OHIO – Below is a collection of field reports from officers stationed all over Ohio, some in Southern Ohio
Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
State Wildlife Officer Matt Teders, assigned to Madison County, received a call in the winter that a bald eagle had been captured in a trap. Officer Teders responded and observed an adult bald eagle with one leg and one wing captured in leghold traps. The landowner assisted Officer Teders in safely removing the eagle. Officer Teders located five leghold traps and pieces of deer carcass exposed in the center of the traps. It was determined the landowner had set traps around an old deer carcass for coyotes. Setting traps over exposed flesh bait is prohibited to prevent raptors from becoming captured. The landowner was cited for trapping over exposed flesh bait, and the eagle was treated at a rehabilitator for its wounds.
State Wildlife Officer Antoinette Freet, assigned to Licking County, received a call from a concerned farmer about an injured hawk behind his barn. About an hour later, the City of Pataskala called to report three orphaned opossum babies along a road. After picking up the opossums, Officer Freet went to the nearby farm and captured the injured Cooper’s hawk. Thanks to both concerned citizens, all four animals were safely transported to the Ohio Wildlife Center for rehabilitation and are expected to be released back into the wild.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
In June, State Wildlife Investigators Travis Abele and Kevin Good, both assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, were conducting sportfish enforcement near Huron. The investigators contacted a boat that had an Illinois registration and seven people on board to check for fishing licenses. Six of the anglers did not hold an Ohio fishing license. Each was issued a summons for fishing without a valid Ohio nonresident fishing license.
During the 2021 white-tailed deer gun hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Nathan Cass, assigned to Crawford County, spotted a vehicle parked near a popular hunting spot that belonged to a convicted felon prohibited from possessing firearms. Officer Cass and State Wildlife Officer Brock Williamson, assigned to Seneca County, contacted the individual and his partner. It was found that neither of the individuals had a valid Ohio hunting license or deer permit. In addition, several loaded firearms were found in the truck. The men were in possession of a deer at was harvested by another hunter who did not have a hunting license or deer permit. The officers placed the convicted felon under arrest for possessing weapons under disability along with improper handling of firearms in a motor vehicle. The individual was issued multiple misdemeanor summonses. The second individual pleaded guilty to improper handling of firearms in a motor vehicle and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Two other individuals pleaded guilty in Crawford County Municipal Court and paid $285 in fines and court costs. The two firearms and the white-tailed deer were forfeited as evidence.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
During the 2021 white-tailed deer gun hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, received information regarding an individual who had trespassed while hunting. Officer Porter, along with State Wildlife Officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, located the hunter. It was determined that the individual had a felony drug warrant out of Stark County. An arrest was made, a rifle was seized, and the individual was transferred to the Stark County Jail. He was found guilty in Jefferson County Court, ordered to serve 45 days in county jail and two-years’ probation, and pay $595 in fines and court costs. He also received a two-year hunting license suspension, and the rifle was forfeited to the state.
In June, State Wildlife Officer Zach Hillman, assigned to Cuyahoga County, responded to a call from a concerned landowner in Ashland County regarding a bald eagle nest that had blown out of a tree during a severe thunderstorm. Officer Hillman found three bald eagle chicks, too young to fly, on the ground near the tree. He captured all three eaglets and transported them to the Medina Raptor Center for rehabilitation. Several weeks later, two of the three eaglets were ready to fly and were released near the downed nest. The third eaglet suffered a leg injury from the fall and is still undergoing rehabilitation. The landowners regularly see the two released chicks flying freely in the area.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
In May, State Wildlife Officer Logan Ambrister, assigned to Belmont County, was contacting anglers at Egypt Valley Wildlife Area. Officer Ambrister hiked up a hill to speak to two individuals who were fishing. Both anglers had fishing licenses and several largemouth bass on stringers, but one of the fish was under the legal length. One angler was issued a summons for keeping a short largemouth bass. The defendant did not appear for his court date and a warrant was issued.
In March, State Wildlife Officer Wes Feldner noticed an individual lying face down on the berm of the road. He stopped to check on the individual, who had hurt his back. The individual was transported to the local hospital, and Officer Feldner later learned that the individual was not seriously injured and was released from the hospital the same day.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
Residents of the Ohio Veterans Home recently enjoyed their annual cookout, boat rides, and fishing. Wildlife District Five Law Enforcement Operations Manager Eric Lamb attended the event and assisted residents with fishing. The residents, several staff members, and caregivers received a police escort to a private campground near Utopia. The event was hosted by the Lee family, many of them veterans themselves, as well as fellow campers, friends, and volunteers. The Division of Parks and Watercraft inspected the pontoon boats and took some residents out for an enjoyable boat ride, while others stayed ashore and fished with assistance from Officer Lamb.