MOUNT VERNON — Deer can damage crops. When that damage gets too bad, farmers can obtain deer damage control permits to thin the herd on their property when the regular hunting seasons are not in effect.
Most regular hunting rules are also not in effect. It is more akin to setting traps to keep rats out of the corn crib than it is to hunting.
About mid-August, a letter was sent to residents of northern Monroe Township and the southwestern corner of Brown Township complaining about local farmers shooting deer under the guise of controlling crop damage. The letter says the killing was taking place “on the Seth Yarman and Brian Boeshart farms between O’Brien and Gilchrist roads” and claims, “permits are being issued so that a few irresponsible individuals can get their kicks by shooting young deer and leaving them to die.”
The letter paints an emotional picture of “mothers of young fawns being killed while their babies are still too young to survive on their own,” and “part of our concern is that button bucks are being killed before they have a chance to grow up into trophy bucks.”
The writer also accuses them of grinding up deer carcasses with “bush hog” mowers.
The letter was not signed, but Randy Wilhelm, who has property across the road from Boeshart, acknowledged sending the letters.
Before sending it, he also called the Division of Wildlife and left a voice message, which sparked an investigation by the division. The division issued the statement that the complaint had been investigated and “no wildlife violations or permit violations were found.”
Wilhelm reacted to that by saying, “I don’t know how they did an investigation when no one talked to me.”
“I have proof. That home over there has 24-hour video on it, but no one has ever talked to me,” Wilhelm said.
He would not answer when asked if he had contacted Wildlife officers about his proof.
On July 12, Branton Boeshart was issued a permit allowing the killing of 20 deer on plots of land he owns or leases on Paige Road, Danville-Amity Road, at Wooster and Pigeon Roost roads and at Gilchrist and Danville-Amity roads. Five deer were later added to the number that could be killed at each of the Paige Road and Gilchrist and Danville-Amity Road properties. An extension was granted on the permits, which expired Aug. 15, by which time 27 permits had been filled, Boeshart said.
“He’s shooting deer and leaving them in the field to rot. Four or five fawns have been found on my side of the road,” Wilhelm said
He’s not against hunting, he said. “In this area, everybody hunts. We buy tags to hunt during the legal season.”
Wilhelm said 924 letters were sent to all the neighbors and people he has talked to were not in favor of the shooting.
“No one ever inspected or checked out crop damage,” he claimed, asserting there was no damage he could see.
He estimated 12 or 14 deer had been killed.
He claimed that deer numbers in the area are lower than ever and people are upset.
Boeshart paints a different picture.
“We’ve been getting permits for six or seven years,” he said. “We’ve had no trouble until this year. We’re just doing what ODNR says we can do: Trying to protect our investment.
“We’re not out there just trying to have fun.”
Boeshart did not want to comment further on the letter, except to say that none of the shooting was on Seth Yarman’s farm.
“He doesn’t have any permits, but some of our land was purchased from him several years ago.”
Yarman said he was surprised when his name was included in the letter.
“I have nothing to do with the shooting. (Some of that) used to be my ground and when I owned it I got permits for about three years.”
He acknowledged that the deer population is lower than it was. He said they can see quite a way along the road to the east from his house and “we would sit on our deck in the evening and see 100 deer. It’s down to about 70 now.”
He said he also doesn’t know what effect the high fence that has been erected around part of Wilhelm’s property between Gilchrist and Monore Mills roads has had on deer movement.
He and a number of hunting friends hunt property from his north towards Jelloway and “we’ve always filled our tags and shared the meat with the landowners.”
He has had some problems with tree stands on his property being stolen and one was in a tree that was cut down less than eight hours after the stand was erected by a hunter who had his permission to put the stand up.
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