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Controlled Bowhunting Program
Overview Rules FAQ    
Five Rivers MetroParks - Controlled Bowhunting Program
Rules and Regulations

Five Rivers MetroParks controlled bowhunting program is NOT an Ohio Division of Wildlife controlled hunt.


All applicable Ohio Division of Wildlife rules and regulations apply to hunting in Five Rivers MetroParks program. A background check may be conducted on all applicants for fish and wildlife violations in Ohio or any other state.

Shooting qualification
All hunters must pass the shooting qualification each year regardless of whether or not they participated in past programs. The standard is 4 out of 5 consecutive arrows within an 8.5"x 11" target from 20 yards. Only one chance to qualify per weapon type is permitted per hunter per year. Hunters are encouraged to practice and tune weapons before attempting to qualify.

Hunters may qualify with up to three types of weapons (compound bow, crossbow, long/recurve bow) but may only hunt with weapons with which they have passed qualification. For example, if a hunter fails with a compound bow but passes with a crossbow, they may only hunt with a crossbow.

Hunter Education - All hunters must possess a hunter safety certification (any state) or pass a MetroParks equivalent test. MetroParks' safety tests will be available at the shooting qualification. Passing the MetroParks test does not replace the requirement to complete the Ohio Division of Wildlife hunter education requirement to purchase an Ohio hunting license. For more information on this requirement, contact the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Lottery Process
Once all hunters have completed the qualification and orientation process, a lottery will be held to fill available openings. The lottery is open to the public and will be held Saturday, August 29, 2015 at Taylorsville MetroPark office, 8300 South Brown School Rd., Vandalia, OH from 8:00 am to 1 pm.

Once the lottery is complete, hunters will receive an email with a map of their selected area. Scouting may begin the following day, Sunday, August 30, 2015 at 8:00 am. Entry into the hunting areas is not permitted until the scouting period begins.

There are two rounds in the lottery:
1st round - Hunters who harvested a deer in MetroParks program in 2014-2015 or volunteered 50 hours between Aug. 2014 and Aug. 2015.
2nd round - Everyone else not in the above round.

For the past three years, there has been a 100% draw rate, but not all applicants receive their top choices.

Buddy System - new for 2015-2016! If two hunters wish to hunt together, hunters have the option of participating as a hunting team. The lottery draw will be based on the least successful hunter's record. For example: if a hunter that harvested 2 deer in 2014 partnered with a 1st year hunter, that team will be placed in the last draw. No teams will be assigned after the lottery has commenced. Each individual is responsible for maintaining their hunting log(s), harvest report(s), and obtaining their permit. Hunters participating in the buddy system are permitted to have ONE stand and ONE bait pile per person.

Additional Hunting Months
In the event that all the openings for a hunting month are not filled, they will be filled in a lottery similar to the one above.

To be placed on the list for hunting openings in a month, please follow the directions below. DO NOT EMAIL BEFORE THE DATES BELOW - you will not be placed on the list; no phone calls accepted. In the email, be sure to specify the area (ex: "Taylorsville-B" or "Germantown-ANY", or "any location"). Being less specific increases the odds of being drawn for an available opening.

To apply for October openings - Email starting August 31st and ending September 3rd. Hunters will be notified on September 4th if they have been drawn.
To apply for November openings - Email starting October 12th and ending October 15th. Hunters will be notified on October 16th if they have been drawn.
To apply for December openings - Email starting November 16th and ending November 19th. Hunters will be notified on November 20th if they have been drawn.
To apply for January openings - Email starting December 14th and ending December 17th. Hunters will be notified on December 18th if they have been drawn.

Scouting is allowed only in the area that the hunter is selected for and only during designated dates.

Scouting dates are August 30th at 8:00 am - September 11th at 8:00 pm.

Scouting outside this time during hunting season will result in removal from the program. Hunters who are not selected are prohibited from scouting. Hunters who are selected are prohibited from scouting during months or in areas in which they are not hunting.

Only hunters selected for October may set up stands, put up cameras, or place bait piles during the scouting period. There will be NO entry into ANY area after September 18th at 8:00 pm. This gives the hunting areas some time to "rest" before the season officially starts. Hunters may refill bait or check cameras as necessary before 8:00pm on September 18th.

Hunting Month
Each hunter is given access to an area for approximately one month (October, November, December, or January). There are specific start and end times which do not correspond to the calendar month and differ from legal hunting hours. Check Ohio Division of Wildlife regulations for legal hunting hours).

DO NOT ENTER THE HUNTING AREA UNTIL THE STATED START DATE AND TIME. Failure to do so will result in removal from the program.

All stands and equipment must be removed by the end date and time unless otherwise specified in MetroParks rules. Strictly prohibited is leaving a stand in place for use by a hunter during the next month. This rule is to allow equal access to all stand sites for all hunters. Each area will be checked and equipment will be removed by MetroPark staff if it is left on site. Failure to remove equipment will result in ineligibility for the next year's program. The only exception to the above rule is if a hunter is drawn to continue hunting in the same area during the next month.

