Ohio Cuffs and Collars – August 16th, 2013

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• On July 2, state wildlife officer Justus Nethero, assigned to Delaware County, found himself snuggled under some foliage along the Scioto River. Nethero expected to see people fishing, but to his surprise he observed three men throwing cast nets into the river and placing fish in a cooler that one of the men carried over his shoulder. Nethero stayed hidden and requested assistance from another officer. Shortly thereafter, state wildlife officer Josh Shields, assigned to Union County, arrived. He ran the license plate from the fishermen’s vehicle and found that the owner did not have a valid fishing license. Upon contact, officers Nethero and Shields inspected the cooler; the men were in possession of fish taken illegally to include a smallmouth bass and 12 log perch. The men also had caught a few dozen gizzard shad, which are legal to be taken by a cast net. In the end, two of the men were issued citations for taking non-forage fish illegally with a cast net and the other for not obtaining a valid Ohio resident fishing license. All three men pleaded guilty to the charges and paid fines and costs of $480 in Delaware Municipal Court.
• While working sportfish enforcement at Buckeye Lake State Park, state wildlife officer Tony Zerkle, assigned to Fairfield County, observed a large group fishing from the bank. As the group packed up their belongings to leave, Officer Zerkle observed one man finish drinking from a can and throw it in the rocks along the bank. His companion saw him do it and decided he should do the same. The group was contacted while leaving the park, and two citations were issued for litter and one for fishing without a license. The three individuals were found guilty in Fairfield County Municipal Court and ordered to pay $540 in fines and court costs.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• In July, state wildlife officer Mike Ohlrich, assigned to Paulding County, responded to a complaint on the Maumee River in Lucas County. The caller reported seeing two fishermen at the Providence Dam taking white bass with a minnow seine. As Ohlrich arrived at the dam, Toledo Metropark Ranger Mike Elton had already located the suspects who, at that time, were casually fishing. However it did not take long before the fishermen set their poles down and started using their net. It was clear the fishermen were going for more than just minnows as they took a long, deep run with the net. Once they reached the dam they quickly raised the net full of white bass out of the water. The two of them immediately looked around to make sure no one was watching and proceeded to put every one of the bass on their stringers. After seeing this, Ohlrich waded out into the river and escorted the two men in. Each of the anglers was issued a summons for illegally taking game fish with a minnow seine and all of the illegal fish were seized as evidence.
• During the 2012 deer gun season, investigator Matthew Fisher, assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, was checking deer hunters in Ashtabula County when he saw a hunter wearing an orange vest, carrying a gun, and walking through the woods. Officer Fisher contacted the hunter and asked if he had any luck hunting. The hunter replied, “No.” Officer Fisher asked the hunter if he could inspect his gun for a plug and found the gun checked out OK. Officer Fisher asked the hunter whose property he was hunting on, and the hunter informed Fisher that it was his mother-in-law’s five acres. Officer Fisher asked for his hunting license and deer permit. The hunter did not have a license or a deer permit and thought he was allowed to hunt his mother-in-law’s property without a license. He was informed that Ohio resident landowners, spouses, and their children are exempt from a hunting license and a deer permit while hunting on their property. He did not qualify while he was hunting his mother-in-law’s property. A summons was issued for unlawfully hunting deer without first obtaining a deer permit.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

• State Wildlife Officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Summit County, received a phone call from an individual asking a general trapping question. The man indicated that he was trapping in the area and discovered a non-target animal stuck in a foothold trap. The man and an adjoining landowner were able to remove the animal with no apparent sign of injury. Officer Brown investigated and discovered two traps, which had the required name tags. The results of the investigation revealed that the suspect had not been checking his traps every 24 hours and he did not have a valid fur taker permit. The man was charged, convicted in court, and ordered to pay $200 in fines and court costs.
• While working sportfishing enforcement at Mosquito Lake, state wildlife officer Hollie Fluharty, assigned to Trumbull County, checked two men fishing along the shore and asked to see their fishing licenses. One of the men indicated that he had purchased a license but did not have it with him. Officer Fluharty received information that he had not acquired one this year. It was also later discovered that the man was wanted on an arrest warrant and he was transported to jail. While on the way to the holding facility, the individual was more than willing to provide Officer Fluharty with short cuts to get there more quickly. When she asked why he was in such a hurry to get to the jail, he explained that he wanted to complete his booking forms before his wife got home. The man was later charged with fishing without a license and ordered to appear in court.
• State wildlife officer Jeremy Carter, assigned to Holmes County, and state wildlife officer Brennan Earick, assigned to Ashland County, were patrolling the area of Pleasant Hill Lake when they were notified that a hiker had fallen off a rock wall in the area of Big Lyons Falls in Mohican State Forest. The officers responded to the trail head and were informed that a male had been on the rocks near the falls and jumped off. A member of his party stated that she thought he may have broken his ankles. Officers Carter and Earick proceeded toward the falls approximately one-half mile into the woods when they observed a female carrying the injured man on her back. Officer Earick asked the man if he had any health issues, if he had consumed any alcoholic beverages, or taken illegal substances. The man informed the officers that he had consumed a couple beers before he climbed up on the rocks near Big Lyons Falls and decided to jump off. He stated that he was approximately 15 to 20 feet off the ground when he jumped. The officers then waited with the injured man until Loudonville Emergency Medical Technicians arrived. Officers Carter and Earick assisted the EMTs carry the man back to the waiting ambulance. He was transported to Mansfield General Hospital and treated for his injuries.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

