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.

White-tailed deer populations have soared because of food availability and little predation. Increased development of adjacent land also contributes to high deer densities in some locations. High deer densities result in extensive grazing which significantly damages forests. In some cases, those forests never recover, and deer can become more susceptible to disease and starvation because of overpopulation.

Controlled bow hunting (compound bow, crossbow, long/recurve bow) is used in areas away from public access. It is the harvest of deer by selected experienced archers (youth and adult) to manage deer populations. Every year scientific data are collected to assess deer demographics and used to determine the amount of archer slots available.

Registration for 2022 is now closed.

The 2022-2023 season changes have been updated. Please read below as the rules have changed from previous seasons.

Rules & Regulations

Introduction & Registration

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. Failure to follow all MetroParks controlled bowhunting program rules and Ohio Division of Wildlife rules and regulations may result in removal from the program, ineligibility for future programs, or citation by the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

FRMP BOWHUNTING PROGRAM IS AN OHIO DOW CONTROLLED HUNT. No more than six (6) deer may be taken in a single year. Antlerless deer harvests in FRMP program do not count against county bag limits. Regardless of method of take, season, or hunt, all hunters are limited to a single buck per season; this includes private property, other DOW controlled hunts, and all public hunting lands statewide. All statewide tagging and harvest reporting requirements apply.


In an effort to be more equitable with public participation while also maintaining an effective program, the 2022-2023 season will be open to the general public and participation will be reduced to the number of hunting spots available for the year. Selected participants will have the entire season to hunt their selected location.

All are welcome to complete the online registration from June 23 – July 15, 2022 but only 135 individuals will be selected to participate in the qualification process for the 124 viable hunting slots. A random drawing will be conducted July 21st to select the individuals who will be allowed to participate in the qualification process. If more hunters successfully qualify than slots are available, some names will be drawn on a waitlist. If waitlist participants are not offered a spot by mid-season (Nov. 30) than they will be automatically selected to participate in the following season’s lottery.

Volunteers – Registered volunteers who have logged at least 25 hours with Five Rivers MetroParksVolunteer Servicesfrom July 1, 2021 – July 15, 2022 will automatically be entered into the program upon registration.  If a team applies, both team members must log at least 25 volunteer hours individually to receive preference. If only one individual within the team logs at least 25 hours, they will be preferenced as the individual in the qualification lottery. This does not ensure the non-volunteer team member’s selection.

Team – If two (adult) hunters wish to hunt together, hunters have the option of participating as a hunting team, both must register separately. Teams can NOT be assigned after registration.

Youth (ages 10-17) Teams – Must have appropriate valid hunting license and tags and must be accompanied by a non-hunting parent, legal guardian, or person who is 18 years or older. Accompanying adult must have at least 3 years of experience hunting deer with a bow and appropriate proof of hunter safety education course. The accompanying adult must be a non-hunter and is responsible for the safety of the youth hunter and their actions in the field. Youth participant and accompanying adult must pass standard shooting qualification if both are planning to hunt. Adult participants who also wish to hunt in the program must complete a separate individual registration and also pay the $20 fee.

Standard partner hunting 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
  4. youth teams will count as one in the lottery

Registration fee is $20 per person; credit cards are accepted. No refunds will be given after the 135 participants for qualifications are randomly selected. Registration fees help cover the cost to manage this program and conduct deer management research.


This 2022–2023 season 135 individuals who have registered will be randomly drawn to participate in qualifications. All selected for qualifications must hold a valid hunting license and provide proof of purchase of a deer tag (deer management or either-sex) prior to qualifications.

Taylorsville MetroPark – 8300 S Brown School Road, Vandalia, OH 45377

August 4, 6, 11, 13, 2022.

An email will be sent out to participants to confirm their qualification date and time.

Shooting Qualification
All hunters must pass the shooting qualification each year regardless of whether or not they have previously participated in the program. Only one chance to qualify per archery type is permitted per hunter per year. Hunters may qualify with up to three types of archery equipment (compound bow, crossbow, long/recurve bow) but can only hunt with types with which they have passed qualifications.

