Monday, February 6th, 2023
Monday, February 6th, 2023

Breaking News for

Sportsmen Since 1967

OH: Anglers catching saugeyes, a few steelhead in rivers

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• State Wildlife Officer Brad Kiger was going through the deer
harvest forms and noticed something that looked strange from one of
his check stations in Franklin County and set it aside for a future
date. Kiger later made contact with a subject who stated that he
killed his first deer in Knox County and lost his tag while he was
hunting and had to go buy another tag to put on the deer. After
talking with the subject, things just did not seem to add up. Kiger
also spoke with the father, who stated that they just began to hunt
several years ago and were unclear on some of the laws. He let both
subjects talk for a while and then stated that he would get back
with them. Kiger started checking into their stories. First, he had
Knox County Wildlife Officer Mike Miller talk to the landowner.
While Miller contacted the landowner, Kiger found out that the
hunter killed a deer last year, so this would not be his first
deer. Kiger also found that the father was arrested 10 years ago
for spotlighting deer. After Kiger found out everything he could
about the subjects, he went back and talked to the father and son.
After the interview, it was found that the father killed his second
buck and called his son, while he was on a date, and had him drive
up to Knox County to check the buck in. The son forgot his deer
permit at home and had to buy one and put it on the deer. The
father was issued two citations and ordered to pay $395 in fines
and court costs, $500 restitution for the deer, was sentenced to 60
days jail that was suspended, and given two years probation.

• Several days after a trout stocking at Antrim Lake in Franklin
County, Wildlife Officer Brad Kiger received a call from an unknown
fisherman who stated that a subject had taken two fish over his
limit and was still fishing. The caller described the fisherman and
the area he was fishing. Kiger was close to the area and tried to
find the fisherman. At first, he could not find him, so Kiger
checked fisherman as they came out to the parking lot. After about
20 minutes, a fisherman matching the caller’s description walked
out to the parking lot. Kiger made contact with the fisherman who
stated that he only caught three fish and held up a bag with three
fish. Kiger walked with the subject back to his car and checked his
fishing license. He continued to talk with the fisherman and asked
to look in the car. The fisherman stated that he did not mind,
adding there were no more fish in the car. After going through the
car, a total of 24 trout were found under the driver’s seat, in
clothing and hidden in the trunk of the vehicle. The fish were
placed in plastic bags throughout the car. The fisherman was issued
a citation and ordered into court where he had to pay a total of
$322 in fines, court costs, and restitution for the trout.

• Union County Wildlife Officer Chris Rice was patrolling the
Delaware Wildlife Area in January when he found several individuals
fishing from the bank of the lake. Rice did a license inspection
and found three of the individuals were fishing without a license.
Two of the men were 17 and the other individual was 20. The two
minors were fishing with their father and were given warnings. The
20-year-old was issued a summons for fishing without a license. He
was found guilty in Delaware Municipal Court and paid $155 in fines
and court costs.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• Over the Memorial Day weekend, Wildlife Investigator Jeff
Collingwood and Sandusky County Wildlife Officer Brian Bury worked
a litter project at a local wildlife area. Over the course of seven
hours, the officers observed 13 people throw their trash either in
the water or in the weeds before leaving the wildlife area.
Officers were waiting and made the arrests as the suspects left the
area. A Dumpster is located at the wildlife area, but these 13
individuals never used it.

• State Wildlife Officer Jason Parr was recently working
enforcement at Willard Wildlife Area in Huron County. Parr was
headed south on Section Line Road at dusk when he noticed a vehicle
parked in a non-designated area. The vehicle had driven around the
designated parking area and was parked about 40 yards away. Parr
drove through the designated parking area and beyond to where the
vehicle was located. Prior to walking up to the vehicle, he noticed
that there were no occupants. The area the vehicle was located is
an area where hunters often hunt for doves. Parr assumed that the
person(s) who had been in the vehicle were dove hunting on the
wildlife area. He then ran the vehicle’s license plate on his
mobile computer terminal. Upon checking the license/registration of
the vehicle, the vehicle returned as stolen. ODNR dispatch
contacted Parr via radio and confirmed that the vehicle was stolen
out of Richland County. The Richland County Sheriff’s Office didn’t
have anyone available to respond to the scene, but did send a tow
truck to retrieve the vehicle. While Parr waited for the tow truck
to arrive, he took photos and did an inventory of the vehicle to
record any items that the vehicle contained. However, upon
searching the vehicle there was nothing in it for Parr to record on
the inventory sheet. The individual(s) who had stolen and abandoned
the vehicle had removed everything from it, including the battery.
The vehicle was towed from Willard Wildlife Area to the Richland
County Sheriff’s Office.

