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Division of Wildlife Investigator Receives Prestigious National Award

Division of Wildlife Investigator Receives Prestigious National Award

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio Wildlife Investigator Kandy Klosterman received the 2022 Guy Bradley Award during the Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference on Wednesday, May 11, according to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife.

The Guy Bradley Award is presented to one state officer annually whose career demonstrates an outstanding lifetime contribution to wildlife law enforcement, wildlife forensics, or investigative techniques. This national award honors the memory of the first game warden to die in the line of duty while protecting our nation’s wildlife resources. Investigator Klosterman is the first Ohioan to receive the Guy Bradley Award.

Ohio Wildlife Investigator Kandy Klosterman.
Please credit the Division of Wildlife [Full resolution].

“We are all thrilled to see Kandy recognized with this prestigious national honor representing the wildlife law enforcement profession,” said Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker. “Her passion for protecting Ohio’s natural resources as well as supporting and furthering the involvement of women in wildlife conservation roles is unmatched.”
“I’m incredibly honored to have received such a significant and validating award,” Klosterman said. “To continue great work in natural resources and wildlife conservation, we must mentor those who follow in our footsteps, respect and depend on each other’s strengths, and appreciate the diversity within each individual.”

Investigator Klosterman receives the 2022 Guy Bradley Award during the Ohio Wildlife Diversity Conference on May 11 [Full Resolution].

Investigator Klosterman, from Celina, has served the Division of Wildlife and citizens of Ohio for 28 years. She began her career at Wolf Creek and Killbuck wildlife areas, assisting with the reintroduction of wild turkeys, river otters, and trumpeter swans. In 1998, she was accepted into the Wildlife Officer Academy with 14 male counterparts. She was promoted to Ohio’s first female wildlife investigator in 2001. During her career as an investigator, she worked on many high-profile cases, including:

  • Illegal purchasing and selling of sportfish at restaurants: A lengthy investigation revealed the illegal sale of sport-caught fish. Three restaurants were identified as purchasing fish, and five suspects were convicted on 17 counts of buying and selling walleye and white bass. This resulted in $16,434 in fines and restitution, 960 days in jail, and 16 years’ probation.
  • Illegal hunting guide service: An individual was guiding out-of-state hunters on property without permission. The suspects were indicted on 21 felonies and 14 misdemeanors, received a total of $10,582 in fines, 15 years’ probation, and a 15-year hunting license revocation. The main suspect was sentenced to 15 months in prison.
  • Illegal transportation of live white-tailed deer: Investigator Klosterman assisted on a case which resulted in the largest individual fines for a wildlife crime in U.S. history. Working closely with federal agencies, convictions resulted in fines of $1.67 million. The case involved the transportation of live deer with no documentation or health inspections.
  • Illegal venison sales: Investigator Klosterman led a search team in the largest deer investigation in Division of Wildlife agency history for the alleged poaching of 44 deer and sale of more than 3,000 pounds of venison within a two-year period. During the search, more than 80 deer mounts, 200 pounds of venison, a truck, and hunting implements were seized. The investigation led to 14 felony convictions and 17 misdemeanor convictions, resulting in $86,000 in restitution, $2,276 in fines, $5,089 in court costs, and 30 years of license revocations.

Investigator Klosterman is also an active leader and mentor for other officers, advocating for their mental and physical health as well as technical expertise. She has expanded her role to include outreach and cooperative efforts, especially for women, advocating for more diversity within the agency and engaging with these organizations:

  • Ohio Women’s Outdoor Adventures: This program introduces women of all ages to new outdoor skills such as fishing, hunting, archery, birding, and more. Investigator Klosterman teaches classes, and provides recipes, and demonstrates how to catch, clean, and cook fish.
  • Ruling Our Experiences (ROX): Founded in Columbus, ROX operates programs in more than 350 schools and community organizations throughout the U.S. The group’s mission is to create generations of confident girls. The program focuses on equipping girls with the skills needed to address and overcome challenges.
  • She’s a Force of Nature: This interactive webinar series highlighted different careers held by women at ODNR. Investigator Klosterman presented about her career as well as the job duties of a wildlife investigator.

The mission of the Division of Wildlife is to conserve and improve fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for sustainable use and appreciation by all. Visit wildohio.gov to find out more.

ODNR ensures a balance between wise use and protection of our natural resources for the benefit of all. Visit the ODNR website at ohiodnr.gov.