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Ohio Cuffs and Collars – August 3rd, 2012

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• One an evening in June, Logan County Wildlife Officer Adam Smith finished checking anglers for fishing license compliance at Indian Lake and returned to his patrol vehicle. Parked next to his vehicle was a truck with a boat loaded on a trailer. Three individuals were standing next to the boat; two were getting their fishing rods rigged up. The third individual was standing nearby, watching his friends get their fishing rods ready. Smith saw a third fishing rod sitting in the bed of the truck. He asked the third individual what kind of fish he was going after and the man replied, “I’m not going fishing.” Smith told the group to have a good evening, be safe, and drove away. Smith circled around and found a spot to watch the group. After observing all three fishing, Smith contacted the group and learned that the man who had previously said that he was not going fishing, did not have a valid fishing license. The angler was cited for fishing without a license and paid a fine of $98.50 and court costs of $76.50.
• State Wildlife Officer Supervisor Bill Bullard and State Wildlife Officer Chris Rice were patrolling Licking County on opening day of spring turkey season when they received a call about someone hunting without permission. The officers were close to the area of the complaint so they were able to respond quickly. When they arrived, the caller pointed out turkey decoys in the field along a fence row. The caller had showed up that morning to hunt, when he arrived, he saw someone was hunting without permission on the property. The officers made contact with the hunter and found that he did not have a current hunting license or spring turkey permit for 2012. The hunter claimed he had permission to be on the property. Rice researched the hunter’s point of sale and harvest history on the computer in his patrol vehicle. He found that hunter had not purchased a hunting license or turkey permit for four years. During the conversation the man claimed he had hunted and killed turkey and deer during that time frame. Taking those facts into account, the officers issued the man citations for hunting without permission, hunting without a valid license, and hunting turkey without a valid permit. The charges are still pending in the Licking County Municipal Court.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• Just before midnight on a mild spring evening, State Wildlife Officer Brad Baaske worked enforcement activities at Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area in southern Wyandot County. At 12:30 a.m., Baaske observed a car pull into a parking lot at the wildlife area and come to a stop next to a large cottonwood tree. Two men got out of the car, retrieved a cooler from the trunk, a pizza box from the back seat, and proceeded to sit down on the hood of the car with the cooler and pizza between them. Baaske watched for several minutes as the men enjoyed their beer and pizza and talked about their day. As each man emptied a bottle, the men would make a comment and throw the glass bottle against the cottonwood tree leaving shattered glass around its trunk. When the cooler was empty and the pizza gone, the cooler was put back into the trunk and the men began driving away. Baaske stopped the vehicle and identified the two men. Baaske determined that the men had consumed 12 beers and all of the bottles, as well as the pizza box remained at the base of the large cottonwood tree. Each man was cited for the litter and alcohol violations, and family members were called to drive them home.     
• While providing enforcement during the statewide muzzleloader season, Lucas County Wildlife Officer Cody Klima made contact with two men. While checking their hunting licenses and deer permits, Klima noticed that one of the men had an antlerless deer permit. Lucas County is an urban zone so an antlerless permit is valid all season; however, the name on the permit did not match the name on the hunting license. After a brief discussion, Klima learned that the hunter had given his either-sex deer permit to a hunting companion because the hunting companion had shot his second buck of the season. In exchange, the companion gave his friend an antlerless deer permit. Klima contacted the other hunter, who agreed to bring the deer back to the location of the crime. The buck was confiscated and the man was charged with shooting two antlered deer during one license year. The friend who gave the man his either-sex deer tag was also charged with tagging a deer shot by someone else.
• During the 2012 spring walleye run, Van Wert County Wildlife Officer Brad Buening received a TIP call from the 1-800 POACHER hotline. The TIP pertained to an individual on the Maumee River who was over his daily bag limit. After receiving the information, Buening responded to where the individual was located. He found the individual and inspected his cooler of fish and discovered the individual possessed five walleyes, which is one walleye over the daily bag limit. The individual told the officer one walleye was shorter than the rest so it did not count. Buening measured the fish and agreed with the man that it was short. In fact it was almost an inch short from being legal in length. The individual was issued a citation and subsequently found guilty in Perrysburg Municipal Court.
