Controlled Bowhunting Program

The Five Rivers MetroParks Controlled Bowhunting Program is used to manage deer populations in several areas of select Five Rivers MetroParks facilities.

This program is an ecological management tool for white-tailed deer only. All other species are protected. Bowhunting is an effective wildlife management tool used to promote the growth of healthy animal populations and improve habitats, especially in areas overpopulated with deer and in places where modern firearms are restricted. This is NOT an Ohio Division of Wildlife Controlled hunt.

2017-2018 Season Qualification and Orientation Dates

There is no preregistration. All hunters must qualify and attend orientation each year, even if they have previous participated in the program. Cost per person is $20 (cash, check, or credit card) and application fee is non-refundable. Once hunters have completed qualification and orientation, a lottery will be held to fill available spots. Completing qualification and orientation does not guarantee a spot in the program.

  • Taylorsville MetroPark: 8300 Brown School Rd., Vandalia
    • August 3 (Thurs.) 4 PM – 8 PM
    • August 5 (Sat.) 8 AM – Noon
  • Germantown MetroPark: 6675 Conservancy Rd., Germantown
    • August 10 (Thurs.) 4 PM – 8 PM
    • August 12 (Sat.) 8 AM – Noon

Rules & Regulations



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.

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

Entry Requirements

Youth Participation – Must be at least 10 years old and possess the appropriate valid hunting license and tags. 10-17 year old youth must be accompanied by a parent, legal guardian, or a person who is 18 years or older. Adult mentor must have at least 3 years of experience hunting deer with a bow and provide proof of hunter safety education course or pass MetroParks safety test. Standard $20 entry fee applies per hunter. Youth participant and accompanying adult must pass standard shooting qualification if both are planning to hunt. Youth teams may attend any of the qualification dates listed below if you cannot attend either of the designated youth dates.

Application Process – Entry fee is $20 per person; cash and credit cards (Visa & Mastercard only) are accepted. Driver’s license or photo ID required for adult participants. No refunds will be given for failing to qualify. Only one chance to qualify per weapon type is permitted per hunter per year. Hunters may qualify with up to three types of weapons (compound bow, crossbow, long/recurve bow) but can 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.

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.  Hunters are encouraged to practice and tune weapons before attempting to qualify. It is recommended that you bring at least 4 arrows to the qualification. No broadheads will be allowed during the shooting qualifications

Taylorsville MetroPark – 8300 Brown School Rd., Vandalia

  • August 3 (Thurs.) 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (adult)
  • August 5 (Sat.) 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (adult)
  • August 5 (Sat.) 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. (youth teams only)

Germantown MetroPark – 6675 Conservancy Rd., Germantown

  • August 10 (Thurs.) 4:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. (adult)
  • August 12 (Sat.) 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. (adult)
  • August 12 (Sat.) 12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m. (youth teams only)

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 at: Wegerzyn Gardens MetroPark on August 26 (Sat.) 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Lottery Draw – 1st round contains hunters who harvested a deer in MetroParks program in the previous year or volunteered 50+ hours. 2nd round contains everyone else who qualified. For the past three years, there has been a 100% draw rate, but not all applicants receive their top choices. If your top choice is not available when your name is drawn and you are not present at the lottery, a spot will be chosen for you based on your 1st choice, 2nd, choice, etc.. If spot is chosen for you, you will be permitted to change your selected location/month with another available opening upon request.

Shortly after the lottery is complete, hunters will receive an email with a map of their selected area and a scouting permission slip. Scouting may begin the following day, Sunday, August 27, at 8:00 a.m. See Scouting section for more information.

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Buddy System and Youth Participation

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 2015 partnered with a 1st year hunter, that team will be placed in the last draw. No teams will be assigned after the lottery has begun.

Each team will count as two towards available hunting spots; if there aren’t two openings in the area in which that team is drawn, their next choice(s) will be evaluated. Each individual is responsible for maintaining their hunting log(s), harvest report(s), and obtaining their permission slip. Hunters participating in the buddy system are permitted to have two stands and two bait piles per person. Trees cannot be marked with the intent of setting up a stand at a later date. The only exception is the use of a climbing stand, but notify your Team Leader if that is the case.

*Youth Participation – Standard buddy system rules apply as outlined above with the following exceptions: 1) youth hunter must be within 4 feet of the accompanying adult at all times when handling a hunting device and when in the act of hunting; 2) the youth hunter and accompanying adult must hunt from the same tree or blind; 3) adult may only oversee one youth hunter in the field at a time. The adult is responsible for the safety of the youth hunter and their actions in the field.

Applying for 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:

  • No phone calls or texts will be accepted.
  • In the email, be sure to specify the area (ex: “Taylorsville-B” or “Germantown-ANY”, or “any location”).
  • Less specific requests (ex: “Englewood-ANY” instead of “Englewood-A”) increases the odds of being drawn for any available opening in that park.
  • Do not email before the specified dates listed below – you will not be placed on the list.

To apply for October openings – Openings will be emailed out on August 29th. Email starting August 30th and ending September 4th. Hunters will be notified by the end of the day on September 5th if they have been drawn. 

To apply for November openings – Openings will be emailed out on October 3rd. Email starting October 4th and ending October 9th. Hunters will be notified by the end of the day on October 10th if they have been drawn. 

