As the new state wildlife officer for Williams County, Ethan Bingham will have plenty of work to do.
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ wildlife officers have statewide authority to enforce wildlife regulations and protect state lands, waterways and property.
“There’s a lot of resources in Williams County,” said Bingham, who began his assignment in Williams County early last month after serving about a year as the wildlife officer in Seneca County. “Deer- and turkey-wise, there’s a lot.
“And there’s also roughly 3,000 acres of public hunting ground over which I have full jurisdiction, Lake La Su An Wildlife Area being the largest,” he said.
Bingham, 25, was raised in nearby Wauseon in Fulton County so moving to Williams County is a bit of a homecoming.
“I grew up hunting and fishing in Williams County a lot,” he said.
After graduating from Wauseon High School, Bingham earned his associate’s degree in wildlife resources management from Hocking College. Prior to the academy, Bingham served as a conservation worker for Fish Management in northwest Ohio.
As state law enforcement officers, 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, perform fish and wildlife management duties and advise landowners on dealing with wildlife. They are a point of contact with law enforcement and other agencies on topics of mutual interest, providing assistance and expertise.
Bingham said he and the rest of the ODNR are working to carry out important services while being mindful of COVID-19. State wildlife officers continue to do important wildlife work throughout the state and respond to calls when it is safe to do so and where social distancing expectations can be met. They are patrolling high-use areas and reaching out to many constituents electronically to answer questions and resolve issues.
“The biggest thing is just complying with the governor’s orders and practicing social distancing while still going out and patrolling,” he said.
Bingham’s supervisor, State Wildlife Officer Supervisor Troy Reimund, said ODNR was fortunate to have Bingham in northwest Ohio.
“Ethan is a hard worker with a great attitude and will serve the citizens of Williams County admirably,” he said.
Bingham said he’s looking forward to meeting local law enforcement officers in person as he continues to adjust to working in Williams County.