And part of the reason is that this is not a livestock issue. And no disrespect or disregarding, anyone but there's not a lot of money that has been thrown at EHD simply because it's generally, cattle are generally asymptomatic.

They may show some flu like symptoms or some cold like symptoms but typically hemorrhagic disease is not an issue for livestock but. Interesting that you mentioned the weather because I don't know and forgive me if I'm repeating myself, but one of the things that the folks in West Virginia, they, they have been working collaboratively for a number of years with the lab at UGA.

And I think some of the thinking now is not so much is not so much the drought as it is the timing of when the water shows up so think about this. Remember for everybody. that needs to get caught up on their HD. It's all about a collision [00:11:00] course between, the deer being in places where the midge breeds, right?

Those exposed mud flats in the late summer, think of your classic farm pond in late August, there's six feet of mud and two inches of water. And that's where the deer are going because typically they're getting their water. From the vegetation.

They don't need a source of standing water. But so the deer going there, the midges are breeding there, just a classic case of wrong place, wrong time. So that's midge habitat. We got to have midge habitat to have midges, right? So they're beginning to think that these early summer rains that they may actually set the stage or set the tone for Maybe more severe outbreaks in the summer because think about what those early spring, early summer rains are doing there.

They're creating temporary habitat. We've got a lot of standing water that as the season progresses, all of a sudden what was dry grass is now flooded and that. That dry. So it may be creating, if you will, they're thinking is that maybe it's creating some midge habitat and opportunities for more places for deer to be exposed.

So that, because last year was, it [00:12:00] was an oddball. As soon as they saw that, the numbers, people were like we've had a ton of rain this summer. We've had a ton of rain in my County. My grass is still green. I'm complaining about mowing. And so that's where we start backpedaling and thinking about, okay, let's go back to what was happening in June.

We created lots of, we created lots of habitat. A mid habitat with all this standing water, and now this, the ephemeral pools, think about the classic ephemeral pool. You know that is there for the summer and disappears. So anyway it's. Good, bad, or otherwise, I don't know that we'll know for sure why it comes and goes, but that we, that gives us something, to throw a bunch of theories at.

And Mike I think we could geek out on trying to figure out mother nature all day long cause that's when I went to school, some of the stuff that, I was trying to do but it sounds like a great master's thesis or PhD project for an entomology wildlife student. So maybe somebody out there can start going down that path.

Figuring it out. As far as the herd numbers and stuff, did we see any major decline from last year's EHD outbreak, or I know some of the counties I was looking at the [00:13:00] updates here in the book The changing counties, Belmont, Butler, Gallia, Geauga, Harrison, Jefferson, Monroe counties were different as far as what they can take this year versus last year.

Did you guys have any, anything like that along, along those lines where you changed things? Hawking and it was a Butler County, Hawking, Hawking for sure. And one Southwest County we bumped the bag down. Okay. I think it was Butler. It was either Butler or Preble. Looks like Butler.

Butler I think. Yeah. And interestingly enough, when Clinton, I sat down and looked at the data last year while there was a rather even in Butler County, I believe it was and I'm not going to try and remember the exact percentage change, but interestingly enough, while we saw a fairly sizable decrease in the buck buck harvest in That county, we didn't see.

In fact, there may have been a slight uptick in the antlerless harvest in that county. So the buck harvest seemed to be impacted, but the antlerless harvest didn't show much of it, much of a change at all. In fact, it may have ticked up just a tiny bit. So the long and short of it is I would say more than anything, it was a preventative, just a Let's be sure type of move with Hawking [00:14:00] and Butler County, but that's the extent of it.

In those counties, we may see this year, things may be, it may have because what happens oftentimes is people. Choose not to harvest rather than, have no opportunity to harvest. They choose not to harvest. So we may see that bounce back this year in those counties.

We'll watch for that. But by and large, I think the only county that we ever had any significant impact would have been Jefferson back, in, in 2017, I believe it was, and we did, it was clear that some attention needed there. So Hocking and Butler, the only two counties that we adjusted downward as a response to potential impacts on hemorrhagic disease.

One more question on the numbers and this kind of stuff, and we'll get into some of the other topics, but I was listening to a show the other day. I think Kip Adams was on there from the National Deer. Is it Alliance Association? Okay. And yeah, I pause every time I get to that, and his basically his general overall comment was we Too many deer in the country.

And now he's looking from a, national perspective.[00:15:00] We've, I think Mike, this will be show number one Oh one. Okay. So we just passed our century mark since the first show we did with you. You've been telling us that, we have a lot of deer in the state of Ohio. We need to take more deer last year.

