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Field Reports from Ohio Division of Wildlife Officers


Field reports from Ohio Division of Wildlife Officers

Central Ohio – Wildlife District One

State Wildlife Officer Maurice Irish, assigned to Delaware County, and Wildlife Officer Supervisor Brad Kiger received information that an individual was hunting white-tailed deer in a nature preserve. The officers located the suspect’s vehicle and contacted the suspect, who was hunting in the preserve with a crossbow. A summons was issued for hunting without permission, and the suspect paid $177 through Delaware Municipal Court.

State Wildlife Officer Supervisor Tony Zerkle and State Wildlife Officer Jade Heizer, assigned to Fairfield County, contacted a hunter who had harvested more than the statewide limit of one antlered white-tailed deer during the season. The second deer was seized as evidence and the hunter was issued a summons for harvesting more than one antlered deer. The suspect was found guilty in Fairfield County Municipal Court and paid $275 in fines and court costs.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two

In June 2023, State Wildlife Officer Jason Warren, assigned to Lake Erie, and State Wildlife Officer Mark Williams, assigned to Franklin County, contacted three anglers aboard a boat in Vermilion Harbor along Lake Erie. All three subjects had Pennsylvania fishing licenses, but none had a valid Ohio fishing license. The officers seized 18 walleye from the boat and issued a citation to each subject for fishing without a license. The anglers paid a combined $420 in fines and court costs in Vermilion Municipal Court.

State Wildlife Officer Austin Dickinson, assigned to Defiance County, responded to a call of a river otter that had inadvertently been captured in a trap. Officer Dickinson removed the river otter from the trap and evaluated it for injuries. Finding no injuries, he released the river otter without incident into suitable habitat.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three

While patrolling the offshore waters of Lake Erie in Ashtabula County, State Wildlife Officer Jason Warren, assigned to Lake Erie, along with State Wildlife Investigators Jason Hadsell and Matt Fisher, found an inline planer board floating in the water. Officer Warren retrieved the planer board and discovered a phone number written on it. He contacted the angler, who had lost the planer board while fishing. Officer Warren returned the planer board to the owner.

During the ring-necked pheasant hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Marino Pellegrini, assigned to Portage County, received a Turn-in-a-Poacher (TIP) complaint of an individual shooting pheasants from the road at West Branch State Park Wildlife Area. Officer Pellegrini arrived on scene and contacted an individual who had harvested three pheasants, which is one more than the daily bag limit. The hunter was charged and pleaded guilty. He paid $150 in fines and court costs.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four

During the white-tailed deer gun hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Chris Gilkey, assigned to Meigs County, received a complaint of a hunter entering private property and not wearing the required hunter orange clothing. Officer Gilkey contacted the individual, who was in possession of a rifle. Officer Gilkey determined that the hunter had never purchased a deer permit or hunting license and learned that the individual had a felony arrest warrant for larceny. He took the suspect into custody and transported him to jail. The suspect was charged for hunting without permission, possession of untagged deer parts, failure to wear hunter orange, hunting without a deer permit, and hunting with an unlawful implement. The rifle was seized as evidence.

In October 2023, State Wildlife Officer Jerrod Allison, assigned to Coshocton County, received a call from the Zanesville Police Department about a white-tailed deer that had potentially been poached. The police department had arrested and jailed two individuals on non-wildlife related charges and found a dead deer and guns in a vehicle related to the incident. Officer Allison spoke to both individuals and determined that they had harvested a deer from the road with a shotgun and the aid of a spotlight. Each suspect was charged for hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, jacklighting, hunting after legal shooting hours, hunting with a gun during the deer archery season, and shooting from a public roadway. They were both convicted of all charges, spent three nights in jail, and paid associated fines and court costs. They each had their hunting licenses suspended for three years and are required to take a hunter education course. The shotgun was forfeited.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five

State Wildlife Officer Houston Wireman, assigned to Shelby County, received a complaint that two individuals were hunting white-tailed deer on private property. Officer Wireman investigated and located a hunting blind on the property. Officer Wireman and Wildlife Officer Supervisor Matt Hoehn found two subjects hunting without permission and issued a summons for the violation. The individual pleaded guilty in Sidney Municipal Court and paid $205 in fines.

State Wildlife Officer Matt Roberts, assigned to Highland County, was recently recognized as the Ohio Bowhunters Association Wildlife Officer of the Year. Officer Roberts was recognized for his extensive knowledge in conservation, hunting, fishing, and trapping; work ethic; and willingness to promote the outdoors. The Ohio Bowhunters Association, Inc. was founded in 1967 to foster, expand and upgrade the practices of bowhunting in Ohio by creating a spirit of fellowship within the bowhunting community, educating youth in proper archery methods, and working with resource agencies and conservation organizations to conserve wildlife and its habitat.