Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
On Veterans Day, all Ohio Division of Wildlife shooting ranges offered a free range day for veterans. At Delaware Wildlife Area Shooting Range, the Division of Wildlife Honor Guard raised the flag for the opening ceremony. The Honor Guard consisted of State Wildlife Officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, State Wildlife Officer Tyler Eldred, assigned to Morrow County, Law Operations Supervisor Josh Shields, and State Wildlife Officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County. A free breakfast and free shooting opportunities were provided. Thank you to all veterans and active military personnel for your service.
State Wildlife Officer Austin Levering, assigned to Knox County, and Wildlife Officer Cadet Breyer Ehrnfield taught archery to visitors at the Brown Family Environmental Center annual fall festival. Approximately 900 people attended, and everyone had a great time.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
In October, State Wildlife Officer Ryan Burke, assigned to Hancock County, and State Wildlife Officer Matt D. Smith, assigned to Huron County, patrolled Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area during the early white-tailed deer gun hunting season. The officers noticed a parked vehicle with gun cases in the cab. They contacted the hunter, who had harvested a doe, and discovered the hunter had purchased a deer management permit after the harvest. The hunter was issued a summons for attaching or using a tag on a deer that was taken before the permit was purchased. The defendant paid $170 in fines and court costs in Upper Sandusky Municipal Court.
On the opening day of the Lake Erie marsh zone waterfowl season, State Wildlife Officer Eric Von Almen, assigned to Wood County, State Wildlife Officer Michele Butler, assigned to Erie County, and Wildlife Investigator Kelsey Brockman received a call regarding a stranded vehicle at Resthaven Wildlife Area. The vehicle operator was a waterfowl hunter who had arrived at the area early that morning. When the hunter returned to his vehicle, he discovered that a large tree had fallen across the access road, preventing him from leaving the area. Officer Von Almen retrieved equipment from Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area and the three officers cut up the tree to clear the roadway.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
State Wildlife Officer Scott Traver, assigned to Stark County, recently spoke at Minerva Elementary School. Officer Traver taught the fifth-grade class about native wildlife and explained the many roles of a wildlife officer. The students enjoyed participating in a Project WILD activity which taught them about habitat components and the importance of wildlife population management.
State Wildlife Officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, received information from the Turn-In-a-Poacher (TIP) hotline during the white-tailed deer firearms season. A hunter was not wearing the required hunter orange. Officer Frank located the hunter in question, who fled with a loaded rifle when Officer Frank approached. Officer Frank tracked down the suspect and learned that the individual had been previously convicted of felony assault, therefore he could not legally possess a firearm. The suspect paid more than $600 in fines and court costs for the violations. Additionally, the gun was forfeited, and the defendant received two years of probation. Anyone observing illegal activity can call the TIP hotline at 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437) and make an anonymous report.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
In September, State Wildlife Officer Tyler Fields, assigned to Scioto County, received information from the Turn-In-a-Poacher (TIP) hotline regarding a white-tailed deer harvested out of season and the possible sale of venison. Officer Fields secured a search warrant for the suspect’s residence. Officers seized venison, a rifle, ammunition, a flashlight, a fixed-blade knife, and numerous deer parts. The officers discovered that the suspect had harvested two deer with the rifle prior to the opening of deer season. The suspect was issued summonses for selling venison, hunting with an illegal implement, hunting in a closed season, hunting without a valid license or deer permit, possessing untagged deer parts, and possessing deer parts taken illegally. The suspect was found guilty on all charges and ordered to pay $750 in restitution and $130 in court costs, complete 24 hours of community service, and serve on probation for one year. All evidence was forfeited to the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Anyone observing illegal activity can call the TIP hotline at 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437) and make an anonymous report.
In November, State Wildlife Officer Taylor Combs, assigned to Guernsey County, contacted a suspect involved in a trash dump at Salt Fork Wildlife Area. When Officer Combs arrived at the residence, she also located an untagged white-tailed deer carcass. The suspect was found to have dumped approximately 10 large trash bags, lawn mowing equipment, chicken wire, and other miscellaneous items on Salt Fork Wildlife Area. The individual was charged with littering and possession of untagged deer parts and was found guilty of both charges in Cambridge Municipal Court. He was ordered to pay $750 in fines, was sentenced to five days in jail, and his hunting license was suspended for one year.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
In a Hamilton County court case regarding the sale of live turtles which resulted in State Wildlife Officer Bradley Turner, assigned to Preble County, being struck by the fleeing suspect’s vehicle, the suspect received two guilty verdicts for obstructing official business and assault. The sentence included incarceration and payment of fines and court costs.
State Wildlife Officer Andrew Dowdell, assigned to Butler County, and Law Enforcement Supervisor Matt Hunt assisted two hunters at Woodland Trails Wildlife Area who, after harvesting two deer, had gotten lost. Officers Hunt and Dowdell responded to the hunters and helped them retrieve their deer and find their way back to their vehicle. The two hunters were more than a mile from their vehicle. Sportsmen and women can find interactive maps of Ohio’s wildlife areas on the HuntFish OH mobile app.