Eighteen capable and fit individuals are to be selected in the coming months for the coveted post of state wildlife officer, and the journey begins with attendance at and successful completion of a training school.
Applications are being accepted through April 15 for the next wildlife officer school, from which the Ohio Division of Wildlife will fill 18 vacancies across the state.
Wildlife officers have statewide jurisdiction to enforce wildlife regulations, investigate allegations of waterway pollution, protect state property, and make arrests. They also conduct educational programs, advise landowners on dealing with wildlife, and keep local agencies and conservation organizations updated on wildlife projects and regulations. They frequently work alone and can be assigned anywhere in the state.
"We are looking for individuals who are interested in law enforcement, wildlife conservation, and public service. They need to work independently and have good communication skills," said Vicki Mountz, acting wildlife chief.
To be considered for the wildlife officer training school, applicants must be at least 21 years of age by April 1, 2012, and have a valid driver's license. An associate's degree or completion of an undergraduate core program in fish and/or wildlife management, criminal justice, environmental law enforcement, or related fields is required by the end of August.
Applicants must also be able to demonstrate physical fitness according to standards developed by the Ohio Peace Officers Training Commission, as well as swim 100 yards in five minutes and tread water for five minutes.
Candidates who meet the minimum qualifications will be invited to take a state proficiency examination offered on June 4 in central Ohio.
Top scoring candidates will then undergo interviews and pre-employment evaluations. Those who are selected as cadets will attend the wildlife officer academy for about six months.
During the academy, cadets will study law enforcement, fish and wildlife management techniques, and learn informational and educational skills. The academy will commence in early January. For other details, visit www.wildohiocareers.com.
- Walleye fishing on the lake and streams hereabouts should benefit with the coming of warmer temperatures and a bit of rain, if weather forecasts hold true.
The river run in the Maumee River could peak this weekend with good conditions, and angler turnout should be high. Action last weekend, however, was slow and spotty. On the Sandusky River at downtown Fremont, the better fishing has come slightly upstream from the downtown, at Walsh Park and Rodger Young Park.
Western Lake Erie activity is erratic with water temperatures still on the cold side. But veteran anglers Bryan Johnson of Oregon and Gary Brandburg of Perrysburg Township had a good day last Friday — no April foolin'. They collected a limit of eight walleyes, four each, including a 12.61-pound, 30-incher that is headed for a taxidermist.
Johnson said they used the same jig-and-minnow program they used when dodging ice floes earlier, fishing 30 feet down in 40 feet of water off Marblehead lighthouse in Ottawa County. The pair also landed 30-limits each of yellow perch, fishing the bottom with spreaders.
Then Sunday, Johnson and Brandburg fished jigs and minnows in just eight feet of water off Maumee Bay State Park and picked up their limits of jacks. They found few boats were out before the rain set in, and water temperatures were cold — 36 off Marblehead and 42 in Maumee Bay.
In other fishing news, a high stakes, big-fish shootout is set for Saturday and Sunday when the Cabela's Masters Walleye Circuit visits the Detroit River and western Lake Erie.
Currently 90 teams have signed up to compete, guaranteeing a total cash purse of $46,800 paying 18 places, with first place at $14,400. Sponsor contingencies add thousands more dollars to the total. Registration is open through Sunday.
For details or to register, call 877-893-7947, visit www.masterswalleyecircuit.com, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daily weigh-ins are public and will be held at Elizabeth Park in Trenton, Mich., starting at 3 p.m. each day. This is the first stop on the MWC East Division's 2011 season. The remaining Eastern schedule includes Lake Erie at Sandusky, May 20-22.
- Upcoming — Saturday, ninth annual wild game dinner, Cooley Canal Yacht Club, 4 p.m. doors open, call Leonard Smalley 419-855-1020 or Clyde Siefke 419-276-4814.
Saturday, boating education course, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Perrysburg Boat Club, Perrysburg; call Ohio Division of Watercraft, Maumee Bay office, 419-836-6003.