Farmers Experience Hunting Season

This weekend commences deer hunting season to the delight and dismay of farmers in the Buckeye State.

Farmland is prime deer-hunting environment, which causes both opportunities and nuisances for farmers.

Ohio is home to ample farmland, which is the ideal habitat for deer and other animals that are sought after during multiple hunting seasons. Farm crops have increased protein content and tend to produce deer that are bigger, healthier and fatter than woodland deer, according to Keith Sutton, an author for Studies have found that deer concentrations can be 10 times greater in the immediate vicinity of agricultural crops than in more remote wooded areas.

Though hunters are enthusiastic about hunting season, farmers don’t always have the same enthusiasm.

Some farmers are apprehensive about allowing hunting on their property, falsely believing that they can be held accountable for injury/death that can occur. However, Ohio Revised Codes 1533.18 and 1533.181, also known as the Recreational Users Law, state that "No owner, lessee, or occupant of premises assumes responsibility for or incurs liability for any injury to person or property caused by any act of a recreational user."

Other farm owners fear damage to or misuse of property, such as dust pollution from increased traffic and stray bullets in farm equipment.
But more often than not, farmers appreciate the prospect of hunters thinning out deer herds that cause damage to their crops. is an online resource that gives hunters access to farms with owners who desire deer hunting on their property. Designed in partnership by The Ohio Division of Wildlife (ODNR/DOW) and the Ohio Farm Bureau Federation (OFBF), this website is ideal for eager hunters.

“Because 95 percent of Ohio's land base is held in private ownership, hunters have been having an increasingly difficult time in finding places to hunt,” states the site. Sutton also recommends contacting local game wardens when seeking farmland to hunt. These professionals often know landowners who are experiencing serious crop damage caused by overabundant whitetails.

Permission should be requested well in advance. It’s considered poor etiquette to arrive at a farmer’s doorstep the day of one’s planned hunting outing without a prior introduction. When permission is granted, farmers and hunters should notify neighbors of the date of the hunt, which can be burdensome during harvest season.

The obvious perk associated with allowing hunting on one’s farmland is money. Another form of reimbursement is sharing a portion of the success. Many hunters also offer farm owners venison or other game meat if they’re successful. A less common repayment is when a hunter works the farmland for hunting privileges.

With all things considered, most farmers, when respected, have no reason to object to hunting on their property and welcome the opportunity.

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