We're coming off of a pretty good. Increase, right? I think we took more deer last year than we have the last previous few years. Are you still in that kind of mindset that we could. Take more deer this year or are we as Ohio nationally, we might need to take more deer as Ohio, more leveled out or where are you at on that?

That mindset. Great question. And it's we've not changed our thoughts. I, just to back it was a tiny bit last year. I, I'm sure you guys we're not paying close attention because it snuck up on me. So I wouldn't be surprised if you didn't know this, but last year we at 40, 44, 47 counties.

Set record buck harvest, like the highest buck harvest ever, right? 47 counties. And that just, it just snuck up on us, not knowing that we were, we were [00:16:00] approaching that we killed 210, 000 year. But, we, we also set record harvest in more than half or at least half of our counties.

And I expect that's going to go up. We'll see other counties added to that list this year. So nothing has changed without a significant intervention, if you will, in terms of how we managed here, and I'm not sure that's going to alleviate. I think a word that you'll hear more and more is harvest saturation.

I think that's a term that. You should be familiar with. I think that's where we're at in most states. I think we're there in Ohio. I don't know if creative regulations. I have no shortage of those, but I don't know that creative regulations will crack that nut and allow us to get more deer.

You guys remember that the key in many situations is and we found this out back the decade ago is it's not so much getting folks to kill six deer every 100 to kill six deer. It's really about a grassroots efforts to shift the composition of the harvest from 55 percent analyst, which is about where we're at to 65 percent antlers.

That's where success [00:17:00] will come is not so much killing a lot more deer, but shooting a lot fewer bucks and shooting a lot more analyst here, which includes those. So sum that up. We're right there with the rest of the country. And we're hearing that we're seeing that Cambridge yesterday.

I'm getting calls from Cambridge. What are we gonna do about the deer? Athens City Council calling us. What are we going to do about a feeding ban in the city? To, address the deer issue. The challenge, of course, is the unfortunate news is those two places I mentioned, very difficult to get hunters into.

So not only do we have growing deer numbers in areas where we can access the deer population, i. e. via, via hunting we're seeing some significant upticks in, in areas where we don't really, and I call that our unmanageable population. Are inaccessible dear herd, and that seems that herd is getting larger every year or that portion of the state that's inaccessible to hunters.

And part of that inaccessibility is not only the fact that it's a, it's an urban area, we're, we continue to see upticks in, in leasing and people buying land, exclusively for hunting and outdoor recreational purposes. So that's limiting the number of deer.

And then on top of that, I [00:18:00] think. It's a natural progression. Folks are losing, there's still plenty of people that want to kill a deer and put a deer in the freezer, but not six. Nationally, that numbers is about 1. 3 and moving off of that needle. It's, it may be. It may be impossible.

I'm not here. I'm not giving up yet, though. Again, I say we've got Clinton. I will meet with Mike Reynolds and our assistant chief Todd Haynes next week, and we'll talk about some other ideas. But we've got to break out of, the bag limits and the additional seasons and adding days. Those days are over.

It's going to have to be something different. And I think there's some evidence that some of these things As crazy as it may seem that's the challenge, of course, is getting folks on board with, wait a second, you're going to shorten the season, and you want me to kill more deer? Yeah, that's exactly what we want to do, and it will work.

We know that when, with lots of deer in long seasons, that simply encourages procrastination. We're all procrastinators, I think, by nature. Some of us like to get things done ahead of time, but those few, those folks are few and far between. Anyway, sum that up. Yes, we are still dealing with [00:19:00] growing deer numbers and finding creative ways to deal with them.

If, is there any interest in in. Like I guess adjusting the one antlerless deer on public hunting ground in the state if we're talking about where we're where we talked about that just this morning. As a matter of fact, and we'll talk about that next week. The on paper, it looks good, but the reality is this, a fraction of people will kill two antlerless deer on public land.

And so it, it may Be warm and fuzzy, but in terms of impact minor, but that's a great question because there, there are those people, I kill one at Salt Fork. You're telling me I can't go up to, public land and ask to build a county and kill another one. It, so it's a, it's perception.

But the reality is the heavy hitter in those public land regulations was no deer after. The state that was the heavy hitter because 20 percent of our antlers harvest came after the gun season. So we were protecting a lot of antlers deer with that regulation by putting that, removing that restriction, I should say that opened the floodgates [00:20:00] back up the single antlers deer.

