Brad Buening is returning to his home county as a state wildlife officer.
Buening, a graduate of St. Henry High School, has been assigned to Mercer County according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR). He transferred from Van Wert County to Mercer County to fill the vacancy when Wildlife Officer Austin Levering transferred from Mercer County to fill the wildlife officer vacancy in Knox County. Buening has been the state wildlife officer assigned to Van Wert County since his graduation from the Ohio Wildlife Officer Academy in 2007. He received an Associate degree in Fish and Wildlife Management from Hocking College.
As a state wildlife officer, Buening will have statewide jurisdiction to enforce wildlife regulations, investigate allegations of waterway pollution, protect state property, and make arrests. He will also conduct educational programs, perform fish and wildlife management duties, and advise landowners on dealing with wildlife. State wildlife officers serve an important role as a point of contact with law enforcement and other agencies on topics of mutual interest, providing assistance and expertise.
To reach Buening, call the Wildlife District Five Headquarters in Xenia at 937-372-9261. To report suspicious activity involving wildlife, call 800-POACHER. Reports can remain anonymous.
There are at least 11 vacancies for wildlife officers in the state, including the Limaland counties of Vann Wert and Hancock. Other counties with vacancies are: Paulding, Seneca, Crawford, Erie, Cuyahoga, Lake, Stark, Carroll, and Scioto.
The ODNR’s plan is to fill the vacant counties with cadets from the upcoming academy. The vacant counties will be assisted by neighboring county officers until that time.
* * *
Outdoor enthusiasts can take part in a pair of free workshops being offered by the Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) in southwest Ohio.
The first focuses on the basics of bow fishing on April 26 while the other focuses on the basics of patterning a turkey gun on May 8.
Topics to be covered by DOW officials on bow fishing include equipment, techniques and regulations.
The workshop begins at 6 p.m. at the Wildlife District Five Office, 1076 Old Springfield Pike, Xenia. Pre-registration is required as space is limited. Register by calling Chris Mangen at 937-347-0929 by April 24th.
The patterning of your turkey gun workshop begins at 6 p.m. at the Spring Valley Shooting Range, located at 3450 Houston Rd., in Waynesville. Topics to be covered by DOW officials include equipment, techniques, and regulations. Pre-registration is required as space is limited. Register by calling Chris Mangen at 937-347-0929, by May 6.
* * *
The Hike the Dikes program at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area and Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge returns Saturday and runs into September.
The six hikes take place on the second Saturday of each month (April 14, May 12, June 9, July 14, Aug. 11, and Sept. 8) and provide opportunities to explore the natural wonders of both areas. A trained guide leads each walk. Participants will learn about local wildlife such as birds, reptiles and amphibians, butterflies and marsh mammals, as well as, wetland plants and more.
Hike the Dikes is a partnership program between ODNR Division of Wildlife – Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, and Black Swamp Bird Observatory. Each walk, which begins at 9 a.m. And last for one to two hours, is hosted by one of the partner agencies.
Saturday’s opening hike, will meet at the Sportsmen’s Migratory Bird Center at Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, located at 13229 West Ohio 2, Oak Harbor. All other hikes will meet at the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge visitor’s center, located at 14000 West Ohio 2, Oak Harbor.
Anyone who attends three or more Hike the Dike walks in 2018 will receive a free hiking stick. For more information call Magee Marsh Wildlife Area at 419-898-0960 ext. 21 or Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge at 419-898-0014.
* * *
The youth-only turkey season is April 21-22 for youth possessing a valid youth hunting license and a turkey permit. Youth hunters must be accompanied by a non-hunting adult, 18 years of age or older. Only two wild turkeys may be checked by a youth hunter during the two-day season. Additionally, if two turkeys are harvested in the youth season, no additional birds may be taken by the youth hunter for the duration of the spring turkey season.
The spring season bag limit is two bearded turkeys. Hunters can harvest one bearded turkey per day, and a second spring turkey permit can be purchased at any time throughout the spring turkey season. Turkeys must be checked no later than 11:30 p.m. the day of harvest. All hunters must report their turkey harvest using the automated game-check system, which is available online, by phone or at a license agent. A complete list of participating license agents can be found at wildohio.gov. Visit the Turkey Hunting Resources page at wildohio.gov or call 800-WILDLIFE (945-3543) for more information about the game-check process.
Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL