Ohio Cuffs and Collars – March 1st, 2013

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• During the statewide deer gun season, Wildlife Officer Jeff Tipton and Wildlife Officer Supervisor Curt Smith were patrolling northeastern Champaign County. The officers planned to visit a property that a landowner reported suspected illegal hunting. As the officers entered the driveway, a hunter was seen off to their right disappearing into the brush. Smith went to look for the hunter, returning with a 15-year-old youth who was hunting alone. The young hunter was hunting with a shotgun that was capable of holding more than three shotgun shells. The young hunter told the officers that his older brother had dropped him off and left. Tipton and Smith requested that the young hunter call his brother and have him return to the property. Tipton was familiar with the older brother; he was the subject of a deer investigation from earlier in the year. Once the brother arrived and the officers explained the situation, the hunting violations were handled and the officers were just about to let the two young men go when something caught Tipton's attention. As Tipton was speaking with the older brother, he noticed blood on the front of his shirt underneath a hoodie that he was wearing. When Tipton asked about the blood, he acted unaware at first, and then tried to explain that it was from some birds that he cleaned. The young man eventually stated that the blood was from a deer that he had shot earlier in the day. The deer was hanging at his house and did not have a tag on it. The officers followed the young men to their house; there they confirmed that the deer was untagged. The older brother was charged with failing to place a temporary tag on the deer because this was his second deer violation, he was charged with a first-degree misdemeanor. He appeared in court and was ordered to pay a $500 fine plus court costs and he received a 12-month suspension of his hunting privileges.     
• Around 6 a.m. the morning after deer gun season, state Wildlife Officer Justus Nethero received a phone call from the Delaware County Sheriff’s Office communications center. The dispatcher explained that the sheriff’s office had received a call regarding an individual shooting a gun near some homes, then jumping into a vehicle and driving away. A sheriff’s deputy in the area responded to the call and had pulled over a suspicious vehicle. The deputy discovered that the vehicle had two occupants along with two shotguns, two crossbows, and a dead deer shoved in the trunk. The deputy requested the Division of Wildlife’s help with the case. Nethero and a state wildlife investigator arrived at the scene to investigate the situation. The two individuals had shot a deer with a shotgun on land they did not have permission to hunt, during restricted hours, and while possessing a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle. The deer and the firearm used to poach the deer were seized, and all charges are still pending.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• During the deer gun season, state wildlife officers Jeremy Payne, Paul Kurfis, and Ryan Kennedy observed two subjects deer hunting together in a woodlot. The officers watched as the two hunters separated, one hunter climbed into a treestand and the other hunter started a deer drive through the woods. It appeared to the officers that the hunter in the treestand was a youth hunter. At that time, Kurfis and Kennedy contacted the hunters and confirmed that the hunting party consisted of a grandparent and his 15-year-old grandson. When the officers first questioned the grandfather why he left his grandson alone, the man replied that they were attempting to track a wounded deer that had been shot earlier in the day. The grandfather then stated that, although he left his grandson alone, he had taken all the shells away from the youth. Further investigation revealed that the grandson’s firearm was loaded and his grandfather was attempting to push deer to him. The grandfather was issued a citation for failing to accompany a youth hunter. He received a $100 fine plus court costs.
• While patrolling Henry County during the deer gun season, state wildlife officers Troy Reimund and Eric VonAlmen dove through an area that had numerous complaints of people dumping deer carcasses. The officers came upon a truck stopped in the middle of the road as two men walked around the back of the truck. The two men got in the truck and drove away. The officers stopped where the truck had been parked and found two fresh deer carcasses on top of a large sheet of cardboard, laying on top of three other deer carcasses that had been dumped there previously. The officers proceeded down the road and stopped the suspects. Reimund and VonAlmen learned that the occupants had just processed the two deer and dumped them along the road. The officers also discovered that the suspects had not checked in their deer prior to processing them as the law requires. The driver and passenger were each cited for litter and failing to permanently check in their deer prior to processing. The defendants pleaded no contest in the Napoleon Municipal Court and were ordered to pay fines and court costs totaling $530 each.
• During the deer gun season, state Wildlife Officer Kevin Good and Lake Erie Law Enforcement Supervisor Gino Barna were patrolling Erie County. At one point the officers observed two people in a field standing over a dead deer. Good and Barna parked the vehicle at the edge of the field and began walking out to the two people and the deer. One of the individuals noticed the officers walking toward them and frantically began attempting to fill out a deer tag. The tag was not even filled out and attached to the deer by the time Good and Barna contacted the men. One of the men admitted to shooting the deer, field dressing it, and dragging it for 50 yards. Good questioned the man about tagging deer. The man admitted that he knew the deer needed to be tagged immediately upon harvest. Good issued the man a summons for failing to immediately tag the deer.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