To apply for December openings – Openings will be emailed out on November 7th. Email starting November 8th and ending November 13th. Hunters will be notified by the end of the day on November 14th if they have been drawn.

To apply for January openings – Openings will be emailed out on December 12th. Email starting December 13th and ending December 18th. Hunters will be notified by the end of the day on December 19th if they have been drawn.



Scouting is allowed only in the area that the hunter is selected for and only during designated dates. The gate code will be on your scouting permission slip. Entry into the hunting areas is not permitted until the scouting period begins. This is the only time during the hunting season that scouting is permitted.

Scouting dates are Sunday, August 27 at 8:00 a.m. – September 17 at 8:00 p.m.

Scouting outside this time while participating in the program will result in removal from the program. Hunters 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 17 at 8:00 p.m. This gives the hunting areas some time to “rest” before the season officially starts. Hunters may refill bait or check cameras as necessary before 8:00 p.m. on September 18th.

Hunting Month

Each hunter is given access to an area for approximately one month (October – 28 days, November – 34 days, December – 34 days, or January – 36 days). There are specific start and end times which do not correspond to the calendar month. 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 if it is left on site and will result in ineligibility for 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
Dates and Times TBD

MetroParks Hunting Program Permission Slips

Hunters can pick up their permission slips in the black mailbox on the bulletin board at their hunting area on the first day of their hunting month. Permission slips 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 permission slips and check in at the designated bulletin board location. Permission slips MUST be carried with the hunter at all times while hunting or retrieving deer.

Unused Permission Slips – Hunters that do not utilize their hunting spot will be ineligible for additional hunting time during the 2017-2018 season and will be placed into the final lottery draw next season. An exception is if the hunter has emailed a notification to: prior to the 15th day of the hunting month that he/she has not been able to pick up his/her permission slip yet or will not be able to hunt. It is important to maximize harvest potential by reducing the amount of unused permission slips throughout the season.

Hunting Area

The hunting area in each location is marked off with orange flagging tape and stands can be placed only within this area. Do not set a stand/blind 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 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.

Hunting Equipment

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.

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 equipment on MetroParks property.

Hunters are required to visibly attach 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. This rule is in place to ensure all stands/blinds in the area belong to permitted hunters.

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. The only exception to the above rule is if a hunter is drawn to continue hunting in the same area during the next month.

Scouting CamerasCameras may only be used in the 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. To prevent theft/damage, hunters are strongly encouraged to lock cameras, as hunting areas are still open to the public.

Stands – 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 strongly encouraged to lock stands or remove them at the end of each day. Limit is 2 stands (or combination of stands and blinds if permitted) per hunter per area. All shots must be downward into an earth backstop. *Youth Participants are permitted to hunt from ladder stands or blinds only. Lifeline and harness are required if hunting from a stand.

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

Harvest and Reporting Procedure

Hunters must harvest an antlerless deer first. Once the first antlerless deer is harvested, the successful hunter must text (937) 694-8437 or email and contact your Team Leader. The hunter will receive a text/email authorizing harvest of antlered deer (temporary permission slip). On the next business day, the hunter will receive an either-sex permission slip from MetroParks to harvest an antlered deer. The hunter still must complete Ohio Division of Wildlife check-in procedures.

Harvest ReportsFor all deer harvests, hunters are required to submit a harvest report within 3 days of the harvest. Reports can be sent to email: or fax: 937-898-7466. If you choose to place the report in the mailbox, you must notify your Team Leader. Note – fax is only monitored during normal business hours. Failure to submit a harvest report will result in being placed in the last lottery draw the following season and future ineligibility for the remainder of the season.

Non-recovery Reports – 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. This is especially important if the blood trail leaves the marked hunting area. There is no penalty for reporting a non-recovered deer, but failure to report a wounded deer will result in removal from the program.  In the event the deer is not recovered after substantial searching, the hunter must fill out a non-recovery form and submit it to or fax: 937-898-7466 within 24 hours. If you choose to place the report in the mailbox, you must notify your Team Leader.

Hunting Logs – these forms are located on the back of your permission slip. Hunters must return completed log sheets within 3 days of the end of their hunting 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 will result in future ineligibility.


Bait is allowed during the hunter’s permitted month, but only one bait site per stand 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.

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.

Removing Vegetation

Only limited clearing of shooting lanes is allowed and only by hand (no use of motorized equipment such as weed-eaters, mowers, etc.) and in such a way that the native trees and vegetation are not harmed. For example: removing/cutting/trimming any native plant is prohibited, but honeysuckle and autumn olive may be removed regardless of size.

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.

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.

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. If your hunting area’s bulletin board does not have magnets, please notify your Team Leader.

Transporting Weapons

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.

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.

Motorized Equipment

Vehicles are permitted in designated areas only. Failure to follow this rule will result in removal from the program. No motorized vehicles or equipment 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.

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). Please do not send any photographs of harvested deer to MetroParks employees.

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.

State 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 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.

County Lines – All hunting areas, except Sugarcreek (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.

Blaze Orange RequirementsThe Ohio Division of Wildlife requires archery hunters to wear blaze orange during youth gun season (Nov. 19th – Nov. 20th), gun season (Nov. 28th – Dec. 4th & Dec. 28th – Dec. 29th), and muzzleloader season (Jan.14th – Jan. 17th). Check the Ohio Division of Wildlife website for specific requirements.

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.

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 permission slip 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.

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