Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs and Collars — March 3, 2017

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• While on patrol at Rush Creek Lake Wildlife Area, state wildlife officer Tony Zerkle, assigned to Fairfield County, contacted a group of waterfowl hunters. Two hunters in the group did not have valid state and federal wetland stamps for waterfowl hunting, and were issued summonses by officer Zerkle. While speaking with the hunters, officer Zerkle observed a boat coming toward the ramp. The boat appeared to have a very large motor in operation and the lake is restricted to 10 horsepower. Once he finished speaking with the two hunters, officer Zerkle contacted the operator of the vessel who was operating a 50-horsepower motor. Officer Zerkle pointed out the 10-horsepower limit sign and issued a summons for the violation. The three violators were summoned to Fairfield County Municipal Court and pleaded guilty. They paid a total of $495 in fines and court costs.

• During the 2016 deer gun season state wildlife officer Josh Shields, assigned to Union County, received a complaint from a landowner regarding someone hunting without permission. The landowner was new to the area, but noticed a hunting blind had recently been placed on his property. Further investigation revealed two suspects who were identified to have illegally taken deer. During the course of the investigation, both suspects admitted to taking deer without the written permission of the landowner. The two hunters were charged with hunting on the lands of another without first obtaining written permission. Both were found guilty in Marysville Municipal Court and were ordered to pay $300 in fines and court costs. Hunters are reminded to annually check with property owners and lease agreements, and always get permission before hunting.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• During deer archery season, state wildlife officer Brad Buening, assigned to Van Wert County, investigated a deer poaching case started by an anonymous tip to the Turn In a Poacher hotline, which alleged a hunter was shooting at deer with a firearm during the archery season. Officer Buening investigated the scene and discovered several items that helped identify a suspect. Further investigation revealed the individual had shot a doe with a shotgun and tried to hide the carcass from officers. Officer Buening issued four citations to the individual for hunting without a license, hunting without a valid deer permit, hunting with an unlawful implement, and failing to check the deer. The individual was subsequently found guilty on all charges in Van Wert Municipal Court, and was ordered to pay $900 in fines and court costs.

• During the statewide deer gun season, state wildlife officer Anthony Lemle, assigned to Williams County, was on patrol when he noticed a subject not wearing any hunter orange while sitting in a treestand. While walking toward the treestand, officer Lemle watched as the hunter pulled an orange vest out of a backpack and put it on. Further investigation revealed that the hunter was deer hunting and that he had not been wearing his hunter orange vest while in the treestand that morning. The hunter was cited for not wearing hunter orange, found guilty in court, and ordered to pay $125 in fines and court costs.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

• During the fall of 2016, state wildlife officer Randy White, assigned to Lorain County, state wildlife officer Brennan Earick, assigned to Ashland County, and state wildlife officer supervisor Dave Shinko were working a project targeting hunters who have been hunting pheasants using illegal methods. At one location where officers had been receiving complaints, officer White observed two people walking down a roadway carrying guns and dressed in hunter orange. The duo spotted a pheasant and shot it multiple times from the roadway. One of the suspects ran onto the complainant’s property to retrieve the pheasant. As the other officers arrived on scene, the hunter immediately threw his loaded shotgun into the weeds. The two men were issued four summonses and released. Less than one hour later, officer White observed a suspect driving down the road until the suspect spotted a pheasant. The man quickly parked his truck, retrieved his shotgun, and fired one shot from the road. The suspect looked around, observed an officer’s truck approaching, and quickly trotted off into the woods. Officer Earick and officer Shinko caught up to the suspect and issued him two summonses. All three individuals appeared in court, were convicted, and paid over $750 in fines and court costs.

• During the 2016 deer archery season, state wildlife officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, received a call from a landowner regarding hunters on his property without permission. Upon arriving at the scene, officer Porter located the suspect. Through the course of the investigation, officer Porter was able to locate the tree on the complainant’s property that the suspect had ascended using a climbing style treestand. The man was subsequently charged with hunting without permission and later convicted in a Jefferson County court. The man paid $585 in fines and court costs, received six months supervised probation, and was ordered to complete 25 hours of community service.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

• While on patrol during the statewide extra deer gun weekend, state wildlife officer Chris Dodge, assigned to Hocking County, and state wildlife officer supervisor Dan Perko observed three men dressed in hunter orange riding on a UTV. As the men approached a county road, the officers made contact. The men were from West Virginia, and one of the men had a loaded shotgun on the UTV. Another member of the hunting party claimed that he was just the driver and was not hunting. Officer Perko eventually located a shotgun hidden by the suspect who claimed he wasn’t hunting. Further investigation also revealed the man was hunting without a valid license or deer permit and using a shotgun loaded with five slugs. Only one of the three men was in compliance with Ohio hunting laws. One man was issued a summons for possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle, and another was issued summonses for hunting without a license, hunting without a deer permit, and hunting with a shotgun loaded with more than three slugs. The men paid a combined $632 in fines and court costs.

• State wildlife investigator Heath Horn and state wildlife officer Matt VanCleve, assigned to Pike County, received a complaint during the 2016 deer gun hunting season from a hunter stating that someone was hunting without permission on land he leased. Investigator Horn and officer VanCleve contacted the suspect as he was coming out of the woods. The suspect was carrying a rifle and not wearing any hunter orange. The man said that his family member had shot a deer, and he was tracking the deer and carrying a rifle to protect himself. Officer VanCleve explained that tracking a deer while possessing a rifle is illegal and you cannot enter private property without the landowner’s permission. The man also did not have a valid deer permit. The suspect was issued a summons for the violations. He appeared in a Pike County court and pleaded no contest. The man was ordered to pay $450 and court costs. The firearm was forfeited to the DNR Division of Wildlife.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

• In November 2016, state wildlife officer Ryan Schock, assigned to Hamilton County, received a phone call from a member of a local sportsman’s club who teaches concealed carry firearms classes. The caller informed officer Schock that someone had been stealing and defacing his signs that advertise his concealed carry classes. The caller then informed officer Schock about a video on the internet showing someone destroying one of the signs and throwing it into the Great Miami River. Officer Schock watched the video and subsequently made contact with the man in the video. Officer Schock informed the suspect of a stream litter investigation and referred to the video. The suspect admitted to littering and was issued a summons. The case is currently pending in Hamilton County Municipal Court. The maximum penalty for the charge is 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

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