Ohio Cuffs and Collars – July 19th, 2013

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• In May, state wildlife officers Justus Nethero and Chad Grote, assigned to Delaware and Marion counties, respectively, were on patrol at Alum Creek Lake in Delaware County. The officers observed four men fishing when they saw one man pick up a small container, sniff it, and return it to the ground. Another man in the group picked up the container and put it in his coat pocket. The officers believed this to be odd behavior. When the officers contacted the group to check for fishing license compliance, the man who put the suspicious item in his pocket had a wooden container with a rotating top that contained a metal pipe and marijuana. The officers seized the container and its contents. The fisherman was issued a summons for possessing marijuana. He was found guilty in Delaware Municipal Court, his driver’s license was suspended for six months, and he had to pay $239 in fines and court costs.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• In November 2012, state wildlife officer Ryan Kennedy, assigned to Hardin County, was contacted by a landowner concerning several trapping violations. The landowner informed officer Kennedy that their family dog had recently been caught in a trap and injured. The landowner located foothold traps set around an exposed cow carcass. The traps were not tagged, a violation. At that time, officer Kennedy contacted a suspect whose name was provided by the landowner. Further investigation revealed the suspect set the untagged traps. He had also caught a rabbit, used the rabbit as exposed bait and caught a red-tailed hawk in one of the foothold traps. The hawk was subsequently killed by the suspect. The suspect was charged with multiple trapping violations and received a $156 fine.
• State wildlife officer Troy Reimund, assigned to Henry County, received a complaint during the statewide muzzleloader season that a truck with a snowplow ran over three deer. Officer Reimund arrived at the scene and found two dead deer on the road that had been struck by a motor vehicle. There were several witnesses, including a group of hunters. The witnesses informed the officer that a truck had stopped in the road and someone had got out and shot at a group of deer from the roadway. The truck then turned around and sped off in the direction the deer ran. When the group of deer crossed the roadway the truck hit three of the deer with the snowplow. The driver did not hit the brakes and never returned to the scene. Two of the deer died instantly and the third was badly injured and made its way to a nearby thicket. State wildlife officer Jason Porinchok, assigned to Putnam County, met with officer Reimund to attempt to locate the suspect’s vehicle. The officers were not able to locate the truck that evening. Fortunately for the officers, a suspect was found from the information obtained from the witnesses and several complaint calls. The officers contacted the suspect and he was honest about his actions that day, but claimed that hitting the deer was an accident. Based on the evidence, the officers believed that the suspect hit the deer intentionally. The suspect was charged and later received a sentence of fines, court costs, and restitution totaling $1,270. In addition, the suspect was issued a three-year hunting license revocation and 30 days of jail time suspended under the condition that the defendant does not commit any wildlife violations for two years. As with many wildlife crimes a conclusion to this case was only possible with the support of the public and the court system.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

• During the statewide muzzleloader season, state wildlife officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, received a call from a landowner reporting several individuals hunting on her property without permission. Officer Turner responded and found multiple boot tracks in the snow walking directly under the landowners “No Trespassing” signs. Officer Turner was able to locate the hunters and issued them summonses for the violation. The men appeared for their court appearances and were convicted.
• While working the deer gun season, state wildlife officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, observed a man sitting in a treestand after legal hunting hours wearing only camouflage clothing. He approached the hunter and asked him to unload his shotgun and climb down from the stand. Officer Frank inspected the firearm and determined that it was unplugged. Unfortunately, the man was also unable to produce a hunting license or deer permit when asked. He stated that he was an avid hunter in years past, although the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s license system indicated otherwise. He was charged with four wildlife violations, convicted in court, and paid more than $530 in fines and court costs.
• While working sportfishing enforcement at Mosquito Lake, state wildlife officer Hollie Fluharty, assigned to Trumbull County, observed three individuals fishing. She approached the men and asked to see their fishing licenses. One of the anglers was unable to provide a license or a valid form of identification. Officer Fluharty asked the man his name, Social Security number, and birthdate. The individual paused for a moment and stated his name and date of birth but indicated that he did not know his Social Security number. The man also explained that he was from Alabama and had recently moved to Ohio. Further investigation revealed that the angler was an Ohio resident and had an active warrant for his arrest. The man was handcuffed, transported to the Trumbull County Jail, and issued a summons for fishing without a license. The case is currently pending in court.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

