Special to 1831Galion from ODNR

A photo of a majestic great blue heron gliding low over the water took the top spot in this year’s Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) Division of Wildlife photo contest. More than 1,500 photos from across the Buckeye State were submitted. Winners of six categories were also chosen.

“Capturing amazing wildlife and outdoor recreation moments can be an exciting challenge and brings out the artist in us all,” Division of Wildlife Chief Kendra Wecker said. “Congratulations to all the winners and thank you to everyone who submitted a photo to our first annual photo contest.”

The Best in Show photograph was captured in Adams County and featured a picturesque moment as a great blue heron flew with wings spread wide just above the surface of the water while its striking reflection stood out below. The photo was captured by David Bowie, from Adams County.

The winners of each category and the best in show were voted on by a panel of Division of Wildlife employees. These seven winning photographs were displayed at the Natural Resources Park at the Ohio State Fairgrounds.

In the Wildlife Watching category, Kelley Hughes, from Washington County, snapped a photo of an adorable moment when a red fox kit peered out of its den, raising its glossy brown eyes.

The winning photograph in Pursuit of the Harvest, taken by Brian O’Neil, from Clermont County, captured a misty shoreline with a waterfowl hunter and dog silhouetted on a boat.

A photo of a female trumpeter swan spreading her wings over her cygnets amidst a lush green wetland took the top spot in Birds and Birding. The photo was taken by Tony Everhardt, from Wood County.

Kyle Iwanicki, from Toledo, encapsulated the Art of Fishing with his photo of an angler loaded with gear wading through shallow water just off the shore.

Rebecca Davis, from Ottawa County, won the Wildlife in Habitat category with her picture of an excellently camouflaged short-eared owl gazing into the camera lens from its perch on a hillside of yellow grass.

Finally, the Wildlife…Gone Wild winning photo was captured by Tony Everhardt for his second win. The photo depicts a red-tailed hawk tilting its head and looking into the camera with its mouth agape.