Field reports from Ohio Division of Wildlife Officers
Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
State Wildlife Officer Josh Elster, assigned to Pickaway County, was alerted of a vehicle parked on a busy road near Deer Creek Wildlife Area. Officer Elster found an individual inside the vehicle using a small candle to stay warm after running out of gas. Officer Elster pushed the vehicle off the road for safety and retrieved gas for the motorist. He then helped the motorist safely park the vehicle so it could warm up and defrost.
During the 2023 white-tailed deer gun hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Brian Motsinger, assigned to Union County, responded to a house that had been hit by a stray bullet. Officer Motsinger investigated and found that the bullet had passed through a deer, traveled approximately 700 yards, and struck a house. The bullet extracted from the house appeared to match the bullet that the hunter was using. The hunter accepted responsibility for the shot, was issued a citation, and paid for the damage. The hunter received a fine and a one-year hunting license revocation. An important key to hunting safely is being confident in your target and what is beyond it.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
State Wildlife Investigator Kevin Good, assigned to Lake Erie, learned of an unlicensed fishing guide on Lake Erie who was advertising his services on social media. The suspect brought a boat from seven hours away for the purpose of fishing the fall walleye tournaments. Investigator Good contacted several witnesses and the guide. The guide was found to have offered and led trips for hire. He was issued a summons for Huron Municipal Court and ordered to pay $250 in fines, pay $100 in court costs, and complete six months of probation.
State Wildlife Officer Craig Barr, assigned to Allen County, participated in ODNR’s Job Shadow Day by mentoring two high school students. During the day, Officer Barr and the students withdrew samples from several roadkill white-tailed deer to check for Chronic Wasting Disease. Officer Barr also contacted a local trapper and gave the students the opportunity to ask questions of fish, wildlife, administrative, law enforcement, and education staff in northwest Ohio.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
During the 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. Officer Brown contacted the suspect and found that he did not possess a 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 totaling $229.50.
While patrolling during the deer muzzleloader hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Michael Budd, assigned to Tuscarawas County, contacted an individual who was using a rifle that was not legal for hunting, did not possess a hunting license or deer permit, and was not wearing the appropriate hunter orange clothing. Officer Budd issued summonses for the violations.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
In late November 2023, State Wildlife Officer Scot Gardner, assigned to Washington County, received information that two white-tailed deer bucks with their antlers locked together were stuck in a shallow creek. By the time Officer Gardner arrived, one of the bucks had expired. The other buck became agitated when Officer Gardner approached to untangle the antlers. After several attempts, Officer Gardner successfully untangled the bucks. Officer Gardner watched as the live buck stood up and walked over a ridge, seemingly unharmed.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
State Wildlife Officer Jasmine Grossnickle, assigned to Miami County, helped teach an Introduction to Wildlife Rehabilitation class at Miami Valley Career Technology Center. Officer Grossnickle spoke about her career path to becoming a wildlife officer and discussed some of the rules and regulations she enforces when dealing with injured, orphaned, or nuisance wildlife.