It's more of a nuisance than it is a something to severely limit the harvest. Sure. You wouldn't make the statement hunter. Or harvest saturation. So that's just that basically stems from, we're not going to bring any, enough new hunters into the sport, or it's just people like to kill the 1.

3 deer and that's it. Yeah, I think what's happening there, no, not speaking at all, really Paul, I think that's a great point. I'm glad you clarified that, but no, I'm not speaking at all to not bringing in new hunters, but that, that's, I think that's a whole nother show in and of itself.

But I think that the point is that people are are killing as many deer as they want to kill and a hundred numbers, even though we're adding folks they're sinking faster than, they're not keeping up with the pace at which the deer population is growing.

So the people that we have on the land. Even though we're adding folks, we're not replacing ourselves. We're still shrinking. Our hunter population is shrinking and the folks that are left are fine with killing the 1. 3 deer that they're [00:21:00] killing. And that's the struggle. Yeah.

But on that, sorry, Mike, I had to take a text real quick, but we had record buck harvests. In 40 some counties, is that what you said? Yeah, let me just check real quick. I got that. Actually, I want to make sure. I guess my question is why? Why are we having that? If all we hear about is numbers going down and every, guys just selective and doing, taking certain deer or are they coming from out of state?

So why, how are we setting record harvests? Didn't you say there was record Buck Harvest and Yes, there were record Buck Harvest. Yep. And it's interesting also, Andrew, to add to that is that those are we're killing more mature bucks than we've ever before in the history of Ohio. It's, it, so there's, it's called there can pick and choose and decide which deer I want to kill because there are that many choices.

Okay. So we're, the thing that we're struggling, we took it, we took a [00:22:00] nosedive with with the percent of our harvest being analyst year. And we cannot, we haven't been able to dig ourselves back out, even with going in 2020, I believe it was, we went statewide with the the deer management permits being valid in across the entire state.

We saw a minor uptick last year and it was proportion, but we're still well below. The 60 percent mark, we're well below the point where we expect the deer herd to grow 60 percent that magic, 60 percent years is that magic mark and that doesn't even guarantee status quo.

It's, it still could be, we could still see some growth at 60%, but we're still well below that. It's just that folks are really enjoying the opportunities to kill mature bucks, but that's going to run dry if we continue to if we continue to enjoy that and not address, keep the house in order, if you will.

You, you said something, we need to try something different. Is an agency, as hunters, we need to try something different to what are some things that other states have done that, that are, have been [00:23:00] successful, or, you talk to your colleagues across the country. Is there, is there anything that I'm riding solo here, Paul, this is Mike talk of its brain working overtime, right?

This is as far outside the box as you can get. It's so non traditional that no, there, there are, No other states really are exploring these kinds of things, which is probably a good reason why we're not. But here, think about this what I'm thinking about just as a couple things.

And this involves thinking about how you guys think and how you guys act as hunters, right? There's a couple of times a year where this is just one instance, a couple of times a year where you guys are really super excited about harvesting stuff at the start of the season. And as the season winds down, you've got, yeah, X number of days left.

And so you're going to be very aggressive, right? That mid section, those 3. 5 months in between kind of a law, right? You're focusing more on getting that pole barn cleaned and getting the furnace fixed and so on and so forth, but early and late. So it makes sense to me and in my simple mind that rather than having a season that runs 4.

5 months which I think is much [00:24:00] too long just simply because It breeds procrastination but end the season with. a season where you have a firearm in your hand rather than a bow. So we make the last season, the season of Ohio season ends. This is my, in my fairy tale world, right?

The Ohio season ends with muzzleloader season and that muzzleloader season is no longer a muzzleloader season. It's any firearms, right? So you don't know. Think about this. Eight out of 10 guys that go in the woods, guys and gals that go in the woods this year are going to buy are going to hunt with archery tackle.

So many of these people are still hunting that muzzleloader season knowing, I've got three and a half weeks left, and I know for a fact, I've talked to them, guys are guilty, guys and gals, you guys may be, I got three and a half weeks, I'm going to focus, I'm going to use this muzzleloader season to focus on that buck that I still haven't gotten, right?

So if you knew the season ended with the muzzleloader season, there's no more, there's no more insurance policy, right? There's no safety net, right? There's no more waiting. And that's we saw that this was concreted casting concrete, if you will, back in 2007, 2008, when we [00:25:00] experimented with the 15 antlers permit and limited hunters to the first eight weeks of the season, that, that was, that solidified my thoughts about.

