OH: Cuffs and Collars Issue: 23

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• While working sport fishing enforcement on the Mad River in
central Champaign County, Wildlife Officer Jeff Tipton got a call
about someone camping along the bank of the Mad River in an area
where they shouldn’t have been. Tipton walked downstream to the
area and found a man and young boy camping on a gravel bar on
private property. He watched the man and boy through binoculars for
awhile to see what they were doing. It didn’t take long before
Tipton observed the man walk behind the tent, pull out a syringe
and inject something in to his arm. Tipton called a Champaign
County deputy and told him about what he had seen. The officers
borrowed a canoe and then went downstream to contact the man and
boy. Soon after talking to them, the officers found out that the
father and son were homeless. They had set up camp and had enough
food to last for two weeks. The officers recovered the syringe and
drugs, realizing that the man was crushing up pain pills, mixing it
with liquid, and injecting it into his veins. The man was processed
and a ride was established for the boy. A year later, Tipton ran
into the man while he was fishing in the same area of the river.
The man told Tipton that he was grateful for the incident, because
he helped him get his life back in order.

• On a warm August night, Wildlife Officer Steve Harvey was on
patrol at the Delaware Wildlife Area doing sport fish enforcement.
At his first stop, Harvey observed two men fishing for crappies.
Both of the fishermen were consuming beer. Harvey watched both men
finish their beer and place it in a plastic bag. Convinced they
weren’t going to litter, Harvey contacted the two fisherman. During
the contact, Harvey noticed a silver marijuana pipe in the tackle
box of one of the men. The man admitted to using the pipe and said
there was a bag of marijuana in his pocket. Both men received
citations. At the next stop, Harvey observed a man fishing with his
girlfriend. They had built a fire on the bank of the lake and the
man was drinking a beer. The fisherman said he hadn’t caught much
and that he built the fire because his girlfriend was cold. He
received a citation. On the last stop, Harvey observed three
vehicles parked down a lane. Harvey drove back and found three
young men standing by the vehicles. Harvey asked what they were up
to and they said just waiting on some friends. Harvey asked if they
had any alcohol or drugs on them and one of them said he had a
12-pack on the front seat of his truck. Harvey asked if he could
look inside the vehicle and the young man agreed. Harvey found the
beer, marijuana, two marijuana pipes, prescription pills and other
paraphernalia. Harvey asked the other young man if he could look
inside his vehicle and the young man opened the door and said “go
ahead.” Harvey found marijuana and a glass marijuana pipe. The
young man said “I forgot that was in there.” All received
citations. At the end of the night, there were citations issued for
possession of controlled substances, open container of alcohol,
curfew, drug paraphernalia, underage possession of alcohol, and
fire on the wildlife area. All pleaded guilty or no contest and
paid almost $1,000 in fines and court costs.

• State Wildlife Officer Brad Kiger received an anonymous tip
stating that a hunter was sneaking into a wooded area in Franklin
County and bowhunting while intoxicated. Kiger checked the area
reported by the caller; the property is owned by a local home
building company and is located behind a retail store in the
Columbus area. Kiger had recently written a citation for
trespassing on a different property owned by the same home builder.
A company representative had stated that no one had permission to
hunt on the property and arrest anyone found trespassing. Officer
Kiger inspected the woods for hunter activity and found a trail of
empty beer cans that lead to a treestand. For several weeks the
officer checked the property and found no one, until one day
Officer Anthony Zerkle and Kiger were patrolling the area and found
subject hunting in the treestand. Officer Kiger issued the subject
a citation of $176 for hunting without permission and was given a
ride home due to the hunter’s inability to drive.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• During the Memorial Day Weekend, wildlife officers Craig Barr and
Duane Bailey were checking fishermen at the Lima reservoirs. While
approaching one reservoir, the officers saw two men and a woman
near the water’s edge. They had three fishing rods but only one man
was actively fishing. The woman said that she was just “hanging
out” and the second man said that he was just cleaning the
bluegills that the other man was catching. This seemed a little
fishy, but the officers checked the license of the man who they saw
fishing and went on to check other fishermen in the area. The
officers found a good place to observe the group. It did not take
long for the woman of the group to start fishing. But the other man
just cleaned fish and kept fish hooks baited. The officers
approached to contact the group again. As they approached, they
could see that the woman was standing at the water’s edge holding a
fishing rod. The man who was fishing earlier had moved down the
bank and the third man was standing behind the woman fishing. He
turned around and saw the approaching officers and said something
to the woman. She instantly dropped the rod not knowing that the
officers had been watching for 20 minutes. She then started yelling
down the bank to the fisherman telling him that he needed to get
back down there and get his fishing rod before she got in trouble
for it. As expected, the woman did not have a fishing license and
was issued a summons for Lima Municipal Court. The woman originally
had plans on her court date and had it changed to the next week.
However, she did not show up for the second date and made no
arrangements with the court. Eventually, a warrant was issued for
her arrest. Several months later, Barr received a phone call from
someone at the court saying that they had one of his arrestees in
court earlier that day. It was the woman and she had been arrested
the day before for failing to appear in court. She was ordered to
pay a $200 fine plus the court costs. Additionally, she had to
spend a night in jail while she waited for her court
appearance.

• Acting on a tip, officers Thomas Kochert and Robert Wolfrum spent
several nights patrolling Fulton and Williams counties. The TIP
caller alleged that an individual was training coon dogs for other
hunters for a fee and shooting coons out of season. After several
evenings of missing the target, the officers literally drove past
the suspect as he sat on his tailgate along a Fulton County road.
As the officers parked, they could hear coon dogs baying to the
west. They started hiking across the block toward where they had
passed the suspect and his vehicle. Moving through fields and
woods, the officers did not know which side of the road the suspect
had released his dogs to train. The animals could be in the block
with the officers or in the next mile over. Halfway through the
mile, three rifle shots were heard amongst the dogs’ barks. The
officers picked up their pace, trying to close the distance between
themselves and the gunfire. This is not so easy in total darkness
without the aid of flashlights. As the officers neared the road and
the suspect’s vehicle, they could hear someone coming through the
cornfield to the west of the suspect’s truck. As the lone man
emerged from the corn, the officers greeted him by turning on their
flashlights. There stood the target suspect with a coon dog on a
leash in one hand and a .22 rifle in the other. The rifle was
secured and the dog was kenneled. Wolfrum stayed with the man as
Kochert started for the patrol vehicle a mile to the east. A week
later, the man appeared in Fulton Western District Court. He was
found guilty and fined $250 plus court costs and his hunting
privileges were revoked for three years.

• On a warm March day, Wildlife Officer Matthew Leibengood stopped
at Veteran’s Memorial Reservoir on his way to Findlay to see if the
crappies were biting. Sure enough, two fishermen were walking to
their parked car with what appeared to be a heavy bucket.
Leibengood checked for fishing license compliance and then looked
at the fish in the bucket. One of the fishermen told Leibengood
that all of the fish were of legal size because they were all
bigger than his hand. This sparked the officer’s curiosity so he
measured all of the fish. Leibengood found numerous crappies just
under the legal size, and one a full inch under the legal size. The
fisherman was issued a summons to appear in Fostoria Municipal
Court for the violation. The defendant was found guilty and paid
$168 in fines and court costs.

• During the walleye run in May, Wildlife Officer Reid Van Cleve
was working on the bank of the Sandusky River. He saw an angler
fishing alone in an area away from the other fishermen. As Van
Cleve was observing the angler, he noticed him reel in a walleye
that was snagged on the side. The angler looked in all directions
and then threw the fish into his bucket and headed for his vehicle.
Van Cleve met him there and said, “You almost got away!” The angler
grinned and asked, “Are you talking about that last fish?” Van
Cleve said yes, and asked the angler why he had kept it. The angler
stated that he had given the Division of Wildlife tips on poachers
in the past and he thought the division could help him out in
return. Van Cleve explained that a TIP reward could be received if
there is a conviction through court but in no means can someone
expect to be allowed to break the law in return. The defendant
apologized and said he made a mistake. The defendant paid a $120
fine through Fremont Municipal Court.

• Wildlife officers Matt Leibengood and Josh Zientek began work
early on the opening day of dove and Canada goose season. After the
officers checked several hunters in the morning, they decided to
make their way to the shoreline of Lake Erie to check fisherman for
perch daily bag limit compliance. While the officers were counting
fish in one boat at the Mazurik boat ramp, they observed another
boat making its way to the boat dock and quickly turn around when
they came in sight of the officers. The boat quickly left the ramp
area and went in the opposite direction. The officers took action
and were able to locate the boat several marinas away. The suspects
told the officers that the reason they quickly turned around was
because they realized that they needed gas. After an inspection of
coolers on the boat, it was revealed that the reason for the abrupt
turn around was the two fishermen had 19 perch over their legal
limit. Both men were issued the appropriate summonses and were
found guilty in Ottawa County Municipal Court.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

• One day during the summer, Lake County Wildlife Officer Jason
Keller was working fishing license compliance and litter
enforcement along the Grand River. Keller noticed two individuals
fishing and one of them drinking out of a plastic Mountain Dew
bottle. Shortly thereafter, he watched the individual drinking from
the bottle launch it into the river. Keller contacted both
individuals and checked their fishing licenses. After inspecting
the licenses, Keller asked the angler who was drinking from the
plastic bottle where he had placed the container. The individual
denied drinking any beverage and added that he did not have a
bottle of Mountain Dew. Keller, knowing what he had observed,
remarked, “That’s the farthest I have ever seen someone throw a
bottle. You should play baseball.” The individual chuckled and with
a smile on his face mentioned that he played baseball in college.
The man was cited for stream litter and ordered to appear in
Painesville Municipal Court.

• Wildlife Officer Jason Warren reports that Turn-in a Poacher
program is offering a possible cash reward for information leading
to the arrest of individuals responsible for dumping a 55-gallon
drum of grease on state property at the Killbuck Marsh Wildlife
Area. Any information on this incident may be left anonymously at
1-800-POACHER or www.ohiotip.com.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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