  Start date and time End date and time
October Sept. 26th 6:00 a.m. Oct. 30th 8:00 p.m.
November Nov. 1st 6:00 a.m. Dec. 4th 8:00 p.m.
December Dec. 6th 6:00 a.m. Jan. 8th 8:00 p.m.
January Jan. 10th 6:00 a.m. Feb. 7th end of legal hunting time

For hunters hunting in January, all stands must be removed by February 13th.

MetroParks Controlled Hunting Program Permits
Hunters can pick up their permits in the black mailbox on the bulletin board at their hunting area on the first day of their hunting month. Permits will not be placed in the mailbox until the day before the start of each hunting month. Not every parking area has a bulletin board/mailbox, but you must still pick up your permit and check in at the designated bulletin board location. Permits MUST be carried with the hunter at all times while hunting or retrieving deer.

Unused Permits - new for 2015-2016! Hunters that do not utilize their hunting spot will be ineligible for additional hunting time during the 2015-2016 season and will be placed into the final lottery draw next season. An exception is if the hunter has emailed a notification to: or (740) 590-3750 prior to the 15th day of the hunting month that he/she has not been able to pick up his/her permit yet or will not be able to hunt. It is important to maximize harvest potential by reducing the amount of unused permits throughout the season.

Hunting Area
The hunting area in each location is marked off and stands can be placed only within this area. Do not set a stand outside the hunting area or leave the hunting area for any reason. It is each hunter's responsibility to make sure that they are within the hunting area and out of visual distance from trails or roads. Hunting areas are clearly marked with orange tape and boundary tags or indicated on the maps by major features (rivers, roads). Failure to follow this rule will result in immediate removal from the program.

Magnetic Maps
Each hunter must indicate their location while hunting using the magnetic map on the bulletin board at the access point for that hunting area.

Scouting Cameras
Scouting cameras may only be used within each hunting area during the hunter's permitted hunting month. Each must be tagged with the hunters name with a waterproof tag. No use of cameras outside the hunting areas or outside the hunting season is permitted without written permission from MetroParks. Hunters are encouraged to lock cameras.

Follow-up After Shot
All hunters are required to wait at least one hour to follow-up after a shot unless the deer falls within sight of the hunter.

Harvest and Tagging
All Ohio Division of Wildlife tagging procedures must be followed. MetroParks employees cannot check in deer. Once a deer is harvested, the deer must be checked through the proper game check-in procedures by calling 1-877-TAGITOH or by visiting The deer is the property of the hunter. Hunters must keep a daily log of number/sex of deer observed while hunting and any shots taken.

Blaze Orange Requirements
The Ohio Division of Wildlife requires archery hunters to wear blaze orange during youth gun season (Nov. 21 - Nov. 22), gun season (Nov. 30 - Dec. 6 & Dec. 28 - Dec. 29), and muzzleloader season (Jan.9 - Jan. 12). Check the Ohio Division of Wildlife website for specific requirements.

Transporting Weapons to Stand
All bows may not have an arrow nocked and crossbow may be cocked but must have no bolt in the rail when moving from the parking area to a stand or blind or returning from hunting.

Donation of Deer
Donation of harvested deer is not available this year through Five Rivers MetroParks. Contact the Ohio Division of Wildlife for donation options.

Disposal issues
Hunters are responsible for disposing of deer entrails and/or carcasses recovered which have spoiled. Entrails are not to be placed near trails, parking areas, or in any other place easily visible by other users.

Truck/ATV/snowmobile use
Park in designated areas only. Failure to follow this rule will result in removal from the program. No motorized vehicles are allowed in these areas. A human-powered cart or aid from another individual is allowed. If another individual helps to remove a deer, they must stay with the permitted hunter and the deer at all times. If a hunter is hunting alone and requires assistance, contact the Team Leader for that area.

Wounded deer
If a hunter determines a deer was hit (blood or missing arrow) and does not locate the deer within an hour of searching, contact the Team Leader for that area. In the event the deer is not recovered after substantial searching, the hunter must fill out a non-recovery form and submit it to as soon as practical. This is especially important if the blood trail leaves the marked hunting area. There is no penalty for reporting a wounded deer but failure to report a wounded deer will result in removal from the program. Forms will be emailed with hunting permits.

Video-taping and Photographs
Video-taping a deer harvest in Five Rivers MetroParks is prohibited. Still pictures after the hunt are allowed as well as video of live deer as long as the harvest is not filmed. Specifically prohibited is posting any photos of deer harvested in MetroParks where they can be accessed by the public online (i.e. social media).

