Field reports from Ohio Division of Wildlife Officers
Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
State Wildlife Officer John Coffman, assigned to Fayette County, and Wildlife Management Consultant Justin Coffman recently assisted in a Learn to Deer Hunt program with Fayette County Fish & Game, the Fayette County chapter of Whitetails Unlimited, and a private landowner. Participants were selected from a hunter education course Officer Coffman taught in October. Hunters harvested their first white-tailed deer during two hunts.
State Wildlife Officer Jade Heizer, assigned to Fairfield County, received information that a wild turkey hunter purchased a hunting license and turkey permit after the harvest. Officer Heizer investigated further and issued the individual a summons for unlawfully hunting a wild turkey on the lands of another without first obtaining an annual wild turkey permit.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
State Wildlife Officer Charles McMullen, assigned to Sandusky County, and State Wildlife Officer Matt D. Smith, assigned to Huron County, patrolled Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area during the CWD surveillance area’s early white-tailed deer gun season. The officers contacted an individual wearing an orange vest and holding a shotgun to check the hunter’s license and deer permit. Officer McMullen discovered that the suspect was hunting deer with buckshot. Officers McMullen and Smith issued the suspect a summons for hunting deer with illegal ammunition and the suspect paid $215 in fines and court costs.
This past summer, State Wildlife Officer Matt R. Smith, assigned to Henry County, and State Wildlife Officer Craig Barr, assigned to Allen County, attended the annual Walleye for Wounded Heroes event on Lake Erie. The officers helped two veterans from Oklahoma who had never experienced Lake Erie learn to fish for walleye. The fishing was fantastic, and the event was a huge success. Each veteran who attended the event returned home with 20 pounds of walleye fillets to share with friends and family.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
Several state wildlife officers throughout northeast Ohio attended Trunk or Treat events at the end of October. Officers enjoyed connecting with several thousand people at events in Carroll, Coshocton, Geauga, and Lorain counties. The officers distributed candy, hunting and fishing regulations, and Wild Ohio for Kids magazines.
State Wildlife Officer Michael Budd, assigned to Tuscarawas County, received a complaint of a white-tailed deer taken more than an hour before legal shooting time. Two reports from a shotgun were heard from a neighboring property. Officer Budd investigated and discovered two shotgun shells inside a shelter with a light illuminating a corn pile. The hunter was contacted and found to have fired a shotgun at a deer well before legal shooting time. The suspect tracked the deer across two neighboring properties without permission but was unable to recover the deer. The individual was charged for hunting before legal shooting time and for pursuing a deer on the property of another without written permission. He was found guilty of both charges and paid $450 in fines, served 25 hours of community service, and lost his hunting license for two years.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
In October, State Wildlife Officer Matt VanCleve, assigned to Pike County, received a complaint concerning hunting without permission on property belonging to the Scioto Land Company. Lease holders for the property had trail camera photos of an individual carrying a rifle, who later tried to cover the camera’s lens with leaves and tape. Officer VanCleve identified the suspect, interviewed him, and issued a summons for hunting without permission. The suspect pleaded no contest and was found guilty of the charge in Pike County Court. He was ordered to pay $330 in fines and court costs.
State Wildlife Officer Jeff Berry, assigned to Muskingum County, received a complaint about someone snagging fish at the Dillon Lake dam. Officer Berry responded to the complaint and set up surveillance. He watched an individual snag a black crappie and place it in a bucket. Officer Berry contacted the individual and issued a summons for using an illegal method to take fish. The individual paid a $250 fine plus court costs in Muskingum County Court. Anyone observing illegal wildlife activity can call the Turn-In-a-Poacher (TIP) hotline at 1-800-POACHER (762-2437) and make an anonymous report.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
State Wildlife Officer Jeff Wenning, assigned to Darke County, attended the Downing’s Fruit Farm youth white-tailed deer hunt. Officer Wenning answered questions and highlighted safe hunting practices for the participants. The event is sponsored by Downing’s Fruit Farm, Darke County Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever chapters, the Western Ohio Coon Hunters Association, and A. Brown & Son’s Nursery. One lucky hunter harvested a deer.
State Wildlife Officer Isaiah Gifford, assigned to Clinton County, and Law Operations Manager Eric Lamb worked the opening day of waterfowl season at Cowan Lake. The officers checked 18 hunters for licenses and stamps. One hunter was issued a summons for not having a federal duck stamp and another hunter was issued a summons for taking a grebe. Migratory bird hunters aged 16 and older must possess a signed federal duck stamp, along with state licenses and permits, to hunt waterfowl.