Field reports from Ohio Division of Wildlife Officers


Central Ohio – Wildlife District One

During the 2023 white-tailed deer gun hunting season, Law Operations Manager Josh Shields and State Wildlife Officer Nick Oliver, assigned to Champaign County, responded to a hunting without permission complaint. They discovered evidence of a recent deer harvest and identified a suspect, who had hunted without permission and without a valid deer permit. The individual was found guilty of hunting and pursuing game on another’s land without written permission, failing to purchase a valid deer permit before hunting, and harvesting a deer without a permit. The court imposed fines totaling $200, restitution of $250, and a one-year hunting license revocation. The deer was seized and the meat donated to the Ohio Wildlife Center.

State Wildlife Officer Jade Heizer, assigned to Fairfield County, instructed a hunter education safety course at Millersport High School for 26 students between the sixth and ninth grades. The students learned valuable information about hunting safety and ethics, and the role that Ohio sportsmen and sportswomen play in wildlife conservation and habitat restoration. Upon completion, the students can purchase a hunting license and hunt by themselves when they reach 16 years of age.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two

State Wildlife Officer Michael Ohlrich, assigned to Lucas County, partnered with Brightside Academy in Toledo for several events. Most recently, he read A Log’s Life to teach young children about the importance of trees. During the holidays, Officer Ohlrich and Wildlife Officer Supervisor Josh Zientek participated in the 12 Kids of Christmas, an event with Feet on the Street and Brightside Academy. This event pairs local kids with law enforcement officers for a shop with a cop experience.

State Wildlife Officer Reid Van Cleve, assigned to Ottawa County, observed two individuals scatter litter around the Sandusky Bay Access Area in Ottawa County after fishing. Officer Van Cleve issued each angler a citation for the violation.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three

State Wildlife Officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, partnered with the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department regarding litter concerns. Deputy Joseph Copenhaver and Officer Brown identified a suspect, who was found guilty of three separate dumping offenses and found guilty in Wayne County Municipal Court. The individual cleaned the litter and disposed of it properly and was ordered to pay $808 in fines and court costs. In addition, the individual is required to complete 50 hours of community service.

State Wildlife Officer Randy White, assigned to Lorain County, responded to a vehicle accident involving a truck pulling a horse trailer. Officer White assisted the uninjured driver in freeing a draft horse from the mangled trailer and restrained the horse in the interstate median until assistance arrived. Luckily, the horse had no significant injuries from the crash. The Ohio State Highway Patrol controlled traffic while Officer White helped the driver get the truck, trailer, and horse back on the road.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four

State Wildlife Officer Cole Tilton, assigned to Vinton County, received information during the 2024 white-tailed deer muzzleloader hunting season regarding a group hunting at Zaleski State Forest with firearms other than muzzleloaders. Officer Tilton and Law Enforcement Supervisor Jay Abele located eight hunters who were hunting with non-muzzleloading shotguns or rifles. Each individual was issued a summons for hunting with an unlawful firearm. They pleaded guilty in Vinton County Court and each paid fines and court costs of $272.

In May, State Wildlife Officer Ted Witham, assigned to Jackson County, attended a Right to Read Week event at a local elementary school. Officer Witham read two books about the outdoors to approximately 60 students in kindergarten and second grade. Officer Witham has been attending this event for at least 15 years and is always a popular guest reader.

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