Ohio Cuffs and Collars - June 8th, 2012
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• During the spring fishing season, Madison County Wildlife Officer Matt Teders was working enforcement on the Deer Creek Wildlife Area in Pickaway County. After checking crappie anglers, he received a call from the Turn-In-A-Poacher (TIP) hotline. TIP received a report of overbagging of saugeye in the Deer Creek spillway in Pickaway County. Teders had previously checked the individual and knew he was in the spillway area. When questioned by Teders, the suspect stated he was in possession of only two saugeyes in his bucket and a carp in his vehicle. However, further investigation led Teders to the discovery of a partially hidden cooler in the vehicle. The cooler contained an additional 37 saugeyes bringing his total catch to 39 which is well over the daily bag limit of six. The suspect was cited for deterring a wildlife officer and for possessing an overbag of saugeyes. The suspect was found guilty on both offenses in Circleville Municipal Court.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• During the statewide muzzleloader deer season, Defiance County Wildlife Officer Matt Smith was working outside the city of Defiance when he noticed a truck parked back a long stone lane – an area that he had never seen a vehicle before. Nearing the end of the day, Smith decided to make contact with the man when he came out of the woods. Waiting at the back of the truck, Smith watched as legal shooting time came and went. Thirty-five minutes after the end of shooting time, a single shot rang out near the vehicle. Soon after the shot, Smith could see the hunter approach his vehicle using a head lamp to light the way. Smith made contact with the man and found that he was not wearing the required hunter orange in addition to hunting after hours. A summons was issued for each violation.
• During the statewide deer muzzleloader season, Seneca County Wildlife Officer Matthew Leibengood received a complaint regarding hunting without permission. Leibengood was familiar with the property since, in 2010, he charged seven people there for the same violation. When Leibengood arrived at the scene, with assistance from the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office, he was surprised to find that the suspects were some of the same people he cited back in 2010. The first subject Leibengood contacted had a signed written permission slip from the landowner. Leibengood was surprised by this. Back in 2010, this same subject was specifically denied permission by the 83-year-old landowner to hunt the property as a result of bringing too many people along. Leibengood asked the subject if the other nine hunters had permission to hunt the property in question. This time the officer was stunned when the subject replied, “I don’t know about them…I take care of myself.” Then Leibengood proceeded to contact the other nine hunters. He was surprised, again, when the other hunters indicated that the first subject told all of them that his permission slip applied to the entire group. Before issuing any summonses, Leibengood checked with the landowner to determine the appropriate course of action. The landowner requested that the offenders be cited and that the subject with the permission slip be notified that his welcome was worn out. Four summonses were issued to the offending parties and all four were convicted. Two of the four were from the original group of seven in 2010. This time, Leibengood was not surprised to learn that one of the two was sentenced to a two-year hunting license revocation, two years’ probation, and $834 in fines and court costs.
• Huron County Wildlife Officer Josh Zientek was working deer hunting regulation compliances when he received a complaint from an upset landowner. The landowner informed Zientek that he owns vacant land and had decided to go out deer hunting that morning, but found that someone else had beat him to his own treestand. The landowner immediately backed out and did not get into an argument with the hunter. Instead, he decided to do the right thing and contact the Division of Wildlife. Zientek arrived at the property and was greeted by the upset landowner. The landowner pointed the officer in the direction of the hunter. The landowner also mentioned that he has been having problems with this type of activity since he took ownership of the property. Zientek located the hunter in the treestand and issued him a summons to appear in Norwalk Municipal Court, where he was found guilty for hunting without written permission. The next day, Zientek ran into the landowner at a local deer processor. The landowner was dropping off a deer that he had shot that morning out of his treestand.
