AURORA — Lottery applications are now being accepted from area residents who want to hunt on city properties during Ohio’s deer archery season from Sept. 29 to Feb. 3, 2019.

Hunters must register with the parks and recreation department office in person, by calling 330-562-4333 or by submitting an entry to the parks and rec office at 129 W. Pioneer Trail. Entries must list contact information, name, address, cell phone and/or alternate phone and email.

All entries must be received by the parks and recreation office by 4:30 p.m. Aug. 24 to be included in the lottery. Only one entry per hunter is permitted.

Under a city ordinance, only bow hunting is authorized in Aurora either on private or city property. Public sites where hunting is permitted are the Aurora Wetlands on West Garfield Road and Ray Harmon farm on Bartlett Road. Other sites owned by the city also may be accessible after approval by City Council. A city permit is not required for bowhunting private land, but tracts must be larger than 8 acres.

Aurora Police Officer Mark Croy said the lottery was implemented in the 2010-11 hunting season. During last hunting season, 12 deer were harvested by lottery hunters on the five city-owned plots.

Croy said the deer population seems to have declined in the city, and epizootic hermorrhagic disease might be a factor in that. He said back in both 2015 and 2016 there were 11 incidents where motorists hit deer, but that number dropped to five in 2017 and only two so far in 2018.

Six total spots are available for those who want to hunt on city property. Two hunters will be permitted to hunt in one designated area.

One hunter will be selected per area and he or she must choose a partner. If a partner is not selected, another name will be drawn from the lottery entries, with Aurora residents given first priority.

Selected hunters will be notified by phone, and applicants are asked not to contract the parks-rec or police department to verify if they have been selected. Names also will be placed on the parks-rec website for a brief period.

Selected hunters must attend a mandatory orientation meeting at Tinkers Creek State Park.

Each selected permit holder will be shown designated hunting areas, review all rules and policies and will be given a profiency test. Failure to attend the meeting will result in forfeiture of the hunter’s spot, and a new name will be drawn.

In addition, those selected must complete a city hunting permit through the police department and pay $25 per designatedhunting area, with a $25 fee for substitutions of a permit holder. Fees are non-refundable.

Both of the hunting partners can hunt on the same day, but must remain in a designated area with no exceptions. Those hunting outside the designated area will have their permits revoked and will not be permitted to enter back onto the premises.

Hunters are not permitted to insert fasteners to trees, and hunters must wear a safety harness when hunting from an elevated tree stand. Name, address and phone number must be attachd to the tree stand.

Hunters must remove all stands no later than one week after the end of the deer archery hunting season.

Hunters must harvest one antlerless deer (doe) before harvesting an antlered deer (buck).

Hunters must carry their permits while going to and from the designated hunting area. Copies are not permitted. Hunters also must display their parking tags and park in designated parking areas.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources reports that Ohio’s deer population is now around 750,000. In 1904, there were no deer in Ohio. White-tailed deer were reintroduced via a government stocking program in the 1920s and 1930s.

Ohio hunters harvested 186,287 deer in Ohio in the 2017-18 season, with 79,352 killed by archers. Portage County hunters harvested 927 deer using all methods. Coshocton County led the state with 6,559 deer harvested.

Reporter Ken Lahmers can be reached at 330-541-9400 Ext. 4189 or klahmers@recordpub.com