• Hancock County Wildlife Officer Kevin Russell was going to check
fishermen at an agreement pond when he noticed two pickup trucks
parked a hundred yards away in an odd fashion; they were on the
railroad tracks! Russell found them unoccupied, but heavily
damaged. Both were stuck on the railroad tracks near a large stone
quarry. The trucks were owned by the quarry and Russell suspected
that someone had broken onto the property with malicious intent. He
contacted the Hancock County Sheriff’s Office and asked that the
railroad company be advised of the hazard. A deputy soon arrived
and together, they investigated further. They walked toward the
stone quarry’s buildings to check for any employees. The officers
spotted a large Caterpillar front-loader moving stone from one pile
to another. Tinting on the machine’s windows prevented the officers
from seeing inside so they waived to the driver to get his
attention. The loader shut down and the door slowly opened. To
Russell’s surprise, it wasn’t some burly gentleman that climbed
out. A 13-year-old boy sheepishly peeked out and began apologizing.
Obviously, he knew he had been caught. Once down, the boy explained
that he always wanted to run a “Cat.” The business side of the
quarry was closed and no employees were around. The young man
admitted entering the property over the weekend and “joy riding” in
some of the vehicles and damaging them. The deputy detained the
young man while Russell inspected the area for any other people or
damage. He found a third pickup that had been crashed into the side
of a maintenance building and a fourth truck was found flipped over
on its roof at the bottom of the nearby dry quarry hole. The boy
had minor abrasions from crashing and rolling the last truck, but
was otherwise unhurt. The business owners were summoned to the area
where they surveyed the damage. The juvenile was placed under
arrest for vandalism and later transported to a delinquency center.
It was estimated that more than $100,000 worth of damage had been
done to the quarry’s equipment. Wildlife officers often encounter
non-wildlife related violations and assist other law enforcement
agencies when needed.

• Two years ago, Wildlife Investigator Jeff Collingwood had
received information from a about someone killing a turkey over a
baited area during the youth turkey season. He was unable to locate
any possible suspects. Collingwood continued his investigation this
year with the help of Huron County Wildlife Officer Josh Zientek.
They located a corn-filled feeder in the same area the day before
youth turkey season opened. The officers teamed up with a third
wildlife officer, Matt Teders, and began their surveillance by
arriving well before dawn. Zientek and Teders soon heard what
sounded to be a four-wheeler in the area. This prompted Teders to
head in the direction of the ATV. Zientek stayed behind to watch
the poaching station. After a period of rain, gobbling turkeys
began moving toward the food source. At this point, Zientek heard a
hunter using a call near the feeder, but couldn’t spot him. He did
locate a hen decoy placed just 30 yards from the site. Meanwhile,
Teders had located a truck and decided to wait nearby to see what
might develop. In short order, a man left the woods and came to the
vehicle. He was stopped and questioned as to why he was leaving his
hunting spot so early. He led the officers to the property owner,
who was also a turkey hunter. The landowner admitted that he was
turkey hunting over the baited area and was issued a summons to
appear in Huron County Municipal Court for the infraction.

• The second morning of the early teal season, wildlife officers
Matt Leibengood, Reid Van Cleve, and Josh Zientek were working in
and around the Little Portage Wildlife Area, located in Ottawa
County. Leibengood notified Zientek a half hour before legal
shooting time that he had heard several shots. At that time,
Leibengood told Zientek the approximate direction where he had
thought the shots had come from. In the meantime, Leibengood heard
some more shooting from the same location. Then after several
minutes of Zientek combing the area, he observed a Mojo decoy along
with other decoys spread out on a marsh on private property. At
that time, Zientek observed two men dressed in camouflage getting
onto a golf cart. Zientek then made his way to make contact with
the hunters. When the hunters came around a corner on the golf cart
Zientek was there waiting to speak to them. When Zientek contacted
the hunters, it had just become legal shooting time and they had
five dead teal on the golf cart already. When the hunters were
asked about the legal shooting time they said that somebody else
had shot, so they thought it was OK for them to shoot early. The
appropriate summonses were issued and Zientek cleared the
scene.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

• With the assistance of the Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office,
Columbiana County Wildlife Officer Scott Angelo obtained
information of an illegally possessed live raccoon. The suspect was
being investigated on unrelated charges, and during the course of
the investigation it was discovered that the suspect had a raccoon
taken from the wild. Angelo was able to obtain the raccoon and
charge the individual for the illegal possession. He was
subsequently found guilty, and ordered to pay a $100 fine and
forfeit the raccoon to the Division of Wildlife.

