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Field reports from Ohio Division of Wildlife officers


OHIO – Below is a collection of field reports from officers stationed all over Ohio, some in Southern Ohio

Central Ohio – Wildlife District One 

On the opening day of early waterfowl hunting season, State Wildlife Officers Chad Grote and Tyler Eldred, assigned to Marion and Morrow counties, respectively, worked at Big Island Wildlife Area alongside Wildlife Law Operations Manager Josh Shields. They contacted multiple hunters and issued summonses for hunting teal before sunrise, hunting with an unplugged shotgun, hunting without an Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp, and taking wood ducks during the closed season. Seven individuals were found guilty in Marion Municipal Court for various violations. They paid a combined total of $2,016 in fines and court costs. Additionally, they were each sentenced to 30 days in jail suspended with the stipulation that they do not violate Ohio law for the next two years. 

State Wildlife Officer Antoinette Freet, assigned to Licking County, recently helped teach fathers and daughters how to shoot archery in partnership with Ruling Our eXperiences (ROX). The workshop was designed to teach fathers and daughters better communication skills and provide them with a unique experience to share together. Each pair shot archery and had the chance to learn about Ohio mammals, as well as the Division of Wildlife’s role in Ohio. 

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two 

During the 2022 mourning dove hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Reid Van Cleve, assigned to Ottawa County, worked at Resthaven Wildlife Area. Officer Van Cleve observed a hunter shoot several doves and give them to his hunting partner. The hunter then harvested several more birds and threw one in the weeds behind him. The officer contacted the pair and retrieved the dove that had been thrown in the weeds. One individual had harvested more than his daily limit and was issued a citation for the violation. 

State Wildlife Officer Charles McMullen, assigned to Sandusky County, and State Wildlife Officer Mike Ohlrich, assigned to Fulton County, assisted 25 children from the Toledo Boys and Girls Club with a BB gun range at Maumee Bay State Park. The event was coordinated by naturalists with the Ohio Division of Parks & Watercraft. The event included a BB gun range, wildlife identification activities, and kayaking. The officers shared information on safe gun handling and demonstrated shooting sports as an available activity for youth who may not usually have the chance to participate. 

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three 

In June, State Wildlife Officer Zach Hillman, assigned to Cuyahoga County, received several calls about a pair of Canada geese that had nested on the roof of a tall hospital building. There were seven goslings, too young to fly, stuck on the roof with no access to food or water. Officer Hillman relocated the goslings to the ground level and placed them with an adult pair. The adult geese accepted the orphaned goslings as their own. Everyone involved was thankful to see the birds make it safely to the ground. 

During the 2021-22 white-tailed deer muzzleloader hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, received information that an individual was hunting on private property without permission. With information provided by a witness, Officer Brown identified the suspect. In addition to hunting without permission, the individual was found to have no valid hunting license or deer permit. Officer Brown issued summonses for hunting without a license and hunting without a deer permit. The individual paid fines and court costs of $229.50. 

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four 

In August, State Wildlife Officer Jeff Berry, assigned to Muskingum County, was patrolling the Muskingum River near Duncan Falls when he noticed two boats and a kayak on the side of the river. He stopped to talk to four individuals who were there with one of the boats. They were a family from Loudonville. They explained that they had started on the Mohican River in Loudonville and were travelling to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 1,500 miles away. They were 13 days into their trip and had traveled approximately 110 miles. Officer Berry assisted the family in shoving off from the shore as they departed. He recently checked in with the family on their adventure. They had traveled 850 miles in 36 days, but their journey ended when they had boat motor issues. The family shared that some of their highlights were fishing, watching ospreys catch softshell turtles, and hearing bald eagles chattering at night.  

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five 

State Wildlife Officer Gus Kiebel, assigned to Adams County, recently discovered a ginseng digger while patrolling Tranquility Wildlife Area. Officer Kiebel contacted the suspect, who had in his possession 75 large ginseng roots and 21 seeds that had been dug on the wildlife area. In Ohio, digging ginseng is prohibited on state owned or administered lands. The suspect was issued citations for the violation.  

In August, State Wildlife Officer Trent Weaver, assigned to Montgomery County, brought the Division of Wildlife’s Archery Trailer to an outdoor showing of Brave in Huber Heights. Brave is an animated Disney film about a princess who uses a longbow while she saves her kingdom. There was a lot of interest in the archery trailer at this event, and Officer Weaver helped dozens of people shoot bows and arrows in the trailer.