Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• Madison County Wildlife Officer Matt Teders was on patrol during the 2011 deer gun season when he observed a deer drive in progress. Teders witnessed the hunters traveling through a Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) grass field at an unusually fast pace. Further observation revealed two individuals were riding ATVs, with four other hunters standing along the edge of the field on the opposite end. The officer watched as the ATVs made several passes through the CRP field. During an interview with the hunters, they stated they were using the ATVs to drive deer out of the field. Teders advised them that they could not use motor vehicles to hunt deer. Also during the contact, one of the hunters was found to have an illegally tagged deer. The group was issued seven summonses; six for hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle and one for hunting without a deer permit. Two of the individuals had prior deer hunting violations. All were found guilty in Madison County Municipal Court. A total of $1,311 in fines and court costs, $250 restitution, and six years of non-reporting probation were issued to the individuals. The two individuals with priors were each given one day in the Tri-County Jail. All hunting from motor vehicles, except boats and machinery being used in farm operations, is prohibited.
• While patrolling the Delaware Wildlife Area, state wildlife officers Chad Grote and Vince Untied observed two men along the lake who appeared to be fishing. During the officers’ observation, one of the men was seen repeatedly using a cast net, he emptied the contents of the net into a bucket. As the men were making their way to their vehicle, the wildlife officers contacted them and asked what kind of fish they were catching. The men stated that they had only caught gizzard shad and were going to use them as bait for a catfishing tournament the following morning. Upon inspection of the bucket, it was discovered that the men had also caught four bluegills, and intended to keep them. The individual that was operating the net was cited for taking sport fish by means other than angling. When using a cast net, it is unlawful to catch and keep sport fish; only forage fish may be taken. The case is pending.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• Lake Erie investigator Brian Keyser and Portage County Wildlife Officer Berry Hennig were checking perch anglers on Lake Erie when they encountered a boat with two men, only one of which was fishing. When the officers asked the men how many fish they had, one man responded by asking the officers what the limit was this year. The officers informed him that it was 30. He replied that he had “probably close to that.” A count of his fish found that he had 47 yellow perch, well over his daily limit. The man was issued a summons for the extra fish and was later found guilty in Painesville Municipal Court where he was ordered to pay $135 in fines and court costs.
• During the annual white bass run on the Maumee River, state wildlife officers Steve Thomson, Mark Weihrauch, Scott Sharpe, and Ryan Kennedy worked a law enforcement project in Toledo. Over a three-day period, the officers contacted 150 anglers and issued 10 citations, all for fishing without a license. Each defendant received an average fine of $25 plus court costs.
• Sandusky County Wildlife Officer Brian Bury and Huron County Wildlife Officer Josh Zientek were checking fishermen at 2:30 a.m. at Metzger Marsh Wildlife Area in Lucas County when they noticed some anglers acting suspiciously. They watched as one angler looked around to make sure no one was watching and proceeded to dig through a bag in his vehicle and pull something out. The officers followed the man out to his fishing location. After a couple minutes, the two men began smoking marijuana. The officers walked up behind the men, made contact, and confiscated the marijuana. Both men were cited with drug possession and are awaiting court hearings.
• In June, state Wildlife Officer Matthew Leibengood, assigned to Seneca County, encountered four fishermen along the Sandusky River, north of Tiffin. Leibengood watched as one of the men threw a cup and a can in the weeds on the bank of the river. The fishermen were contacted and checked for fishing licenses. All four fishermen had their licenses. The person who littered was cited for stream littering and paid a $100 waiver to the Tiffin Municipal Court.
• Huron County Wildlife Officer Josh Zientek was contacted by The Huron Valley Coon Hunters Club to participate in a youth fun day held June 23 at their club. The event was free of charge and open to the public. More than 100 children and parents participated in the event. The club provided a free meal to all of the participants. Zientek provided the Division of Wildlife’s Laser Shot trailer for the day’s event. The children rotated through several different stages such as shooting archery, shooting the Laser Shot simulator, learning about coon dogs, and various other activities. Thanks to all the club members that dedicated their time to make this event a big success.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• Harrison County Wildlife Officer Nick Turner was working stream litter and fishing license compliance along the Tappan Lake shoreline when he observed three men fishing. As he drove toward the group, Turner had noticed that two of the individuals had walked several hundred yards down shore toward their vehicle. He checked the man who was currently fishing and then approached the other two individuals at their automobile. Both of the men at the vehicle denied fishing when they were asked. Once Turner stated that he had watched them fish, both of them admitted to the illegal activity. Turner was curious why neither of the men was carrying their fishing poles and asked where they had placed their equipment. Both of the men looked at Turner and stated that they had thrown their fishing poles in the lake because they didn’t want to get a ticket. The men were issued summonses for fishing without a license and stream litter and were ordered to appear in court.
