OH: Cuffs and Collars Issue: 8

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• About 2:30 a.m. on a February morning in Franklin County, a state
wildlife officer was contacted by the ODNR Communication Center and
asked to call a lieutenant with the Columbus Police Department. The
lieutenant stated that they had two adults and one juvenile that
were caught mudding in a field and shooting rabbits. Because of the
muddy conditions, the officers and their cruisers could not reach
them and needed assistance. The Columbus helicopter was called for
help and when the subjects saw the helicopter they took off,
throwing items from the vehicle. The vehicle was stopped and the
helicopter landed and found several dead rabbits around the
vehicle. When Wildlife Officer Brad Kiger stopped and talked to the
subjects about what was going on, it was found that one of the
subjects and his son came from Perry County to have a relative fix
the four-wheel drive on his vehicle. They got it fixed and decided
to go test it out, but when they got into the field the four-wheel
drive stopped working. While one subject was fixing the truck, the
subject from Perry County noticed a lot of rabbits were around and
grabbed a flashlight and a .22 caliber rifle from the back of the
SUV and started killing rabbits. The subject stated that he thought
it would make a good Sunday dinner for his relative who was fixing
his truck. The subject was issued a ticket for taking rabbits after
hours and ordered to pay $132. The Columbus Police Department dealt
with the private property issues and the mudding.

• On the day before the close of goose season in Marion County,
Officer Chad Grote observed three men hunting geese in a cornfield.
He saw one man walking far away from the other two hunters, who
were lying in their blinds. As Grote was making his way to the
hunters, a flock of geese flew into their decoys. Grote heard three
shots and saw the flock fly away. He didn’t see any birds fall out
of the sky so he thought that the group would not have their limit
because if they did the men would not have shot. When he contacted
the hunters, he asked them how they did. One hunter stated that
they had their limit. Surprised, Grote asked who had shot at the
last flock and how many they got from it. The hunters stated that
they had killed one bird to make the limit and that two of them had
shot. He then asked who had already had their limit before the
flock came in and the one man admitted that he had already shot his
two birds. He also said that the other man had shot two times at
the flock and he shot the third one, dropping the goose and putting
him over his limit. He was given a summons to appear in Marion
Municipal Court where he was found guilty and paid $180 in fines
and court costs.

• Wildlife Officer Adam Smith was on patrol in Logan County during
the 2010 deer gun weekend and found an unoccupied vehicle parked in
farm lane off a country road. It was getting dark quickly, so Smith
waited near the vehicle to check to make sure everything was
alright. At 5:58 p.m., Smith contacted two deer hunters exiting the
field. When contacting the hunters, he found that both hunters were
in possession of loaded firearms while coming from deer hunting 46
minutes after sunset. Both individuals were issued summonses and
were found guilty in Bellefontaine Municipal Court. They were each
ordered to pay a $100 fine and $76.50 in court costs.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• One morning during the 2010 deer gun week, Wildlife Officer Brad
Baaske saw a hunter dragging a deer out of a CRP field in southern
Wyandot County. Upon contacting the hunter, Baaske found a deer
permit had been placed on the deer with the temporary tag still
attached. The tag was not filled out and belonged to the hunter’s
adult son. When questioned about the situation, the story was that
the man and his son had each shot a deer and the son was still back
in the field with a deer that the father had shot. After further
questioning, the father admitted to shooting two deer and having
his son tag one. Baaske located the man’s son further back in the
field with a deer that had his father’s permit and tag laying on
it. This tag was also not filled out or detached from the deer
permit. Baaske advised the two men of the tagging violations and
issued each hunter a summons. The father and son team both pleaded
guilty in Upper Sandusky Municipal Court and paid a total of $354
in fines and court costs.