• Columbiana County Wildlife Officer Scott Angelo was contacted by the West Virginia DNR about a deer that they had obtained during a search warrant. They believed that the deer was illegally harvested in Ohio. With the assistance of the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service and West Virginia DNR, Angelo determined that the subject had shot the deer in Jefferson County, Ohio, without first obtaining a hunting license and deer permit. The individual had fictitiously used the hunting license and deer permit of an Ohio resident with the same first name and had them check in the deer. Both subjects were charged with wildlife crimes in West Virginia and Ohio. The West Virginia resident was found guilty by Jefferson County Judge Corabi and paid $605 in fines and court costs. He was also ordered to pay restitution for the deer in the amount of $3,822.71 and his hunting privileges were revoked for two years.
• During the statewide muzzleloader season, Wildlife Investigator Brian Keyser had just finished his workday and was travelling in Lake County to attend his son’s basketball game. On his way to the game, Keyser passed two men carrying shotguns. Neither of the men were wearing hunter orange clothing. Keyser contacted Lake County Wildlife Officer Jason Keller who responded to the area. He observed an unoccupied vehicle parked along an access lane leading into a nursery property. He observed an individual dressed in plain clothes carrying a shotgun walking toward the car. He approached the man who immediately stated he was not deer hunting. He indicated that he had left his shotgun in the woods during the deer gun season and was going back to retrieve it. Keller inspected the loaded firearm and asked to see the man’s hunting license and deer permit. He stated that he had a deer permit but it “wasn’t in his name.” He added that he purchased his friend’s deer permit because his friend was not going to hunt the rest of the season. Compounding his problems, the man was wanted on an arrest warrant and taken into custody. He was later charged with hunting with a shotgun during the muzzleloader season, failing to wear hunter orange, and hunting without a valid deer permit. The man appeared in Painesville Municipal Court, was convicted, and ordered to pay a $150 fine plus court costs. The Remington 870 shotgun was forfeited to the Division of Wildlife in addition to the fees.
• During the statewide muzzleloader season, Summit County Wildlife Officer Aaron Brown received a hunting without permission complaint and drove to the location to speak with the complainant. The landowner took Brown to a fresh gut pile and very clear drag marks left in the recent snowfall. The drag marks and boot prints led directly to and from the suspect’s home. It was later discovered that the man had killed the deer on the complainant’s property and failed to tag it. The man was issued summonses for the violations, was convicted, and ordered to pay $214 in fines and court costs as well as $250 in restitution for the deer. He also had his hunting privileges revoked for one year.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

• During the extra deer gun weekend, state wildlife officers Chris Dodge and Dan Perko were patrolling together in Athens County. While traveling on a county road, the officers observed a man dressed in hunter orange driving an SUV through a field behind a residence with which Dodge was familiar. The officers parked in the driveway of the residence and walked through the field to make contact with the hunters. The officers contacted two men in the vehicle, both dressed in hunter orange, and each in possession of loaded shotguns. In addition, an 11-year-old juvenile was hunting nearby and was not accompanied by an adult. All the persons involved were pursuing a deer that had been shot, and by this time, it was after legal hunting hours. Dodge quickly recognized the driver of the vehicle, who he’d charged five years prior for hunting deer with a shotgun during the muzzleloader season and for insufficient hunter orange. In addition, the man was also indicted and convicted of a felony charge of possessing a firearm while under weapons disability. Now five years later, the driver of the vehicle again faces multiple wildlife charges in addition to a second felony indictment for possessing a firearm while under weapons disability by the same wildlife officer. The passenger of the vehicle received two summonses for hunting by the aid of a motor vehicle and hunting deer after hours, and paid $399 in fines and court costs.
• During the deer muzzleloader season, state wildlife officers Matt Clark and Darin Abbott made contact with three hunters along a Scioto County roadway. Little did the hunters know that they had been observed throwing snowballs at one of the Division of Wildlife’s deer decoys. The trio of hunters had seen the decoy as they drove past, then went down the road to turn around and drove back to the location where they had originally seen the decoy. While there one of the hunters said “I think it is a decoy” and then said “I won’t shoot it but I want to see if I can get it to run.” The hunter then got out of the truck on the passenger’s side and started throwing snowballs in the direction of the decoy. Upon contact with the hunters, it was noticed that there was blood on the tailgate of the truck. The wildlife officers found that the snowball thrower had a loaded muzzleloader in the passenger seat of the truck. Not only was the gun loaded, but the hammer was also pulled back and ready to fire. The hunter that had transported his firearm illegally had previously been arrested on wildlife violations. The officers issued appropriate citations into court and the hunters were encouraged to transport their firearms legally.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

• While working raccoon hunters in Brown County, wildlife officers Schock and Kiebel found a truck with dog boxes in the back. While waiting to hear the dogs bark they spotted a head lamp coming through the woods. When they made contact with the three individuals one had two dogs on a leash and the other was carrying a gun. Neither the guy that owned the dogs or the man with the gun had a fur-taker’s permit. Both men were cited for hunting furbearing animals without a fur-taker’s permit and each paid $132 in fines and court costs.

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