• During the fall of 2012, state wildlife officer Jared Abele, assigned to Vinton County, was contacted by an officer with the McArthur Police Department. The McArthur police officer informed officer Abele about a traffic stop he had conducted. During the traffic stop the police officer observed quartered deer meat, a deer head, and cape in the suspect’s vehicle. The police officer had a strong suspicion the deer had been illegally killed. On the following day, officer Abele and the police officer met with the suspect from the traffic stop. Upon further investigation, it was found the suspect shot the deer with a shotgun during the archery season. The suspect was issued summonses for the wildlife violations. The suspect pleaded guilty to illegally killing the deer with a firearm during the archery season, and was ordered to pay fines and court costs. The venison was donated to a food bank.
• During the 2011 Ohio deer season, wildlife officer Roby Williams received several TIP reports of poaching occurring in the southwest portions of Guernsey County. Officer Williams and wildlife officer field supervisor Bryan Postlethwait began an investigation into the complaints. During the course of the investigation, it was discovered that a suspect illegally harvested six deer, including four bucks. He was issued six summonses in Cambridge Municipal Court. Three others were charged in the investigation, and more than $1,300 in fines and court costs were paid by the defendants. The suspect forfeited the shotgun used in the incident and lost his hunting license for two years.
• A wildlife area manager in southeast Ohio received a phone call from a turkey hunter this spring. The hunter had located a four-wheel-drive vehicle in the middle of Wallace O’Dowd Wildlife Area miles from any roadway. A description of the vehicle and location was given to wildlife officer Dan Perko, assigned to Athens County. Officer Perko and wildlife officer Chris Dodge, assigned to Hocking County, located the vehicle on the area. An Ohio Division of Wildlife boundary sign was also in the vehicle. With the assistance of wildlife officer Eric Lane, assigned to Perry County, the defendant was located in Perry County. Further investigation revealed the suspect was on the wildlife area and left the truck. The vehicle was recovered, and the defendant was cited for a vehicle in non-designated area and possession of state property valued under $500. The case is pending in court.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

• While checking hunters during the 2012 season, state wildlife officer Jeff Wenning, assigned to Darke County, encountered a person who was hunting squirrels at Darke Wildlife Area. As the man walked back toward his vehicle, officer Wenning asked him if he had any luck that day. The man answered that he had not seen any squirrels but he had been walking the old railroad bed and was lucky because he had shot a rabbit. Officer Wenning asked to see the hunter’s hunting license as well as his driver’s license. Next officer Wenning asked the man if he knew when the opening date for rabbit season was and the hunter replied, “I think it comes in during the middle of October.” The hunter was then asked if he received a copy of the hunting regulations digest when he purchased his hunting license. The hunter replied, “Yes.” Officer Wenning asked the man if he had taken the time to read what the season dates were for the various game species in Ohio and the hunter replied, “No, I did not read the book.” Finally, officer Wenning broke the news to the man that rabbit season was not open and that it was not legal to hunt or possess a rabbit at that time. The man was cited for closed season possession of a rabbit. He subsequently paid fines and court costs.
• Wildlife officer Ryan Schock, assigned to Hamilton County, received a call in April from the Colerain Township Police Department regarding someone shooting geese out of season. Officer Schock responded to the address and noticed a small pond with three dead geese floating in it. He interviewed the complainants and they stated that they saw their neighbor standing on the bank of the pond shooting at geese with a small-caliber rifle. Officer Schock then collected the dead geese and noticed they had wounds consistent with a small-caliber rifle. While walking along the bank of the pond, officer Schock found three untagged traps that were set on muskrat holes. The traps and dead geese were collected as evidence. Officer Schock then interviewed neighbors that lived near the suspect and they stated that they had heard shots in the past or have seen the suspect shooting at geese. When officer Schock made contact with the suspect a few days later, the suspect was found in violation upon further investigation. Officer Schock asked him about the untagged traps, and the suspect stated that his neighbor, who was pulling out of his driveway at the time, had set the traps to catch muskrats in the pond. Officer Schock stopped the neighbor and interviewed him about the traps. He acknowledged that the traps were his and that he knew they were supposed to be tagged. Both men were cited and pleaded guilty in Hamilton County Municipal Court. The man that shot the geese paid $204 in fines and court costs for shooting geese out of season, and the man with the untagged traps paid $154 in fines and court costs.

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