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The saga continues.
Holmes County's whitetail deer population (both wild and farmed) is doing well, and it seems maybe even the county's fallow deer herd is growing.
Earlier this year, some Eurasian fallow deer escaped from a pen somewhere in Holmes County, and started wandering about in and around Millersburg. No one has come forward and claimed the non-native deer, which are considerably smaller than whitetails.
Reports have been everywhere from seven or eight escaping, to dozens, and no one seems to have an answer as to the number of fallow deer now in the wild. And, it looks like there's more now than the number that originally left their pen.
"We've had a guy call us and say he's got a (fallow) doe and two fawns coming to his bird feeder," said Dennis Solon, the Division of Wildlife's manager of the Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area.
Solon's staff, as well as Holmes County wildlife officer Jeremy Carter and other DOW personnel, all have marching orders to shoot any fallow deer they see.
But, that's proving more difficult than it sounds, as some of the sightings are in the village of Millersburg, while other times, the deer have scattered by the time someone from the DOW shows up to a reported sighting.
"We've even had reports of people in Wayne County seeing fallow deer now," said Solon. "They seem to be in quite a few places.
"Originally, we tried to bait them, but they're not susceptible to that now because there's plenty of food out there for them. It's a Garden of Eden for fallow deer right now."
Fallow deer fall under the jurisdiction of neither the Division of Wildlife (wild whitetails) or Department of Agriculture (farmed whitetails). Basically, they're considered pets. However, the DOW is looking to remove the fallow deer from the landscape as a precaution.
The Division of Wildlife encourages those in Wayne and Holmes counties to continue to keep an eye out for the fallow deer, and call them with reports.
"And also ear-tagged whitetails. We've still got some of those out there, too," said Solon.
So far, two fallow deer have been taken out of the wild population, but the DOW hasn't been able to track those deer back to the owner through their ear tags.
While the DOW and Department of Ag can track ear-tagged whitetails, ear-tagged fallow deer are another story. Unless they're from a Chronic Wasting Disease-certified and monitored pen, the tags are simply attached to fallow deer for the owner's convenience.
"A fallow deer tag is like a cattle tag, it's not much more than a number," explained Solon.
To report a fallow deer or ear-tagged whitetail deer, call the Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area at 330-567-3390, or the Division of Widllife's District Three office in Akron at 330-644-2293.
TURKEY HATCH -- Cold and wet weather may have cut into this year's wild turkey hatch. Solon reports seeing no poults on the wildlife area yet. That, combined with observing some small groups of hens and gobblers starting to strut again, may signal a second nesting try.
Outdoor Editor Art Holden can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org