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ODNR Division of Wildlife Introduces New K-9 Program

The Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) is proud to announce that the ODNR Division of Wildlife is joining more than 20 states in the adoption of a wildlife K-9 program.

One wildlife officer from each of Ohio’s five wildlife districts will become handlers in the program. These highly skilled K-9s are trained to detect hidden wild game such as white-tailed deer, turkey, waterfowl and fish, along with other non-game scents like ginseng and gun powder. They will also have the ability to track people and will be used to find lost hunters and people hunting without permission.

Beginning next week, three K-9s and the wildlife officer handlers will begin a 10-week training academy where they will master their skills. The program will be in line with the Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy standards for law enforcement K-9s in Ohio. The K-9s will also get advanced training in wildlife detection – finding wild animals and parts such as fish, deer, turkey, waterfowl and more.

The K-9s will also be friendly and socialized to participate in conservation programs and youth events, allowing people to meet them and ask questions about our newest law enforcement members.

The Karr-Aanestad family has started a foundation to help fund the program. In addition, several donors have made contributions to help start the program, including Whitetails Unlimited, Buckeye Big Buck Club, Safari Club International, Pheasants Forever, and National Wild Turkey Federation. Petland has donated food for the dogs. Several veterinary clinics are providing discounted services for the dogs including York Animal Hospital, Ohio Valley Animal Clinic, and Four Paws Animal Clinic. The ODNR Division of Wildlife would like to thank all of these donors and organizations for their support and commitment.

We look forward to our K-9 teams performing unique and highly visible roles in helping to accomplish the ODNR Division of Wildlife’s mission of conserving and improving fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all.