• During the statewide muzzleloader deer season, Putnam County Wildlife Officer Jason Porinchok observed an individual walking along a fencerow. The individual was not wearing any hunter orange and was carrying what appeared to be a bag and a long gun. After seeing the officer, the individual discarded the items he was carrying. When contacted by Porinchok and asked what he was doing the man replied, “scouting.” Porinchok informed the man that he was going to walk to the fencerow and retrieve what he believed to be a firearm. Along the fencerow, Porinchok found a bag of traps and a stick placed behind a tree. The individual then admitted that he was setting traps. He stated that he did not know why he tried to hide what he was doing. Then Porinchok discovered that the man had not purchased a fur taker permit. Porinchok cited the man to appear in a Putnam County Court for trapping without a fur taker permit. He pleaded guilty and showed the court that he had purchased a valid resident fur taker permit prior to his court date. He paid a $25 fine and $56 in court costs.
• While working deer enforcement in Ashtabula County, Lake Erie investigators Matt Fisher and Larry Klapp contacted four individuals in the field who had been hunting deer. The investigators asked to see their hunting licenses and deer permits. One of the hunters stated that he did not have his hunting license and deer permit with him. The investigators informed the man that he needed to have his hunting license and deer permit with him while hunting deer. The individual was later cited for failure to carry and exhibit his deer permit while hunting deer.
• While on patrol in Athens County, Lake Erie investigator Gary Manley and Athens County Wildlife Officer Dan Perko observed a hunter returning to camp after hunting. As they pulled onto the property, a second hunter with a shotgun was walking away as a third hunter knelt down in the brush. Perko walked over to the third hunter who was kneeling and discovered the man field dressing a deer. The deer was not tagged with a temporary tag. Manley checked the other two hunters for licenses and inspected their shotguns for plugs. Both shotguns were unplugged. Both of these hunters were issued a summons for having a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells. Perko issued the other hunter a summons for not temporary tagging a deer immediately where it fell.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• On the evening of Nov. 26, 2011, several wildlife officers worked a law enforcement project in Vinton County. The project was focused on deterring spotlighting and road shooting of wildlife. The first stop of the night involved individuals spotlighting from an all-terrain utility vehicle. Officers also found a loaded rifle and shotgun in the vehicle. Shortly after midnight, another wildlife officer witnessed a vehicle stop in front of his location. Seconds later, a passenger in the vehicle shot from the roadway. Officers stopped the vehicle and observed two individuals in the vehicle. After investigation, the officers were able to determine the passenger of the vehicle had shot at a raccoon with a .22 caliber rifle. A total of three individuals were issued multiple summonses during the project for wildlife and firearm violations. All three individuals were found guilty of the charges in a Vinton County court.
• During the 2011 deer gun season, Wildlife Officer Dan Perko received a TIP regarding the alleged shooting of multiple bucks by an individual in Athens County, who was also reported to be in possession of untagged deer parts. Perko and Officer Chris Dodge attempted to contact the individual and found multiple untagged deer parts in plain view. The officers returned the next day after determining no deer were taken illegally with a rifle, but several of the deer parts viewed the day before were missing. After further questioning, it was determined the parts had been removed from the residence and hidden under a bridge several miles away. The evidence was recovered and a total of 67 illegal deer parts were seized. The defendant was found guilty on several charges of untagged deer parts and all evidence was ordered forfeited to the state and destroyed.
• The first week of the 2012 spring turkey season, wildlife officers in District Four were hard at work targeting turkey bait sites in Meigs, Athens, and Washington counties. On opening day, wildlife officers Chris Dodge and Dan Perko made contact with a turkey hunter in Meigs County. This particular hunter had five known feeders located throughout a 50-acre property and was hunting over one of the feeders. The hunter was issued a citation for baiting. The following day, officers Josh Shields and Eric Bear contacted a hunter in Meigs County who was hunting over a feeder. Shields and Bear listened in the brush while the hunter attempted to call in a turkey. After several gobblers flew down off the roost, the officers made contact with the hunter and noticed that decoys had been placed directly underneath the feeder in scattered corn. The hunter was issued a citation for hunting wild turkeys over bait. Both suspects paid fines and costs in the amount of $180. It is unlawful to hunt or take turkeys with the aid or use of bait. An area is considered baited for 10 days after complete removal of any bait.