Field reports from Ohio Department of Wildlife officers

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OHIO – Below is a compilation of field reports from officers stationed throughout Ohio, some in Southern Ohio

Central Ohio – Wildlife District One

State wildlife officer Matt Tedders, assigned to Madison County, received a call in the winter that a bald eagle had been caught in a trap. Officer Tedrus responded and noticed an adult bald eagle with one leg and one wing caught in the leg traps. Help the landowner, Officer Tedrus, remove the eagle safely. Officer Tedrus identified five leg traps and pieces of exposed deer carcass in the center of the traps. It was decided that the landowner had set traps around the carcass of an old deer for wolves. Traps should not be placed over exposed meat baits to prevent capture of birds of prey. The landowner was cited for trapping the exposed meat bait, and the eagle was treated in rehab from his wounds.

State Wildlife Officer Antoinette Fret, assigned to Leking County, received a call from an interested farmer about an injured hawk behind his barn. About an hour later, the city of Patascala called to report three orphaned opossum babies along the way. After capturing the opossum, Officer Freight went to the nearby farm and captured the injured Cooper’s hawk. Thanks to concerned citizens, all four animals have been safely transferred to the Ohio Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and are expected to be released back into the wild.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District II

In June, state wildlife investigators Travis Abel and Kevin Judd, both assigned to the Lake Erie unit, were implementing a sport fish application near Huron. Investigators contacted an Illinois-registered boat and seven people on board to verify fishing licenses. Six of the fishermen did not have an Ohio fishing license. Each was issued a summons to fish without a valid non-resident fishing license in Ohio.

During the 2021 whitetail deer hunting season, state wildlife officer Nathan Cass, assigned to Crawford County, discovers a parked vehicle near a popular hunting ground belonging to a convicted felon who is outlawed possession of firearms. Officer Cass and state wildlife officer Brooke Williamson, assigned to Seneca County, contacted the individual and his partner. It was found that none of the individuals had a valid Ohio hunting license or deer permit. In addition, several loaded firearms were found in the truck. The men had deer from another hunter who did not have a hunting license or deer permit. The officers placed the convicted offender under arrest for possession of handicapped weapons as well as improper handling of firearms in a vehicle. Several misdemeanor warrants were issued against the individual. The second person pleaded guilty to improper handling of firearms in a car and was sentenced to 18 months in prison. Two other people pleaded guilty in Crawford County court and paid $285 in fines and court costs. The two firearms and the white-tailed deer were confiscated as evidence.

Northeast Ohio – 3rd Wildlife District

During the 2021 whitetail deer hunting season, state wildlife officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, received information regarding an individual who had overrun while hunting. Officer Porter, along with state wildlife official Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, located the poacher. It was determined that the individual had a drug felony warrant from Stark County. The arrest was made, a gun was seized, and the person was taken to the Stark County Jail. He was convicted in Jefferson County Court, ordered to serve 45 days in county jail and two years on probation, and pay $595 in fines and court costs. He also got a two-year hunting license suspended, confiscating the gun to the state.

In June, state wildlife officer Zack Hillman, assigned to Cuyahoga County, responded to a call from a concerned landowner in Ashland County regarding a bald eagle’s nest that had exploded from a tree during a severe thunderstorm. Officer Hellman found three bald eagle chicks, too small to fly, on the ground near the tree. He captured the Three Eagles and transported them to the Raptor City Rehabilitation Center. Several weeks later, two of the three eagles were ready to fly and were released near the nest that had fallen. Eagle III sustained a leg injury from a fall and is still undergoing rehabilitation. Land owners regularly see the two released chicks flying freely in the area.

Southeast Ohio – 4th Wildlife District

In May, state wildlife official Logan Ambrister, assigned to Belmont County, was contacting poachers in the Wadi Egypt Wildlife District. Officer Umbrester went up the hill to talk to two people who were fishing. Both anglers had fishing licenses and many largemouth bass on string, but one fish was under the legal length. One of the hunters issued a summons to keep a short Largemouth Rocket. The defendant did not appear at his trial date and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

In March, state wildlife official Wes Feldner noticed an individual lying face down on the edge of a road. Pause to check on the person who hit his back. The person was taken to the local hospital, and Officer Feldner later learned that the person was not seriously injured and was discharged the same day.

Southwest Ohio – Fifth Wildlife District

Recently, Ohio veterans enjoyed their annual cooking, boating, and fishing. Wildlife District Five Law Enforcement Operations Director Eric Lamb attended the event and helped residents catch fish. Residents, many employees and caregivers received a police escort to a special camp near Utopia. The event was hosted by Lee’s family, many of them veterans themselves, as well as fellow campers, friends, and volunteers. The Parks and Watercraft Division inspected the pontoon boats and took some residents on a fun boat ride, while others stayed ashore and fished with the help of Officer Lamb.

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