Ohio's 2010-2011 bow hunting season begins Sept. 25, and for the fifth year in a row qualified hunters are invited to help harvest the deer herd within Marietta's city limits.
"It's been a pretty successful program, and I'd hate to see what the local deer herd would be like without this hunt," said Marietta Police Chief Brett McKitrick.
The in-town deer hunt began with only 22 hunters in 2005, and by 2008 more than 58 hunters were taking the required annual proficiency test for the city hunt.
SAM SHAWVER The Marietta Times
Jeremy Metzler of Marietta aims his crossbow carefully at a 3-D deer target during an archery proficiency test Tuesday required for hunters who want to participate in this season’s deer hunt within the city limits.
"We had 30-some hunters sign up last year, and expect even more this year," said Eric Bear with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources during the first round of proficiency testing at Buckeye Park Tuesday evening.
No pre-registration is required for the proficiency testing. Hunters get five shots at 20 yards distance, and four of the five must strike in the vital areas on a Delta 3-D deer target to pass the test.
Passage of the exam is the first step toward obtaining a permit to bow hunt for deer in the city between Sept. 25 and Feb. 6, 2011.
The Washington Soil and Water Conservation District will be holding archery proficiency tests for the City of Marietta's bowhunt at the new archery range at Buckeye Park from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Aug. 28, and 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14.
All hunters must pass the proficiency test and apply at the Marietta Police Department for a no-cost permit to be able to hunt within the city limits.
Hunters must possess a valid Ohio hunting license and required deer permits.
In-city hunters are also required to provide a photo identification card bearing their name, address and date of birth; a telephone number; and proof of combined single limit personal injury and property damage insurance for a minimum of $100,000.
Arrows used to hunt deer within the city must be marked with the hunter's name.
Hunting is only permitted during the established Ohio bow hunting season from Sept. 25 to Feb. 6, and only during daylight hours.
Deer hunting is allowed on designated areas of city property, and on private property of one-acre or more with written permission from the owner.
Hunting on public lands is prohibited on Sundays and during all scheduled school closings.
More information on the city deer hunt is available at the Marietta Police Department or from the City Council clerk's office.
For additional information: 373-7113, ext. 236.
Sources: Washington Soil and Water Conservation District, Ohio Department of Natural Resources, and City of Marietta.
"We don't want just anyone who buys a bow and arrows to hunt in town," McKitrick said. "They have to show some hunting ability."
This is the third year that Jeremy Metzler of Marietta has participated in the city deer hunt.
"I took a buck and a doe last year, and a buck and two does the first year," he said. "I hunt on both public land and private land I have in the city."
Marietta resident Earnest Eros said he's had the best luck hunting along the power line right of way near North Hills Bowling Lanes off Colegate Drive.
"I've hunted every year since the city hunt began and take at least five deer each year," Eros said.
"The city is the only place I hunt anymore because of my health," he said. "But I have no trouble bagging my limit."
Bear said city hunters can bag six deer each season, but must have the proper tags.
"And hunters can now buy three $15 deer permits without having to first buy a $24 permit," he said. "We did away with the required $24 permit from last year.
Bear said hunters who want to participate in the city deer harvest are tested every year to make sure they continue to be proficient with their bows.
"We want to be sure they're all good to go each year," he said.
Bear also noted that city hunters, as well as any deer hunter in Washington County, can donate their deer to programs like Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry.
He said Warren and Son Meat Processing in Whipple will process deer free that are donate to the feeding the hungry program.