Alright, alright, we'll get one thing out of the way up front: Any passionate outdoorsman or woman would love to get paid to hunt whitetail. It'd be the definition of living the dream. Heck, there are a fair few folks out there that very much do get to enjoy such a privilege—and yes, the editors of American Hunter and AmericanHunter.org are occasionally among them.
That all said, there's a difference between being fortunate enough to have a job that allows such perks and swindling your employer—and the tax payers—in the process. And, according to a report from The Columbus Dispatch, 18 state of Ohio employees are being investigated for allegedly doing just that.
Reports say that the Ohio Inspector General is investigation 18 state wildlife employees for allegedly hunting deer while on duty. The inspector general's office said in a statement that the timekeeping records for 18 wildlife employees "contained conflicting information which showed wrongful activity: either the employee was on-duty while engaged in deer hunting activities, or off-duty and falsifying work record to obtain pay they were not entitled to receive."
The investigation was originally opened in 2012, when two of the states wildlife officers let themselves get photographed (alongside other hunters) with deer that they'd apparently harvested. Both men were allegedly still partly in uniform, to boot. Their submitted time cards claimed that they'd been working, not hunting, on the day in question. Well done, guys.
The incident prompted the inspector general's office to look into the state's harvest reports, and more than a few wildlife officers seemed to have been calling in a fresh harvest of their own while they were also allegedly clocked in at the office.
Officers who may wind up facing charges have been re-assigned to administrative duties, the Dispatch reports, until further investigation has taken place. Criminal charges could be possible once everything's brought to light.
As I've noted in my poacher posts, crooks typically aren't the sharpest tools in the shed—they did wind up becoming criminals, after all. So, should any of these wildlife officers be found guilty because they didn't realize they were quite literally leaving a paper trail of their misdeeds... I wouldn't be very surprised.