Central Ohio – Wildlife District One
Wildlife Officer Supervisor Curtis Smith received a complaint from several concerned sportsman who discovered a caped deer carcass on their property line. The deer had been shot with a broadhead, the carcass had not been field dressed, and only the head and cape above the shoulders were removed. Blood and hair evidence allowed Officer Smith to back track the deer to a tree stand and kill site. Further investigation revealed the tree stand belonged to a Michigan hunter. With assistance from Wildlife Officer Adam Smith, a check was run of recent deer entered into the electronic deer/turkey check-in system. The system showed a recent harvest of a buck by a Michigan hunter matching the time frame of this kill. The man was located and interviewed in a nearby hunting lodge. He admitted shooting the buck several days before and pursuing the deer onto the neighboring property without permission of the landowner. By the time the man discovered the deer, warm temperatures and coyotes had ruined the meat, so he tagged the deer and removed only the head. The hunter was issued a summons for hunting deer without written permission of the landowner and appeared in the Bellefontaine Municipal Court. He was fined $350 plus $76.50 in court costs.
Champaign County Wildlife Officer Jeff Tipton received a phone call on a Sunday morning from the Champaign County Dispatch Center about three men who were hunting without permission on a property near West Liberty. The son of the landowner was hunting from a tree stand that morning when the men walked in on him. While Tipton was in route to the scene, two deputies were close by and also responded to the call. When Tipton arrived, Deputy Niven Jester had already made contact with the hunters, and it was found they entered the property without permission from the landowner. Officer Tipton issued a citation to each man for hunting without permission, and they each paid a $175 bond in the Champaign County Municipal Court. Thank you to Deputy Jester and Deputy Ervin for their assistance on the call.
On the second day of the youth deer gun weekend, Wildlife Officer Justus Nethero spotted a lone hunter along a tree line. As Officer Nethero walked out to check the hunter, he was actively scanning the area looking for another person. The only other people he saw were two men farming a corn field, 1/4 of a mile away. Upon contact Officer Nethero found out the hunter was a 15-year-old boy. The officer inquired where the adult responsible for him was, the youth stated that his father and grandfather were combining fields nearby. Nethero told the youth that they needed to go talk to his father. Nethero’s conversation with the young hunter revealed that he did not have adequate knowledge of the hunting laws. When they reached the boy’s father and grandfather, Nethero found that the adults also had little knowledge of the youth season hunting laws. The father was issued a citation for leaving a youth unaccompanied during youth deer gun season.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District Two
Last summer, wildlife officers Reid Van Cleve and Josh Zientek were working in an Ottawa County private marina. The two officers were working a particular marina because of a high number of violations that had been occurring in the area. The officers noticed a boat with a single occupant arrive in the marina. The fisherman tied his boat up to the dock but never unloaded it. The officers checked several other boats before making contact with the single fisherman. Officer Van Cleve approached the individual, identified himself and asked how the fishing had been. The fisherman stated that it was pretty good. Van Cleve asked if he had gotten his limit and the fisherman replied that he had. Officer Van Cleve proceeded to count the walleye and discovered the fisherman had seven walleye, one over his daily limit. When the officer informed the man, the fisherman made several attempts to deceive the officer. Finally, the man admitted he had made a mistake. He was issued a citation for the offense and paid a waiver to the Ottawa County Municipal Court.
Wildlife Officer Troy Reimund was patrolling the Maumee River in Defiance County when he observed a man wading in the river carrying a plastic bag. The officer had a suspicion that the man was illegally collecting freshwater mussels. As the officer moved into position to observe the subject, he noticed a young boy and another man fishing near the shore. The officer contacted the man with the bag and found him to be in possession of 18 freshwater mussels. The officer addressed the violations and inquired about the man and young boy who were fishing nearby. The suspect told the officer the boy was his son but he did not know the man. The officer then asked him where his son had disappeared to. The man pointed to a vehicle in the parking lot. The officer approached the vehicle and found the boy and the man who had been fishing hiding in the vehicle. Both men spoke very broken English so the boy did his best to translate for them. The man did not have a fishing license and was only able to produce identification from Mexico. Since the fisherman was not a U.S. resident, he was escorted to the Defiance County Sheriff’s Office where he was required to post a bond for fishing without a license.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District Three
On the opening day of waterfowl season, Trumbull County Wildlife Officer Hollie Fluharty received a call from Turn In A Poacher informing her that a trumpeter swan had been killed near the Shenango Wildlife Area. She contacted the informant, who indicated that the hunter shot the swan mistaking it for a Canada goose. Following the investigation, the man was charged with taking a non-game bird, a state threatened species.