• During the 2010 deer gun season, Wildlife Officer Craig Barr
received a phone call from a ranger at the Johnny Appleseed Metro
Park District pertaining to a violation that the ranger had
witnessed. Just prior to the call, he had witnessed a man stop his
truck along the road and shoot once at some deer on one side of the
road. The man then turned and shot two more times after the deer
had crossed the road. The ranger advised that there were additional
witnesses. Barr contacted Wildlife Officer Brad Buening, who also
responded to the scene. The officers were able to locate the
suspect and his vehicle. While Buening interviewed the suspect,
Barr went to the actual scene of the shooting to meet the Metro
Park ranger. They were able to locate tire tracks in the snow. The
officers began to process the area for evidence and were joined by
Buening shortly after. The combined effort uncovered spent
shotshells, as well as most of the internal parts of the shotgun
shells. With all the evidence, it was easy to prove where the
shooter was standing and in which directions he fired. The suspect
was found guilty in Lima Municipal Court and ordered to pay a total
of $356 in fines and court costs. The shotgun used in the offense
was forfeited and hunting privileges were suspended for one
year.

• During the 2010 hunting season, Sandusky County Wildlife Officer
Brian Bury observed two goose hunters in a field. One of the
hunters only had a federal stamp with him. He said his dad was
supposed to buy his hunting license and wetlands stamp for him.
This was a strange statement for a man in his mid-20s. Figuring the
man didn’t have the proper licenses, Bury checked the point of sale
system, which showed that no hunting license or Ohio wetlands stamp
had been purchased for 2010. The man was able to send in a waiver
for payment of fines and costs.

• In December, Erie County Wildlife Officer Kevin Good drove to a
remote portion of Resthaven Wildlife Area. While Good was there, he
observed a snowmobile on the wildlife area in a portion that was
not open to motor vehicles. Good instantly recognized the driver of
the machine. He yelled at the man to stop and turn off his
snowmobile. The man hesitated for about 30 seconds, and finally
heeded Good’s commands. The man was issued a summons for operating
a motor vehicle in a non-designated area, and warned for not having
a proper APV license plate. The man was upset at the fact that he
received the summons because he complied with Good’s command. The
man stated that he should be warned for the infraction. Good could
see by the trail the man left that he passed no less then six signs
that stated that operation of motor vehicles was prohibited. Good
pointed this out to the man and also told him that if he would have
run from Good, Good would have been at the man’s residence waiting
to take him to jail when he came home. Good also advised the man
that the snowmobile could have been confiscated.

• In January, Seneca County Wildlife Officer Matthew Leibengood was
called to the scene of a stream pollution incident. Upon his
arrival, he learned that the driver of a Ford Taurus with three
occupants drove the car onto the frozen surface of the Sandusky
River from a boat ramp. The tracks revealed that the car was driven
in a circle on the ice, and on its way back to the ramp it broke
through. When Leibengood arrived, only the windshield and door
windows were visible above the ice. All of the occupants managed to
exit the car and make it safely back to shore. According to reports
from the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office, the joy riders attempted
to have the vehicle extricated without notifying authorities, but
the removal took too long and someone reported it. Sheriff’s
deputies charged the driver with multiple offenses and arrested one
of the occupants on an outstanding warrant. The vehicle suffered
serious damage by the time it was removed and leaked fluids into
the river. Leibengood completed a pollution report for the
incident.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

• During a summer afternoon last year, Wildlife Investigator Brett
Barnes observed two individuals discard litter after their fishing
trip at Berlin Lake. Stark County Wildlife Officer Mark Basinger
contacted the fishermen at their vehicle and checked for fishing
licenses. One of the men, later identified as the operator of the
vehicle, was driving with fictitious license plates and was wanted
on an arrest warrant from Pennsylvania. He was issued a summons for
stream litter, arrested, and transported to the Stark County Jail.
At his arraignment in Alliance Municipal Court, the man pleaded to
the charge and received a fine of $140. He was then transported
back to jail and subsequently extradited to Pennsylvania to face
additional charges.

