Allen County wildlife officer does more than enforce rules, regulations

Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW) officers perform numerous duties besides enforcing the agencies rules and regulations.

Allen County Wildlife Officer Craig Barr proved that recently near the end of this year’s peregrine falcon nesting season.

When the building adjacent to the Chase Bank Building in Lima — home to the falcon parents and four fledglings — caught fire June 24, Barr responded to check on the falcons. Large smoke in the area posed potential danger for the falcons, especially the youngsters, which had recently fledged from the nest.

Barr assists wildlife management and communications staff in monitoring the nest box via remote cameras. According to the DOW, Barr observed the parents, but was unable to located the fledglings. For several days, the Allen County wildlife officer monitored the camera and Chase nest site. He finally was able to confirm that both adults and four fledglings were safe.

“Luckily the nest box is located on the opposite side of the building from where the fire was, which probably helped with the amount of smoke around the nest,” said Meredith Gilbert, wildlife communications specialist for Wildlife District Two.

The DOW was happy to see four fledglings this year since the adult pair’s nest failed last year. The adults are relatively new to the nest. Loretta, the banded female, first arrived at the nest in the spring of 2019. She received her name this year. Since the male is not banded, he has not received a name. Gilbert said the DOW assumes he is the same male that has been in the area for several years, but the wildlife agency doesn’t know for sure.

Gilbert said she has received a few reports of the young falcons around the building, but would be grateful to have any additional updates the public might be able to provide. She may be contacted by emailing her at or by phone at 419-424-5000.

Updates and nesting information on the Lima peregrine falcons can be found on the Your Wild Ohio Explorer Facebook page.

Respecting private property

Ohio outdoor enthusiasts must make sure they secure permission if they are going to fish, hunt or trap on private property.

Shelby County Wildlife Officer Tim Rourke has been busy checking such incidents after being asked by businesses to patrol their properties and “guard against overzealous folks fishing the gravel pits without permission,” according to the DOW. There are a number of aggregate businesses in the county which have gravel pits and lakes.

According to the DOW, Rourke has issued citations to nine people for not having permission to fish on private property. The total is 32 in the last two years, resulting in fines totaling $6,560.

Using casting nets

Anglers are reminded that when they take game fish with a casting net, they must return those to the water. Only forage fish may be taken with a cast net.

After receiving complaints of people taking game fish, particularly bluegill, with cast nets, state wildlife officers worked projects at the Indian Lake spillway in Logan County. The officers issued 11 summonses during the projects, which resulted in $2,200 in fines and court costs being paid. One subject who was contacted was discovered to have an active arrest warrant out of Logan County. The subject was arrested and transported to the Logan County jail.

Those cited were planning on using the bluegills as bait for catfish. In this incident, all but one of the game fish were released alive.

Much the same happened while Defiance County Wildlife Officer Austin Dickinson was conducting game fish enforcement at Independence Dam State Park in June.

He observed several individuals using cast nets below the dam on the Maumee River. Dickinson saw individuals placing minnows and game fish into a bucket. Upon checking the individuals, he found they had multiple crappies in the bucket along with the minnows.

One of the individuals did not have a valid fishing license. Dickinson issued summonses for taking crappie with the use of a cast net and fishing without a resident fishing license.

Costly lie

A couple of individuals who were turtling discovered it was costly to lie to a state wildlife officer.

The pair were returning to their vehicle after setting several banklines for turtles in a creek when they were contacted by State Auglaize County Wildlife Officer Mark Schemmel. While Schemmel was checking them for fishing licenses, he asked them how they had tagged their lines. One of the individuals said they had used their Ohio DOW customer identification number and also added they had set five lines under a nearby railroad bridge.

Schemmel discovered all five banklines were untagged when he checked to see if the lines met compliance.

A bit later Schemmel along with Mercer County Wildlife Officer Brad Buening contacted the pair of turtlers at their residence. Both were cited for the use of untagged banklines. They paid a fine and court costs after they were found guilty in Auglaize County Municipal Court.

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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