Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs and Collars — March 17, 2017
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• In the fall of 2016, state wildlife officer Matt Teders, assigned to Madison County, received several complaints about shots being fired and deer carcasses being dumped along a roadway. While patrolling the area one evening, officer Teders observed a car drive off a roadway and spotlight a field with both its headlights and a flashlight. Upon arriving at the vehicle to contact the driver, Officer Teders noticed a rifle and flashlight inside the vehicle. The driver admitted to looking for coyotes with the aid of an artificial light. The suspect was charged with jacklighting and subsequently pleaded guilty in Madison County Municipal Court. Judge Eric Schooley sentenced the suspect to pay $300 in fines and court costs, 90 days of jail suspended, 25 hours of community service, required the man take a gun safety course, and ordered him to forfeit the rifle to the DNR Division of Wildlife.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• In May 2016, state wildlife investigator Brian Bury, assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, noticed that a commercial fishing company was not tending to their trap nets as required. Commercial fishing nets must be lifted at least once every five days, so fish are harvested while they are still alive. Not lifting nets for an extended period causes some of the fish to die. This is especially detrimental for non-target species, such as walleyes, which are required to be released from the nets alive and unharmed. Further investigation revealed the company had purposely chosen to ignore the five-day lift law. The company was charged for not lifting numerous nets within five days, some of which were not lifted until day nine. They paid over $700 in fines and court costs. If they are charged and convicted again within the next year, they will face a 10-day commercial fishing license suspension.
• After the 2016 statewide deer gun season, state wildlife officer Eric VonAlmen, assigned to Wood County, received information on four deer tagging violations in Hancock County. Two unrelated persons were suspected of harvesting two antlered deer each during gun season and having a second person check one in. Further investigation revealed that one suspect had his wife check in the second deer, and the other suspect had his daughter check in the second deer. Both suspects received a citation for harvesting two antlered deer and providing false information during game check. Both were found guilty in Findlay Municipal Court, and were ordered to forfeit the deer and pay fines and court costs.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• While on patrol during the 2016 deer archery season, state wildlife officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, and state wildlife investigator Brett Barnes received a call from the Turn In a Poacher hotline regarding an individual who had possibly killed a deer after legal hunting hours. Using limited information given to the officers from the phone call, officers Porter and Barnes were able to determine the suspect’s address and attempted to speak with him. The suspect’s father answered the door and indicated that the suspect was not home but agreed to call his son on his cell phone. The suspect answered the call and agreed to meet with the officers at another location. During this meeting, the officers uncovered numerous wildlife violations spanning multiple years, including hunting after legal hunting hours, hunting without a valid hunting license or deer permit, and failure to game check a deer. The suspect’s crossbow and a five-point buck deer skull were seized as evidence. The suspect was charged and convicted in Jefferson County Court and paid $585 in fines and court costs. In addition, he received a 10-day jail sentence, six months supervised probation, and ordered to complete 25 hours of community service. His hunting privileges were also revoked for one year, and the bow and antlers were forfeited to the DNR Division of Wildlife.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• During the summer of 2016, the DNR Division of Wildlife received information anonymously from their TIP hotline about ginseng being harvested and sold out of season. The complainant suggested that three individuals were purchasing ginseng out of season, and the sellers of the ginseng were harvesting from both public and private property. State wildlife investigators from District 4 in southeast Ohio conducted an investigation throughout the summer. Later that summer, two of the suspects attempted to sell ginseng to a licensed dealer in front of investigators. The two men arrived and attempted to negotiate a price for 17.5 pounds of dry ginseng root before they were contacted and subsequently interviewed by the investigators. Further investigation revealed that the suspects had purchased the ginseng out of season. The ginseng was seized as evidence and the two men were issued summonses for buying ginseng during the closed season, and buying ginseng without a ginseng dealer permit. Both men pleaded guilty in Hocking County Municipal Court, and were ordered to pay $5,878 in fines and court costs. They each received 360 days of suspended jail time and were placed on probation for five years. During their probationary period, they cannot buy, harvest, or possess ginseng. The ginseng root was forfeited to the DNR Division of Wildlife.
• During the 2016 deer gun season, state wildlife officer supervisor Dan Perko and state wildlife officer Todd Stewart, assigned to Morgan County, were checking hunters for hunting licenses and deer permits. The officers came upon a man standing at the edge of a property wearing an orange stocking cap. When the man noticed the state vehicle, he went to the front of his truck and laid his gun against the bumper. The officers contacted the man, who stated he was coyote hunting and not deer hunting. Officer Perko retrieved the loaded rifle from the bumper and proceeded to check the man’s license and permits. The man was found to have multiple violations, including insufficient hunter orange. He was given four citations and paid more than $500 in fines and court costs.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• State wildlife officer Tim Rourke, assigned to Shelby County, recently responded to a complaint from a hunter who reported being harassed while attempting to deer hunt. The hunter said that a neighbor had come out of her house, approached the property line dividing her property from the one the was on, and yelled obscenities at him while he was in his treestand. Officer Rourke advised the hunter to remain in his treestand and continue hunting, but not to acknowledge the harassment or engage the individual. Upon arriving at the suspect’s residence, the homeowner conveyed concerns to officer Rourke that she believed the man was watching her in her home from his treestand. The female told officer Rourke that she approached the property line and screamed at the hunter in an attempt to get him down from the treestand and to leave the area. Officer Rourke explained to the woman that the hunter had not violated any laws or done anything unethical or irresponsible. Officer Rourke concluded his investigation and politely informed the woman that Ohio has a law to protect the rights of hunters who are in the act of legally hunting, and that acts intended to prevent them from hunting constituted hunter harassment, which is prohibited. The woman was cited for the violation, was found guilty, and paid $155 in fines and court costs.