Procrastination and waiting and so on and so forth. So that's just one example. Okay, so you want me to kill more deer, but you're going to take off three and a half weeks of the season. Absolutely. That's what I'm that's what I'm proposing. So in a nutshell. In a nutshell what I'm thinking, and we've got to, we've got to, we've got to have serious conversations about this one buck rule, we've got to find incentives, right?

We've, we have to have that conversation, right? We've got to have that conversation. It isn't earn a buck is earn a bonus buck, something that the days of when we wanted to harvest more deer, we added days to the season. And we added deer to the bag. The average bag limit across the state right now is three.

1. 3 deer successful. So bag limit is dead. Now, there are some nuances when you go from 2 to 3 that does change things a little bit, but 3 to 6, 3 to 5, it changes [00:26:00] nothing. And adding days of the season, all that simply does is give folks more opportunity to delay their harvest. And this interest in harvesting a mature buck, I don't slight a soul for that.

I really don't. But that is taking away from the chores, if you will of managing the deer herd which involves shooting antlers deer. So that's just one illustration, but shorter seasons, less is the new more. Maybe Iowa, other states they have party hunting. Okay.

You got three people, you got six permits in your pocket between the three guys. You have an opportunity to take four. You take four, you put, you put Andrew's tags on, on, on two that you don't have tags for, right? So things that are non traditional that some states are using but this idea that we've got to walk back excessive bag limits, we've got to quit throwing things at at the wall.

So we know they're not going to stick. We've got to try some different things and experiment with some different things. And maybe those are incentives with additional bucks and things of that nature. But I don't want to belabor that point, but there are plenty of other there are [00:27:00] plenty of other ideas that we could explore.

And one of those, would be an early and one of the things guys, and maybe you can speak to this from your own personal experience. I had a wonderful one. Meeting with some folks this past winter and this is where, this is how things evolve. This is how deer management in my mind has to evolve.

You, you've got, we experimented with animals only seasons and they were a dud but that was back 15 years ago, right? Guys were like, there's no way I'm going to hunt that season because what if I see the buck of a lifetime? I'm only, I don't want to take that chance. But now these animals only seasons to me are maybe a bit more appealing and need to be revisited.

Cause I had a guy tell me. that he said, there's no way I'm a crack of matchstick. And have, risk moving my buck onto my neighbor's property. But if the rules to go out to shoot an antlers deer for you, but if the rules were, if we had antlers only seasons and I knew everybody that we had a level playing field and I didn't have to worry about my buck temporarily moving off my place as I'm out hunting antlers deer, [00:28:00] then bam, I'm out there.

I'll stack them up like cordwood for you. So it's this idea, Paul that, yeah. It's got it. We've got to move outside of our comfort zone and into something that looks a little different than what we've done in the past. And I understand it's hard. That's that's difficult for agency administrators that difficult for hunters to embrace.

But I'm not giving up until I'm done. Yeah, Andrew is our meeting going to end in four minutes and 40 seconds. Yeah, I don't know why. Just hang with me. I have an account and I pay for it. So I don't know if I somehow signed up through a different thing. I'm going to try to switch accounts. So I don't mean to let me see if I can do this real quick and not interrupt the meeting.

See what happens. It's for sure. Shut off. If it does, I will email back

Mike. Why? Why? We've got some time here. I've got this why is it this book that I bought at half price books? And it's [00:29:00] called the new hunters encyclopedia. And it is like the internet before the internet. Look how thick that thing is. Nice. Wow. So I bought it. Okay. I bought it like probably two years ago and in the book, this is for the 1966 hunting season.

So all of the information is from the 1965 hunting season. And so it goes through all, I'll bring it tonight. I'll let you look at it. I you're, I think you'll love it, but it's got all of the different methods of hunting, all of the, the tackle, as you say that was popular during 1965 different hunting methods.

And then it's got a really neat. Each state has like a little breakdown and there's not a ton of, there, there is some harvest data in here. There's not, some of the states have it. We didn't submit any, whoever your colleague or your predecessor, was in 1965, didn't really submit much information.

So Ohio is one of the smaller sections, what, take it, take a stab. What do you think the number one game animal in 1965 [00:30:00] was in the state of Ohio? That's super easy. Squirrels. Squirrels. This says rabbit. It says rabbit, the most popular game animal is common everywhere in the state. About, they said that 500, 000 are killed annually.

Wow. This was Ohio. Oh, excuse me. Sorry. Sorry. Pheasant. Sorry. Pheasant was the most popular game bird. They're distributed throughout the state in agriculture lanes. About 500, 000 killed annually. Rabbit, the most popular game animals common everywhere in the Southern parts of Ohio. And then squirrel are found in all wooded areas.