Non-hunting Minors
Non-hunting minors may accompany a permitted hunter, but they may not carry a weapon or participate in the hunt. They must remain with the permitted hunter at all times.

All equipment must conform to the State of Ohio requirements. Compound, long, recurve, and crossbows are allowed. Longbow: minimum draw weight 40 lb. Crossbow: minimum draw weight 75 lb.

A tree stand and safety harness are required. Limit is 2 stands (or combination of stands and blinds if permitted) per hunter per area, unless participating in buddy system. Hunters participating in the buddy system have a limit of 1 stand per hunter. All shots must be downward into an earth backstop. A harness must be worn while hunting; failure to do so will result in loss of hunting privileges. All stands must be at least 60 yards from other stands or bait sites unless an agreement is reached between the respective hunters. Climbing, ladder, and tripod stands are all allowed. Hunters are encouraged to lock stands or remove them at the end of each day.

Hunting on the ground is specifically prohibited in all areas except Germantown areas A and B, Englewood A, Possum Creek, Carriage Hill (all areas), Huffman, and all conservation areas (Shiloh, Shoup Mill, Upper Twin, Medlar, Wetland Bank). When hunting from a blind in these areas, no shots may be taken without an earth backstop.

Only limited clearing of shooting lanes is allowed and only by hand (no use of motorized equipment such as weed-eaters) and in such a way that the native trees and vegetation is not harmed. Honeysuckle and autumn olive may be removed regardless of size. It is unlawful to construct, place or use a permanent-type tree stand, or to place spikes, nails, wires or other metal objects into a tree to act as steps or to hold a tree stand on MetroParks property. Hunters are required to place a durable, waterproof, windproof name tag at the base of stands or inside of blinds left in the field. Stands or blinds without name tags will be confiscated.

Hunting Hours
Archery season hours are one-half hour before sunrise to one-half hour after sunset. The official times for sunrise and sunset are found in the Ohio Division of Wildlife regulations. Be sure to use the times for western Ohio.

Antlered-deer Harvest Procedure
There is a limited antlered harvest in each area. Hunters must harvest an antlerless deer first and then hunter will receive a permit from MetroParks to harvest an antlered deer.

Once the first antlerless deer is harvested, the successful hunter must contact Grace Cochran by text: 740-590-3750 or by email: The hunter will receive a text/email authorizing harvest of antlered deer and will receive a permit via email on the next business day. The hunter still must complete Ohio Division of Wildlife check-in procedures.

For additional antlerless or antlered deer harvests, hunters are required to submit a harvest report via email: or FAX: 937-898-7466 as soon as possible. Note - FAX is only monitored during normal business hours.

DNA Samples - not required for the 2015-2016 season.

Deer Harvest Requirements
All applicable Ohio Division of Wildlife rules and regulations apply to hunting in Five Rivers MetroParks program. Only one antlered deer may be harvested in Ohio per license year regardless of hunting area. Five Rivers MetroParks controlled bowhunting program Is NOT an Ohio Division of Wildlife controlled hunt.

For the total number of deer which may be harvested per hunter, refer to the Ohio Division of Wildlife harvest limits. No more than one antlered deer may be harvested per year regardless of area.

All hunting areas, except Sugar Creek MetroPark (Greene), Huffman(Greene), Carriage Hill area A and part of area D (Miami), are located in Montgomery County.

It is each hunter's responsibility to make sure they have the proper tags and know the harvest limits before harvesting a deer.

Other Species
The controlled bowhunting program is an ecological management tool for white-tailed deer only. All other animals, including coyotes and turkeys, are protected. The only exception is feral pigs which may be harvested when observed while hunting according to program rules. Please report any feral pig sightings ASAP.

Bait is allowed during the hunter's permitted month, but only one bait site per hunter is permitted. Both scattered bait and automatic feeders are allowed. Stands must be at least 60 yards from other hunter's bait site unless an agreement is reached between the hunters. Any feeders must be marked with name of hunter.

Compliance with MetroParks Policy and State Laws
All harvested deer must be checked according to State of Ohio procedures. Bowhunters may be checked periodically by Ohio Division of Wildlife officers or MetroParks rangers to ensure compliance. Selected hunters must have a copy of the MetroParks issued permit on their person while hunting. Hunter must obey verbal commands from MetroParks staff.

Reporting Violations
It is important to report violations immediately when they are observed or discovered. Contact a MetroParks ranger through Montgomery County dispatch at 937-225-4357 with the location, time, and type of violation observed. Be sure to indicate that you are in a MetroPark and require a MetroParks ranger. Note a description and license number.

Other Reporting Requirements
Hunter must return completed log sheets and harvest sheets at the end of their month. Please email forms to: or FAX to: 937-898-7466 or return them to the black mailbox at the main access point. Maintaining hunting time and harvest records are a critical element to the deer management program. Failure to submit these forms could result in future ineligibility.

Please download, sign and submit this form.

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