Sunday, March 16, 2014

Do I need a permit for that?

By guest writer, Melissa Moser, Permit Coordinator, Ohio Division of Wildlife

Inspiring a child to enjoy and respect wildlife is an important endeavor. Wildlife education continues throughout our lives as we build upon our childhood experiences. Many of us have good intentions when we decide to use a wild animal, either alive or dead, to teach another person an important lesson. What you may not have considered, is how that animal is protected in the state of Ohio.
box turtle

The Ohio Division of Wildlife’s mission is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. We are tasked with holding in trust the wild animals of the state for the benefit of all Ohioans. Wild animals, as defined by ORC 1531.01, include mollusks, crustaceans, aquatic insects, fish, reptiles, amphibians, wild birds, wild quadrupeds and all other wild mammals except domestic deer. This means that these animals may not be taken, collected, or possessed unless you have specific permission to do so. Further restrictions apply to certain species of reptiles and amphibians and to those species considered endangered. 

Because wildlife education is so important, the Division has developed a permit that allows qualified people to possess and use wild animals for educational purposes.  A qualified person must represent an educational institution, public agency (SWCD, Metro Parks, etc.), educational or conservation organization, or licensed rehabilitator. The permit is a mechanism to allow educators to possess Ohio native wild animals, conduct monitoring projects, and may be used for both live and dead specimens. Possession of migratory birds or their parts requires both an Ohio Division of Wildlife permit and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Permit.

Keep in mind, you may use animals that are legally acquired without an education permit. These include fish, minnows, crawfish, and hellgrammites obtained using legal methods (rod,
minnow traps or small seine) with a fishing license. Legally acquired hides, skulls and bones of game species and legally acquired feathers and parts of game birds may also be used without an additional permit. 

To obtain an Education Permit, you must fill out an application (DNR 8953) and submit a payment of $25/year. The permit cycle runs through March 15th annually. All Education Permit holders are required to submit an annual report of their activities. This includes an inventory of the animals they have in their possession as well as a summary of what activities they have used their permit for over the course of the past year. To get a copy of the application or if you have questions, feel free to contact the Permit Coordinator, Melissa Moser at or 1-800-WILDLIFE.