• In June, state wildlife officer Ted Witham, assigned to Jackson County, located a large amount of trash that had been dumped on a wildlife area. Officer Witham was able to locate a name and address among the collection of tires, a garden hose, clothes, household garbage, shingles, paint, and an entire basketball hoop with the backboard and pole. Officer Witham interviewed the woman whose name appeared in the trash. She denied dumping anything but called officer Witham about 30 minutes later when she remembered that she had let a family friend use a trailer about two weeks earlier. The trailer had garbage piled on it. Officer Witham contacted the individual who had possession of the trailer, but the individual stated that he was out of the state at the time of the incident. He did, however, say that he may have an idea of how the garbage ended up on the wildlife area. He asked to make a phone call, and when he called officer Witham back he stated that he knew who dumped the trash. His son needed to use the trailer to haul a riding lawnmower, and instead of taking the trash to the dump, he unloaded the trailer on the wildlife area. The father of the individual was very apologetic for his son’s actions and stated that both of them have hunted and fished on the wildlife area for many years. Officer Witham interviewed the son about the dumping violation. The son stated that his dad told him to take the trash to the dump before he used the trailer. The son did not know where the dump was, but knew the wildlife area was a short distance away from his residence. The son was issued a citation for dumping refuse on a state wildlife area. He appeared in court and pleaded guilty to the offense. He was fined $400 plus $103 in court costs, and was also ordered to complete 40 hours of community service.
• State wildlife investigator Randy Smith and state wildlife officer Todd Stewart, assigned to Morgan County, received information during the 2012 deer season that an individual allegedly killed more than six deer while staying with his grandfather. While the individual did possess a valid hunting license and one deer permit, he had not checked in any deer at the time of the investigation. When the individual was interviewed, the officers discovered he had shot two deer, both does, with his bow during the archery season and his grandfather checked them in. The individual also stated that he and a friend shot an eight-point buck during the deer gun season. Since the friend was the last to shoot, he tagged in the deer. The friend did permanently register a buck using a landowner deer tag. When the friend was interviewed, officers discovered he was driving or pushing deer behind his residence for the first individual. The first individual shot the buck deer, but the friend placed a landowner temporary tag on the deer and transported it to a check station for final registration. The friend was informed that he does not qualify as a landowner or a tenant while residing on his great-uncle’s property. Therefore, he was not properly licensed to assist the individual in hunting deer, and was not entitled to use a free permit to temporarily or permanently tag a deer. The individual was ordered to pay $329 in fines and $77 in court costs. The friend was ordered to pay $150 in fines and $77 in court costs.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

• During the 2013 youth spring wild turkey season, a local landowner called state wildlife officer Byron Rice, assigned to Clark County. The man was calling to inform officer Rice that his 14-year-old son had harvested a very nice gobbler early that morning. They understood that the turkey needed to be checked in by 11:30 p.m. that day, but had waited until the evening to begin the process because of other activities. After beginning the process of checking in the bird, they were having issues because of incorrect information they had entered into the system at a previous time. It was now close to the legal check-in time and the landowner was in “panic mode.” Officer Rice was able to offer assistance over the phone to get the turkey harvest checked in on time, and both father and son were grateful for the help. Officer Rice also reminded them of the importance of checking in game as soon as possible in the future to prevent the possibility of situations such as this.
• State wildlife officer Aaron Ireland, assigned to Butler County, received a call about a bobcat that was struck by a motor vehicle and killed by the collision in Ross Township. Officer Ireland was advised that a mother and daughter were traveling on U.S. 27 when the daughter spotted a dead bobcat lying on the side of the road and insisted that her mother turn around. The two women stopped and confirmed the species and placed it into their vehicle. Officer Ireland was contacted and was asked if they could keep the bobcat. Officer Ireland advised them that the bobcat is a threatened species in Ohio, and so they would not be able to keep it. The bobcat was collected and turned over to Ohio Division of Wildlife staff for a necropsy.

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