Home News Field Reports from Ohio Department of Wildlife

Field Reports from Ohio Department of Wildlife


Ohio – Reports from around the Ohio area by ODNR

Central Ohio – Wildlife District One 

During an Ohio Division of Wildlife controlled dove hunt at a wildlife area, State Wildlife Officer Josh Elster, assigned to Pickaway County, contacted a subject sitting near a numbered stake. Officer Elster checked for the subject’s hunting license and controlled hunting permit. The subject did not have a permit to hunt at that location. Officer Elster informed the subject that stake belonged to another permit holder, and he was not allowed to sit there. Officer Elster then found that the subject’s gun was capable of holding more than three rounds. Dove hunting requires a shotgun that can hold no more than three rounds. The subject was issued a summons for hunting migratory birds with a gun capable of holding more than three rounds. 

In September, State Wildlife Officer Jade Heizer, assigned to Fairfield County, and State Wildlife Investigator Kelsey Brockman were instructors at the 8th Annual Ohio Women’s Outdoor Adventures (OWOA) retreat, hosted by the Ohio Division of Parks and Watercraft at Hueston Woods State Park. OWOA is a three-day event that enables women to learn new outdoor skills. Officers Heizer and Brockman provided instruction for safety and basic use of archery equipment, handguns, and rifles. Wildlife communications specialists Kelly Schott and Sarah Schott gave instruction on shotgun shooting. Several women who have participated in OWOA since the beginning praised the higher number of female instructors, stating that seeing female instructors made them believe they could successfully learn those skills, too. 

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two 

During the 2021 white-tailed deer gun hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Ryan Kennedy, assigned to Hardin County, received a complaint concerning hunting without permission. Officer Kennedy observed two hunters dragging a deer off the complainant’s property. Further investigation revealed the hunters did not have permission to enter the property. Officer Kennedy issued citations to both hunters for hunting without permission. They were found guilty, and each received a $75 fine. 

In late September, State Wildlife Officer Charles McMullen, assigned to Sandusky County, patrolled Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area. Officer McMullen noticed two older fishermen along a creek channel and stopped to conduct a compliance check. Both men had valid fishing licenses and appeared eager to talk about their catfishing success that year. During the conversation, each angler hooked a catfish and Officer McMullen helped to net them. The men ended the conversation by expressing their gratitude, stating that game wardens must be good luck and Officer McMullen could check their licenses anytime. 

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three 

State Wildlife Officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, recently received a call from a landowner reporting hunting without permission. Officer Turner visited the property and contacted the hunter, who reported having permission to hunt the property. An investigation revealed the hunter was on the property with a forged permission slip from his friend, who was also hunting without permission. The second person was charged and convicted for hunting without permission and aiding another in hunting without permission. The first hunter was unaware of the scam and was not charged. 

While on patrol, State Wildlife Officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, received a call from the Medina Raptor Center about an owl stuck in a chimney at a nearby residence. Officer Brown responded to the location and found a barred owl perched on the chimney flue. Officer Brown use his catch pole to capture one of the owl’s feet. The bird was gently pulled past the flue and through the fireplace. The owl was given a brief check and the soot brushed from its body before being released outside unharmed. 

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four 

In June 2022, State Wildlife Officer Matt VanCleve, assigned to Pike County, received information that several white-tailed deer had been game-checked illegally. Further investigation revealed that the deer had been checked under tenant/landowner status by family members who were not tenants or landowners. Officer VanCleve discovered multiple hunting license and permit violations and issued citations to three members of the family. All three individuals were found guilty in Pike County Court and were ordered to pay $710 in fines and court costs. 

In mid-October, State Wildlife Officers Benjamin Smith, Mark Basinger, and Chris Dodge, assigned to Morgan, Perry, and Hocking counties, respectively, and Wildlife Officer Supervisor Dan Perko attended the National Wild Turkey Federation Wolf Creek Chapter Wheelin’ Sportsmen Hunt. The event was held at Appalachian Hills Wildlife Area. More than 50 hunters participated and 34 deer were harvested during the event. Officer Smith gave a safety talk to the group before the first day of the hunt, and officers were available to assist and interact with the participants. The event went well and was a positive experience for everyone involved. 

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five 

After receiving a complaint from a hunter about individuals illegally riding dirt bikes in Paint Creek Wildlife Area, State Wildlife Officer Matt Roberts, assigned to Highland County, searched for the riders. Officer Roberts set up surveillance and shortly thereafter contacted two adults riding on the wildlife area. Both riders received a summons. 

State Wildlife Officer Matt Roberts, assigned to Highland County, and Wildlife Officer Supervisor Dave Warner assisted a woman after she hit a deer with her vehicle. The woman was okay after striking the deer, and arrangements were made to pick up the vehicle the next day. The mature buck’s head smashed the front passenger window and sprayed glass all over the inside of the vehicle. Deer are on the move during the fall rut. When driving in the fall, use extra caution and slow down, especially at dawn and dusk when deer are most active.