Ohio Cuffs and Collars – August 2nd, 2013
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• During the July 4 fireworks celebration at Indian Lake State Park, officers with the DNR Division of Parks and Recreation, Division of Watercraft, and Division of Wildlife, Ohio State Highway Patrol, Logan County Sheriff’s Office, Washington Township Police Department and the Russell’s Point Police Department, along with multiple emergency response personnel from local agencies, worked together during the festivities to protect and safeguard the lives of people and state property. State parks officer Jeremy Berger and state wildlife officer Adam Smith, assigned to Logan County, patrolled the Indian Lake bank as a tandem unit. While on patrol, the officers were having a conversation with an off-duty Logan County sheriff’s deputy. During their conversation with the deputy, a man walked up to the officers and said, “He (referring to the off-duty deputy) just ratted me out, didn’t he?” The officers had no idea what the man was referring to, however, they knew that the man just told on himself. The officers later learned that this man and his group of friends were in possession of multiple open containers of alcohol.
• While checking sport fishing license compliance at Deer Creek Lake spillway, state wildlife officer Josh Elster, assigned to Pickaway County, observed a group of individuals fishing. One of the individuals got into in a vehicle and left before officer Elster could contact the group. Officer Elster made his way to the group and asked them where that individual went. One of the group members said the individual was going to the store and would return. When the individual returned, Officer Elster asked to see a fishing license. The individual showed the license, stating it was purchased that morning. Officer Elster received information that the license was purchased during the time the individual was gone. The individual was issued a summons for fishing without a license.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• State wildlife officer Josh Zientek, assigned to Huron County, was on patrol when he observed an individual fishing in the Huron River above the dam in Monroeville. Officer Zientek contacted the individual and learned that the subject did not have a valid fishing license. Officer Zientek then observed a basket of fish tied up to the bank. The man immediately told the officer that he did not catch the fish in the basket and that somebody else gave him the fish. It was quickly determined that the subject had nine smallmouth bass, four over the legal limit, and four of the bass were shorter than the legal length. After further questioning, the subject insisted that he did not know who the man was that gave him the fish. The man also insisted that he was not going to keep the fish; he was just holding them in the basket to take pictures of them. Officer Zientek issued the subject the appropriate summonses and he was later found guilty in Norwalk Municipal Court.
• In May during the annual white bass run on the Maumee River, state wildlife officer Eric VonAlmen, assigned to Lucas County, received a tip from the 1-800-POACHER hotline. The information stated that an individual was fishing with more than two rods at Side Cut Metropark in Maumee. Officer VonAlmen located the individual and watched him for a period of time. The individual was indeed fishing with four rods. The action was so fast the angler could not reel in a fish and re-bait his hook before having fish on the other rods. There is no bag or size limit on white bass, and this angler brought out three fish baskets, a large cooler, and a five-gallon bucket full of white bass. A summons was served to the angler for fishing with more than two rods. Fines and costs of $145 were paid.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• While patrolling an area known for illegal trash dumping activity, state wildlife officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Summit County, discovered several rolled up pieces of plastic sheeting with blood and deer hair on them. Also in the area were other deer parts, including legs and a rib cage. Officer Brown unrolled a portion of the sheeting and discovered a temporary deer tag. Officer Brown was able to retrieve the customer identification and the deer permit numbers to determine the suspect. The man was issued a summons for litter, convicted in court, and ordered to pay $240 in fines and court costs.
• On the opening day of the 2012 deer gun season, state wildlife officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, was canvassing a complaint area and noticed a vehicle parked where violations have occurred in the past. The vehicle was parked beside several signs that stated, “No Trespassing and No Hunting.” Officer Frank entered the property and observed a hunter wearing only camouflage clothing. He contacted the man, inspected his firearm and determined that it was unplugged, a violation. The hunter indicated that he was hunting with his brother. A quick check of the woods found the other hunter sitting in a treestand wearing camouflage clothing as well. Both of the men were charged with several wildlife offenses and ordered to appear in court. Although one of the court cases is currently pending, the other individual was convicted and ordered to pay $315 in fines and court costs.
