One of the hardest things about hunting is finding your prey.

But it’s a lot easier if you have a helicopter and infrared sensors, said Trumbull County Assistant Prosecutor Sean O’Brien.

Law enforcement took to the skies on Saturday in an effort to crack down on poachers who cross over from Pennsylvania and hunt illegally in Ohio after its deer season closes.

O’Brien flew in the helicopter on behalf of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Wildlife Division, helping coordinate air and ground teams and advising on what charges to file against poachers.

Agent Rick Cooley operated a Forward Looking Infrared Radar system, and the team used global positioning technology to keep an eye on the Ohio and Pennsylvania state lines. They flew the state line from Brookfield to Lake Erie and back again, O’Brien said.

“Officers on the ground would not be able to see 60 yards in dense woods,” he said, “but the helicopter and its sensors could see right through the heavy brush.”

On the return trip they spotted Ronald McClimans, 40, Jamestown, hunting with a rifle in Ohio, O’Brien said. A state Department of Wildlife agent on the ground used information provided from the helicopter to find and arrest McClimans.

McClimans is charged with hunting without a valid license and hunting deer by an illegal method. Several arrests were also made Saturday in Columbiana County, O’Brien said.

Allison said the investigation was conducted after numerous complaints made about poachers over the years. Arrests made last year prompted the state Department of Wildlife to invest in the helicopter and radar searches in the area, he said.

Recommended for you