Ohio Cuffs and Collars – June 7th, 2013

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• On April 14, state wildlife officers Justus Nethero and Chad Grote were checking fishermen at Alum Creek Reservoir in central Ohio. The officers spotted a group of people far off the beaten path, fishing an area that few fishermen go because of its difficult access. When the officers got close enough to observe the group, they found that the group consisted of four people in their early 20s and a fifth group member who appeared to be about 10 years old. Officer Nethero observed three people in the group litter beer cans, soda cans, and food wrappers. After throwing their trash into the weeds along the lake, the three-member group proceeded to smoke marijuana only feet away from the child. Officers Nethero and Grote contacted the group after they had left the lake and discussed what they had observed. The three who had littered and smoked marijuana were issued summons for littering and possessing/smoking marijuana. Two of the violators pleaded guilty in court and received $339 each in court costs and fines. The third person’s charges are still pending.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• Many days in the early spring, the walleyes in Lake Erie are very close to shore. This was the case one day this past spring. The fishing was very good and several officers were working along the Lake Erie shoreline. A group of officers were watching numerous boats close to shore when one of the boat’s occupants caught their eyes. A man was observed catching and keeping four walleyes, his daily limit. In the next 15 minutes, he was observed catching and keeping another four walleyes. His fishing partner had yet to catch a fish. The two anglers fished for another hour before deciding to head in to the dock. The fishermen were contacted at the dock by state wildlife officer Craig Barr. After a short conversation and checking the men’s fishing licenses and fish, officer Barr confronted the suspect with what he had seen. The man responded that he figured the conversation was eventually going to get to the overbag. The illegal fish were seized and he was issued a citation in the Ottawa County Municipal Court for the overbag violation. By the time officer Barr filed the ticket the next morning, the man had already paid the fine and court costs of $178.
• State wildlife officer Jason Parr has received numerous complaints from landowners and hunters in Crawford County pertaining to a group of hunters from the state of Michigan. The complaints have been primarily related to hunting without permission and spotlighting deer. In October 2011, officer Parr set up an enforcement project targeting this group of hunters. Two of the Michigan hunters were contacted during this project. One of the two men shot a large buck on the evening of the project (officially scored at just over 160 inches) and didn’t have a valid either-sex deer permit to tag the deer. The hunter who had shot the deer hid from officer Parr and three other state wildlife officers as they attempted to locate him. After approximately 45 minutes of searching for the hunter, he was found hiding in a nearby semi-truck trailer. He was found guilty of deterring a state wildlife officer in the Crawford County Municipal Court. The large buck, the hunter’s compound bow, and the bow accessories were all forfeited to the Division of Wildlife. He also paid more than $1,700 in restitution, fines, and court costs. In addition, he lost his hunting privileges for one year. However, this was not the first time of being convicted of a wildlife violation in Ohio. Back in November 2010, the same man was found guilty of spotlighting deer in Williams County. The man became eligible to begin hunting again on Jan. 1, 2013. On Jan. 7, 2013, officer Parr received information from an individual reporting two men hunting without permission. Upon arriving in the complaint area, officer Parr found the same two Michigan hunters he had dealt with in October 2011. Each of the two men were issued summonses for hunting without permission. For one of the hunters, this violation occurred only six days after his revocation period ended. Each of the two men were found guilty of hunting without permission in the Crawford County Municipal Court in February 2013. They each paid more than $400 in fines and court costs. In addition, they each received 60 days of suspended jail time and were both placed on supervised probation for three years. One of the conditions of their probation is that they shall not hunt in the state of Ohio for the duration of their probation period. Concerned individuals who would like to report a wildlife violation are encouraged to call the “Turn In a Poacher” toll-free hotline at 1-800-POACHER or ohiotip.com. The TIP program is helping to curtail poaching throughout the state. You do not have to give your name, just the facts.  