So yeah, squirrel and rabbit, the most popular game state. Yeah, absolutely. And it's funny. It talks about deer hunting. So there's, there's maybe just say 20 paragraphs to this deer hunting is two sentences. And this entire, yeah, it's mind boggling to think about that.

All right, guys, it is i'm gonna go ahead and end this meeting. I just sent you a link for the other one. We'll hop back on that and go from there. I apologize. No, that's right Safe. Yeah, this was good. I'll be back soon[00:31:00] [00:32:00]

Got it. I got you. Something's wrong with my account. It's going to give us a 40 minute meeting again and Something it's not letting me like and let you enter the room. You just comes through I wonder if my credit card I had to get that switch. I wonder if that's not no that could be Zoom meeting 40 minutes.

Yeah, that's weird. I've got an account and We can finish that we got plenty of time 40 minutes is just it's just fine. So And I want to keep that end in that last of that, where we talked from this book, I'm going to, I'm going to just segue right into something else from that was my whole point, all right. Sorry about that talk. We, I don't know what's going on. But no apologies needed technology. So you guys continue that. This guy. So we're going to, I want to stay in this book, Mike and I want to, we're going to do, we're going to play radio, right? We're going to circle back because your statement, something different that stuck with me.

And you, we just talked about, rabbits and squirrels [00:33:00] and pheasants, the most popular game animals in the state of Ohio. If you look at Ohio now, we, I'd say we're probably top five. Big buck States in the country, right? That's if we're not in top five or top seven easy.

We are a destination state for deer hunters across the country. And it's funny. You see how conservation and policy and regulation and hunting, philosophy and people how it evolves. And 1965, obviously everything in the world is different, but, it's just neat how, is hunters is conservationist is and is is a manager of wildlife and trusted in the state, Mike, how we're at that that shift. And it's almost like another mentality shift psychologically. Socio, what sort of looking here socially, is hunters that, we need to change the way that we do things and the way that we think about things in the state.

And that's scary for a lot of people. You're talking about party hunting, you're talking about, an additional shotgun season. [00:34:00] That's big changes. Paul, that's I'm very quick to point out, I want folks to know that there is no criticism. Of where we are in my mind, it's a natural, as you so correctly put it, it's a natural progression.

It's funny that we wouldn't have thought that we would be here someday, that 1965 we should have planned on this day coming. The hunters in Ohio have been amazing. In terms of their their willingness to adapt to regulation changes, their willingness to shoot analyst here.

We've gone. So what where we're at now in my mind is in many minds, I think of the hunting public out there is what we've worked hard to get to, right? This is utopia. This is, 3. 5 year old bucks, 35 percent of our harvest, 3. 5 years and older. Back in 1995 when I started, 65 percent of our deer that we were killing were year and a half old bucks.

So we've gone from seeing a deer track to, and hunters hanging in with us and having hundreds of thousands of hunters to having limited opportunity to, two days of [00:35:00] either sex during our gun season, the rest of it's buck only to, okay, now we've got an extra antlers tag, maybe available for a few counties to a bag limit of 18 to.

Now we have got an excess of deer in many places that we're hunting. So what I think a lot of our hunters are looking for is that in order to get that challenge out of the hunt, the thing that got them into the hunt is I've got to go for the deer. That's least abundant. In the woods. And of course, that's the mature buck and I'm going to try and harvest it with a the most primitive and that I use that in quotes the most primitive implement out there.

And that's archery tackle. So we should have anticipated this day that we're going to get to the point where now, of course, the access thing that's obviously changed things. The disease things has obviously changed things. The baiting thing has obviously changed things. So there's a lot of things that we could not have anticipated.

But I think what we're seeing and where we're at. is this idea that, I've done this all before. I've helped you guys get us to this point. I've killed six deer when you asked me to kill six deer. Now I'm enjoying my time in the woods, [00:36:00] pursuing these mature bucks. And so hats off to them.

You hung in there with us, but the reality is that, and this is, this is on us. I think is maybe most folks don't know that we're having this conversation that, you know what we're in a difficult spot. We can't continue to focus on those antler deer without being mindful of maintenance, right?

Maintenance is that antlerless harvest. And so I guess we, we have to we are at a turning point and folks need to hear that we are at a turning point, that we have to change the way, great, focus on that buck, but you've got to continue to deliver antlerless deer to that processor. Otherwise those bucks are going to be a thing of the past and we'll be telling a different story in 20 years.

