Ohio Cuffs and Collars – April 27th, 2012

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• Knox County Wildlife Officer Mike Miller reports that on the Sunday of the two-day deer gun season he received a call from a landowner that three hunters were hunting without permission and one hunter was chasing deer on a quad runner. Miller arrived at the farm and found the three hunters hunting without permission. The hunters were given summons for hunting deer without written permission into the Mount Vernon Municipal Court. The hunters were each fined $395 and given two years probation and 10 days jail time that was suspended on condition of no further wildlife offenses for two years.
• State wildlife officers take part in a wide range of activities. One of a wildlife officer’s many duties is to assist wildlife management in conducting various population surveys on Ohio’s wildlife. During the spring, wildlife officers assist with a study to collect data from roadkill does. This information, along with surveys, other biological data, and hunter harvest data, allows the Division of Wildlife to make wise use decisions for Ohio’s deer herd. Wildlife officers collect a specific number of deer per county in different age classes. From these deer wildlife officers collect the lower jaw bone for aging, and if the deer is female and pregnant they also collect data from the fetus. They collect the measurement, sex and number of each fetus found in each pregnant doe. One day while State Wildlife Officer Brad Kiger was collecting data along interstate 270 in Franklin County, another police officer from the local suburb stopped to see what was going on. The officer pulled up beside Kiger just as he had his hand in the deer pulling out a fawn. The police officer looked at the deer and then at Kiger and just drove away without saying a word.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• During the 2011 deer gun season, Van Wert County Wildlife Officer Brad Buening received information from the TIP hotline concerning someone hunting from the road. The caller reported that a hunter had shot at a buck, which was near the road. Buening used the Division of Wildlife’s new harvest database and quickly discovered that the hunter had already harvested a buck the month before. Buening’s investigation of the complaint confirmed that the hunter had shot at the buck. The hunter was issued one citation for attempting to take a second buck during the deer season. The hunter was later found guilty and paid a fine of $250.
• During the 2011 deer gun season, Paulding County Wildlife Officer Duane Bailey and Field Supervisor Bob Radcliff responded to a complaint of someone shooting at, and killing, a deer from a pick-up truck. As they arrived in the area of the complaint, they found two men sitting in a truck that matched the description they had been given. The truck was parked on the road adjacent to a field where a deer lay dead. An investigation determined that one of the men shot the deer as it was about to cross the road. He also claimed the deer was already injured and that he only put it down out of mercy. Both men were cited for hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle and the shooter was additionally charged with failing to attach his temporary tag to the deer. Both men later entered guilty pleas to the charges in the Paulding County Court and paid fines and costs totaling $603. The dead deer, which the officers had seized as evidence, was forfeited to the Division of Wildlife. It was processed and donated to the Paulding County Chapter of Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry.
• Shortly before the statewide deer gun season, Crawford County Wildlife Officer Jason Parr received a phone call from a concerned parent of a young hunter. The caller advised Parr that her son had been hunting during the youth gun season on property that he had permission to hunt. She stated that there was an adult bowhunting the same property during the youth gun season. The caller asked Parr if it was legal for the hunter to bowhunt during the youth deer gun season. Parr explained to her that an adult could bowhunt during the youth gun season as long as the proper amount of hunter orange was worn and a youth hunter was not being accompanied. The caller then informed Parr that the bowhunter did not have permission from the landowner to be hunting on the property. Parr inquired if she was the landowner or the landowner's authorized agent for the property. She stated that she was not, so Parr explained to her that a complaint from the landowner or their authorized agent was needed prior to pursuing hunting without permission charges. A few hours later, the landowner contacted Parr and wished to pursue charges for the individual hunting on his property without permission. During the statewide deer gun season, Parr checked the property several times in an attempt to make contact with the hunter who had been hunting without permission. Parr did make contact with one hunter on the property during the deer gun season. The hunter had written permission from the landowner, but was hunting deer without a deer permit. A summons was issued to the hunter for the violation. It turns out that this hunter was related to the caller who originally reported the hunting without permission incident. The hunter indicated that he was aware that his relative had called and talked with Parr. The hunter pleaded guilty to hunting without a deer permit in the Crawford County Municipal Court and paid a total of $165 in fines and court costs. Parr later found out that the original bowhunter who had been hunting without permission had taken his tree standdown prior to the start of the statewide deer gun season.
• After receiving a tip from a local trapper, Williams County Wildlife Officer Thomas Kochert checked under a bridge for an illegally set trap. Upon searching the creek and the surrounding bank, Kochert discovered a 220 conibear body-gripping trap set for raccoons along the bank, approximately 15 feet from the water. The trap was seized as evidence and the trapper was cited for setting a body-gripping trap with a seven-inch jaw spread on land. A body-gripping trap cannot have a jaw spread greater than five inches if it is set on land. The trapper paid a $125 bond in Bryan Municipal Court.
• On Dec. 11, 2011, Ottawa County Wildlife Officer Reid Van Cleve was investigating a person who had killed two antlered deer during the 2011-2012 deer season. Van Cleve contacted the hunter at his residence to interview him. The hunter denied killing two bucks in one year and stated that he had only killed one antlered deer. Van Cleve presented the man with evidence to the contrary. The hunter then changed his story and admitted that he had killed two bucks during the season. He said that the second antlered deer was killed on private property and had been checked in by his friend. Van Cleve spoke with the second man who had checked the deer in. The second man stated that he had been asked to check the deer in because his friend had already killed one buck. After all the information was received and documented, both men were issued citations. The hunter was issued a citation for taking more than one antlered deer per license year and ordered to appear in Ottawa County Municipal Court. He pleaded no contest and was found guilty. He was sentenced to 20 days in jail and ordered to pay $208 in fines and court costs as well as $500 in restitution. His jail time was suspended on condition that he does not commit any wildlife violations for the next year. His hunting privileges were also revoked for one year. The second man was issued a citation for providing false information and paid a waiver for $90.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

