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Field Reports from Ohio Division of Wildlife officers


OHIO – Below is a collection of field reports from officers stationed all over Ohio, some in Southern Ohio

Central Ohio – Wildlife District One 

In July, State Wildlife Officer Jade Heizer, assigned to Fairfield County, and Wildlife Officer Supervisor Tony Zerkle received complaints about five coyote carcasses that had been dumped in a tributary of Clear Creek. While there is no closed season or bag limit on coyotes in Ohio, dumping and litter laws state that nothing of an unsightly or unsanitary nature may be dumped on the banks of or in the waters of the state. The officers issued misdemeanor summonses to two individuals for the incident. 

While on patrol during the 2021-22 white-tailed deer gun hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Chad Grote, assigned to Marion County, contacted two hunters who were suspected of hunting without permission. It was found that the hunters had written permission for the property but were driving a different vehicle. However, one of the hunters did not have a deer permit. The suspect was issued a summons for hunting without a deer permit, found guilty in Marion Municipal Court, and paid $238 in fines and court costs. 

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two 

On the opening day of spring wild turkey hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Austin Dickinson, assigned to Defiance County, received a call about a deer that had been poached. Officer Dickinson responded to the scene and found a deer that had been shot with a rifle. He identified a suspect, who was charged with hunting without a valid hunting license and killing a deer during the closed season. The suspect was taken to jail on an outstanding warrant from another agency. He was found guilty on both charges and received $500 in fines, $115 in court costs, $250 in restitution for the deer, and 10 days of jail suspended pending no similar violations.  

State Wildlife Officer Craig Barr, assigned to Allen County, was working bike patrol during the 2022 Biggest Week in American Birding at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area. He noticed a woman walking back and forth around the parking lot and contacted her to see if she needed assistance. She was from out of town and was having trouble locating her rental car. Officer Barr biked through the parking lot and quickly located the vehicle. He returned to the relieved woman and walked her to her car. 

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three 

During the 2021-22 white-tailed deer gun hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, responded to a complaint regarding someone hunting without permission. The trespasser was cutting down trees and leaving litter behind. Officer Porter issued summonses for hunting without permission and stream litter. The individual was found guilty in Jefferson County Court and ordered to pay $700 in fines and court costs, and stay off the property indefinitely. 

State Wildlife Officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, received information in the fall of 2021 about a hunter who falsely claimed landowner status on a white-tailed deer harvest. State Wildlife Officer Scott Traver, assigned to Stark County, issued a summons for the violation. The individual appeared in Jefferson County Court and was ordered to pay $195 in fines. He was sentenced to a 14-month probation and had his hunting license suspended for one year. 

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four 

State Wildlife Officer Ryan Donnelly, assigned to Athens County, was patrolling Poston Wildlife Area during the 2021-22 white-tailed deer archery hunting season. He located tire tracks in the mud along a lane posted with several signs stating, “No Vehicles Beyond This Sign.” Officer Donnelly located a muddy pickup truck beyond those signs in the wildlife area. He issued the owner of the truck a summons for driving a vehicle in a nondesignated area. The driver paid $190 in fines and court costs. 

After the 2021-22 white-tailed deer archery hunting season had ended in February, State Wildlife Officer Ted Witham, assigned to Jackson County, became aware of discrepancies with a reported deer harvest. An individual had harvested a deer before purchasing a hunting license or deer permit. Officer Witham informed the individual of the importance of purchasing licenses and permits before a harvest, and how the money from those sales funds wildlife conservation. The suspect was found guilty in Jackson Municipal Court for hunting without a valid hunting license and harvesting a deer without a valid deer permit. He paid $335 in fines and court costs. 

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five 

State Wildlife Officer Jasmine Grossnickle, assigned to Miami County, attended the 33rd annual National Envirothon at Miami University. The National Envirothon, a weeklong event, is a program of the National Conservation Foundation and is North America’s largest high school environmental education competition. Each year more than 25,000 high school students across the U.S., Canada, and China participate in the Envirothon, incorporating STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) principles, experiential learning, and hands-on outdoor field experiences. Officer Grossnickle answered questions concerning Ohio conservation projects and wildlife. Through the Envirothon, students are empowered to educate others, take action in their communities, pursue studies in environmental disciplines, and work toward careers in natural resource conservation. Officer Grossnickle shared information about her career in wildlife law enforcement, inspiring the next generation of conservationists.