Ohio Cuffs and Collars – June 21st, 2013

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• Kiser Lake is a 380-acre lake located in west-central Ohio. It has some great bass fishing and a new regulation was imposed on the lake with the hope of making it even better. The regulation states that anglers may keep two largemouth bass under 14 inches and one over 20 inches. All others must be returned to the lake. In late April, state wildlife officer Jeff Tipton, assigned to Champaign County, received a call from a concerned citizen about a man who was catching and keeping largemouth bass that were in the “slot limit” and possibly more over the limit than he was allowed. The citizen gave a description of the car, a license plate number, and said that the man was fishing from a kayak. He also told officer Tipton that the man was keeping the fish in a cooler, with an aerator, in the trunk of his car. He said that he had been doing it the day before and was back at it again. He said that he had informed the man the day before about the regulation, but believed that he had disregarded the warning. Tipton was nearby and able to respond quickly. He located the car and could see a man in a kayak, who was obviously bass fishing. Not long after, the man in the kayak paddled back to his car.  Officer Tipton contacted him, checked his fishing license, and asked about the fish in his car. After some conversation, the man showed him the cooler located in the trunk.  In the cooler contained water, an aerator and two 20-inch largemouth bass. The man stated that he was planning to take them home to stock his own pond.  The man was issued a citation and eventually paid a fine in the amount of $175.  The extra bass was safely returned to the lake.  
• In the early morning hours, state wildlife officer Brad Kiger received a phone call about several subjects cast netting fish below Hoover Reservoir. Officer Kiger and another officer responded. Both officers observed two subjects using a cast net to catch fish. Due to the darkness of the early morning hours, the officers could not tell what types of fish were being caught. Upon leaving, the two officers contacted the fisherman and found that they had several saugeyes in a bag inside their car.  One gentleman did not have a fishing license but stated that he was not fishing or used the net. State wildlife officer Kiger knew this to be false. He was issued two citations: one for no fishing license and one for taking fish by illegal means. The other gentleman was issued a citation for taking fish by illegal means. Both subjects had to appear in court and were issued a $140 fine and court costs.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• While on a boat patrol on Lake Erie, state wildlife investigator Brian Keyser and state wildlife officer Scott Denamen, assigned to Geauga County, encountered two men in a small boat who were trolling for walleyes. As the officers approached, the boat owner immediately began reeling in a rod and shouted “I guess you got me again!” The two men were fishing with a total of six rods, two more than the legal limit. Apparently the man was cited for the same violation less than two years earlier. He pleaded guilty in the Ashtabula Municipal Court and paid a waiver of $115.
• While patrolling Oxbow Lake Wildlife Area, state wildlife officer Matt Smith, assigned to Defiance County, noticed a rather small boat with an older couple having trouble starting their engine. The wind was blowing very hard that day and the couple was headed toward the rocks on a dike wall. Officer Smith contacted the couple as they came to the dike and asked if he could help. The man informed Smith that he was unable to get the engine started and, with the wind blowing so hard, could not row the boat back to the ramp. Officer Smith, with the help of two men who happened to be walking on their lunch break, helped the couple out of the boat and up onto the road. Then the three men lifted the boat out of the lake and placed it in the back of the man’s truck. Smith urged the couple to practice safe boating and to be sure their equipment was in working order prior to their next outing on the water.
• While working during the spring walleye “jig bite” on Lake Erie, state wildlife officers Kevin Good, assigned to Erie County, and Reid Van Cleve, assigned to Ottawa County, received information that two anglers had caught more than their limit of walleyes. The officers drove to the dock, where the informant indicated the two anglers were launching. Shortly thereafter, the officers observed a boat matching the description of the one given by the informant. The officers made contact with the two men on board. After a lengthy investigation, it was determined that the men had made three separate trips on Lake Erie that day. They had both caught a limit the first trip, they both caught a limit the second trip, and on the third trip they had only caught one fish each. This put both men five walleyes over their limit for the day. The men, who were both from Illinois, were each issued a summons for being over the daily limit. The extra fish were confiscated and will be donated to a local soup kitchen. During the arraignment, both men entered a plea of no contest. Ottawa County Municipal Court Magistrate Louis Wargo III found both men guilty. In addition to their fines, each man was ordered to pay $50 per walleye to the state in restitution, and had their fishing licenses suspended for one year. Ohio is a member of the Wildlife Violators Compact; all of the other compact members will also honor this license suspension.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