• Lake County Wildlife Officer Jason Keller received a TIP call from 1-800-POACHER about an individual who had killed an antlered deer inside the city limits of Eastlake. The complainant indicated the street name where the suspect lived, but was unable provide his address. He also stated that he was using corn to attract deer into his yard. After searching WOCRMS, the Division of Wildlife’s new licensing system database, Keller was able locate two individuals living on that street who had purchased deer permits. He drove to one of the residences and as he was walking toward the door he noticed two large bags of corn as well as corn scattered on the ground approximately 10 yards from the house. The results of the investigation revealed that the suspect had killed a buck with a .22 caliber rifle from his bedroom window at around 1 a.m. in the morning. The suspect was issued three summonses. He appeared in the Willoughby Municipal Court, was found guilty, and ordered to pay $500 in fines, and required to complete a hunter education course. The suspect’s Ruger 10/22 rifle and the deer antlers were forfeited to the Division of Wildlife.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• On a hot summer day in July, Wildlife Officer Matt Clark received a call from the Ohio State Highway Patrol dispatch. The dispatcher said they had units responding to a call about an alligator in a ditch behind Wal-Mart. Clark responded to the scene and found the 33-inch alligator relaxing in a pool of water at the bottom of a ditch. Clark retrieved a catch pole out of his truck and went after the gator. The alligator tried to make an escape through a culvert, but Clark went in after it and was able to capture the gator without harming it.
• Over the Memorial Day weekend, wildlife officers worked an ATV and sport fishing project on the American Electric Power agreement grounds and the Muskingum River in Morgan County. While working the AEP area, officers found nine ATVs in a non-designated area. Those in violation paid fines and costs totaling more than $1,000. Later that night, the officers were working the dam at Rokeby Lock. They arrested one suspect for fishing without a license, and they arrested a husband and wife for possession of marijuana and cocaine. The couple was turned over to the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office and the prosecutor’s office for prosecution of the felony possession charge.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• During the 2011 deer gun season, a TIP report was received by Wildlife Officer Jim Carnes that stated an individual had shot a couple of deer in Highland County and had not checked them in. The deer were allegedly hanging at a property near Mowrystown. The TIP indicated that one of the vehicles was a maroon Explorer and the other was a blue S-10 pickup seen near a cemetery. Carnes contacted investigators Joel Buddelmeyer and Heath Horn, as well as Wildlife Officer Eric Lamb for assistance. Buddelmeyer drove by the suspect’s residence and saw a maroon Ford Explorer and a blue S-10 pickup truck. He also saw two people getting into the vehicles who were wearing hunter orange. Buddelmeyer watched as the vehicles drove out of the driveway. He then followed them to a cemetery which they pulled into. Buddelmeyer then drove down the road to watch the property and contacted Carnes. Horn and Lamb arrived and split up to locate the hunters. Minutes later, Horn located the suspect hunting along with his 15-year-old niece. The suspect was hunting with a .30-30 rifle. Buddelmeyer determined that the suspect had shot a buck the day before in the same location with a rifle, and not checked in the deer. Investigation found that the same suspect had shot a doe with a .22-250 rifle while spotlighting the same location, and did not recover the deer. The suspect had also shot four does on four different days in early September with his .30-30 rifle. Finally, the suspect was found to have shot he shot two bucks on the same day with his .30-30 rifle on the property behind the cemetery. The suspect was served with five summonses and appeared in Hillsboro Municipal Court with his attorney. The suspect pleaded to two of the charges and three were dismissed with court costs only. The suspect was sentenced to $250 fine on each of the two charges, $500 restitution for the buck that was shot, a three-year hunting license revocation, 60 days jail that were suspended, three years non-reporting probation, forfeiture of the .30-30 rifle, and forfeiture of all deer meat seized.
• While on patrol in Miami County, state Wildlife Officer Jasmine Grossnickle watched a driver throw a plastic cup out of the driver’s side window of a vehicle. Liquid from the cup splashed all over the car behind it as the offender’s car quickly turned left at a light. Grossnickle turned on her overhead lights to stop the vehicle. The car pulled into a nearby parking lot where the driver threw out a second cup that was filled full of liquid. During the contact, the driver said she had thrown the cups out the window because her cup holder had not worked properly and her drink spilled all over while she was driving. The driver indicated that she was so upset that this was the second time that her cup holder had tipped over, spilling drinks that she threw both cups out of the window. Grossnickle issued the driver a citation for disposing trash along a public roadway.