• On the opening day of small-game season, Stark County Wildlife
Officer Mark Basinger was parked at the Berlin Wildlife Area when
he heard a gun shot approximately 15 minutes before sunrise.
Basinger contacted the hunter as he was retrieving his downed bird
and asked if he knew what time legal hunting hours were. The man
replied, “I think a half-hour before sunrise.” Basinger
respectfully informed the man that hunting hours were from sunrise
to sunset. The man was issued a summons for the offense and ordered
to appear in Portage County Municipal Court. The hunter pleaded
guilty to the charge and paid a total of $140 in fines and court
costs.

• During the deer gun season, Stark County Wildlife Officer Mark
Basinger checked a complaint area and found a hunter wearing only a
hunter orange hat. The upset hunter complained about receiving the
ticket and said it was “only about the money.” Basinger conveyed
the importance of the hunter orange requirement before the man left
with his summons. The man pleaded guilty at his court appearance in
Canton Municipal Court and paid a total of $199 in fines and
costs.

• Holmes County Wildlife Officer Jeremy Carter and Wayne County
Wildlife Officer Jason Warren patrolled the Killbuck Marsh by canoe
several days before the opening day of the 2010 trapping season.
The main purpose of this project was to look for early trapping
activity. The officers contacted a trapper in the marsh far from
any road and inquired about his location. The trapper stated that
he was busy pre-staking future trapping sites and was not in
possession of any traps. Officers observed stakes placed near
muskrat huts and likely set locations throughout the marsh but no
traps or furbearers were found.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

• On the second day of the 2010 deer gun season, Wildlife Officer
Chris Dodge received a hunting without permission complaint from an
Athens County landowner. The suspect had been identified as an
absentee landowner to a neighboring property; however, he was no
longer present and could not be located. Consistently having
problems with hunting without permission in the past, the landowner
wished to pursue charges against the suspect. With the aid of the
landowner, Dodge was able to identify the suspect and locate his
Delaware County address. An investigation revealed the suspect had
placed his treestand on the complainant’s property, shot at deer
during the gun season, and had hunted the property multiple times
without permission. The man was issued a summons via certified mail
and paid $249 in fines and court costs for his illegal
activities.

• In November 2010, Wildlife Officer Bob Nelson received a poaching
complaint from a landowner in Ross County. The landowner stated he
and his wife were awakened at 4 a.m. on Nov. 21 by gunshots. The
landowner observed a truck driving through his lower hayfield. He
went to confront the poachers and was able to partially block them
in his field. He spoke with them before they left the area. The
landowner asked them what they were doing and the driver of the
truck stated they were shooting at a coyote. The landowner got a
description of the truck, the persons involved, and the license
plate. The landowner then drove out into his field and found a
wounded 8-point buck that had been shot. Deputy Brad Williamson
with the Ross County Sheriff’s Office responded, put the deer down,
and took an initial report. Nelson and Officer Matt Clark went to
the complaint area the afternoon of Nov. 21. The officers
photographed the dead deer and provided the landowner with
statement forms to fill out. The license plate was from Virginia.
Nelson obtained the registered owner’s information. During the
investigation, it was determined that the suspect had taken a youth
to hunt Ohio’s youth deer season. The officers were able to locate
the youth’s information as well as another young hunter from
Virginia who checked a deer at the same time. The officers
determined that the two youth hunters lived close together in
Virginia, and suspected the other youth’s parent as a possible
suspect. The following day, Nelson obtained point of sale license
information for the two youth hunters, the driver of the truck, and
the father of the other youth hunter. Their hunting licenses were
sold at Wal-Mart in Waverly, Ohio, and Nelson obtained video
surveillance of the two adults and their youth. Nelson compiled a
packet of information and sent it to Officer Tim Hayes of the
Virginia DNR. Hayes assisted in the investigation by interviewing
the second suspect. The suspect denied any involvement, but stated
he would talk with the original suspect. Nelson then received a
phone call from the driver of the truck. He conducted another phone
interview of the suspect. He stated that he and his daughter were
on their way back to Virginia at 4 a.m. He saw two bucks fighting
in the moonlight. He told Nelson he got “buck fever” and shot at
the deer. He would not provide any information as to who the other
suspects were that the landowner originally saw. He stated it was
only himself and his daughter. The suspect told Nelson he was sorry
for lying and was ready to accept his punishment. He also told
Nelson he took out a personal loan to pay his fines. Nelson spoke
with the Chillicothe law director and she approved charges to be
filed. The suspect was charged with hunting without permission,
hunting or taking a deer at an unlawful time, hunting or taking a
deer with an unlawful implement during bow season, and hunting with
the aid or use of a motor vehicle. The charges were sent via
certified mail and are waiverable. The fines and court costs
totaled $652.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