• In September, Cuyahoga County Wildlife Officer Hollie Fluharty
received a call in reference to an illegally taken deer. Gunshots
were reported to the city of Parma Police Department and when
officers arrived, they found two men standing over a dead 8-point
buck attempting to saw off the animal’s head. When approached, the
men ran, but were quickly apprehended. During the course of the
investigation, it was discovered that the men used a .22 caliber
rifle to kill the buck. Both men were taken to jail and charged
with taking a deer by illegal means. The city of Parma also charged
the men with multiple violations.

• While working litter enforcement on Tappan Lake in mid-July,
Harrison County Wildlife Officer Nick Turner watched a man sitting
along the shore with his family fishing and swimming. After just a
few minutes the man threw his beer can into the weeds. For the next
hour, Turner watched the man drink and throw two more beer cans, a
candy wrapper, a diaper, and a handful of trash into the weeds as
well. Upon contact, Turner asked if he had a fishing license and if
he brought out his trash. The man then stated that he was not
fishing and did not need a license. He also indicated that he
collected all his trash in a bag. Turner then explained to him that
he had watched him fish and discard his litter. The man quickly
told the truth and became very cooperative. He even told Turner
that he deserved a ticket for what he had done. The man was charged
with stream litter in Harrison County Court and paid $290 in fines
and court costs.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

• Last June, Meigs County Wildlife Officer Josh Shields was called
to assist the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office with a search warrant
involving the cultivation of marijuana, illegal possession of
numerous deer parts, and possession of captive game birds without a
propagators permit. After searching the property and collecting
evidence, Shields filed charges totaling $6,770. The charges are
still pending in a Meigs County court.

• Late last January, Wildlife Officer Jared Abele was contacted by
an ODNR service forester. The forester stated he was meeting with a
property owner in Vinton County when he heard rifle shots on a
neighboring property, and as he exited the property he drove past a
driveway near where the shots were fired, he observed a truck with
a deer on a hitch-n-haul rack. Abele and Wildlife Officer Bob
Nelson contacted the landowner where the gunshots were heard and
where the deer was observed on the truck. The landowner stated he
leased the hunting rights for his property to an outfitter. The
landowner stated hunters from New Jersey were hunting his property
during the time frame in question. The landowner provided the
officers with the name and contact information for the guide.
During the investigation, Abele and Wildlife Officer Reimund talked
with the guide’s girlfriend. During their conversation with the
girlfriend, she told the officers one of the hunters from New
Jersey had shot a deer with a rifle. She then stated she checked
the deer in at a check station in her name. When the officers made
initial contact with the guide, the guide confirmed earlier
statements. However, the guide added that the same New Jersey
hunter killed a second deer with a rifle on the following day. The
guide stated he checked the second deer in at the check station in
his name for the same New Jersey hunter. Abele contacted New Jersey
Division of Fish and Wildlife and requested New Jersey conservation
officers interview the New Jersey hunters. The New Jersey officers
were able to assist in the case, resulting in numerous charges. The
New Jersey hunter, the guide, and the guide’s girlfriend pleaded
guilty to a total of nine wildlife violations in Vinton and Hocking
counties. The guide received a three-year hunting license
revocation.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

• Auglaize County Wildlife Officer Matt Hoehn and at-large Wildlife
Officer Jason Keller drove along the Allen-Auglaize county line.
Hoehn and Keller observed a hunter in Allen County walking to a
vehicle carrying a small deer on his back. The hunter quickly
dropped the deer and kept walking as if he never saw them. The
officers then made contact with the hunter, asked him several
questions, and checked for licenses and permits, which were in
order. As the three walked into the field to retrieve the deer, the
man said that he didn’t tag the deer since he didn’t have a pen.
After further discussion, the man pulled out a black Sharpie pen
from his pocket. Hoehn explained the he should have used it in the
first place and none of this would have happened. The man was fined
$200 plus $85 in court costs.

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