Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• While on patrol in Pickaway County, wildlife officers Josh Elster and Matt Teders observed mourning dove decoys sitting on top of a pole. The officers stopped to observe the decoys and listen for shooting. While watching the decoys, a pair of doves flew over, and several shots were fired at the birds from multiple guns. The officers made contact with three hunters and asked how their hunt was going. Two of the hunters stated they had their limit and the third hunter only needed three more to finish his limit of 15. The officers asked the hunters about all of the shooting when two of them had already had a limit. They admitted that they were trying to help their hunting partner fill his limit for the day. The hunters were advised that it was against the law to attempt to fill the bag limit of another. Both men were issued a summons for attempting to take more than their daily bag limit of mourning doves.
• On an evening in July, wildlife officers Josh Shields and Adam Smith teamed up for an evening of enforcement on Indian Lake. While working from a boat that evening, they contacted 24 anglers and issued seven summonses for various wildlife violations, which totaled $1,239 in fines and court costs. During their busy evening, the officers observed a group of anglers fishing off Pew Island. Smith later contacted the anglers and it was discovered that one of the anglers was fishing without a license. It was further discovered that another individual in the group was a person of interest and whom Smith had suspected of possibly committing deer violations during the previous hunting season. The officers issued the first angler a summons for fishing without a license. After finishing their contact with this angler, they used a computer to access electronic deer harvest records for the other angler who was suspected of committing the deer violations. With the suspect’s deer harvest information in hand, the officers went back and investigated the individual’s deer season. The man was issued summonses for failing to temporary tag a deer at the place where it fell and a second charge for transporting / possessing an untagged deer. The angler fishing without a license paid a $98.50 fine and $76.50 in court costs. The other angler paid $300 in fines and $114 in court costs for his wrongdoings. In addition, six days in jail were suspended as long as this individual does not have any hunting or fishing violations in the next two years.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• While patrolling the Toledo shipping channel on Lake Erie, Shelby County Wildlife Officer Tim Rourke and Wildlife Investigator Gary Manley checked a boat trolling just west of the shipping channel. There were four people fishing on the boat. Rourke boarded the boat and proceeded to count the walleyes in the cooler. He signaled to Manley for a measuring board. He discovered six walleyes that only measured 14 inches; in addition, the anglers were over the limit by three walleyes. A total of seven summonses were issued to the four anglers on the boat. The anglers posted a waiver to the Oregon Municipal Court for all of the violations, which totaled $759, including fines and court cost.
• In July, Wildlife Officer Matthew Leibengood, assigned to Seneca County, observed a group of swimmers along the Sandusky River north of Tiffin. The area is plagued with litter problems, and the officer noticed that the swimmers had beverage containers with them. There were two adults and four children. As Leibengood documented the beverage containers, he noticed the two adults smoking from a small pipe in a manner common for smoking marijuana. They were smoking as the children were watching. Leibengood called the Seneca County Sheriff’s Office for assistance. Leibengood and two deputies contacted the adults. The officers discovered the two were actually smoking synthetic marijuana. Interestingly, the synthetic marijuana package was labeled with a warning stating it was not intended for human consumption. The case is being investigated further by the sheriff’s office with charges likely.
• On the opening day of the 2012 fishing season at the Lake La Su An Wildlife Area, several officers convened to check the anticipated large crowd. One man was checked by Wildlife Officer Supervisor Bob Radcliff in the morning. He had taken seven sunfish, three below his 10-fish limit. He also had one fish that was over eight inches. The man informed Radcliff that he was coming back in the afternoon with two others. Radcliff specifically explained to the man he would only able to keep three more sunfish, one of which could be eight inches or larger when he returned. Later that afternoon, wildlife officers Craig Barr and Jason Porinchok saw the same man and two women drive through one of the parking lots, pulling a small boat. Sometime later, the officers observed the man fishing alone in a small boat. The officers watched as he caught six sunfish and placed them in the boat’s livewell. When contacted, the man was found to be in possession of 13 additional sunfish. The man reasoned that the fish from the morning were at his home. Shortly thereafter, the two women returned to pick him up. They stated that they had been fishing with him earlier but one of them had gotten sick. They further explained that some of the fish were theirs. The man was charged with an overbag of sunfish based on the seven fish he kept in the morning plus the six fish that the officers saw him catch and keep in the afternoon. He paid a $125 in fines and court costs in the Bryan Municipal Court.
