Ohio Cuffs and Collars – August 30th, 2013
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• In June, state wildlife officer Matt Teders, assigned to Madison County, received a complaint from Deer Creek Wildlife Area staff concerning illegal target shooting. The staff was able to obtain the license plate number of the truck and a description of the individuals involved in the alleged violation. When officer Teders arrived at the area, he found shotgun hulls and broken clay targets. Using the information provided by the staff, Teders was able to determine one of the suspects was from the Columbus area. While interviewing the suspect, Teders determined the identity of the other two individuals involved and that the individuals were target shooting in a non-designated area on two different occasions. It is unlawful for any person to target practice on any land or water area owned, controlled, or administered by the Ohio DNR Division of Wildlife except on designated wildlife target ranges. All three individuals were issued summonses into Washington Court House Municipal Court. All of the suspects pleaded guilty and were ordered to pay $745 in fines and court costs. In July, officer Teders observed the same truck parked adjacent to Deer Creek Reservoir and three individuals were fishing nearby. Upon contacting the group, it was the same three individuals cited the month prior. They told officer Teders they were back in the area to pay the remainder of their fines. Upon checking them for license compliance, it was determined that one of them did not purchase a fishing license. He was issued a summons to Washington Court House Municipal Court and found guilty. That individual was ordered to pay $150 in fines and court costs.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• In December 2012, state wildlife officer Reid Van Cleve was checking deer hunters in Ottawa County during the extra weekend of deer gun season. He was patrolling an area in which he had received a complaint about a deer hunter with a rifle. The officer worked the area during the week-long deer gun season and had not observed the suspect. At 4:30 p.m. on this day, the officer found the suspect hunting from a high wall overlooking a field. After several minutes of observation, officer Van Cleve hiked into the area to make contact with the hunter. Officer Van Cleve walked within several feet of the hunter without being detected. As he approached the hunter, he noticed that the suspect was sitting in a chair facing the field with a rifle lying across his lap. Officer Van Cleve stepped out and identified himself to the hunter. The man looked like a deer looking into headlights. The officer quickly secured the gun and unloaded it for both their safety. The hunter was in possession of a .270-caliber rifle. The hunter immediately stated that he was hunting coyotes. During the investigation that followed, the hunter stated that he was, in fact, deer hunting with the rifle. He was charged for failing to wear hunter orange, hunting deer during the deer gun season with an illegal hunting implement, and hunting deer without a valid deer permit. The hunter also had a prior wildlife violation for spotlighting deer in Sandusky County. The suspect was ordered to appear in the Ottawa County Court. He pleaded no contest and was found guilty. He was ordered to forfeit the rifle to the Ohio Division of Wildlife, pay $216 in fines and court costs, and lost his hunting privileges for one year.
• While working in Allen County over the Memorial Day weekend, state wildlife officer Jason Porinchok, assigned to Putnam County, observed an angler fishing at Schoonover Reservoir. When Officer Porinchok contacted the angler, the man informed the officer that he did not have a fishing license. He was issued a citation for the violation. In Lima Municipal Court, the man pleaded no contest and was found guilty. The judge asked the man if he had purchased a fishing license yet. He replied, “No.” He was sentenced to pay a $100 fine and $125 in court costs. Other defendants in court that day for the same offense who had purchased a valid fishing license prior to arriving at court were given a $20 fine and court costs. The man could have saved himself some money if he had purchased a fishing license prior to court, and would have saved himself money and time if he had purchased a fishing license prior to fishing.
• During the deer gun season, state wildlife officer Greg Wasilewski, assigned to Richland County, received a complaint from an unhappy landowner who was tired of people hunting deer on his property without permission. The landowner erected a high-tensile fence on his property to try and deter hunters from trespassing, but it wasn’t effective. The landowner then purchased a digital trail camera to try to capture photographs of the trespassers. The landowner provided officer Wasilewski with a photograph of a subject and was able to identify the subject. Officer Wasilewski asked the landowner how he knew who it was. Apparently the landowner had set up the trail camera on the first day of the deer gun season. On the next day, the landowner retrieved the trail camera and found that two images had been captured of a hunter from the previous day. Just before noon, the landowner noticed some hunters near the edge of his property so he took the photos to see if he could find out who the hunter was. The landowner found a hunter sitting on a fencepost of his new high-tensile fence and showed him the photos and asked if he knew who the hunter was. The landowner realized he was talking to the hunter in the photographs, and the hunter was even carrying the same shotgun. The hunter responded that it was him. The landowner contacted officer Wasilewski. During the subsequent investigation, Wasilewski learned that the hunter did not have a valid hunting license or a deer permit and, as a juvenile, hunted by himself on the landowner’s property. The hunter was summoned into juvenile court, where he was required to attend another hunter education course and write a letter of apology to the landowner. The juvenile offender’s father was charged with allowing a youth hunter age 15 or younger to hunt unaccompanied and was fined $50 plus court costs.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• Wildlife officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Summit County, received several complaints of individuals trespassing to fish a private pond. One evening, officer Brown was patrolling near the area and spotted an individual fishing from shore. The individual was standing only a few feet from a “No Trespassing” sign. He contacted the man and determined that he had a warrant for his arrest. In addition to being arrested, the individual was issued a summons for the wildlife violation. The individual appeared in court, was convicted, and ordered to pay $244 in fines and court costs. He also received a 60-day suspended jail sentence on the condition that he does not have any similar violations in two years.