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

• During the statewide muzzleloader season, Trumbull County Wildlife Officer Hollie Fluharty was on patrol when she noticed a man sitting in a treestand. The man was holding a muzzleloader but was not wearing hunter orange clothing. As officer Fluharty approached the man, he climbed down from his treestand and started walking in the opposite direction. Officer Fluharty, now in a foot pursuit, directed the man to stop several times. After traveling approximately one-half mile, the hunter was detained. Brookfield Police Department transported the man to jail. The non-resident hunter was charged with hunting without a license and deer permit and failing to wear hunter orange clothing. He was also unable to produce a valid form of identification. He was later convicted in the Trumbull Eastern District Court and paid $1,046 in fines and court costs. He also lost his hunting privileges for one year and received six months’ probation.
•ˆWhile returning home from checking pheasant hunters on Thanksgiving Day, Lorain County Wildlife Officer Randy White and wildlife officer supervisor Dave Shinko observed two subjects dragging a deer out of the woods. The officers contacted the men and located where the animal had been killed. It was determined the deer had been shot and retrieved from property where the hunters had not acquired permission from the landowner.  The hunter was charged and convicted of hunting without permission in the Oberlin Municipal Court and paid $150 in fines plus costs for his first offense. The deer was forfeited to the Division of Wildlife and donated to a local food bank.
• On Christmas Eve morning, Harrison County Wildlife Officer Nick Turner received a call from the sheriff’s office that a deputy had stopped a vehicle for spotlighting. The dispatcher advised officer Turner that there was fresh deer blood in the car and requested him to respond. Four individuals were in the vehicle when Turner arrived on scene. The results of the investigation revealed that the group had killed a deer with a 30-30 rifle in Tuscarawas County earlier in the evening and continued spotlighting into Harrison County. Two of the four were charged with multiple wildlife violations and were convicted in court. They paid more than $700 in fines and court costs and their hunting privileges were revoked for one year. The firearm was also forfeited to the Division of Wildlife. 

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

• In March, wildlife officer Bob Nelson and park officer Trent Scott checked 20 anglers at Caldwell Lake at Scioto Trail State Park on the day trout were released into the lake. After checking the fishermen, officer Scott checked the single RV that was camped there. Officer Scott determined the campers were not registered, so both officers went to speak with the occupants of the RV. On the picnic table outside of the camper, the officers discovered an open cardboard box containing 24 trout heads.  Upon speaking with a woman in the camper, she stated that she was unaware if anyone caught fish and denied there being any fish inside of the camper. Further investigation revealed that the fish were inside of the camper in the freezer.  The officers counted 24 fish and the man had an additional three on his stringer for a total of 27 fish.  It was also discovered that there was a second man fishing with the suspect that day, and the information about how many the second man caught conflicted. Officer Nelson allowed each man to keep a limit of five fish.  In all, Officer Nelson seized 16 trout.  The original suspect stated he thought he could catch five fish each time he was at the lake and was unaware that it was a daily bag limit.  The man was issued a summons for the violation.  He appeared in front of Judge John B. Street in the Chillicothe Municipal Court.  He was found guilty and ordered to pay $320 in restitution and $119 in court costs.
• This past spring, wildlife officers Todd Stewart and Eric Bear worked on a deer investigation in Perry County. During the investigation, they found that a subject had harvested three bucks and a doe. He had checked in one of the bucks and the doe himself, and had his mother and niece check in the other two bucks. He also had a prior conviction for a deer violation. The officers issued him three summonses into Perry County Court. He pleaded guilty and was fined $150 for each of the three bucks, and an additional $350 on the other two charges. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail with 165 days suspended.  He was ordered to serve one-year of probation and 40 hours of community service.  He also had his hunting license suspended for one year.  He was ordered to pay restitution of $500 each for the bucks his mother and niece checked in, for a total of $1,000.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

• While working fishing license compliance at Grand Lake St. Marys, Mercer County Wildlife Officer Ryan Garrison checked three fishermen along Coldwater Creek. All three fishermen had his fishing license. Officer Garrison noticed a large amount of trash that the men had accumulated where they were fishing. He mentally noted the litter, wished the fishermen “good luck” and left the area. He then moved his patrol vehicle to a different location and walked back toward the fishermen.  He documented several items of trash that they had used and discarded nearby. After some time of watching the fishermen, they started to pack up and leave the area. Officer Garrison followed the three men to their truck, and made contact with them near their vehicle. He pulled out his notebook, and asked each of the men if they currently had the items he watched them use. The three men dropped their heads and stated that they had left the items behind. Officer Garrison supervised the men as they picked up their trash and they were each issued a citation for littering. Each of the men paid $180 to the court for their citations.
• While off duty and doing some recreational fishing at East Fork State Park, wildlife officers Gus Kiebel and Ryan Schock watched a man fishing nearby and noticed that he was throwing “short” crappies into his bucket. After seeing four fish kept that were shorter than the legal length, officer Kiebel called his supervisor and advised him of the situation. He then quickly went home and changed into uniform and returned to find the same man still throwing fish in his bucket. When contacted by officer Kiebel, the man stated that he knew about the 9-inch minimum length limit for crappies, but that he was just giving the “short” fish away and not keeping them for himself. At the time officer Kiebel contacted him, he was in possession of a short largemouth bass and eight short crappies. He was given two citations for “short” fish, which were then released back to the lake.  He recognized officer Schock as the man who had been fishing next to him and stated to both officers, “good work gentlemen.” The man was later ordered in court to pay $250 in fines and costs.

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