Some folks love the lottery -- that completely random yet legal game of chance where, for a couple of bucks, we hope to reach into the haystack and pull out that needle that means a fortune.
Ohio and Michigan use a somewhat similar format to give hunters an opportunity to gamble on good luck being their companion for a ticket to prime hunting opportunities.
The hunters hope they have a bit more than a shot in the dark at working some game-rich ground.
Both states hold a variety of lotteries that are used to provide special hunting privileges for structured youth hunts and for hunts on public lands where the deer herds need to be reduced to mitigate damage to native plants.
Ohio's Department of Natural Resources, working with the Division of Natural Areas and the Division of Parks, has set up a series of special gun and bow deer hunts at seven nature preserves throughout the state.
These locations provide prime habitat, but have been hurt by excessive browsing by the growing resident deer herds. Ohio's once common state wildflower, the large flowered trillium, has almost disappeared from numerous natural areas due to heavy foraging by whitetailed deer.
"Special management hunts are an excellent tool we can utilize to protect native plant communities in Ohio's best natural areas," said Ryan Schroeder, who is the manager at the Goll Woods State Nature Preserve, just north of Archbold in Fulton County.
"These hunts allow Ohio's hunters to assist us with our land management activities while giving them a chance to see and appreciate some of Ohio's highest quality natural areas they may never see otherwise."
Goll Woods is a 320-acre sanctuary of old-growth forest that was typical in the Great Black Swamp. The natural area has some of the largest trees in the state, and an abundant assortment of native shrubs and wildflowers, which are subject to over-browsing by deer.
Applications for the special hunt at Goll Woods, and those at Lawrence Woods, Christmas Rocks, Lake Katharine, Boch Hollow, Gahanna Woods, and Blackhand Gorge state natural areas will be managed locally by the preserve managers.
On Sept. 1 at 9 a.m., Goll Woods will sponsor a drawing for an archery hunt. The drawing takes place at the nature preserve office at 26093 County Road F, northwest of Archbold.
Hunters must hold a valid 2012-13 Ohio hunting license and attend the meeting and drawing to be eligible. They are permitted to submit up to five entries for each drawing, with a $5 fee for each entry.
After a random drawing, the winning hunters will take part in an orientation and be given a two-week period to hunt the property. Each winning permit will be good for two hunters, but only one is required to attend the orientation session.
To make certain that the hunts have the intended impact on the resident deer population, these special hunts require that a doe be taken first. Bucks can be harvested only after an antlerless deer is taken.
All other special regulations concerning these hunts will be covered at the individual orientation meetings. Contact Ryan Schroeder at 419-445-1775 or at email@example.com for more information on the Goll Woods hunt.
Contact information for the other Ohio nature preserve hunts can be found on The Blade Outdoors blog.
ERIE METROPARKS: A lottery for special youth hunting and trapping permits at East Sandusky Bay MetroPark -- Joseph Steinen Wildlife Area in Huron will be held on Saturday at 9 a.m. sharp. The lottery will be held at the Frost Center in Osborn MetroPark, at 3910 Perkins Ave. in Huron.
Interested youth hunters or trappers must attend the informational meeting, with the lottery to follow. Permits for deer archery hunts, upland game hunts, and trapping permits will be drawn at the session.
There is also a lottery drawing for a deer gun hunt to be held Nov. 26-30 in sections of Edison Woods MetroPark in Berlin Heights. Hunters age 18 and older should apply by mail to: Tara Nagaich at Erie MetroParks 3910 Perkins Ave, Huron, Ohio, 44839 and include a $5 application fee in cash or check, made out to Erie MetroParks. Applicants need to include their name, address, phone number, birth date and whether they are mobility impaired on a card with the word "Edison Woods Controlled Deer Hunt" labeled at the top. Entries must be postmarked by Sept. 15. Winners of the five permits will be notified by Oct. 1, and each licensed permit winner may bring a licensed hunting partner on their scheduled day.
MICHIGAN ULTIMATE HUNT: The Pure Michigan Hunt provides a rare multispecies opportunity for three hunters who will have their names drawn on Dec. 31. Each winner in what is being touted as Michigan's "Hunt of a Lifetime" receives permits to hunt elk, bear, turkey, antlerless deer, and the first crack at a managed waterfowl area along with a prize package. Each application for the hunt costs $4, with the funds going toward wildlife habitat restoration and management. There is no limit on the number of times you can enter, and nonresidents are eligible too, but only Michigan residents will be awarded elk hunting permits.
Contact Blade outdoors editor Matt Markey at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6068.