ODNR wildlife chief cleared of charge


By Steve Junga - The Blade, Toledo, Ohio (TNS)



COLUMBUS — Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker has been cleared of an alleged hunting violation after an investigation conducted by the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

“ODNR’s Office of Law Enforcement completed an investigation,” ODNR Director Mary Mertz stated in a release. “The results of that investigation were reviewed by the Delaware City Prosecutor, who concluded there was no evidence of hunting on public land or turkey baiting. The anonymous allegations were unfounded. We appreciate their thorough review of this case.”

The investigation was conducted after it was alleged that Ms. Wecker violated Ohio’s hunting laws while hunting on private property in Delaware County, harvesting a wild turkey within 50 yards of a game feeder.

“On April 25, 2020, the ODNR received an anonymous complaint of turkey hunting by shotgun on an area restricted to archery hunting only,” the ODNR release stated. “An additional complaint alleged that hunters were harvesting turkey over a baited area.

“Using the Ohio Wildlife Licensing System, Division of Wildlife officers identified that a turkey was recorded as being harvested by Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker.”

Ohio law states that it is “unlawful to hunt or take wild turkeys with the aid or use of bait.”

The incident was alleged to have taken place on or about the April 20 opening day for the spring wild turkey hunting season in the state’s southern zone. The allegation was reportedly made anonymously on the state’s Turn-in-a-Poacher (TIP) hotline, allegedly by an ODNR employee.

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By Steve Junga

The Blade, Toledo, Ohio (TNS)

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