• While working fishing enforcement at Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area, Hardin County Wildlife Officer Ryan Kennedy observed a subject fishing at one of the area’s ponds. When Kennedy pulled into the parking area, the subject dropped his pole and began to walk away. After contacting the subject, Kennedy discovered the man did not have a fishing license. He asked the man why he had not bought his fishing license. The man explained that his wife had given him strict instructions to buy his license before going fishing but the man forgot to follow her instructions. He received a $25 fine plus court costs, in addition to having to go home and tell his wife.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• During the summer, Mahoning County Wildlife Officer Tom Frank observed two golf carts being driven along the lakeshore at Berlin Lake. Two individuals were in one of the vehicles. After a short period of time, he observed the driver light a marijuana pipe and proceed along the shore toward a nearby campground. Frank stopped the golf cart and issued the driver summonses for operating a vehicle in a non-designated area and possession of drug paraphernalia. The passenger, a juvenile, was not charged. Several hours later, Frank observed three adults and one juvenile sitting along the lakeshore, where the three adults smoked from a marijuana pipe. Frank contacted the group and determined that the juvenile was the 11-year-old child of one of the violators. The child’s father was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia. Both of the men appeared in court and were convicted. The first man paid over $240 in fines and court costs and his driving privileges suspended for six months. The judge sentenced the second man to complete 60 hours of community service and ordered him to pay $171 in fines and court costs.
• While working along the Ohio River, Columbiana County Wildlife Officer Scott Angelo observed two subjects fishing. He observed one of the men holding what appeared to be a pipe. He contacted the men and asked to see their fishing licenses, and determined that neither of them had a valid license. When Angelo asked them about the pipe, one of the individuals retrieved a marijuana pipe and a small amount of marijuana from his pocket. Angelo seized the contraband and issued both of the men summonses for fishing without a license. Supplied with the evidence, the prosecutor later charged the man who was in possession of the pipe and marijuana. He was convicted in court, paid $200 and received a suspended 30-day jail sentence. Both of the men were also found guilty of fishing without a license and each ordered to pay $125.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• Wildlife Officer Chris Gilkey reports that combined efforts from several law enforcement agencies, including the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office, Lucasville prison guards, Ohio State Patrol, Bureau of Criminal Investigations, and the Division of Wildlife resulted in a marijuana eradication project resulting in 700-plus plants seized in Meigs County. According to BCI, that was an estimated total of $14,000-plus worth of illegal drugs.
• State Wildlife Officer Darrin Abbott, assigned to Lawrence County, received a complaint that a suspect in South Point had shot two bucks on the same day of the deer archery season of 2011-12 and took them both to a taxidermist in Huntington, W.Va., to be mounted. The suspect posted pictures of these deer on Facebook, and a concerned sportsman reported the violations. An investigation by Abbott and WVDNR Police Officer McComas determined that not only did the suspect shoot one of the deer with a pistol in archery season, but he also never purchased an Ohio resident license or any deer permits and never checked in either of the deer. Both deer were confirmed to have been taken over to West Virginia for processing and McComas seized the evidence. Charges are pending in Lawrence County Municipal Court.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• While working in Darke County during last year’s second deer gun weekend, state Wildlife Officer Jeff Wenning was on routine patrol looking for deer hunters in the mid-afternoon. He observed two hunters starting a deer drive on a property that is known to allow hunting by permission only. Wenning did not recognize the hunters, so he approached them to establish that they were hunting deer and possessed loaded firearms. The hunters stated that they were driving deer to other hunters posted on an adjoining property. When Wenning asked to see their hunting licenses and deer permits, one of the hunters presented him with an either sex deer permit that had the temporary tag portion filled out and detached. When asked why it had been filled out and detached the hunter offered a story but quickly confessed to having used it on another deer during deer gun week. Wenning explained to both hunters that they were hunting without permission and issued each of them a citation for the activity. Additionally, the man who did not possess a valid deer permit was cited for hunting with an invalid permit. Both hunters were subsequently found guilty of the hunting violations in Darke County Municipal Court.
• While working sport fish enforcement at Grant Lake Wildlife Area in Brown County, state Wildlife Officer Eric Lamb watched two men cast netting below the spillway. When the two men returned to their truck, the officer made contact with them and inspected their catch. The two men had cast netted more than 70 sport fish, most of which were bluegills and crappies. Both men were issued a summons and paid fines of $182 each.