The fall perch bite was strong throughout the central basin this year. Limits were common and ramps crowded when the weather cooperated. On a late fall morning, Geauga County Wildlife Officer Scott Denamen was conducting sport fishing enforcement in the Geneva State Park area. One of the first boats to return to the dock was a charter full of satisfied fishermen, each of them having caught their limit of yellow perch. Officer Denamen congratulated them on their catch and began checking for valid fishing licenses. One of the men did not produce a license as eagerly as the others. When asked if he had a fishing license the man replied no. He told Officer Denamen that he had “Only been fishing one other time and just didn’t get one.” He was issued a summons for fishing without a license and his limit of 30 perch was seized.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District Four
Scioto County Wildlife Officer Matt Clark received a call about a trapped owl. The owl was in the top of a church clock tower that was built in the 1800’s. A concerned contractor that was helping to do some repairs on the tower called and described the owl to Officer Clark. After hearing the description of the owl, Clark responded to the scene and climbed into the top of the clock tower. His suspicions were correct when he discovered it was barn owl, a state threatened species. Officer Clark was able to capture the bird and release it outside without injury.
Wildlife officers Eric Lane and Todd Stewart were working a high-use section of the American Electric Power Agreement Area. Their work included checking fishing licenses, watching for litter, and checking the area for vehicles in non-designated areas. As the officers checked the area near Campsite C, they came upon three separate watercrafts on the lake. The officers had the boats come to the shore to check for fishing licenses and to see if there were wearable life jackets for each person on board. Both subjects had fishing licenses and life jackets in the first boat. The second boat, occupied with three people, had only two life jackets and a throw cushion. The operator of the craft received a citation for the life jacket violation. The third boat, occupied with two subjects, had no life jackets and neither subject had a fishing license. The operator was given two citations and the second person was cited for no license. The officers issued four citations during the small project, with fines and costs totaling more than $450.
Wildlife officers worked a jacklighting enforcement project in Vinton County in November. The project was initiated to arrest poachers illegally killing deer at night. Aircraft was used to assist the officers with surveillance. Around midnight, Investigator Travis Abele observed a suspicious vehicle driving slow past some agricultural fields. The investigator contacted the Officers in the aircraft and requested they watch this vehicle. A few minutes later, the investigator received communication from the observers in the aircraft that the driver of the vehicle was headlighting fields near the investigator’s location. The driver of the vehicle made it to a residence before the investigator could make the stop. The investigator was directed to the residence with the assistance of the aircraft. The driver of the vehicle was found hiding behind the residence possessing a .22 magnum rifle. Further investigation revealed the subject jacklighted and killed a deer. The subject took the investigator down the road and they located the dead deer lying in a picked corn field. The offender was charged with jacklighting, hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, and taking a deer with a rifle. All evidence was seized and the case is pending in the Vinton County Court.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District Five
In July 2011, Riverside Police Department responded to a report of shots being fired on property owned by Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The officers apprehended two individuals. One was carrying a 7 mm rifle and the other had a 12-gauge shotgun. Wright Patterson Security Forces were contacted and the two men were taken in for questioning. Further investigation revealed both men were on the property and they stated that they were “target practicing.” The next day, Security Forces Officer Sgt. Vanderhorst and others returned to the area. They discovered three poached deer, one buck and two does. Sgt. Vanderhorst contacted Wildlife Officer Matt Hunt for assistance. Hunt and Vanderhorst dissected the deer looking for evidence. A 12-gauge slug was recovered from one deer, and bullet fragments recovered from another. The suspects were interviewed again by Wright-Patterson personnel. Further investigation revealed the suspects shot the deer for fresh meat. Both men appeared before the federal magistrate. They were found guilty of trespassing on federal property, discharge of a firearm on federal property, and hunting out of season. Both men were fined $500 and received one year of probation.
State Wildlife Officer Matt Hoehn received a Turn In A Poacher complaint in October about a man possessing bass over the limit in the Auglaize River. Officer Hoehn watched the man fish for several minutes. As he made contact, it was apparent that the man could not speak English. As Officer Hoehn counted six bass and explaining the bag limit, the man picked one out of the bucket and threw it into the water before Officer Hoehn could say stop. The man received a citation and a warning for throwing the fish in. He paid $105 in fines.
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