Ohio Cuffs and Collars - February 15th, 2013
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• The night before the second weekend of shotgun season, Wildlife Officer John Coffman saw a pickup truck parked on a dead end road. The truck pulled into an adjacent field and the driver used the vehicle’s lights to illuminate several deer. Coffman stopped the vehicle. He discovered that the three occupants were from out of state and were in the area for the upcoming gun season. Upon searching the vehicle, Coffman found a 12-gauge shotgun and deer slugs. The driver of the vehicle was issued a summons for jacklighting deer; he was convicted and fined $230.
• On Saturday of muzzleloader season, state Wildlife Officer Brad Kiger received a tip from 1-800-POACHER concerning a hunter that killed a deer with a muzzleloader on Thursday. Kiger and Officer Matt Teders went to the reported location and found two sets of drag marks leading to a barn, where the deer were loaded into a vehicle. After checking with the landowner and several other people, a name, a description of the vehicle, and general location of the hunter’s house were discovered. Kiger and Teders visited the hunter, who denied being on the property or even hunting. After a short discussion and pointing out the blood on the driveway, the hunter stated that he thought muzzleloader season came in on Thursday, but later found out that it came in on Saturday. The man stated that he just returned home from trying to check the deer but was unsuccessful. Finally, the hunter took Kiger and Teders to the pole barn behind his house, where two untagged deer were both hanging. The hunter stated that he shot both deer on Thursday. Further investigation revealed that the hunter did not have a hunting license or deer permit. Both deer were taken into evidence and hunter was issued a citation for no hunting license, no deer permit, and failure to check the deer, and hunting deer in a closed season. The man was found guilty; he received $835 in fines, court costs, and restitution for the deer. The man also lost his hunting rights for one year and both deer were ordered to be given to Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• During the youth deer gun season, state Wildlife Officer Scott Sharpe, assigned to Hancock County, received a call from an individual who noticed two youth hunters by themselves as the adult was “driving” a section of woods. Sharpe responded to the call and could see two youth hunters sitting in two different locations by themselves. Sharpe watched as the adult who was accompanying them walked away in a different direction. As Sharpe contacted the first youth hunter, he heard seven shots come from the adjacent property, relatively close to where he was standing. He watched several deer exit that wooded section. Sharpe asked the youth where their vehicle was parked. The young man stated that he was staying at the house at the edge of the field. Sharpe informed the youth that he would be back and went to the next property to contact the second hunter. Sharpe discovered that the second hunter was even younger than the hunter he had just contacted. He asked the youth who he was hunting with. The boy stated that he was hunting with his dad. Sharpe asked where the young hunter’s dad was. The youth indicated that he was in the adjacent woods and pointed about a quarter-mile to the west. Sharpe asked the youth for his dad’s cellphone number and called the father. As Sharpe and the youth hunter started to walk across the field, Sharpe realized that there were several other youth hunters in this group, none of which were properly accompanied by an adult. The one adult who was accompanying the youth hunters had more than the allowed two youth hunters per adult. Sharpe spoke with the group of hunters and it became apparent that this was not a case of ignorance of the law; rather, these individuals chose to break the law. Sharpe cited two of the adults for failing to accompany youth hunters during the youth firearm season. The individuals paid a waiver of $115 dollars each.
• On Veteran’s Day, state Wildlife Officer Bob Radcliff, field supervisor for Unit A, was patrolling Williams County. Around 8:30 a.m., ODNR dispatch sent out a call for an officer in the Williams County area. The dispatcher passed along the name and cellphone number of a concerned bowhunter. Radcliff contacted the individual who advised him that a group of men were out waterfowl hunting. In addition, the group had also waterfowl hunted at that same location the previous evening. Waterfowl season was not open in Williams County at that time. State Wildlife Officer Robert Wolfrum, assigned to Fulton County, heard the radio traffic and called Radcliff to inquire if assistance could be offered. Radcliff passed along the information and location of the waterfowl hunters. Radcliff arrived first and made contact with four men in lay-out blinds in a picked corn field. The hunters had three dead Canada geese and, upon inquiry, said that two men had hunted the prior evening and killed four ducks. Wolfrum arrived on the scene as Radcliff led the four hunters out of the field. The hunters had mistaken the opening dates of the North Zone with the Lake Erie Marsh Zone, which opened Nov. 10. The officers took down the hunters’ personal information and checked their licenses, permits and shotguns. The officers then compared notes in order to decide how to proceed. One of the men was from the area and properly licensed. He was issued a summons for hunting waterfowl during a closed season. The other three hunters were Michigan residents, only one of which had a nonresident hunting license and Ohio wetland stamp. These men were required to post a $400 bond prior to release from custody. A total of five additional summonses were issued to the three Michigan hunters. In order to make their bond, the men called a friend who, as it turned out, was the second man who hunted the previous evening. He was also issued a summons for hunting waterfowl during the closed season. In total, this cost the five men $875.