To qualify, you must place four (4) out of five (5) arrows within a 7 1/2” target from 20 yards. Hunters are encouraged to practice and tune archery equipment before attending one of the qualification dates. Each hunter will be limited to one practice shot. A failure to qualify due to equipment malfunction will not be allowed to requalify. It is recommended that you bring at least 4 arrows to the qualification. No broadheads will be allowed during the shooting qualifications.

Lottery Process
Once all hunters have completed the qualification and orientation process, a lottery will be held to choose 124 hunting spots. Hunters will be able to submit a list of their preferences for hunting areas. The lottery will be filmed/witnessed at the Five Rivers MetroParks Main Office and available to view by all lottery participants. Hunters will then be emailed results and a hunting permission slip for the entire season. This permission slip will contain links to the online hunting log, harvest report, and non-recovery forms.

The Hunt

Scouting is allowed in any of the designated bowhunting areas, but only during designated dates. Scouting outside this time while participating in the program will result in removal from the program; hunters are prohibited from scouting during the remaining hunting season. Hunters may set-up stands, cameras, or place bait piles during the scouting period. 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 outside of these times will result in removal from the program.

Each individual is responsible for submitting their hunting log, harvest report, and obtaining their permission slip.

Individual hunters are permitted to have 2 stands or blinds and 2 bait piles. Hunters participating in a partner hunt are permitted to have 1 stand or blind and 1 bait pile per person. Trees cannot be marked with the intent of setting up a stand at a later date. Hunters may move stands or blinds to a new location during the hunting season but must contact their team leader(s) beforehand and must be courteous of other hunters.

Non-hunting individuals may accompany a permitted hunter, but they may not carry archery equipment or participate in the hunt and must remain with the permitted hunter at all times. If another individual helps to remove a deer, they must stay with the permitted hunter and the deer at all times. When a hunter requires assistance, they may contact the Team Leader for that area.

Hunting Area

Hunting area boundaries are marked with orange flagging tape and maps will be provided upon program enrollment; stands can be placed only within the designated area.

It is each hunter’s responsibility to make sure that they are within the hunting area. Failure to follow this rule will result in immediate removal from the program. Hunters are prohibited in using orange flagging tape for any reason, as this could cause confusion with the hunting boundary. Flagging tape must be removed at the end of the season.

Hunting Equipment

All stands and blinds must be at least 60 yards from other hunters’ stand, blind, or bait site unless an agreement is reached between the respective hunters. All participants must hunt from a stand or blind; hunting from the ground while not using either method is prohibited. Natural blinds made from vegetation can only be constructed using non-native honeysuckle and must be broken down after use. All equipment must be removed by the end of the season.

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

Hangers and Steps – 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 FRMP property.

Name Tags – 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.

Cameras – Cameras may only be used in the hunting area. Each must be labeled 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 FRMP. To prevent theft/damage, hunters are strongly encouraged to lock cameras.

Stands – A harness MUST be worn while hunting from a stand; failure to do so will result in loss of hunting privileges. Climbing, ladder, and tripod stands are all allowed. Hunters are strongly encouraged to lock stands or remove them at the end of each day. 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.

Blinds – Hunting from the ground is only permitted in select hunting areas. When hunting from a blind in these areas, no shots may be taken without an earth backstop.

Harvest and Reporting Procedure

Hunters are required to wait at least one hour to follow-up after a shot unless the deer falls within sight of the hunter. Hunters must harvest an antlerless deer first and complete Ohio Division of Wildlife check-in procedures.

Harvest Reports and Hunting Logs – For all deer harvests, hunters are required to submit a harvest report within 3 days of the harvest. Maintaining hunting time, deer sightings, 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, but only one bait site per stand/blind is permitted. Both scattered bait and automatic feeders are allowed.

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.

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 FRMP issued permission slip on their person while hunting. Hunter must obey verbal commands from FRMP staff.

Video and Photographs

Video-taping a deer harvest in FRMP is strictly 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 FRMP where they can be accessed by the public online (i.e. social media, Instagram, etc.).

Motorized Equipment

Vehicles are permitted in designated parking areas only; no motorized vehicles or equipment are allowed outside of those parking areas. Failure to follow this rule will result in removal from the program. A human-powered cart is allowed.

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. Hunters must report any feral pig sightings immediately.

Reporting Violations

It is important to report violations immediately when they are observed or discovered. You can report program violations to the program administrator. If you witness a legal violation, 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, if applicable.

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