• During the last evening of deer gun season, Auglaize County
Wildlife Officer Matt Hoehn observed a truck parked along a
woodlot. Since it was close to sunset, Hoehn pulled behind the
truck and waited for the hunter to emerge from the woods for
Hoehn’s final check of the deer gun season. As the hunter came out
of the woods just before sunset, Hoehn made contact with him. To
Hoehn’s amazement, the hunter unloaded five slugs from his shotgun.
When asked if he had read the hunting digest, the man replied that
he “skimmed” through it. He also stated that this was his first
deer gun season. Hoehn told him that at least he was wearing enough
hunter orange. The hunter was cited for an unplugged gun and paid
$140 in a fine and court costs.

• While working waterfowl hunters in December, Clinton County
Wildlife Officer Matt Roberts located an individual hunting goose
in a cornfield. Roberts watched the individual from a distance for
about two hours and observed the hunter get out of the blind and
put a dead goose under a decoy at the edge of his spread. Roberts
contacted the hunter and asked if he had killed any. The hunter
replied yes and when asked where they were he pointed toward the
decoys by his blind. Roberts found two geese under decoys by the
blind, and then went and retrieved the third goose he had watched
the hunter hide. The hunter claimed he had killed two with one
shot. The hunter was cited for taking over the limit of geese and
paid a $100 fine plus court costs.

• Adams County Wildlife Officer Chris Gilkey and Clermont County
Wildlife Officer Terry Glynn were patrolling Adams County late one
fall night when they noticed a pickup truck with a dog box in the
back, parked on a piece of private property that did not allow
hunting. The two officers hiked into the woods in search of the
coon hunters. They noticed lights headed their way down the trail
so the officers allowed the hunters to pass them by. The officers
then announced themselves to the two hunters: “State wildlife
officers, fellows.” The two hunters taken by surprise turned around
to see the officers standing behind them. One of the gentleman had
a .22 rifle slung over his shoulder, the man handed over his rifle
and the two admitted to hunting coons in a closed season. The two
hunters were charged with hunting furbearers in a closed season,
resulting in $164 in fines for each hunter and the rifle was seized
for evidence.

• Mercer County Wildlife Officer Ryan Garrison was on patrol during
the deer gun season when he received a call from the Mercer County
Sheriff’s Office. The sheriff’s office advised Garrison of five
hunters who were hunting without permission. The caller stated that
the hunters had just left, but they gave a description of the
hunter’s vehicle. Garrison responded to the area and found the
vehicle parked in a lane next to some woods. He parked down the
road in a barnyard and waited for the hunters to return. It was
after dark when another vehicle pulled into the lane. Garrison
approached the two vehicles and noticed three hunters dressed in
hunter orange. They admitted to hunting on the complainant’s
property and they did not have permission. Garrison asked where the
other two hunters were, and they stated that they had gone home for
the day. The hunters gave Garrison the missing two hunters’ names
and information. The three hunters were cited for hunting without
permission. Garrison contacted the missing hunters the next day and
cited them for the same offense.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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