• Shortly after beaver season opened, state wildlife officer Jason Warren, assigned to Wayne County, received a complaint indicating that oversized body gripping traps were set on dry land along Killbuck Creek. Officer Warren contacted the responsible trapper and inspected his sets. The first set was a #220 body gripping trap that was placed on land about two feet from the edge of the water. The trapper told Warren that the trap was in the water the day before and that another trapper must have moved it. As they checked other traps along the creek, Warren discovered that the farther they walked from the road the farther the trapper’s sets were from the water.  The last trap he inspected was set in a hole in a log jam several yards from the water’s edge. The trapper was issued a summons for oversized body gripping traps set on dry land and paid a $138 fine in Wayne County Municipal Court.
• During the shotgun season for deer, state wildlife officer Hollie Fluharty, assigned to Trumbull County, spoke to a group of concerned hunters as they were exiting a wildlife area. They indicated that there were several men hunting on the area after legal shooting hours. Officer Fluharty located the men and charged them with the offense.  All were convicted in court and paid over $200 in fines and costs.
• In late winter, state wildlife officer Jesse Janosik, assigned to Cuyahoga County, received information from the Parma Police Department that they had arrested one of their residents for discharging a firearm inside the city limits. A Parma police officer indicated that they had received reports of shots fired and when they responded to the scene they located an individual carrying a .22-caliber rifle standing next to a deer carcass. Officer Janosik and wildlife investigator Brian Keyser responded. It was later discovered that the suspect had been previously convicted of four deer violations. He was charged with the offense, convicted in Parma Municipal Court, and ordered to pay more than $300 in fines and costs. His rifle was forfeited to the Division of Wildlife and he lost his hunting privileges for three years. He also received four years of probation.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

• In May, wildlife officers Matt VanCleve, Jared Abele, and Roy Rucker were working along the Scioto River. Officers Rucker and Abele were working from a watercraft when they observed a group of people fishing into the Scioto River from a gravel bar. Officers Abele and Rucker documented the fishermen and informed officer VanCleve where they were located. Upon contacting the group, officer VanCleve discovered that a man and woman did not have a valid fishing license. It was also determined that the angler had a statewide warrant from Franklin County for drug trafficking. Officer VanCleve verified the warrant was valid and arrested the suspect. Both the man and woman were issued a summons to appear at the Pike County Court for fishing into the Scioto River without a fishing license. The suspect was transported to the Pike County Sheriff’s Office. Both parties appeared before the Pike County Court and entered a guilty plea and were found guilty. Each paid a $40 fine and $80 in court costs.
• Toward the end of the 2012 deer gun season, wildlife officer Chris Dodge received an early morning call from the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office in reference to a poaching incident. At 3:30 a.m., a landowner heard a gunshot near his house and rose to see a truck driving through his field. He quickly left his house to pursue the vehicle and was able to get a license plate number. The Hocking County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched and arrived to find tire tracks in the landowner’s field, and blood. The deputies used the license plate number to track down the poachers at a nearby residence. The three men involved had been out spotlighting and shot a small deer. Officer Dodge arrived at the residence. The deputies had worked diligently to aid officer Dodge in obtaining information, seizing the firearm used, and even taking one of the suspects down the road to retrieve the deer that they dumped from their vehicle while being chased by the landowner. Due to the hard work of the officers involved and the cooperation between agencies, the men were convicted of 15 total charges. Two of the charges were for possession of marijuana and paraphernalia, and the remaining 13 charges were all wildlife-related. The charges included spotlighting, hunting by aid of a motor vehicle, hunting without permission, shooting from the roadway, and hunting deer after hours. All men involved are now under a three-year revocation of hunting privileges, must take a hunter education course, serve one year of probation, 60 days of suspended jail time, and were ordered to pay nearly $1,500 in fines and court costs.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

• Wildlife officer Brad Turner was working fishing enforcement at Acton Lake in Preble and Butler counties. Officer Turner was watching a man and woman fish, while another man sat on the rocks, never touching a pole. After about an hour, officer Turner watched the man sitting on the rocks look all around him, and then pick up a pole and start to fish. Officer Turner watched the three of them fish for another hour. When they started to leave, one of the men left his bottle on the picnic table. Officer Turner stopped them to check their fishing licenses. The woman and one of the men handed officer Turner their fishing licenses. Officer Turner then asked to see the other man’s fishing license. He told Turner that he wasn’t fishing. The other man spoke up and said that he didn’t even know how to fish. Turner then told the two men that for not knowing how to fish, the man had done a good job, since he caught two fish. The man without a fishing license hung his head and told officer Turner he didn’t have a fishing license. Turner asked the man who left the bottle why he didn’t pick it up. The man said he forgot it. The two men were given one summons each: one for fishing without a license and he paid $145 to the court, and the other man for littering, who paid $165 to the court.
• During deer gun season, state wildlife officer Mark Schemmel, assigned to Adams County, and wildlife officer field supervisor Mike Miller were out on patrol. During their travels, they observed three individuals who appeared to be just returning from the woods. They were still dressed in camouflage and had various articles of hunter orange clothing strewn about the driveway. Their vehicle was backed up against a barn with all of the doors opened in what appeared to be a manner so they could unload any deer that they had harvested. As the two officers passed the entrance of the driveway and observed the details that traditionally identify hunter behavior, they decided to turn around and contact the individuals to check that the hunters and their harvest were in compliance with the law. When the officers began driving up the driveway, the individuals noticed the patrol vehicle and quickly began to close and latch the barn doors and gather their belongings. When the officers exited their vehicle, they spoke with the individuals and asked them if they had harvested any deer, which they had. Upon inspection of two deer carcasses hanging from the rafters, the officers saw that neither deer carcass had been temporarily tagged or permanently checked in. The owners of the deer carcasses were cited for failing to temporarily tag their deer.

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