OHIO – Field reports from Ohio Division of Wildlife Officers
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
State wildlife officers from District Four and District Five came together to work a spotlighting enforcement project in Ross and Highland counties. A vehicle was observed spotlighting deer in Ross County, but before officers could make a stop the vehicle traveled into Highland County, where it was observed spotlighting a second time. Wildlife officers from both districts arrived at the same time and stopped the vehicle, which had three occupants. Two of the men were charged in both Ross and Highland counties with spotlighting and aiding an offender. The third man was identified as a suspect in an unrelated complaint in Ross County and was charged with hunting without permission. The officers seized lights, a crossbow, and two rifles from the vehicle. All three men pleaded guilty in their respective courts and were ordered to pay fines and court costs. One of the men was a repeat wildlife offender and this was his third violation, the second within one year. His hunting license was suspended for one year following the charges.
Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
While conducting white-tailed deer investigations, State Wildlife Officer Brad Kiger, assigned to Franklin County, discovered an individual who had bought a hunting license and deer permit after harvesting a deer. Officer Kiger also found that the suspect’s hunting partner did not have a deer permit. The pair was issued summonses for hunting without deer permits and they were each ordered to pay $132 in fines and court costs.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
During the 2022 white-tailed deer archery hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Michele Butler, assigned to Erie County, responded to a call from the TIP (Turn-In-A-Poacher) hotline. A deer hunter reported seeing several hunters trespassing on a neighboring property. Officer Butler found a blood trail and tracks that led to a neighboring residence. Officer Butler spoke to the owner of the residence and determined that a buck had recently been harvested but the hunter had not game checked the deer and had retrieved it from the neighboring property without permission. The individual was charged with hunting deer without permission and failing to complete the game check process. The deer was seized as evidence and the suspect was found guilty of both charges in Erie County Municipal Court and ordered to pay $300 in fines and court costs. Reports of wildlife violations can be submitted anonymously via the TIP hotline at 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437).
Last summer, State Wildlife Officer Brian Baker, assigned to Lake Erie, participated in the Walleyes for Wounded Heroes event along with other state wildlife officers and the Honor Guard. A total of 100 veterans and first responders injured in the line of duty fished the waters of Lake Erie for walleye aboard the vessels of local and out-of-state volunteers who donated their time and equipment in appreciation of the services provided by these men and women. The event is held annually near Lakeside, Ohio.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
State Wildlife Officers Jason Warren, assigned to Lake Erie, and Ryan Pawlus, assigned to Lake County, participated in a Western Reserve Land Conservancy clean-up event on Grand River. The officers assisted by picking up trash while paddling a large canoe down the state-designated wild and scenic river. The officers filled the canoe with debris and witnessed an eastern chipmunk swim across the river.
While patrolling during the 2023 white-tailed deer muzzleloader hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Jason Warren, assigned to Lake Erie, received a TIP (Turn-In-A-Poacher) report from Ashtabula County of a hunter using a shotgun. Officer Warren responded to the area and contacted the hunter, who was pursuing deer with a 12-gauge shotgun loaded with one slug. Officer Warren issued the individual a summons for the violation and the suspect paid $305 in fines and costs in Conneaut Municipal Court. Reports of wildlife violations can be submitted anonymously via the TIP hotline at 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437).
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
In early March, State Wildlife Officer Brad Turner, assigned to Preble County, State Wildlife Officer Jason Keller, assigned to Warren County, and K-9 Officer Scout attended a two-day Junior Achievement Inspire to Hire conference in northern Kentucky. Wildlife Communications Specialist Kathy Garza-Behr helped organize the Division of Wildlife’s portion of the ODNR booth. Fish Management Supervisor Debbie Walters and Outdoor Skills Specialist Jordan Skates also participated in the event, which was attended by thousands of middle and high school students from the Cincinnati area. Junior Achievement’s programming allows students to prepare for career-readiness by building professional networks and establishing connections with people involved in their areas of interest.