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Field Reports from Ohio State Wildlife Officers


Central Ohio – Wildlife District One 

State Wildlife Officers Antoinette Freet and Tyler Eldred, assigned to Licking and Morrow counties, respectively, patrolled Knox Lake in July. They contacted a group of anglers from Florida. One adult was found not to have a current nonresident Ohio fishing license and was written a summons for the offense. The nonresident pleaded guilty and paid a fine of $70 for fishing without a license and $110 in court costs. 

State Wildlife Officer Tyler Eldred, assigned to Morrow County, spoke to high school students participating in a hunter education course at Cardington-Lincoln High School.  The environmental science class, now in its second year, is a class where students build an understanding of science through the lens of conservation, with an emphasis on real-world activities. The curriculum centers on wildlife conservation and outdoor recreation. In addition to the hunter education course, the students participate in activities such as hunting and fishing, to include the harvesting, processing, packaging, and consumption of wild game as well as learning to fish and tie knots and flies. Though most students had not hunted or fished before taking the class, they were excited to ask Officer Eldred questions and learn about wildlife law enforcement.    

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two 

In early November, State Wildlife Officer Anthony Lemle,assigned to Lucas County, received a call from the Turn-In-A-Poacher (TIP) hotline about subjects hunting waterfowl during the closed season. Officer Lemle located three hunters illegally hunting waterfowl. Two of the three hunters were using shotguns capable of holding more than three shells. The appropriate citations were issued, and six wood ducks were seized as evidence. The case is pending in court. Reports of wildlife violations can be submitted anonymously via the TIP hotline at 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437). 

State Wildlife Officer Brock Williamson, assigned to Seneca County, and Outdoor Skills Specialist Jaron Beck taught a class about mammals to four participants in the Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalist program for the Seneca County Park District. The course provides practical knowledge of Ohio’s diverse ecology; environmental education and interpretation techniques; and skills for education and outreach, community science, program support, and stewardship. Officer Williamson led the class on a walk through a woodlot and taught the volunteers about common mammals and signs that can be found in northwest Ohio. Staff and volunteers discovered mole tunnels, groundhogs, chipmunks, squirrels, hickory nuts left by rodents, and signs of deer rubs on trees.  

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three 

During the white-tailed deer gun hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, received a complaint from a landowner who heard a gunshot on his property. Officer Brown located two individuals nearby with a dead deer. Officer Brown confirmed that both individuals had hunted on the landowner’s property without permission. The hunter with a deer in his possession had not invalidated his deer permit. Officer Brown issued a summons to the shooter for failing to invalidate a permit or game check a deer before moving it. The hunter paid fines and costs totaling $154.50. Further, the second individual was found to have a protection order preventing possession of a firearm. Officer Brown seized the firearm as evidence and the individual was charged through Wayne County Municipal Court for violating a protection order. He was ordered to pay fines and costs totaling $281.50. 

State Wildlife Officer Zach Hillman, assigned to Cuyahoga County, received a Turn-In-A-Poacher (TIP) complaint from the Barberton Police Department about an individual hunting within city limits. The hunter was found to be in possession of a recurve bow. The individual did not have permission to hunt the property and did not possess a valid Ohio hunting license. The bow was seized by the Barberton Police Department as evidence. Officer Hillman issued one misdemeanor summons for hunting without a valid Ohio hunting license. The individual was found guilty and ordered to pay $219 in fines and court costs. He was also charged by the Barberton Police Department for criminal trespass and ordered to pay an additional $154 in fines and court costs. Reports of wildlife violations can be submitted anonymously via the TIP hotline at 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437). 

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four 

On the first day of the white-tailed deer gun hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Ted Witham, assigned to Jackson County, was made aware of a potential wildlife violation regarding a spike buck that was game checked as a button buck. The hunter was found to have harvested a spike buck with antlers 4 and 7 inches in length and later harvested a 10-point buck. Under Ohio law, a deer with at least one antler 3 inches or longer must be game checked as an antlered deer. The hunter was issued one citation for harvesting two antlered deer in a season and another for providing false information to a check station. He appeared in Jackson County Municipal Court and was found guilty of both offenses. He paid $1,485 in fines and restitution, and the second buck was forfeited to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.  

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five 

State Wildlife Officer Gus Kiebel, assigned to Adams County, responded to a call from a deer hunter who lost the bottom portion of his tree stand. The hunter was stranded in the tree on the seat platform. Officer Kiebel responded and got the standing portion of the stand back to the hunter. After the incident, Officer Kiebel talked the hunter into continuing his hunt. Later, the hunter excitedly called Officer Kiebel to let him know he had harvested a deer.