Wildlife officers job often far from routine

By Al Smith - sports@limanews.com

Part of a wildlife officer’s job often involves helping animals and humans. A few recent incidents involving Ohio wildlife officers can be far from routine.

Aiding animals sometimes is part of the job.

Logan County Wildlife Officers Adam Smith and Jade Heizer received a call while on patrol from a resident who stated that he found an injured great horned owl in his driveway. Upon their response, the officers successfully captured the owl. The officers transferred the injured owl to Crows Hollow Wildlife Care in Union County for rehabilitation.

An incident involving Cuyahoga County Wildlife Officer Matt Madgar assisting USDA Wildlife Services dealt with an unusual animal. Madgar aided with the transfer of a ring-tailed lemur.

This primate is native to the island of Madagascar. However, sometimes they are kept in captivity as pets. This animal was likely an escaped pet that was chased by dogs into a Cleveland area home.

Assistant wildlife management supervisor Geoff Westerfield, based in Akron, responded to the situation. He was able to capture the lemur and transfer it to a holding facility while the rightful owner was located.

According to the Ohio Division of Wildlife (DOW), no one came forward to claim the lemur and after several days and numerous phone calls, Madgar transferred the lemur to an animal sanctuary in northeast Ohio where staff is experienced in caring for this unusual species.

Greene County Wildlife Officer Matt Hunt was involved with an animal familiar to Ohioans — a mallard duck.

Hunt was contacted regarding an injured juvenile mallard living in a pond on the edge of an apartment complex. According to the DOW, the duck had gotten a plastic ring from a milk jug in its mouth and up over its head. The position of the ring prevented the animal from eating. It was obvious the distressed mallard was visually smaller than its siblings after only a couple of days.

Hunt attempted to catch the duck for three days, but each time the family of ducks took to the water as soon as anyone approached the water.

Finally on the third day, Hunt, with the help of tenants at the complex, was able to separate the duck from its mother and siblings. When the duck hid under a deck, Hunt crawled under the deck to retrieve it.

The duck was quickly released to its family after Hunt removed the plastic ring from its head.

Putnam County Wildlife Officer Jason Porinchok was able to help a woman who complained about damage to her crop fields.

Following two different phone calls with the woman and explaining the complaint procedure, Porinchok visited her farm to assess the situation.

He discussed the difference between raccoon and deer damage and found extensive evidence of both in the fields. After offering suggestions on remedies for the damage, Porinchok helped her fill out the deer damage complaint paperwork. The wildlife officer then issued minimal deer damage control permits and helped develop a plan so the landowner could reduce the damage to her crop fields.

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Two shooting ranges have reopened while a third remains under construction in the Spring Valley Wildlife Area.

The Class C shotgun range and Class D archery ranges reopened to the public Aug. 22. They were initially closed for repairs and enhancements during the construction of a new outdoor education center at the wildlife area. The Class A range (supervised rifle and pistol) is still under construction and is closed at this time.

Entrance to the new range is located at 3570 Houston Road, Waynesville.

Hours of operation are from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Visitors are required to sign in at the outdoor education center. Those who use the shotgun range are required to show a valid range permit upon arrival. A range permit is not required to use the archery range.

A shooting range permit is required to shoot at Class C target ranges (unsupervised clay target shotgun). A shooting range permit is not required at Class D target ranges (unsupervised archery) or other ranges not classified by the DOW (other fees or purchases may apply).

People may purchase an annual or daily shooting range permit via the DOW’s online store at wildohio.gov or any location where hunting and fishing licenses are sold. An annual permit costs $24 and a daily permit is $5. An annual shooting range permit and hunting license combo is available to Ohio residents for $29.12.

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The free HuntFish Oh mobile app, available for Android and iOS users, can be found in the app store, according to the DOW.

People can purchase hunting and fishing licenses on the app as well as check their harvested white-tailed deer or turkey while still in the field. No WIFI connection is needed.

Among other features in the app are a map which allows users to view wildlife areas, shooting ranges, boat ramps and license agents. A weather widget displays sunrise and sunset times, wind speed and forecast information. Ohio fishing and hunting regulations are available in PDF versions. Links to Ohio state parks and boat registration also are available.

Push notifications from the DOW, which keeps them up to date on upcoming season’s, license renewals, events and other information are an option to select push notifications.


By Al Smith


Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at flyfishman7@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

Al Smith is a freelance outdoor writer. You may contact him at flyfishman7@hotmail.com and follow him on Twitter @alsmithFL

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