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Field Reports from Ohio State Wildlife Officers

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OHIO – Field reports from Ohio Division of Wildlife Officers 

Central Ohio – Wildlife District One 

While responding to a call in Marion, State Wildlife Officer Chad Grote, assigned to Marion County, noticed a dead white-tailed deer in a backyard. Officer Grote contacted the homeowner, and it was found that the individual harvested the deer but failed to complete a game check. The deer was seized as evidence and Officer Grote issued a summons for failing to game check the deer by noon the following day. The individual was found guilty in Marion Municipal Court and paid $138 in fines and court costs. 

In November 2022, State Wildlife Officer Antoinette Freet, assigned to Licking County, responded to a hunting without permission call in Morrow County. A farmer witnessed two men load a deer into a truck near his property. Officer Freet backtracked the blood trail and determined that the deer was initially shot on a different property. With the help of State Wildlife Officer Tyler Eldred, assigned to Morrow County, she contacted two individuals who had harvested a deer on a property where they had permission to hunt. The deer died on the adjacent property, and the individuals retrieved the deer without permission from the landowner. Both hunters were charged with hunting without permission, pleaded guilty, and paid a combined total of $500 in fines. 

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two 

During the 2022 white-tailed deer gun hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Nathan Kaufmann, assigned to Richland County, and K-9 Officer May assisted in hunter incidents where property damage occurred. The first search involved a house that was shot earlier in the day. K-9 Officer May located four spent shotgun shells. With this evidence, a suspect was identified. Later, K-9 Officer May searched a separate area where home damage had occurred for shotgun shells. After approximately an hour of searching, K-9 Officer May discovered a spent shell within the leaves. Blood from a deer was also found in the search area. Both cases are pending in court.      

State Wildlife Officer Nathan West, assigned to Wyandot County, taught a Learn to Fish program at Upper Sandusky Reservoir #No. 2 with Outdoor Skills Specialist Jaron Beck. Participants learned about different equipment, how to shop for and use tackle, locations to go, and fishing regulations.  After helping many people catch their first fish, Jaron demonstrated how to filet the catch, which was taken home for cooking after the program. The mayor of Upper Sandusky and his children were part of the program, which was exciting for him as he is not a fisherman and was appreciative of those in his community who attended. Reach out to your region’s Division of Wildlife office or wildlife officer to learn about local programs.  

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three 

During the 2022 white-tailed deer gun hunting week, State Wildlife Officers Michael Budd and Scott Cartwright, assigned to Tuscarawas and Carroll counties, respectively, patrolled private property after they received a complaint of hunting without permission. The officers located the hunter and issued a summons for hunting deer without permission. The individual, a repeat offender, was found guilty in Carroll County Municipal Court and sentenced to 45 days in jail, given a two-year hunting license suspension, and ordered to pay $245 in fines and court costs. 

In October 2022, State Wildlife Officers Zach Hillman and Matt Madgar, assigned to Cuyahoga and Geauga counties, respectively, received an anonymous complaint about white-tailed deer tagging violations in Geauga County. The officers found that several family members were not game checking their deer by noon the day following the harvest as required by law, and several deer had not been checked until months after the harvest. The officers issued two summonses for failing to game check by noon the day after the harvest. The individuals were found guilty and ordered to pay $227 each in fines and court costs. 

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four 

In November 2022, State Wildlife Officer Logan Ambrister, assigned to Belmont County, received information that an individual had a dead bobcat in a truck. The suspect explained to Officer Ambrister that he hit the bobcat with his vehicle and then drove it to another location to take pictures. During the investigation, the Martins Ferry Police Department discovered that the individual had a warrant for his arrest and was in possession of a controlled substance. The suspect was arrested and taken to Belmont County Jail. Officer Ambrister served him a summons for illegal possession of a bobcat. 

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five 

State Wildlife Officer Gus Kiebel, assigned to Adams County, and Wildlife Officer Program Manager Eric Lamb participated in the Light Ohio Blue event at the veterans’ home in Georgetown on December 28, 2022, along with officers from other agencies. Law enforcement officers coordinated their visit to brighten the holidays for their community’s veterans.  

In the fall of 2022, Wildlife Officer Supervisor Matt Hunt was contacted by a Colorado state conservation officer. A hunter with an Ohio address had applied for a lottery hunt in Colorado while claiming to be a resident of that state. The same hunter had been purchasing Ohio resident licenses and permits for several years. It was found that the hunter had a valid Colorado driver license, while his Ohio license was expired. State Wildlife Officer Brad Turner, assigned to Preble County, and State Wildlife Officer Jason Keller, assigned to Warren County, contacted the suspect. The officers discovered that an Ohio white-tailed deer harvest from earlier in the fall was not properly tagged. A citation was issued for that violation and the venison was confiscated as evidence. Supervisor Hunt learned that the suspect would be receiving citations in Colorado for providing false residency information in a lottery application.