Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
State Wildlife Officer Antoinette Freet, assigned to Licking County, attended the Partnering Anthropology with Science and Technology (PAST) Foundation Minecraft: Girls Who Lead summer camp. The program provides girls the tools to reach their full potential to explore the world of STEM. Officer Freet spoke at the event about being a female officer in a male dominated field, with only four female officers and a handful of female investigators statewide. She explained what wildlife officers do, the importance of hunting and fishing regulations in relation to wildlife management, and how humans have positively and negatively impacted the state’s wildlife and habitat diversity over the last 200 years. The girls also examined pelts and learned about Ohio’s mammals. Officer Freet expressed the importance of keeping wildlife in the wild and how hunting and fishing maintain a balanced ecosystem.
State Wildlife Officer Chad Grote, assigned to Marion County, and State Natural Resources Officer Jason Jones patrolled Indian Lake State Park during the Indian Lake Beach Spectacular and Fireworks event. The officers patrolled on law enforcement bicycles and were well received by the crowd. They contacted many people fishing, picnicking, and enjoying the evening fireworks event. ODNR and the Division of Wildlife had multiple officers patrolling park property at the event to ensure that everyone stayed safe and enjoyed the Independence Day celebration.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
In late March, State Wildlife Officer Brock Williamson, assigned to Seneca County, was contacted by an individual in Tiffin concerned about a hen mallard that had nested in a parking lot and laid 13 eggs. The parking lot was set to be under construction during the nesting season. Federal regulations prevent disrupting birds during nesting; however, the contractor had a documented exemption from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service stating they could continue the project. Officer Williamson caught the hen mallard and safely removed her nest and eggs from the parking lot. A local conservationist worked with Officer Williamson to construct a mallard hut so the hen could complete her incubation near appropriate habitat.
During the 2021-22 white-tailed deer archery hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Nathan Robinson, assigned to Van Wert County, was patrolling Lake La Su An Wildlife Area in Williams County when he came across a vehicle whose registered owner did not possess a valid deer permit. Officer Robinson noticed that the vehicle’s registered owner had checked in a deer on the previous evening. A short time later, the hunter returned to his truck and spoke to Officer Robinson. Officer Robinson found that the hunter had checked a deer for someone else in his hunting party the night before. Officer Robinson followed the hunter back to the deer camp, where multiple summonses were issued. The harvested deer was seized as evidence.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
During the 2021 white-tailed deer gun hunting season, Wildlife Officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, received information that an individual had harvested deer in excess of the county’s two-deer limit. Officer Porter spoke with witnesses and collected evidence. The officer found that the hunter killed three deer during Ohio’s 2021-22 archery and gun seasons. A rifle was subsequently seized as well as two of the deer. After court proceedings, the hunter was ordered to pay $395 in fines and court costs, forfeit the deer to a food pantry, and serve a one-year hunting license suspension.
In the fall of 2021, State Wildlife Officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, observed four individuals fishing at Jefferson Lake State Park. Officer Porter determined that none of them possessed a valid fishing license. They were each issued a summons for fishing without a license. All four anglers failed to appear in court and warrants have since been issued.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
During the spring, State Wildlife Officer Anthony Lemle, assigned to Guernsey County, and State Wildlife Investigator Wes Feldner were working the Seneca Lake spillway. While conducting surveillance, Investigator Feldner witnessed an individual snag and keep two saugeye. Officer Lemle contacted the individual, who did not have a valid fishing license and had previously lost fishing privileges for one year for keeping snagged saugeye at the same location. The individual was charged with fishing without a license and keeping a snagged saugeye. The individual pleaded guilty in Cambridge Municipal Court, paid $408 in fines and costs, and received a two-year fishing license suspension.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
In early spring of 2022, State Wildlife Officer Jason Keller, assigned to Warren County, came across a vehicle parked near two private ponds. The landowner had previously complained about anglers fishing the ponds without permission and using his boat. The landowner had removed the boat’s plug and oars to stop this unauthorized use. Officer Keller used K-9 Officer Scout to track the vehicle’s occupants directly to one of the private ponds. As he approached the pond, Officer Keller observed two individuals fishing from a small boat and recognized them from prior encounters. Both individuals had previous charges for fishing without permission. In this instance, the individuals were found to have used the landowner’s boat without permission, and brought their own plug and oars. Both individuals were charged in Warren County Municipal Court for fishing without permission. One individual was found guilty and charged $216 in fines and court costs and received a one-year fishing license revocation. The other individual is awaiting a court date.
Recently, State Wildlife Officer Trent Weaver, assigned to Montgomery County, responded to a frantic caller with an unwanted snake at their residence. Upon arriving at the residence, Officer Weaver found a snake hidden in a window well with only the tail exposed. Officer Weaver surmised it was a garter snake and captured it, releasing it into the backyard. Officer Weaver informed the family the snake was not a threat and could be a benefit for insect and small pest control. The family explained that before calling Ohio home, they lived in an area with many venomous snakes. They were appreciative of Officer Weaver’s quick response.