• State wildlife officer Jason Warren, assigned to Wayne County, recently patrolled the Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area on foot when he observed four individuals walking along a public road toward a parking area. One of the individuals was carrying a “Wildlife Area” property boundary sign. Officer Warren observed the man hide the sign behind his back when he spotted an oncoming car. As officer Warren approached the men in the parking area, the individual carrying the sign attempted to toss it under their vehicle. The man was charged with removing the sign and ordered to appear in the Wayne County Municipal Court. The case is currently pending.
• Last winter, state wildlife officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, received several complaints on a trapper in the area. With the help of state wildlife officer Dan Shroyer, assigned to Carroll County, they spent a day investigating the complaints and were able to locate several illegal traps. Officer Turner also received a voicemail message from a landowner who had claimed to trap two river otters the previous day. Knowing this landowner was not a trapper, officers Turner and Shroyer went to speak with him. During the course of their investigation, they determined that their suspect had caught two otters and asked the landowner to check them for him. The suspect was charged with several trapping violations, which included taking over the legal limit of river otters, untagged and uncovered traps, disturbing a lawfully set trap, and trapping on state property without a beaver permit. The suspect was convicted and ordered to pay $500 in fines and $1,000 in restitution for the illegal otters. His trapping privileges were also revoked for two years.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• State wildlife officer Chris Gilkey, assigned to Meigs County, received information from a local landowner that individuals were fishing a private pond without permission. After a trail camera was installed for surveillance, photos were obtained of the trespassers. The suspects were jugging the pond for turtles. The turtles were taken in a closed season and without permission from the landowner. Officer Gilkey worked with Sgt. Bill Gilkey, from the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office, and probation officer Joel Yeager, to identify the suspects. The three suspects were located and interviewed. The officers discovered the suspects were taking undersized turtles, taking turtles in a closed season, and taking turtles without a license. The suspects were charged and the case is currently pending in a Meigs County court.
• While on patrol in July on AEP Recreation lands, state wildlife officer Roy Rucker, assigned to Gallia County, made contact with two individuals from West Virginia who were running their coon dogs on the agreement property. During his contact, officer Rucker asked the two gentlemen if they knew whose property they were training their dogs on. The individuals replied that they did not know where they were or who owned the property. When officer Rucker asked the two individuals to recall the last time that they had read the Ohio Hunting Regulations, one of the individuals replied that he didn’t think that he had ever read them. Officer Rucker advised the two subjects that they were on a public hunting area, which was closed for dog training from May 1 until Aug. 31 of each year. This is to give wildlife, especially ground-nesting birds, a chance to raise their young without further disturbance from domestic animals. Officer Rucker issued both individuals one citation for training dogs on an agreement area during the closed season. Each individual paid $145 in fines and court costs in the Gallia County Municipal Court.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• Approximately one month after the 2012-2013 deer season ended, state wildlife officer Gus Kiebel, assigned to Clermont County, received a call from the Clermont County Sheriff’s Office about a deer being shot. Officer Kiebel made the call his top priority and responded along with state wildlife officer Rick Rogers, assigned to Warren County. Upon being contacted by the two officers, a suspect denied he was the one who shot the deer that was now dead in his neighbor’s yard. The officers gathered evidence from the scene and also spoke with a witness who provided them with a detailed statement of the offense. Based on the gathered evidence and the witness statement, the two officers obtained a search warrant for the suspect’s home. A team of nine officers conducted the search warrant in the house and found several guns fitting the description of the ones used in the violation. However, officers noted that the condition of two of the guns at the time they were found were unusual since these particular guns had been disassembled and hidden in the basement rafters. Forensic testing of all the guns seized identified the correct guns used to kill the deer. The suspect was charged for the violation and his efforts to impede the investigation. He was found guilty on both charges in the Clermont Municipal Court and was ordered to pay $250 in restitution for the deer and $614 in fines and court costs. The deer and the two guns used to kill it were forfeited to the state.