Home News Field reports from Ohio Division of Wildlife officers

Field reports from Ohio Division of Wildlife officers


Central Ohio – Wildlife District One 

State Wildlife Officer Matt Teders, assigned to Madison County, received a report of an orphaned white-tailed deer fawn this spring. Officer Teders safely captured the fawn and coordinated with a wildlife rehabilitator to evaluate its condition. The fawn was healthy and alert. Officer Teders released the fawn back into the wild. The fawn was later observed accompanying several adult does. Fawns are often left alone for long periods of time and rarely orphaned. Unless you know the mother has perished, do not intervene. 

Over the Memorial Day weekend, State Wildlife Officer Austin Levering, assigned to Knox County, received complaints of vehicles off-roading on public property. Officer Levering conducted stationary patrol near a parked truck and trailer. Soon after, Officer Levering observed a UTV driving towards him. Officer Levering conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and identified three subjects. None of the subjects knew who owned the property where they were riding. Officer Levering informed them the property is controlled by the State of Ohio and not open to off-road vehicles. The operator was issued a summons for operating a vehicle on state owned or administered property, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. The subject paid $180 in court costs and fines in the Mt. Vernon Municipal Court. 

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two 

Recently, State Wildlife Officer Brock Williamson, assigned to Seneca County, received a complaint from a probation officer in Wyandot County about a resident possibly in possession of illegal white-tailed deer parts. The probation officer had been serving a warrant for this individual and discovered eight deer racks and skulls, along with several sawed-off antlers, all without tags, seals, or certificates to accompany them. Officer Williamson investigated further with the help of State Wildlife Officers Nathan Cass, assigned to Crawford County, and Matt D. Smith, assigned to Huron County, and found that the man had game-checked two bucks in previous years, and those bucks did not match the dates and times given by the individual for when he had harvested them. The man was charged with eight counts of possession of untagged deer parts. He was found guilty, forfeited the eight deer racks, and paid $696 in fines and court costs. 

This spring, State Wildlife Officer Nathan Kaufmann, assigned to Richland County, and K-9 Officer May attended a conservation law enforcement class at The Ohio State University along with Law Enforcement Program Administer Jim Quinlivan. Officer Kaufmann spoke to the class about the K-9 program, how and when it started, what the K-9s do, and some of K-9 Officer May’s bigger cases. After the discussion, Officer Kaufmann and K-9 Officer May demonstrated an article search. Officer Quinlivan then spoke to the class about what it takes to become an Ohio wildlife officer, including information on the needed qualifications, application and hiring process, and required training if selected.  

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three 

During the 2021 white-tailed deer gun hunting season, State Wildlife Officers Craig Porter and Nick Turner, assigned to Jefferson and Harrison counties, respectively, observed a vehicle approach and illuminate a field where numerous deer were located. Subsequently, the officers conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and numerous violations were discovered. The driver of the vehicle was charged with spotlighting deer as well as possession of untagged deer. The passenger was charged with a litter violation. Both subjects were found guilty in Jefferson County Court and ordered to serve 10 days in jail, pay $500 in fines, and forfeit the deer parts. 

In February, State Wildlife Officer Evan Huegel, assigned to Ashland County, was sorting through 2021 white-tailed deer harvest records and noticed a discrepancy with an individual’s account. After further investigation, Officer Huegel contacted the individual and determined that the hunter did not obtain a permit or hunting license before harvesting the deer. Further, the hunter had shot the deer well past legal shooting time. The suspect was ordered to pay $837 in fines and court costs and $250 in restitution, as well as serve 365 days probation and 20 days in jail. The hunter is restricted from obtaining a hunting license for two years. 

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four 

In April, State Wildlife Officer Matt VanCleve, assigned to Pike County, received a report of two wild turkeys harvested before the season opened. Two nonresident hunters met with Officer VanCleve and he checked their licenses and spring turkey permits. Officer VanCleve found both hunters were properly licensed and saw that both birds had been checked in. The time of kill, listed on the turkey permits, was the day before the season opened. Each hunter was issued a summons for taking a turkey during the closed season. Both birds were seized. Both men appeared in Pike County Court, where they pleaded guilty and were given $100 in fines and court costs. 

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five 

In the spring, State Wildlife Officer Jason Keller, assigned to Warren County, was at a local park catching up on paperwork. Officer Keller heard loud cheers coming from the nearby baseball field, followed by a celebration at home plate. A short time later, several teammates started looking around in the woods beyond the outfield. Officer Keller learned from the coach that a player had hit his first home run, a walk off, but the team couldn’t find the ball. Officer Keller retrieved K-9 Officer Scout from his vehicle and headed to the area the home run was hit. Ohio Division of Wildlife K-9s are trained and certified in article search. K-9 Officer Scout went to work looking for the baseball in the weeds as the team watched. After a few minutes, K-9 Officer Scout located the baseball under a downed tree. K-9 Officer Scout was rewarded with a lot of belly rubs from the team. 

State Wildlife Officer Brad Turner, assigned to Preble County, was conducting fishing enforcement at Crystal Lake in Eaton and observed a man and woman fishing. When Officer Turner approached them, the woman threw the fishing pole down. Officer Turner asked to see their fishing licenses, and the man showed his to Officer Turner. The woman did not have a valid license. Officer Turner issued her a summons for fishing without a license. She paid $150 in court costs and fines.