How will the Mill Creek Metroparks deer hunting work?
In a little more than a week, hunters will start thinning the deer population in Mill Creek Metroparks.
Recreational, or controlled hunting ,will be from Oct.1 through the end of January 2024. Archers will be allowed to hunt from Oct.1 to Dec.1 then firearm hunters will be allowed in the parks from Dec.2 to the end of January. In total, 331 hunters will be allowed in the park throughout the season.
Each hunter is only allowed in the specific hunting areas laid out by the park. There are 9 different locations where hunters can kill deer including:
- Collier Preserve, Boardman Township
- Hitchcock Woods, Boardman Township
- Huntington Woods, Boardman Township
- Hawkins Marsh, Smith Township
- Mill Creek Wildlife Sanctuary, Beaver Township
- MetroParks Farm, Canfield Township
- Sawmill Creek Preserve, Canfield Township
- Springfield Forest, Springfield Township
- Vickers Nature Preserve, Ellsworth Township
The park areas where hunting is designated will be open to visitors when archery is happening but closed during firearm hunting.
The park police officers will be patrolling the areas to make sure the hunters aren’t in places that they aren’t allowed - but since it's so much land - the officers can’t be everywhere so it pretty much comes down to the honor system.
“Ultimately, it's up to them to be aware of where they’re at in relation to those maps and follow the rules,” Nick Derico, Natural Resource Manager for Mill Creek Metroparks said about the hunters.
If they don’t - the hunter could get a citation from police and their permit would be revoked. Hunters also have to stay 100 feet away from any trails and 300 feet away from any residential areas.
Each hunter in the recreational hunt is allowed up to nine deer - but the park officials don’t think they’ll get that many.
“I’m forecasting between 60 and 120 deer for the controlled hunting program,” Derico said.
On top of the recreational hunting, the park received a permit from Ohio Department of Natural Resources for culling hunting. Professional sharpshooters will hunt deer in the Mill Creek Proper area which is north of Route 224.
The permit for the sharpshooters only allows them to take 30 deer. The park can apply for additional permits for the sharpshooters to take more deer in the future. There hasn’t been a date set for when the culling hunting will happen but Derico said when it does, it will only be at night and the park area will be shut down when it's happening.
A lawsuit attempting to save the deer is still pending in Mahoning County Court. In early September, some residents living around the park filed a lawsuit against the park to try and stop both types of hunting. The first hearing for the lawsuit was scheduled for Sept. 21 but was continued for Sept. 28.