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State seeks 18 new wildlife officers

Published: Mon, April 11, 2011 @ 12:07 a.m.

By Kristine Gill



Competition will be steep and the application process thorough for 18 positions as county wildlife officers in the state.

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Fish and Wildlife Division is accepting applications through Friday.

Human Resources administrator Michele Ward-Tackett said she’s expecting between 500 and 700 people to apply for the six-month-long application process. Those accepted for the positions will continue with a six-month academy-training program before being placed into one of the vacant county positions.

“You keep getting acceptance letters after each step,” said Trumbull County wildlife officer Hollie Fluharty. “You just wait by the mail.”

But the wait was worth it for the Hocking College and West Virginia University grad who majored in wildlife and fisheries resources. All applicants must have either a law-enforcement or wildlife related education.

“I have the greatest job,” Fluharty said.

A typical day in Trumbull County varies by the season. In the spring, Fluharty is busy checking fishermen for proper licenses, permits and practices. Other times she responds to calls for injured or abandoned animals.

Like the other 87 officers, she works mainly from her truck and makeshift office traveling to different hunting or fishing sites and talking with people in the field.

“Our schedules are great. Our hours based on what we need to do. We don’t clock in anywhere,” she said.

That’s one of the reasons the application process is so intense. Wildlife officers work on their own and have to be motivated, said Columbiana wildlife officer Scott Angelo. The region’s offices are in Akron, but officers don’t frequently report there.

“It’s not [like] a typical law-enforcement job would be, where you answer to a sergeant or lieutenant every day. You have a supervisor, but you have to decide what you’re going to do when you’re going to do it,” he said.

The hiring process also includes a polygraph test, a psychological exam, a criminal-background check, drug testing and extensive interviews with friends and neighbors.

“They want to get a feel for who you are,” Angelo said.

At the end of the process, those who are accepted will be placed in any Ohio county. After serving in that assigned position, officers can apply to move to other counties.

Like Fluharty, Angelo’s typical day varies. He takes wildlife surveys in his county checking for turkey or pheasant populations in an area in the spring. He makes sure fishermen aren’t littering in lakes and along shores. Some days he speaks at Rotary clubs. He works regularly with local law enforcement.

“You could be writing some guy a ticket and 15 minutes later going to a hunter-education course,” he said.

As a graduate of Ohio State University and Hocking College with associate and bachelor’s degrees in wildlife management, a love of the outdoors is what drew Angelo to the position.

“I grew up fishing and hunting,” he said. “I have that kind of love for the sport.”

Fluharty is one of two women in the state with her position but encourages other women to apply.

“I’ve never felt like I was at a disadvantage,” she said.

Ward-Tackett said starting salary for the positions is $35,000.

To apply, visit http://careers.ohio.gov/.


1lee(544 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

I thought the state was broke???

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2NoBS(2832 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

$35K per year to go be a cop and have to deal with things like armed drunks in the woods in the middle of nowhere, with no witnesses, or deal with packs of jerks on 4-wheelers, or other situations where they know if they need even one more wildlife officer for backup, they're hours away? For roughly $700/week (before taxes)?

You can have it.

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3MattMarzula(109 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

Yep. They can have it all day. Besides, this story briefs well. I know what these jerks really do. I see them sleeping all the time dreaming about being real cops. When they hear a motor rev or a gun shot they come flying up on you scaring all the game away and always find a way to fine you.

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4Bigben(1996 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago

They need to really work on stopping people from littering because the lakes are like garbage dumps.

These guys and gals need to catch the litter bugs and start fining them .Berlin all along the shores is a disgrace and I can only imagine what the bottom looks like. How about getting some trash bags and cleaning up?

I've done my share picking up the plastic bottles and recycling them.I also pick up my plastic shotgun shells instead of leaving them in the fields and woods.

Why don't they start including some litter control in their daily work? Beer bottles, plastic and all sorts of fishing crap and garbage left by fire pits-this has to stop.Wildlife officers start protecting the land and water too!

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5Lifes2Short(3882 comments)posted 5 years, 3 months ago


LOL that was great!

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