- Associated Press - Tuesday, July 28, 2015

July 28—Nathan Kaufmann had planned to become “some sort” of wildlife technician or marine biologist.

Kaufmann obviously loved the outdoors; he’d gone fishing during summers at his grandparents’ lake house in Maine from as young as he could remember.

He’d studied wildlife and natural resources management at Hocking College.

Kaufmann didn’t stray from the discipline he studied, but law enforcement entered the equation.

Following college, the 2002 Shelby High School graduate worked closely with a marine patrol. The different types of equipment patrol members used interested him. The more he worked, the more he wanted to pursue a field other than marine biology or wildlife.

Kaufmann is working in the scientific field and is also a peace officer enforcing wildlife laws.

Meet Huron County’s new state wildlife officer. He works under the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

Kaufmann replaces Josh Zientek, who was transferred back to his home of Fulton County.

As the county’s state wildlife officer, Kaufmann is responsible for enforcing wildlife laws on public lands and private property. For instance, a wildlife officer ensures people are adhering to bag and size limits while hunting and fishing. He’s also tasked with assisting law enforcement personnel as needed.

To attain his job, Kaufmann had to undergo an application process and peace officer training as well as wildlife officer training. Altogether, the training lasted several months.

He graduated a little more than a year ago and was assigned to an “at large” position. That meant he covered seven counties: Huron, Richland, Seneca, Hancock, Wyandot and Crawford. Kaufmann held that position for a year before being assigned to Huron County.

Kaufmann said he preferred to cover Huron County because his family members live in adjoining Richland County.

“I love my job,” Kaufmann said.

Why? He said he starts each day not knowing what he’ll encounter.

While he worked in the “at large” position, Kaufmann received a call about a wild turkey hanging around a couple of buildings and the animal was pestering senior citizens. Another officer captured the bird, which had an injured foot, and brought it to a rehabilitation facility in Wyandot County.

On another day, Kaufmann might get a call about a stationary raccoon. He advises people to “leave it alone and call us and let us know about it.”

You can’t take the raccoon even if it’s on your property, he said.

People might think the animal is either orphaned or its mother’s been killed. Most of the time, the raccoon is waiting for its mother to return, Kaufmann said.

That hypothetical raccoon might be stationary, but Kaufmann said that’s not the case with him when he’s working.

“My office is pretty much my truck,” he said.

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(c)2015 the Norwalk Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio)

Visit the Norwalk Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) at www.norwalkreflector.com

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