MIKE BRAUN Ravenna hunts restored for '02
What terrorist activities helped to tear asunder last year, the Ohio National Guard and the Ohio Department of Natural Resource's Division of Wildlife have put back together.
Last year's controlled deer hunts at the Ohio Army National Guard's Ravenna Training and Logistics Site in Portage County were canceled as a security precaution after Sept. 11.
However, both the ONG and the DOW have decided, after months of discussions, to allow the hunts to go forward this fall.
Press releases e-mailed by Lt. Col. Tom Tadsen, commander of the RTLS (formerly called the Ravenna Arsenal), and the ODNR's Columbus office at the end of last week said the hunts would resume this fall.
Tadsen's e-mail explained that most of the applicants chosen via lottery by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources last year will be granted a spot in this year's hunts.
"Heightened security procedures have been enacted at the facility, and full compliance with these required procedures will permit us to accomplish this year's hunts," he said.
Those heightened measures include a requirement that hunters transport their weapons in a case, with the case stowed in either their car trunk or truck bed. Furthermore, the e-mail says, "Ammunition must be stored in a separate location in the vehicle." A DOW spokesman stressed that all vehicles entering the area will be searched.
When the cancellation was made in 2001, applicants selected for that year's hunts at the Ravenna facility were notified that their selection would carry over until the area could be reopened.
The hunts will be Oct. 12, 19 and, 26; Nov. 9, 16, and 23; and Dec. 14.
The hunts will be broken down as follows: During the Oct. 26 and Nov. 23 hunts, 50 percent of the hunters will be permitted to harvest a deer of either sex, while the other 50 percent will be required to take antlerless deer. Only antlerless deer may be taken during the remainder of the hunts.
The renewed hunts are at Ravenna only. A hunt at NASA's Plum Brook facility in Erie County has again been canceled because of security precautions. Applicants that were selected last fall will continue to be held for a possible reopening next year, according to the DOW.
Some hunting allowed
While the normal public controlled hunt was not held in 2001 at Ravenna, an agreement by the ONG and the DOW shortly after the hunts were canceled allowed for some hunting.
Hunting, however, was restricted to "military personnel and permanently assigned employees who are already authorized access to hunt at the [arsenal] during the regular deer season," a press release issued by the ONG in the fall said
The reason for the allowance was to try to keep the deer herd in check as much as possible, DOW and ONG officials said at that time. In fact, that is the main purpose of allowing hunting on the property at any time.
It is a good thing that the site has been reopened this year. A tour of the grounds last fall provided by the ONG proved to me that it indeed does have a healthy and large deer population and could use the hunting pressure to keep whitetails controlled.
It also represents a hunting opportunity -- albiet one limited to participation by lottery -- in a time when such opportunities are becomingly increasingly less available.