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Field reports from Ohio Division of Wildlife officers

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Central Ohio – Wildlife District One 

State Wildlife Officers John Coffman and Matt Teders, assigned to Fayette and Madison counties, respectively, were notified that a landowner had located four beagles running near the roadway. The landowner secured the dogs away from the road. Officer Coffman attempted to locate a number for the hunter whose name was on a collar while Officer Teders canvassed the area for the hunters. The officers found the hunters, and the dogs were reunited with their owners. 

Recently, State Wildlife Officer Tyler Eldred, assigned to Morrow County, received a Turn-In-A-Poacher (TIP) report that an individual had taken a white-tailed deer with a rifle during the archery season. Officer Eldred observed deer parts outside the suspect’s residence. It was determined that the individual had harvested a doe that morning with a rifle. The individual did not have a hunting license or deer permit and processed the deer prior to game-checking the deer. Further investigation revealed that the individual had taken another deer this season in a similar fashion and failed to complete the game check process. The individual was found guilty of multiple violations and was ordered to pay $350 in fines and court costs, given 30 days in jail suspended, lost hunting privileges for one year, and forfeited the rifle and venison. Reports of wildlife violations can be submitted anonymously via the TIP hotline at 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437). 

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two 

State Wildlife Officer Matthew D. Smith, assigned to Huron County, and State Wildlife Officer Brock Williamson, assigned to Seneca County, conducted deer investigations from the 2021-22 hunting season. One suspect had reported harvesting an 11-point buck before purchasing either-sex permits and a hunting license. It was later discovered that the deer was found dead on the road and had not been harvested by the individual. Another resident at the same house was found to have harvested a 10-point buck during the 2020-21 hunting season with no hunting license and no deer permit. The investigation led to a taxidermist who was accepting deer from hunters without tag or confirmation numbers. In summary, four individuals received a total of 12 summonses, including: failing to keep taxidermy records, hunting without a license, deterring a wildlife officer, providing false game check information, failing to game check, and possession of untagged deer parts. Four antlered deer mounts were seized as evidence.  

In August, State Wildlife Officer Eric VonAlmen, assigned to Wood County, received a call regarding an owl stuck in the batting cage of a local high school. Officer VonAlmen located a young great horned owl with one of its legs wrapped in the netting. The owl was removed from the net with no visible injuries and flew away on its own. 

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three 

On opening day of the early Canada goose season, State Wildlife Officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, contacted a group of hunters on the edge of a field. Officer Turner discovered that one hunter’s shotgun did not have a plug, and another was using lead shot instead of the required non-toxic shells. Both individuals were given tickets for their violations and ordered to paid $200 in fines and court costs. 

State Wildlife Officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, contacted a hunter who was prohibited from possessing a firearm and had a deer in his truck bed. State Wildlife Officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County, arrived to assist with the investigation. The officers found that one individual had killed his second buck of the season and another hunter had checked in that harvest as his own. Both individuals were charged and convicted in Wayne County Municipal Court for taking over the limit of antlered deer and possession of a deer taken contrary to division rule or revised code. Each hunter paid fines and court costs of $154.50 plus restitution, including a fee to process the deer. After the deer was processed, it was donated to a food pantry. 

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four 

State Wildlife Officer Cole Tilton, assigned to Vinton County, responded to a complaint from the Village of New Boston in Scioto County. The village found several deer that were dumped, and provided video surveillance of a vehicle. Officer Tilton identified a suspect, who was found to have dumped the deer in the village and harvested a wild turkey out of season. The case is pending in court. 

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five 

State Wildlife Officer Brad Turner, assigned to Preble County, followed up on a Turn-In-A-Poacher report he received involving an individual posting photos on social media with several deer. The suspect was found to have killed a deer in Kentucky during the state’s rifle season without a hunting license or permit. The rifle and deer were seized and transferred to Kentucky for charges. 

State Wildlife Officer Matt Roberts, assigned to Highland County, recently spoke at the Hillsboro Rotary Club. He spoke about the history of eagles and bobcats in Ohio as well as job opportunities with the Division of Wildlife. Officer Roberts also answered general questions about hunting, trapping, and fishing from attendees.