• State Wildlife Officer Jason Parr was recently working deer enforcement in Crawford County during the statewide deer gun season. As Parr traveled down the road, he observed a truck parked along the edge of the roadway. The parked vehicle was far away from Parr. Leaning on the bed of the truck were three hunters, all dressed in hunter orange, who appeared to be socializing with one another. As Parr got closer, he observed a dead deer lying right next to the side of the vehicle. As Parr slowed down to stop, the hunter standing next to the deer bent down over the deer. Parr recognized what the hunter was doing. Parr quickly exited his vehicle and approached the hunter just as the man began to fill out his temporary deer permit for the button buck he had harvested. Parr could clearly see a drag trail across the field that led right to where the deer was laying. Parr inquired why the temporary deer permit had not been placed on the deer where it fell, as the law requires. The hunter replied "I just shot the deer a short distance away." Parr recalled that he had issued this man a summons a few years ago for hunting deer with an unplugged shotgun. A summons was issued to the hunter for failing to immediately attach a validated temporary deer permit to the deer where it fell. The hunter pleaded guilty and paid $139 in fines and court costs.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• While working during the statewide deer gun season, Ashland County Wildlife Officer Brennan Earick received a complaint of an individual who had several untagged deer hanging in a barn. Earick and Investigator Banbury responded to the area. Throughout the course of the investigation, the officers learned that two individuals were responsible for illegally harvesting four deer. The officers recovered all four deer; one buck and three does. It was also discovered that the individual responsible for illegally harvesting the three antlerless deer had several prior wildlife convictions involving the taking of deer during the closed season and spotlighting. Both individuals involved were cited into Ashland Municipal Court and pleaded guilty to all of the wildlife offenses. The individual who had illegally harvested the three antlerless deer was sentenced to 120 days in jail, $1,224 in fines and court costs, $750 in restitution, and also received a 12-year hunting license suspension. The individual who illegally harvested the buck was sentenced to $474 in fines and costs, $500 restitution, 60 days in jail as well as a three-year hunting license suspension. Both individuals were also placed on probation for one year.
• During Ohio’s 2012 deer gun season, Stark County Wildlife Officer Mark Basinger contacted a hunter who had harvested a button buck. The deer was harvested in Noble County on the first day of the gun season but had not been game checked until several days later. The hunter had provided false information when the deer was finally checked in. The investigation led to a buck, which was also checked illegally using falsified records. Charges are pending in two separate courts. This is one of several good cases that have been developed and prosecuted using Ohio’s electronic game check system.
• Carroll County Wildlife Officer Dan Shroyer received a complaint of trapping without permission on private property north of Carrollton. When he arrived at the residence, the landowner showed him the trap which was found on his farm. He stated that he left the dead raccoon, which was in the trap in the woods. He also indicated that the trap was not attached to the ground or any vegetation. Shroyer inspected the trap and found a tag with the trapper’s information on it. He contacted Investigator Barnes, who was working in the area near the trapper’s residence. Barnes contacted the man, who showed him a permission slip for an adjacent property where the trap and raccoon were found. The trapper also stated that one of his traps was missing and had no idea how the trap had become detached from its stake. Barnes inspected the man’s licenses and permits and determined no violation had occurred. The trap was later returned.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• During the recent muzzleloader season, state Wildlife Officer Bob Nelson received a call from the Ross County Sheriff’s Office reporting that there were numerous ATVs being illegally driven on Kinnikinnick Wildlife Area. Nelson was at Ross Lake Wildlife Area at the time of the call and responded to the complaint. Upon arrival, Officer Nelson stopped the five ATVs. The five riders were compliant and all received summonses for operating a motor vehicle in a non-designated area.
• During the deer gun season, Wildlife Officer Darin Abbott and Officer Luke Johnson of the U.S. Forest Service contacted an individual in Dean State Forest who had a loaded shotgun in a motor vehicle and was under the influence of alcohol. He was charged with having a weapon while intoxicated and hunting with the aid/use of a motor vehicle. The charges were dismissed with orders to pay court costs of $95 and Abbott was ordered to return the seized guns. Upon making contact with the defendant at a public parking lot in a pre-arranged meeting to return the guns, Abbott observed the defendant operate a motor vehicle to the parking lot and then detected alcohol on the defendant’s breath and person. Abbott contacted the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The OSP arrested the defendant for his fifth arrest of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol. The case is pending in court.
• On opening day of the 2012 Ohio statewide deer gun season, Wildlife Officer Eric Bear was patrolling Washington County. In the morning, he received a phone call from a concerned landowner, who just witnessed someone illegally shoot a deer. Later that evening, Bear was patrolling in the vicinity of the caller’s concern and contacted the suspect to see if he had tagged the deer. Bear contacted the subject who had harvested a deer. When asked for his hunting license and deer permit, it was determined he had not purchased them. Bear determined that the shooter’s sister-in-law had tagged the deer and was planning to check it in. Bear made contact with the sister-in-law who had tagged the deer. As he was issuing summons to the subjects, he discovered the sister-in-law had checked in a deer earlier in the month, which she confirmed, but explained that her uncle had harvested a doe and she checked it in for him. Bear contacted the uncle. Investigation determined that he had harvested a buck. When Bear checked the harvest records, he found the man had not checked the buck. The suspect quickly changed his harvest story, stating that the buck he was thinking of was actually killed by his fiancé. When Bear investigated the fiancé angle, it was determined that she improperly tagged in a deer as a landowner. What started as a simple phone call turned into three illegal deer and several summons to four different subjects.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• State Wildlife Officer Jasmine Grossnickle observed a group of hunters shooting geese during the early waterfowl season. Grossnickle contacted the group and asked to see their licenses and checked their shotguns. While checking one of the guns, Grossnickle was able to insert four of the hunter’s shotgun shells into the shotgun. The hunter explained he typically uses 3½-inch shells, but decided to buy 3-inch shells because they were cheaper. The hunter was issued a citation for hunting with a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells.