OH: Cuffs and Collars issue: 26

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• During the 2010 deer gun season, Fairfield County Wildlife
Officer Tony Zerkle contacted a group of hunters. During the
contact, one of the hunters had a permit that was filled out and
the information erased. During questioning, the suspect stated that
he was going to tag his friends’ deer, but they decided he should
use his own $15 permit. They told Zerkle the deer was hanging in a
barn nearby. As they left to inspect the deer, the suspect paused
and stated that there was another deer in the barn that did not
have a tag attached. He claimed the dog had chewed its ear off and
he found the tag in the yard. Upon inspection, Zerkle found an
untagged, one-eared doe. The tag provided by the suspect was from a
buck that had been tagged in October. At a later date, the suspect
admitted that he had shot the doe and did not tag it. He was issued
three summonses to the Fairfield County Municipal Court and ordered
to pay $470 in costs and fines, serve 40 hours community service,
with two years probation, and 180 days jail time suspended.

• In September, while returning from town with his family, Wildlife
Officer Supervisor Curtis Smith observed a known ginseng digger and
violator exiting a woods in Logan County. He promptly contacted
Wildlife Officer Adam Smith who quickly responded to the area and
made contact with the man, who was now on another property. Smith’s
contact and subsequent investigation revealed the man did not have
permission from the landowner or authorized agent to dig ginseng on
her property. The man was charged with harvesting ginseng without
the written permission of the owner and appeared for the fifth time
before Judge John Ross in the Bellefontaine Municipal Court on a
ginseng violation. He was fined $250 plus court costs and sentenced
to three days in the Logan County Jail.

• Pickaway County Wildlife Officer Ken Bebout noted four
individuals, two dressed in camouflage, standing in a field behind
a residence during the deer archery season. A closer inspection
revealed a deer lying near their location. Bebout made contact with
the individuals and learned that one of the hunters had shot the
antlered deer the day before on an adjacent property and he was
currently acquiring permission to retrieve the deer from the
landowner. The landowners had agreed to allow the hunters to remove
the animal. Prior to leaving, Bebout conducted a license and permit
check of the hunter. Back at his vehicle, the hunter presented a
hunting license and an antlerless deer permit. Given the deer on
the ground was an antlered deer, Bebout inquired about additional
permits he may possess or if he had already killed an antlered
deer. It was discovered that the hunter had already killed an
antlered deer this season. The electronic deer check system
confirmed he had already killed and checked-in an antlered deer.
The hunter indicated he was just going to have his friend check in
this deer. The hunter was issued a summons for taking a second
antlered deer and the deer was confiscated. Fines and costs for the
offense totaled $430 with the hunter also given non-reporting
probation.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• During the opening weekend of the 2011 waterfowl season, Officer
Cody Klima received a complaint about activity at the Metzger Marsh
Wildlife Area. The complainant stated that two men had shot after
legal shooting hours. Two U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officers,
who were already at Metzger’s Marsh and had heard the shots as
well, were waiting at the boat ramp when Klima arrived. The
suspects were the last ones to the ramp that night. The initial
interview led officers to believe that there were only two pintails
on board; however, an inspection of the boat revealed four
pied-billed grebes hidden in a seat compartment. Through the course
of the investigation, despite a language barrier to overcome, the
officers were able to recover another pied-billed grebe in the
suspects’ vehicle. The two men had federal charges brought against
them for shooting the pintails after legal shooting hours and
taking and possessing five pied-billed grebes. The seven birds were
confiscated and the men were charged nearly $2,700 in fines and
restitution.

• In March, Allen County Wildlife Officer Craig Barr received a
phone call inquiring if fox was still in season. When the caller
found out that fox was not in season, he indicated that he wanted
to report the killing of a red fox. Apparently, as the caller and
his wife were watching a fox, they heard a gunshot and saw the fox
begin to act like it had been shot. The upset couple checked the
surrounding area and found a man hunting groundhogs nearby. At
first, the man denied shooting the fox, but later responded that
the fox was a nuisance. After the investigation was complete, Barr
issued the hunter a summons for hunting fox out of season. He was
found guilty in the Lima Municipal Court and ordered to pay a fine
of $150 plus court costs.

• While following up on the 2010 deer gun season, Williams County
Wildlife Officer Thomas Kochert noticed multiple deer tags from an
individual with an out-of-state address. A check of the purchasing
history revealed that the tags could not have been in the
individual’s possession at the time the deer were killed. After the
contact, with assistance from the other state’s DNR, citations were
issued for failing to carry and exhibit deer permits, failing to
tag a deer, and assisting a wildlife offender.

• In early November, Hardin County Wildlife Officer Ryan Kennedy
received a complaint from a landowner concerning two subjects gun
hunting during the closed season. The landowner was bowhunting and
had heard several gunshots. The landowner also stated that he was
currently watching both subjects drag a deer across a field. The
landowner guided Kennedy and Officer Matt Hoehn to the area. The
officers found the two hunters, a man and his son, dragging a small
buck. Upon examining the deer, it was evident that the deer had
been shot with a gun. In addition, the deer was properly tagged. At
this time, officers Jeremy Payne and Craig Barr arrived to assist
in the investigation. During the interview, the father and son
stated that the son had killed the deer with a bow. The hunters
refused to cooperate with the officers. Later, a third hunter was
found bowhunting in the area and he did not possess a hunting
license. After a lengthy investigation, a sample of the deer’s
wound tested positive for lead fragments consistent with a slug. In
addition, the son had not taken a hunter education course. The
hunters were issued eight citations and received a total of $527 in
fines and court costs.

• The Huron County Pheasants Forever chapter recently held its
annual youth pheasant hunt. This year it was held on Saturday, Oct.
29 in conjunction with the statewide youth upland game season,
which allows youths 17 years of age and younger eligible to
participate. The Martins were again kind enough to open up their
property for the event. The participation was great, with
approximately 50 youths attending. The harvested birds were
processed for the youths to take home and enjoy. Food and
refreshments were also provided by the chapter. This event took a
lot of time and energy to be as successful as it was. A big
“thanks” goes out to all those who made this event such a huge
success in order that these youngsters get to enjoy a great and
memorable hunt.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

• Wildlife officers working an undercover fishing project in
Cuyahoga County observed a local fisherman catch over his limit of
trout and meticulously conceal them in his tackle box. Uniformed
officers Scott Denamen and Dave Shinko approached the man at his
vehicle and asked to see his catch. The man proudly showed Denamen
his limit of trout and when asked if he had caught any other fish
the man replied “no.” Further inspection of the container revealed
two additional trout placed inside of a white plastic bag concealed
in the bottom of his tackle box. Denamen exclaimed, “What do we
have here?” as the man hung his head and admitted taking over his
legal limit of fish. “What do I owe you?” remarked the angler. The
man was charged and convicted in the Garfield Heights Municipal
Court where he paid a total of $323 in fines and court costs.

• While working sport fishing enforcement on Lake Erie, Lorain
County Wildlife Officer Randy White and Lake Erie Investigator Matt
Fisher observed four individuals on a boat, two of whom were
holding fishing poles. The officers approached the vessel and
noticed two fishing rods sitting in front of the other two men.
When asked to see their fishing licenses, the two anglers who were
actively fishing produced valid licenses. The other two men
indicated that they weren’t fishing and had not purchased fishing
licenses. The officers motored away as if leaving the area only to
look back and observe all four men fishing. The officers returned
to the boat and issued summonses to the men who “weren’t
fishing.”

• Lorain County Wildlife Officer Randy White responded to a
complaint of a landowner who had trapped a skunk and left it alive
in the trap for several days. Upon investigation it was determined
that the skunk had been in the trap for 5-6 days and the landowner
was waiting for it to die to avoid getting sprayed himself. He was
charged and ordered to appear in the Elyria Municipal Court where
he was found guilty. Following his conviction, the man was
sentenced to one day in jail and was immediately placed in custody.
After his release, the man paid $385 in fines and costs.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

• Every year, wildlife officers receive numerous calls from young
men and women who are interested in becoming a “game warden” and
this year was no different for State Wildlife Officer Roy Rucker,
assigned to Gallia County. Rucker received a voice mail from a
young man who sounded to be very interested in what it would take
to become a wildlife officer. Upon speaking with the enthusiastic
youth, Rucker informed him of the steps that he should take in
order to prepare for a career in conservation law enforcement. The
young man inquired about if he would be able to ride along with
Rucker and observe his daily activities, but Rucker explained to
the young man that by policy he could not let him ride with him.
Rucker agreed to meet with him and answer any questions that he may
have, as well show him the vehicles and gear that a wildlife
officer uses to affect his duties. The young man told Rucker that
he would get back a hold of him to set up a time when they could
meet. Less than a week later, Rucker stopped a vehicle for
spotlighting. After securing the individuals and a firearm, Rucker
recognized one of the individual’s names that he had collected from
the spotlighters. It took some time to recall where he recognized
the name from, but soon realized that the younger of the
individuals was the very one who had inquired about becoming a
wildlife officer several days prior. Although the youth never
contacted Rucker again, he gained lots of first-hand knowledge
pertaining to vehicle stops and approaches, interview and
interrogation, search and seizure, evidence management, and
ultimately court proceedings.

• State Wildlife Officer Ted Witham was on patrol in Jackson County
on the opening day of hunting season this September. He had checked
numerous squirrel and dove hunters early that morning, all of whom
were in compliance. As he checked one group of dove hunters, he
heard an unusually large amount of shooting coming from an unknown
location to his north. Witham proceeded in the direction of the
shooting. It didn’t take him long to find the source. Witham
located three individuals in a great dove field. Birds were flying
into the field at a fast rate. Witham watched as the group
harvested numerous birds. After he documented all three individuals
hunting, he approached the group for a license compliance check.
The first two individuals were able to produce hunting licenses and
had firearms that were plugged, restricting the shell capacity of
the firearm to three shells. The third individual also had a
hunting license but was using a shotgun capable of holding more
than three shells. When asked why his gun wasn’t plugged the
individual stated that he must’ve “forgot” about the plug. He
further stated that he didn’t realize the gun wasn’t plugged until
Witham showed up. He acknowledged his mistake and stated “I own a
gun shop and have plenty of shotgun plugs laying around!” The
individual was found guilty in the Jackson County Municipal Court
and paid fines and court costs.

• During the 2011 youth turkey season, State Wildlife Officer Todd
Stewart received a complaint from a hunter about an adult male
hunting turkey. A father and son were hunting when they heard three
shots fired from an adjacent farm. After a few minutes the father
and son started to leave the area, and the adult male approached
them and asked the father if his son wanted to tag in the second
bird he had killed. The father told him “no,” and went on. After
gathering statements and an investigation, the identity of the
adult male was determined. When he was contacted, he stated he had
misread the dates for the start of the regular season. He was given
three citations and posted bond in the amount of $550 and was
ordered to pay $400 in restitution for the two birds.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

• State wildlife officers Jason Keller and Brad Turner were working
enforcement at Rush Run Lake in Preble County. The officers were
monitoring compliance of the 10 horsepower boat motor limit on the
lake. The boat ramp is designed for boat motors that are 10 HP or
less, and when larger motors are used they undermine the ramp.
Keller and Turner watched as a boater started his 125 HP boat motor
to load the boat onto the trailer. Turner made his way to his
patrol vehicle and set up next to the road to make a traffic stop
on the boater as he was leaving. Keller remained to watch the rest
of the boaters load their boats. Turner stopped the first boater as
they were leaving the parking lot. The first boater started to
argue with Turner stating that there was no sign telling them that
they could not use their big motors. Turner directed them to the
sign that read 10 HP limit hung next to the boat ramp. The first
boater then stated that they had seen the sign. Keller then
directed Turner to stop the next truck leaving because they also
used their big motor to load their boat. The second boater tried to
tell Turner that the boater behind them told them it was OK to use
their big motor to load their boat. Turner radioed Keller to see if
the next boat used their big motor to load their boat and Keller
responded “No.” The second boater hung his head when he heard the
response from Keller. Both boaters paid fines and court costs of
$135.

• Adams County Wildlife Officer Chris Gilkey reports that recently
a local man was found guilty for killing a timber rattlesnake. The
suspect pleaded guilty to killing the state endangered species and
was fined $100 with $68 in court costs.

• Field Supervisor David Warner and Wildlife Officer Aaron Ireland
assigned to Butler County were conducting fishing license
compliance at Hueston Woods State Park. While Ireland was issuing a
summons for fishing without a valid license, Warner observed an
individual at the archery range. Warner noticed that the individual
was using arrows with broadheads attached, which is prohibited.
Warner made contact with the individual and confirmed broadheads
were being used. The individual was escorted back to Ireland’s
vehicle and was issued a summons for the violation. The defendant
pleaded no contest and was found guilty and ordered to pay
$165.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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