AEP, Ohio Division of Wildlife Cracking Down on Hunting Without Permission

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American Electric Power (AEP) is a long-standing partner in the effort to provide hunters with more access to lands on which they can pursue their pastime. While approximately 90,000 acres of land are currently open to sportsmen and women, not all AEP properties are open to the public, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR), Division of Wildlife.

“The name AEP has become synonymous with public land in southeastern Ohio, but not all the land they own is open for public hunting,” stated District Four Law Enforcement Supervisor Tom Donnelly. “Hunters need to confirm that the AEP property they plan to hunt is open. Hunting without permission on AEP’s private properties has rarely been enforced, but that will change this year.”

Many hunters have been using the private AEP properties for years with no repercussions, but that will no longer be the case. As a result of increased illegal activity on these private properties, AEP’s land management section has asked the Division of Wildlife to begin enforcing hunting without permission. Many of these private properties are in lease agreements with private hunting clubs, or with farmers for agricultural practices.

“AEP requires their lease holders to purchase liability insurance and enter into a written contract,” stated Brian Cox, a forester with AEP’s land management section. “This is a relatively new process, and local sportsmen who have accessed these properties in the past should consider them equivalent to any other piece of privately-owned property.”

None of the public AEP properties are affected by this increase in enforcement, and sportsmen and women who have been legally hunting these areas will not see any change. All persons interested in recreational activities on any public AEP properties must still obtain a free lifetime permit which can be found at various locations including the ODNR Division of Wildlife District 4 Office in Athens, or at www.aep.com/environmental/recreation. The AEP permit is valid at the following areas: The ReCreation Lands, Poston Plant lands, Avondale Wildlife Area, Gavin Wildlife Area, and Conesville Coal Lands. These properties total approximately 90,000 acres and spread through Athens, Coshocton, Gallia, Meigs, Morgan, Muskingum, Noble, and Perry Counties. ATV’s are not allowed on the areas, and many of the same rules apply as when hunting on ODNR owned lands.

In Ohio, hunting without permission is a misdemeanor of the third degree on the first offense, with a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and up to 60 days in jail. Any subsequent hunting without permission offenses would be charged as misdemeanors of the second degree with a maximum penalty of a $750 fine and up to 90 days in jail.

Anyone observing or suspecting that wildlife violations are occurring may report illegal activity by calling the Turn-In-A-Poacher (TIP) hotline toll free at 1-800-POACHER.

The ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR Web site at www.ohiodnr.com.

Comments

Retired2hunt's picture

  AEP has cooperated and has

 

AEP has cooperated and has been a partner with the Ohio DNR for a very long time.  The vast amount of acreage that the AEP has offered the Ohio hunters a great deal of excellent hunting lands for Ohio hunters to enjoy.  Unfortunately it is those law-breaking individuals that have created this focus on the illegal hunting on those AEP lands not apporpriated for legal hunting.  Bottom line is the Ohio hunters must know the legal places to hunt for harvesting their great amount of nice bucks and does.

 

numbnutz's picture

It's very important to know

It's very important to know where your hunting and also get permission if needed. I have some private timber land that i hunt on out heree in Oregon. They do allow public access for hunting and other recreational use. It's just important to fallow their rules so the public access doesn't get revoked. There are a few other properties that do not allow acess and others that you have to pay an annual fee and get a permit to use. People just need to be happy with the access they have and respect the property owners wishes and demands. If it's not open to the public than you just need to fallow the rules and stay out or face fines and possible jail time. Out here if you get in trouble on most privat timber land then you loose your privlidge to use the land forever. Just remeber to know where your at and that you have permission to be there. Good luck to all hunting this fall and be safe.

SGM's picture

Get permmission.

What part of getting permission to hunt private property do these folks not understand? It is your responsiblity as a hunter to get the permission and know your area/boundry. Again as with most of these stories, I bet it is a very small percent of folks doing this. Problem is we are all lumped together into the hunting community so we all look bad together.

hunter25's picture

It's too bad that guys can't

It's too bad that guys can't be happy with what they get but always try to sneek a little more out if it. Liability is a big concern so I can definately understand the situation. Where I rgew up a lot of land was open for hunting that was owned by logging or mining companies but I'm not sure if they still are or not. Anyway by trying to get a little more it's posible that these companies will end up closing all of thier lands off and leave a lot of guys that obeyed the rules with the loss of thier hunting stands of generations.