Yeah, I'm gonna just last thing from this book. I think you just touched on it real Briefly, there was, the access issue that people have. We talk about public lands. And so this is in the state conservation section here in Ohio from 1960, 66 Ohio is engaged in an accelerated effort to acquire hunting and state forest lands before they [00:37:00] engulfed, before they are engulfed by spreading.

Industrial and residential development. This is the number that I want you to listen to. The division has more than, you ready for this? 10, 000 acres in wildlife area. 10, 000, that was the number that you guys were hanging your hat on. 10, 000 acres in wildlife area. And an additional sizable acres under lease.

In addition, there are 160, 000 acres of state forest that are open to public hunting. So that's probably, I would imagine the experimental forest down in Benton County. Raccoon ecological management area with Waterloo, those probably included in that. You talk about, as a, as an agency, as a division, and we had director Mertz on just a couple of weeks ago, we did a really phenomenal interview with her.

And that was one of the things that she talked about is at the forefront of the agency's mission and goal is to acquire more land for access. So God, man, we've come a long way. Yeah, we sure have. So now let's let's talk any rule changes that have popped up in the last. Eight months since the [00:38:00] end of Hall.

Nothing is nothing is immediately coming to mind. Thinking about the show this morning, I thought about that. It's quite a year as far as reg changes go. With the exception of, some bag limit adjustments. Things are fairly stable, which is, I think, good news for hunters, right? Yeah, so yeah, we're good there.

I don't think there's a lot of things that folks. In fact, I don't think there's anything that folks need to necessarily worry about. Obviously, be mindful of the laws that were in place last year because I'm sure they're all there this year, but we haven't made it more difficult for you. We, Claire, you clarified some controlled hunt.

Regulations cleaned up some of that. Yeah, that was good. Happy to see that. Yeah. Happy to see that. Months. What else you got, man? You're the deer hunter here. Oh, because if you leave it up to me, we're going to talk about Turkey. No, I'm just thinking. So last year, about this time, one of the things I've written down here, we, I think specifically talked about the city of Worthington coming to you for some help on their urban deer problems.

And we you talked about Cambridge, Athens, these earlier have. Some of these [00:39:00] municipalities gotten any further along in a plan for that kind of stuff how to invite hunters. I know one nearby me that, they offer that opportunity because it's obviously an issue, but I could see how these urban Areas are only going to get worse.

As things progress and they're in sanctuaries, right? All these cities and these little neighborhoods and, they find a fence line and just lay down in these little wood patch. They're, you're never going to get rid of that problem if they don't come up with some kind of real management plan.

Yeah, guys, you talk about yeah, that Andrew to speak specifically to that question. Some of the towns that you mentioned there have made any forward progress. Gary Comer our district wildlife management supervisor there in central Ohio has attended a number of meetings in central Ohio.

Folks are continuing to talk about it. But they haven't moved off of dead Center yet. In terms of addressing the issue, and it is there's that exponential growth where things start out really slow and I think we're finally getting to that part.

Point [00:40:00] on the curve where things are starting to take off because it's the summer is has been off the charts in terms of number of folks reaching out Jeff Westerfield in Northeast Ohio continues to add, cities, municipalities to the list of folks that he's working with in terms of trying to get hunting program set up.

But, as I explained to this gal from Cambridge the other day, back in this back to this harvest saturation guys that we talked about, we can set up a hunting program in Cambridge. And if we don't, of course, force people to shoot antlerless deer first, they're, they know what's going any savvy hunter knows that those sanctuaries, the great word, Andrew, right?

And so sanctuary equals old age, equals mature bucks, equals wall hangers. Unless we force them, to shoot antlerless deer, which is not a very popular topic at the end of the day, they shoot deer there. They're not going to Salt Fork to hunt. They're not going to go to Adams County. So in other words, there's a finite number of deer that our hunters are willing to kill.

Creating up more opportunities by opening up these backyards in these city parks, that's just stealing, that's just stealing, robbing from Peter to pay Paul quite honestly. [00:41:00] And until we find, incentive that, that is going to lead to a non traditional, again, there, there are States.

There are people that are talking about, a limited commercial venison market. I know that's so far out there. It seems, like a concept that could never be right. That's how we got where we were today. By eliminating that, right? So bringing something back like that is crazy, but there has to be it.

some incentive for people to take more deer. And it's not just going to be do us a favor and take more deer, be a steward, be a conservationist that's simply going to fall short. So I'm There's a couple of things here. I don't want to get too political. I think politics does come into some of this and I'm going to, I'm going to pick on Worthington a little bit because that's where my office is.