• During the spring turkey season, Tuscarawas County Wildlife Officer Wade Dunlap received information that a turkey hunter had killed a coyote, which had a radio tracking collar fastened around its neck. After obtaining the collar, Dunlap and Wildlife Investigator Brett Barnes determined that it was not being used for research by any official agency, but more likely attached by a coyote hunter for dog training purposes. Through the course of the investigation, Dunlap learned the identity of a trapper in Tuscarawas County who was snaring and holding live coyotes. He would then notify an operator of a local hunting store in Coshocton County who would find an outlet for the animals. This information led to another suspect, an owner of a high-fence hunting preserve in Holmes County, who would charge individuals to pursue the wild coyotes inside the enclosure. The animals were transported to the preserve, collared and released inside the pen. Several commercially propagated coyotes were also placed inside the preserve. Sometimes these animals escaped from the enclosure and in two cases killed livestock as well as the landowner’s dog. At the conclusion of the investigation, six different subjects were cited in both Tuscarawas and Holmes counties for their involvement. Charges included possessing furbearing animals without a permit, failing to keep accurate propagator records, failing to report the escape of a dangerous animal, and failing to immediately kill a furbearing animal upon locating it in a trap. Following their court appearances, the subjects paid over $2,000 in fines and costs and were required to perform 90 hours of community service in Tuscarawas County. In lieu of 210 days in the Holmes County jail, the hunting preserve owner was placed on probation and prohibited from possessing coyotes during that time.
• While on patrol during the statewide muzzleloader season, Wayne County Wildlife Officer Jason Warren observed a trapper walking out of a large marsh. Warren contacted the trapper, who was carrying a heavy packbasket full of various furbearers and asked to see his hunting license and fur taker permit. He was surprised when the trapper retrieved several dead muskrats from inside his waders instead of the required licenses. Warren asked the trapper if he usually carried muskrats in that fashion. The trapper replied no, but his pack was full. He was able to eventually produce both his license and permit.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

• In November 2011, State Wildlife Officer Bob Nelson received a call from the Ross County Sheriff’s Office with a poaching complaint. Deputy Chris Davis and a reserve deputy were at a residence talking with a witness when Nelson arrived. The witness stated they were bowhunting and observed an individual in an older model, blue Chevy truck driving through the woods on a trail near the property they were hunting. They stated they heard gunshots earlier and then observed the man with a deer they believed he shot with a rifle. The officers then went to the suspect’s residence and had to walk past an outbuilding to get to the house. There was no answer at the door, and as they walked back past the outbuilding they could see through a canvas tarp across the front. Nelson observed an untagged deer hanging in the building, and the deputies located a second deer that was hanging. Upon further investigation, it was determined that the two deer were shot with a rifle. Nelson also located eight other untagged deer racks and antlers. Officers seized the rifle, the two deer and all the untagged deer racks. The suspect was charged with taking a deer with a rifle, possession of illegally taken deer, and possession of untagged deer parts. He pleaded no contest and was found guilty. He paid a total of $175 in fines and court costs. All items seized were forfeited to the Division of Wildlife and the venison will be donated to a local food pantry.
• During this past deer gun season, State Wildlife Officer Wesley Feldner received a call from a hunter who witnessed a subject shoot a deer from a truck. Feldner contacted Wildlife Officer Eric Bear because the incident happened in Washington County. The officers found the dead deer, and using the license plate number of the shooter’s truck they were able to determine that the owner lived near the scene of the incident. When the officers went to the residence, no one was home, so they drove around the area looking for the truck. Feldner noticed a dead deer lying in the ditch near the subject’s home. He found that the deer had been shot and field dressed and also found a temporary landowner deer tag in the deer’s ear. The name on the tag was the same as the owner of the truck. A short time later, the officers made contact with the subject. Upon investigation, it was determined that the suspect harvested the tagged deer earlier in the day on his neighbor’s property, and tagged it as a landowner. In the haste to get rid of the deer, the suspect forgot to remove the temporary tag. The next day, Bear met with the passenger of the truck. The driver of the truck was issued a summons in both Washington and Monroe counties, and the shooter was issued summons in Washington County. They both were found guilty and paid fines and court costs. The shooter also paid $500 in restitution for the deer shot from the truck.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

• While working the 2010 spring turkey season in Darke County, Wildlife Officer Jeff Wenning received an anonymous tip that there was an individual hunting wild turkeys while possessing two hunting implements. While patrolling the area, Wenning discovered a truck parked near a wooded lot. Wenning exited his vehicle and proceeded to check the perimeter of the lot searching for the hunter. While doing so he could hear someone inside the wooded lot using a hen call to entice a tom turkey into shooting range. Carefully, Wenning entered the lot and listened for the hunter to continue to call. After determining the approximate location of the hunter, he started walking in the hunter’s direction. When he spotted the hunter, he identified himself and asked the hunter to put down his shotgun. While speaking with the hunter, Wenning established that the hunter was there by himself and that he was hunting wild turkeys. After a closer look at the area around the hunter, Wenning discovered a .22 caliber magnum rifle. When he inquired of the hunter as to the purpose of the second hunting implement, the hunter replied “it is for the coyotes.” Wenning explained to the hunter that it was illegal to possess two hunting implements while hunting wild turkeys. The hunter was issued a summons for the violation. He later pleaded no contest in Darke County Municipal Court and was subsequently found guilty. 

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