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Legal questions about picking up deer and fishing licenses in Ohio

Dear Lawyer Mark: I need you to clear up an argument for me. I was driving out Route 93 this past weekend and it was pretty late. It was also foggy and I could barely see.

As I was coming around a curve, two deer ran out in front of me. Although I tried to swerve and miss them, I hit one of them. I was going at least 50 mph, so the deer was obviously dead.

My wife wouldn’t let me stop the truck to pick it up because she said that it was illegal.

I said it’s okay. Is it? — ARGUIN’ IN PEDRO

Dear Too Late: The answer to your question is no, it is not illegal to take possession of a deer that you have hit on the road. However, you must report it within 24 hours to a wildlife officer or other law enforcement officer.

Ohio has a statute that deals with your question. Ohio Revised Code Section 1533.121 provides that a driver who hits a deer on the road may take possession of it. There is a condition to this right — you must report it to a wildlife or law enforcement officer. Once you report it, the officer will do a brief investigation to determine whether the deer was killed as you have stated. At that point, the officer will issue a certificate entitling you to possession of the deer.

The law also provides for what you may do with the meat. It is to be consumed by the driver, his immediate family or donated to charity.

Dear Lawyer Mark: I usually don’t get a fishing license but this year, I’ve decided to play by the rules. Can you give me any information about what I have to do to get one? Also, I live on the river, so do I need a license to fish from the bank on my own land? — FISHING ON FIRST STREET

Dear Fishing: It is simple to get a fishing license. Most fishing supply stores sell them. All you need to do is take your driver’s license and  to pay the fee. The fee is not much, $19 in Ohio.

As far as fishing on your own property, you will need a license for that too. It is possible to fish in privately owned waters such as ponds and lakes. However, a license is required if you wish to fish in waters that fish can migrate in and through — even though you would be fishing from your private property.

Thought for the week: “Doing nothing is doing evil.” — Ancient Proverb

It’s The Law is written by attorney Mark K. McCown in response to legal questions received by him. If you have a question, please forward it to Mark K. McCown, 311 Park Avenue, Ironton, Ohio 45638, or e-mail it to him at LawyerMark@yahoo.com. The right to condense and/or edit all questions is reserved.