If you told me that I could go to work, sit in my office and when the whistle blows, go climb into a tree in Worthington, I'm going to do that. Now I'm probably still going to take my three or four deer outside of the city limits, but. [00:42:00] That would be an unbelievable opportunity. I've seen the giants in there.

I've, I was driving through the other day. It was noon. There's a dough just feeding in somebody's front yard on their arborvitaes, like they have a problem. I would be willing to help. I wouldn't necessarily. Change my, my, and I'm speaking personally, like my outside hunting out into the rural areas, I'm still going to do that because that's a whole different experience.

I, from what I look at and some of these bigger municipalities, when talking politically and Paul and I talked about this a couple of weeks ago, how hunting acceptance or whatever it is within nationally is gotten, it's going the wrong direction from our perspective. When you get into some of these areas, do they just think it's going to be, arrows and bullets flying all over the place and dead deer laying in people's front yards?

But they're also going to be the same ones that, complain that their thousands and thousands, tens of thousands of dollars in landscape just got demolished overnight by these deer, like [00:43:00] somebody, we've got to find a a happy medium on that. And I think it's. It's gotta be there because, okay, now I'm just gonna just grandville where Denison University is, has a.

A program set up that it's no secret. You drive through there during election season. It's, it tends to favor the left, right? More on that end of, all that kind of stuff. But they have a, an opportunity where you can come in, you got to prove that you can shoot, you have to find the properties, you have to do all this stuff and they will give you some type of archery permit within, in city limits where you can hunt.

Hunt these deer because they have it under, they understand that they have a problem and it's not really a red or blue issue. It's a biological issue. So I don't understand why some of these other places like Worthington can't come to grips and figure that out. Sorry. I apologize. No, that's okay.

That's okay. And it's hard not to mention the P word when you're talking about this, right? Because [00:44:00] this, it is political. There's no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Most everything in this world is political when you get right down to it. But I think so interestingly enough, I think that you mentioned acceptance.

And I think we're seeing that it's still very high, which is a good thing is provided that, of course, the the deer being used as you would expect, for consumption and not just harvested for their antlers, for instance. But I think my gut tells me just looking at the number of municipalities in Northeast Ohio, I don't know what's holding central Ohio back. Gahanna used to have a program, Northeast Ohio continues to add more and more, which says to me that people are recognizing that, yeah, I'm going to have to set aside my my views on animal cruelty or hunting or this, that, and the other, because it's not safe to drive.

It's not, I can't grow I can't grow a garden. I can't do this. I can't do that. So I think it's just, it's a matter of time. And unfortunately perhaps it's going to take an accident. It's going to take someone getting hurt before something will get done. And that's the unfortunate reality is that oftentimes is the trigger that gets things done is [00:45:00] that we get to a situation where but I'm with you.

I don't know. Again, here in Athens, I was Actually quite pleased to finally see that the deer are getting people's attention because it's, they've been getting my attention for a long time. And we're getting to that point. Like I said, I really envision us moving up that steep side of the curve now because that curve because folks are.

We're seeing just enormous numbers of deer. They're replacing squirrels. In many places, it just where you typically see a squirrel scan, scrambling down the road. It's a deer at noon, as you said. So a lot of work to be done there. Just a ton of work to be done there.

And fertility control is certainly not the answer. We're experimenting with that. We've got a couple projects, one in South Euclid and one in the Cincinnati area where we're looking at non lethal control in Cincinnati and we're combining non lethal with with lethal methods in, in Northeast Ohio.

But still that's so labor intensive. It's just, it's not, it's still not practical and very expensive. Yep. [00:46:00] All right. So I'm going to change one, one other random thought while we got you on here. Listen to some of these different States, right? The Midwest to me, I'm going to, I'm going to pick an Iowa because that's like the deer Mecca where if you can pull that, if you can draw that tag, you've got.

Everybody talks. It sounds like, there's just 180 inch deer walking around everywhere and you're gonna have this massive hunt of a lifetime. And I hear people critique not Ohio as much. Someone like the other states, maybe Michigan and some of them on their policies. They have multiple black states and stuff.

I can't wrap my head around why Iowa is this coveted draw tag versus why we are like we just need to take as many deer as we can in order to balance our population out don't those seem opposite in the realm of you got one that It's really hard to get seven years or whatever to draw.