• State wildlife officers Josh Zientek and Cody Klima were working along the Maumee River during the annual walleye run when the officers noticed a boat occupied by three anglers. A short time later, the officers observed one of the anglers catch and keep a walleye that had been caught unlawfully by snagging. The officers continued to watch the fishermen as they continued to catch several more snagged fish. At sunset, the fishermen headed downriver and were greeted by the officers as they pulled up to the boat ramp. A quick inspection of the fish determined that the anglers were in possession of one walleye that was less than the legal length of 15 inches. The anglers were also informed of what the officers had witnessed earlier. Two of the anglers admitted immediately that they had snagged the walleye and knew they should not have kept them. The anglers stated that they were unable to refrain from breaking the law, hoping to sneak away with several fish for a walleye dinner. The fishermen involved were issued the appropriate summonses and were later found guilty in Maumee Municipal Court. 
• During the 2012 walleye run, state wildlife officers Matt Smith and Brad Buening decided to check the Maumee River upstream toward Grand Rapids. When the officers came to Weirs Rapids, they found a man with three small children returning to shore in a small fiberglass boat. When the man and kids finally got to shore the officers contacted the family. They discovered that the man had lost all battery power for the trolling motor and the boat had two holes in it with nearly a foot of water in the bottom of the boat. Smith told the man he was lucky to have made it back to shore. It was then that the man told the officers that his wife and another child still remained on the island. The distraught man was insistent that he was going to take the boat back across the fast moving rapids to retrieve the rest of his family and their camping gear. Smith and Buening knew the boat would not make the trip again so they radioed the dispatcher and requested that the nearest fire department respond with a small boat. The volunteer fire department from Grand Rapids responded. Three firemen were able to make it safely across the rapids to retrieve the stranded individuals and their camping gear to reunite them with the rest of the family. Thankfully, no one was injured during the entire ordeal.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

• Harrison County Wildlife Officer Nick Turner received a call from the local sheriff’s office about an individual hunting without permission. Turner arrived at the property and saw a truck parked along the roadway. As he was walking toward the vehicle, he heard the truck’s engine start and the doors shut. Turner ran back to his truck and was able to stop the other vehicle and identify the two individuals in the vehicle. The results of the investigation revealed that the two men had been digging ginseng without permission from the landowner. A total of 48 ginseng roots were seized as evidence. Both of the individuals were charged, found guilty in court, and ordered to pay a total of $680. The ginseng plants were returned to the landowner. 
• Lake County Wildlife Officer Jason Keller was contacted by the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office in reference to two untagged deer. The two men had been arrested the previous night and their vehicle impounded. Three sets of untagged antlers were also located in truck. It was later discovered that there were three men in the truck and that they had spotlighted and killed two deer with a rifle. Keller learned the identity of the third individual, an Athens County resident, who was driving the vehicle. With the assistance of Athens County Wildlife Officer Dan Perko, Keller issued the three men a total of nine summonses. The men were found guilty in Ashtabula Municipal Court and were ordered to pay $750 in fines and $500 in restitution for the deer. Each of the men lost their hunting privileges for three years and the Stevens 25-06 rifle and the antlers were forfeited to the state. Both of the deer were donated to the Farmers and Hunters Feeding the Hungry program.