• Last fall, state wildlife officer Scott Angelo, assigned to Columbiana County, was contacted by the local sheriff’s office in reference to a vehicle that was stopped by one of their officers. The deputy responded to a complaint of shots being fired when he observed the driver spotlight from the vehicle at 4 a.m. A firearm, spotlight, and shells were located in the vehicle during the stop. Officer Angelo charged three of the occupants with spotlighting and hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle. One of the occupants was also charged with improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle. All three were found guilty in Columbiana County Municipal court, fined $327, and sentenced to 30 days in jail, with 27 days suspended. The men were also placed on probation and their hunting privileges were revoked for two years.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• While working a fishing license compliance project, wildlife officer Eric Lane, assigned to Perry County, was notified by fellow wildlife officers Chris Dodge and Dan Perko that there were two individuals at the edge of a river beneath a bridge. With the directions given, officer Lane made his way near the two individuals. There was an extremely steep bank down to the edge of the water. Officer Lane was able to get within 10 yards of the fishermen. He observed them fishing for several minutes. Officer Lane then asked how they were doing. The two men turned around and stated that they had not caught anything yet. Officer Lane asked them to hold up their fishing licenses. One individual held up last year’s fishing license. The other stated that he had not purchased one yet. The two men reeled in their lines and walked up the bank. The two men were cited in court with fines totaling $300. The case is still pending.
• During the 2013 statewide muzzleloader deer season, wildlife officer Brad St. Clair, assigned to Noble County, was contacted by a local sportsmen’s club about a freshly-killed deer they found on their property. The club members were concerned after they followed the blood trail in the snow and found evidence suggesting a neighbor shot it while hunting without permission. Officer St. Clair and wildlife officer Wes Feldner, assigned to Monroe County, responded to the scene and made contact with an individual. Further investigation revealed the suspect unlawfully harvested the deer while hunting without written permission. However, his story didn’t completely add up, so officer St. Clair and officer Feldner continued to question him about the circumstances surrounding the violation. The individual actually shot the deer an hour and a half after legal shooting hours with a shotgun. The individual was issued citations for hunting without written permission, taking a deer with an unlawful implement during the muzzleloader season, and shooting a deer after hours. The individual was found guilty in Noble County Court and ordered to pay $399 in fines and court costs. The deer was seized as evidence and forfeited to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• While on patrol, state wildlife officer Jasmine Grossnickle, assigned to Miami County, watched two men fishing along the Great Miami River. A City of Piqua police cruiser pulled into a parking lot near the location where the two men fished. Grossnickle drove past the two men fishing and spoke to the Piqua police officer. While Grossnickle talked to the other officer, the fishermen very quickly packed up their belongings and returned to their car. Grossnickle and the Piqua police officer contacted the two men. When asked for their fishing licenses, the men stated that they did not think that they needed one to fish on the river. The men said they typically fished only at pay lakes. The Piqua officer noticed that the man standing outside the driver’s side of the vehicle did not have a valid driver’s license. Both men were issued citations for fishing without a valid 2013 fishing license. The Piqua officer advised the man standing by the passenger side of the vehicle that he would have to drive the vehicle.
• During the 2012 deer archery season, state wildlife officer Rick Rogers, assigned to Warren County, received a tip that a subject had shot a deer illegally with an arrow containing a field point. Officer Rogers contacted the subject and was given the following explanation by the man: “I had planned to go deer hunting with my friend and decided to practice a few shots while waiting on him to arrive. As I released my arrow to shoot the target, a deer stepped out from behind an evergreen tree. The arrow missed the target and hit the deer.” Immediately realizing that this was a fictitious explanation of the events, officer Rogers advised the subject that he would get to recount that amazing story to a judge. When officer Rogers asked for his bow, the man became nervous and advised he would like to keep his bow and tell the truth, which he did shortly thereafter. The subject was charged with shooting a deer with a field tip, taking a deer without a deer permit, and taking a deer without a hunting license. He paid a $100 fine on each count plus court costs. The judge was not amazed with the man’s untruthfulness to Officer Rogers and ordered the bow to be forfeited as well.