And then ours, it's come on. And we're not, I can't imagine geographically. We look, I've never been to Iowa, but we look that [00:47:00] much different. They got a lot egg out there, but so do we. And I don't quite understand why that's different. I think at the end of the day, here's it comes down to it comes down to deer numbers.

They do have a lot more egg, which supports a lot fewer deer, right? The cornfields are only temporary deer habitat. I think that's probably the key difference there. Is it simply because they're temporary. Yeah. While they struggle in pockets with overabundant deer populations and probably those that are associated with more urban centers and suburban centers they're doing well with their herd and are able to, even limit landowners in the state of Iowa.

Even landowners can't get property owners can't get tags every year. So you've nailed that. And it would seem. And it speaks to the same issue that we just left in this idea of deer being adaptable in a state with 11 million people and we've got the deer issues that we've got the harvest numbers that we're posting up every single year, which is mind boggling but that speaks to the adaptability of that white tailed deer that we all love so much.

Unfortunately for them, and I guess maybe to an extent us they are an incredibly [00:48:00] adaptable animal. Creature as you mentioned earlier on, you find a fence row with a with a barbarian and a Holly and maybe a couple of boxwoods and man, you blend in, you're there hunkered down until the sun goes down or not.

And you, that's home, that's habitat and they're doing well there. So that's, that's part of it is that we've, we have just a lot more places that we can put deer. Even though we've got 11 million residents, I don't know what Iowa's population is. I'm sure it's not nearly 11 million, but It's seven, seven people, seven people, seven people.

Anyway I'd say that's where we're at. Gotcha. I think this is a good place to wrap up. Mike, we appreciate your insight as always. And I'm we'll do a end of the year. If anything pops up we'll touch base with you. Do you have any final notes? What I've taken from this is that we need to harvest another dough, right?

And I think we've always at least one more Get out there get those doughs my I'm on the bandwagon of get them early Okay Because you know get it out of the way [00:49:00] Get your shakes out of the way all kinds of stuff for when the moment comes and if you don't want that meat There are groups like farmers and hunters feeding the hungry that will take that and they will do something positive with it.

You have to field dress it and drag it out of the woods and take it to the butcher. That's all you got to do. So help the herd, the capacity that we have help the health of all the deer and help families that need it along the way. Yeah. Is there anything else that you can think of it?

Two thoughts. Yeah. Two thoughts. If I may, just to close up with, if we have, it looks like five minutes. I don't want to be Nancy negative, but I do want to just because it's incredibly hot off the press and very timely. And you mentioned it farmers, hunters feeding the hungry. I've been working with Josh Wilson over in is.

We're losing processors that are cooperating, that are FHFH cooperators and I don't want, we can talk about that maybe another time but the long and short of it is, and this is just fresh yesterday that he sent the survey to I think he sent [00:50:00] 50 surveys out. These are going to be Ohio cooperators.

These aren't processors. These are people that organize the processors around the state, right? And he asked them to ask the people that they work with. Why are we're seeing a decrease. Are you seeing that in your area? And if so, why? Okay. And the 60 percent of the people that responded said, Yes, we're seeing fewer and fewer processors available for FHFH donations.

And a lot of the reason, unfortunately, is that people are getting out of deer completely. Now, we don't know, some are retired, some are getting out of deer to focus on cattle and livestock. But the point is, and the reason why I mentioned that is that's another critical issue that needs to be addressed as well, is that opportunity is not even there.

So we can't even send these people that want to take. Another deer to these places, because we're losing those places. Another subject, another talk. The final thing I wanted to mention, a public service announcement, if you will, is just 36 hunters, 3600 hunters have already responded to a survey that we sent out.

It's legit. There's more coming via mail and those that have not responded via email or [00:51:00] the web that have been asked to please we use that to set goals. for the next three to five years. We're, next week we're going to mail probably 15, 000 surveys to Ohio production landowners, i. e.

farmers, basically asking a lot of the same questions. So these are legit surveys. Please take a minute, if you care about managing deer in Ohio take a minute to to get that done or encourage, one of your friends or whoever gets that. Those are legit surveys. We really, it's different from the annual survey that we send out to hunters at the end of the season.

This is done once every three to five years. So pretty important. In terms of taking another deer. Yes. But start having a conversation with folks about the importance, let's just, not one and done, but let's understand what's going on. Ask questions, get engaged. Mike, thanks for your time today.

Thanks for your time and all of your energies and to all that you do with the DNR. So I appreciate it. You're very welcome guys. I appreciate you guys having us on. Thank you. Pleasure.