• While working late one night, Harrison County Wildlife Officer Nick Turner was talking on his phone while parked on a ridge top overlooking several agricultural fields. Shortly into his phone call, Turner observed a car driving slowly by the fields and then heard three rifle shots. With back up from the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office, Turner conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle.  Three men were in the car along with a loaded SKS rifle. All three men were charged and found guilty of spotlighting with a hunting device. The firearm was forfeited to the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

• In early November 2011, State Wildlife Officer Eric Bear in Washington County received a call from a hunter. The hunter informed Bear that he had been watching a large buck on his property all fall long and even had several trail camera photos of the deer. He had hunted the deer with no success, but found out another hunter had harvested the deer when he was given a photo of the successful hunter posing with the deer. A short time later, he had harvested a nice buck of his own, and while delivering his deer to a taxidermist in West Virginia he was admiring the other deer that the taxidermist was waiting to mount. To his disbelief, he found the antlers from the large buck he had been hunting. He saw that the deer did not have an Ohio tag, but was tagged with a West Virginia tag. Bear had the caller email him the photo of the hunter and the deer and several trail camera photos of the deer. Bear met with West Virginia DNR Officer Casto and briefed him on the info from the caller and gave him copies of the photos. Casto went to the taxidermist and verified that the antlers matched the deer in the photos and took them as evidence. Casto set up a meeting with the owner of the antlers, and he and Bear met with the suspect, and after a brief investigation it was determined that the deer was harvested in Ohio and tagged in West Virginia. It was also determined that the suspect had done the same thing the year before, as well as taking antlers from a dead deer back from Ohio to West Virginia. Casto and Bear recovered the other two sets of antlers from the suspect’s home. The suspect was charged with three counts of possession of illegal deer in West Virginia. He pleaded guilty and paid fines and cost. He was also charged in Ohio with failing to check in two deer. He pleaded no contest in Marietta Municipal Court where he was found guilty and ordered to pay $690 in fines and costs. He was also ordered to pay $4,453.55 in restitution for the deer. The antlers were forfeited to the Division of Wildlife.
• In October of 2011, State Wildlife Officer Brad St. Clair assigned to Noble County and State Wildlife Officer Wes Feldner assigned to Monroe County were on routine patrol when they were contacted by the Noble County Sheriff’s Office in reference to a white-tailed deer that was discovered hanging in an outbuilding while investigating a complaint. Sheriff Stephen Hannum and Chief Deputy Joe Miller advised them that deer was field dressed and appeared to have been shot with a small caliber rifle. St. Clair and Feldner immediately responded to the scene to assist the sheriff’s office with the investigation. Upon arrival, the officers were able to retrieve a .22 caliber bullet from the deer carcass. Following a brief interview with a member of the household, two individuals were identified for taking the deer illegally. One of the individuals identified had been taken into custody by the Noble County Sheriff’s Office earlier in the day for an unrelated offense. St. Clair went to the sheriff’s office and interviewed the individual, who admitted the deer was shot illegally while he was jacklighting with his stepson a few days earlier. The stepfather and stepson were issued citations for jacklighting, taking a deer with a rifle, littering, and possessing a deer without a valid tag, seal or certificate. The stepfather was ordered to pay a total of $344 in fines and court costs. In addition, he was sentenced to serve 5 days in jail (suspended). The stepson was ordered to pay $315 in fines and court costs. In addition, he was sentenced to serve 5 days in jail. The deer was forfeited to the Division of Wildlife.
• During the 2008 deer archery season, Wildlife Officer Brian Baker of Belmont County arrested a hunter on coal company property for hunting without a license, hunting without a valid deer permit, and hunting without permission. During this past deer gun season, Baker was called to the same location for a complaint of hunting without permission. Baker ran the vehicle license plate and recognized the name as the same hunter he arrested in 2008. After some searching, Baker contacted the suspect in a treestand and observed that he was not wearing hunter orange. The suspect provided the officer with a written permission slip signed by an employee of a contracted company hired to perform mining operations on the land on which he was hunting. The hunter was arrested for not wearing hunter orange and for hunting without permission. By law, written permission must be secured by the actual landowner or his authorized agent.  He was fined $150 for not wearing hunter orange, $500 for hunting without permission, $105 in court costs, and was sentenced to 30 days in jail with all suspended on the condition he not violate any laws of the state or any municipality for two years. 

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