Field reports from Ohio Division of Wildlife Officers

Central Ohio – Wildlife District One

State Wildlife Officer Mark Williams, assigned to Franklin County, received a report regarding a hunter with a firearm outside the white-tailed deer gun hunting seasons. Officer Williams contacted the suspect, who was hunting deer with a muzzleloader one day before the statewide muzzleloader hunting season. Officer Williams issued a summons for hunting with a firearm during the archery season and the suspect was fined $160.

State Wildlife Officer Tyler Eldred, assigned to Morrow County, attended the annual Village of Ashley Youth Trout Fishing Event. This event corresponded with the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s rainbow trout release into Ashley Upground Reservoir. Nearly 100 children participated in the event. Trophies were presented to the angler with the largest fish and most unique catch. Food was provided by generous community donations. After the youth event, the reservoir was opened to all ages for public trout fishing.   

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two

State Wildlife Officer Charles McMullen, assigned to Sandusky County, contacted anglers in Fremont during the white bass spawning run. After conducting a license check, Officer McMullen provided tips to an angler and taught the individual how to tie a Palomar knot to a small jig and attach a plastic grub bait. The grateful angler called Officer McMullen several minutes later to show him a successful white bass catch.

State Wildlife Officer Matt D. Smith, assigned to Huron County, received information regarding a possible hunter incident involving property damage and illegal hunting of wild turkeys. Officer Smith contacted State Wildlife Officer Nathan Kaufmann, assigned to Richland County, and K-9 Officer May to search the area for evidence. K-9 Officer May quickly located five spent rifle casings in tall grass along a wooded area and farm field. After collecting the evidence and speaking with the landowner and suspect, Officers Smith and Kaufmann determined no violations or property damage occurred.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three

State Wildlife Officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County, responded to a late-night call about a vehicle stuck in a field at Spencer Lake Wildlife Area. Officer Moore took photos of the vehicle and damage along with litter left in the area. The driver of the vehicle was not present. Officer Moore located the motorist, who was issued a summons for driving a vehicle off the roadway and littering. The suspect paid $673 in fines and court costs.

State Wildlife Investigators Matthew Fisher and Jason Hadsell, assigned to Lake Erie, observed a vessel offshore Ashtabula with two anglers aboard. As the investigators approached, they noticed there were eight active rods. Statewide, anglers can use up to three lines. The officers discovered only one of the anglers possessed a current fishing license. The licensed angler was issued a summons for too many fishing lines, and the unlicensed angler was issued a summons for fishing without a valid license. The court ordered the licensed angler to pay a total of $245 in fines and costs. The unlicensed angler was ordered to pay $170 in fines and costs.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four

During the 2023 white-tailed deer gun hunting season, a hunter called State Wildlife Officer Chris Gilkey, assigned to Meigs County, to report seeing four black bears. The hunter captured the encounter with the sow and three cubs on video, and the bears were later seen in other parts of the county. The Ohio Division of Wildlife is seeking public reports of black bears to monitor the species’ increasing occurrence in the state. Black bear observations can be reported at or on the HuntFish OH mobile app, where you can also upload pictures and videos to verify sightings.

During the spring 2024 wild turkey hunting season, State Wildlife Officer Jacob Parker, assigned to Monroe County, responded to a call from a landowner regarding hunting without permission. As the landowner showed him around the property, Officer Parker noticed a turkey bait pile and a blind on the edge of a field. Officer Parker learned that the bait pile and blind belonged to the landowner’s relative. Officer Parker and Wildlife Officer Supervisor Brad St. Clair contacted the individual, who they learned had hunted over the bait pile that morning. The suspect was charged with hunting wild turkeys by the aid of baiting and paid a $200 fine in Monroe County Court.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five

Over the summer, State Wildlife Officer Mark Schemmel, assigned to Auglaize County, received a report from St. Marys State Fish Hatchery regarding evidence that an air rifle was used at the archery-only shooting range. Officer Schemmel inspected the foam targets and located damage from pellets. Several weeks later, Officer Schemmel contacted an individual at the archery range who was shooting at the targets with an air rifle. The individual was issued a summons for improper use of the archery-only shooting range. The suspect was found guilty and paid a total of $185 in fines and court costs.

State Wildlife Officer Alex Almeter, assigned to Greene County, and State Wildlife Officer Isaiah Gifford, assigned to Clinton County, recently attended a summer meeting of the Ohio Agriculture Teacher Association. The meeting was held at Cherrybend Shooting Preserve. During the meeting, the officers discussed ring-necked pheasant history, habitat, and habitat programs in Ohio with the teachers so that they might be able to use the information in their curriculum.

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