Ohio Cuffs and Collars – January 31st, 2013

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• In early December, Madison County Wildlife Officer Matt Teders received a call concerning an individual who trapped a beaver during the closed season. Teders identified the area where the beaver was caught and found two body gripping traps. Both traps were set on land and were larger than the five-inch diameter allowed. Body griping traps larger than five inches must be set in water and traps larger than seven inches must be completely submerged in water. In all, four traps were located and none were tagged with the required owner’s information. Teders investigated and found an individual who was trying to catch a beaver causing damage to a dam. The individual was educated on nuisance beaver regulations and the tagging of traps and issued a summons for using too large of a body gripping trap on land. The individual was found guilty in Madison County Municipal Court and ordered to pay fines, court costs, and complete a trapper education course.
• While on evening patrol in Morrow County prior to the opening of furbearer season, Wildlife Investigator Dirk Cochran drove past an area that has generated numerous complaints in past years. The officer observed a truck with a dog box in the back parked toward a woodlot. Cochran listened for signs of hunting activity. He observed spotlights in the woods, heard dogs barking, and heard a shot fired from a small caliber firearm. As Cochran tracked the suspects, he once again heard dogs barking, saw a spotlight, and heard another shot. The investigator was able to locate and make contact with the three suspects; all of whom admitted that they were hunting raccoons out of season, and had killed two raccoons that evening. The three suspects were cited for harvesting/taking raccoons during the closed season and training dogs to take furbearing animals during the closed season while in possession of a firearm. The two raccoons that had been killed were seized as evidence.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• One night last fall, while patrolling Defiance County, State Wildlife Officer Matt Smith saw a vehicle traveling down a very seldom used road at an extremely slow rate of speed. Smith watched as the vehicle crept down the road, stopping periodically. Finally, the vehicle left the area, but moments later returned to the remote road. This time the driver was swerving side to side. It was obvious to Smith that the occupants were looking to shine the headlights on any deer in the area. Smith stopped the vehicle and made contact with the occupants. When Smith asked the driver what he was doing, the man stated “just trying to show the grandson some deer.” An inspection of the vehicle found no firearms present, so Smith informed the man what he was doing was, in fact, illegal in Ohio and sent the two on their way home.
• While on patrol in the Ohio waters of the extreme western basin of Lake Erie, state wildlife investigators Travis Abele and Gary Manley approached an anchored boat occupied by two Michigan anglers fishing for yellow perch. When asked by the officers how many perch they had, they both said they did not know. The officers replied that they would count the fish for them. Manley boarded the vessel and proceeded to count the perch that were in the livewell. Manley counted a total of 113 yellow perch, 53 fish over the limit. One angler was charged for 26 fish over the daily bag limit while the other angler was charged with 27 fish over the daily bag limit. The Oregon Municipal Court allowed the defendants to waiver $150 each for their violations.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

While working sport fish enforcement at Berlin Lake, Mahoning County Wildlife Officer Tom Frank documented vehicle license plate numbers as they entered and exited the area. Shortly thereafter he noted recently discarded litter near the Route 224 Bridge. He sifted through the trash and located information incriminating the littering individual. The man was later issued a summons for stream litter. He failed to appear for his first court hearing and a bench warrant was issued. The individual was convicted in court five months later and ordered to pay $230 in fines and court costs.  
• Mahoning County Wildlife Officer Tom Frank received information that an individual had killed two deer and not permanently checked either in as required. A subsequent investigation revealed that he had killed an antlered and an antlerless deer without a deer permit. He was charged with three wildlife offenses, appeared in court, and was convicted. The judge ordered the man to pay over $700 in fines and court costs. The antlers and the processed venison were forfeited to the Division of Wildlife.
• Based on several complaints, Portage County Wildlife Officer Barry Hennig and Stark County Wildlife Officer Mark Basinger conducted a law enforcement project. Within a short period of time, three separate vehicles were stopped for illegally spotlighting deer. During the investigation two individuals were charged with a variety of wildlife crimes. The cases are currently pending.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

• State Wildlife Officer Darin Abbot received a tip from a concerned sportsman about a deer being shot from the roadway via spotlight in the Chesapeake area of Lawrence County the day after the deer gun season ended. Abbot was able to obtain a license plate number of the vehicle and a detailed description of all parties involved in the violation. Abbot determined the vehicle was a rental car and determined who rented it at the time of the incident. Abbot issued the defendant summonses for jacklighting, shooting on/across or from a public roadway, and possession of illegally taken deer. The defendant was found guilty in Lawrence County Municipal Court and ordered to pay $410 in fines and court costs, and also received one year of probation, one year of revoked hunting privileges, and lost the .22 rifle that was seized as part of the incident.
• Chris Gilkey, wildlife officer assigned to Meigs County, reports that during an eight-day span from Nov. 8-16, he investigated multiple cases and TIP calls resulting in 16 tickets for deer violations. The violations included taking deer with a rifle, spotlighting, failure to tag deer, taking more than one antlered deer, hunting without permission, hunting in a closed season, and shooting from a motor vehicle. Every suspect lost their firearm and hunting rights for three years. Gilkey would like to thank all of those citizens who helped out calls and TIPS. 

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

• On Nov. 7, Wildlife Officer Trent Weaver received a call from a landowner about trespassers looking for a deer that they had shot. The hunters knew who the landowner was, and actually called him for permission. This was after the hunter who shot the deer left the area when he found out they were going to ask for permission to look for his deer. The hunters didn’t know that this hunter had previously also been warned not to come back. The hunters had already crossed the landowner’s entire farm before calling. The landowner allowed them to look for the deer but was upset about them not calling him first. Additionally, the landowner warned the caller that he needed a license and tag. This warning was also given by the hunter’s father that day but when Weaver returned the next morning he found both the father and son-in-law again in violation. The son-in-law was issued a citation for hunting without a license as his “son-in-law” exemption does not exist in the law. Only a landowner and the children of that landowner may hunt without a license, on lands owned by the landowner.
• State Wildlife Officer Rick Rogers, assigned to Warren County, received an anonymous TIP complaint from the 1-800-POACHER line regarding a subject harvesting four antlered deer. The caller also indicated that the suspect dumped the butchered deer carcasses at the end of his road. While Rogers was investigating the dump site, he noticed that he could see the suspect’s front door. Soon, Rogers observed the suspect standing outside on his front porch and he appeared to be reaching for something just off the porch. As he was reaching, he looked up and saw the officer’s vehicle. He jumped up and ran back inside the residence. As Rogers walked to his front door, he observed four fresh sets of antlers with skull caps laying near the porch where the suspect had previously been reaching. Rogers recalled that while he had been at the dump site, he had also observed four deer carcasses with their antlers and skull tops missing. When Rogers questioned him, the suspect stated that all the antlers were from road kill deer, even though he did not have any deer carcass receipts. Rogers confiscated a compound bow, arrows, treestand, and all deer meat, and antlers. The suspect was charged with four counts of wildlife violations (including litter), was found guilty and received $300 in fines, $449 in court costs as well as ordered to pay $1,980 in restitution for one of the antlered deer that scored in the trophy class (approximately 129 inches B&C). 

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