Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• State wildlife officer Adam Smith, assigned to Logan County, received a call from a local farmer during the summer. The man was experiencing deer damage to his crops located on his neighbor’s property, and he wanted to request a deer damage control permit. (This type of permit allows agricultural producers to harvest deer that are causing crop damage outside the normal hunting season.) Officer Smith, with the assistance of state wildlife officer Josh Shields, met with the gentleman to investigate the situation. During their meeting, the farmer informed the wildlife officers that he had killed one deer last year on the property where the damage was occurring. The officers later discovered that the gentleman had checked a single deer in the previous year, and that deer was reported as a landowner harvest. Further investigation revealed that at the time of harvest, the gentleman did not have a valid hunting license or deer permit. The farmer was confronted with this information. Further investigation revealed he killed a deer on his neighbor’s property and permanently tagged the animal as a landowner harvest. The man was issued a summons and paid $175 in fines and court costs for the violation. The farmer was informed that he could still be issued a deer damage control permit; however, he could not be a shooter on the permit because of the recent deer violation. The farmer decided not to obtain a deer damage control permit.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• Wildlife officers from across the state help with sport fishing enforcement on Lake Erie during the summer. State wildlife officers Matthew Smith, Kevin Good, and Josh Zientek were patrolling an area near the Michigan border known as the shipping channel and making routine contacts with anglers fishing for perch. The officers pulled alongside a boat with three anglers from Michigan. The men were fishing well into Ohio waters and were therefore required to possess Ohio fishing licenses; however, only one of the men had the required license. While the two men were being issued citations for their fishing license violation, officer Zientek boarded the boat to inspect the fish the men caught. Zientek found that each man was over his daily limit of 30 yellow perch by six fish each. The men were cited for being over their daily limit and the 18 yellow perch were seized as evidence.
• During the early teal season, a concerned hunter contacted the Ohio TIP hotline, 1-800-POACHER, to report some hunters who had killed a wood duck and a mallard. The concerned hunter also stated that the group had shot before legal shooting hours as well. The TIP operator generated a report and contacted state wildlife officer Kevin Good, assigned to Erie County. Officer Good responded to the location and was able to locate and contact the group of three hunters, who were still hunting in the marsh. Officer Good noticed their dog kept looking back into some thick weeds. Further investigation revealed that they shot and killed a mallard and a wood duck. Good was able to determine that every member of the group had shot at the mallard and the wood duck. One of the men went back into the thick weeds and retrieved the ducks. The location where they were hiding the ducks was the same location where their dog had been looking. Officer Good issued the men summonses for taking the wood duck and the mallard in the closed season. The original hunter that reported the violation was contacted by officer Good. Good thanked the man and offered him a reward. The hunter refused any reward and thanked officer Good for apprehending the men.
• While checking boats at the Conneaut Port Authority boat ramp, Lake Erie investigator Brian Keyser encountered three men who stated that they had caught their limit of perch despite rather rough conditions on the lake. Investigator Keyser counted the fish and found they were nine over their daily limit. The fish were seized as evidence and the boat owner was issued a summons for the violation. The man pleaded guilty in Conneaut Municipal Court and paid $345 in fines, restitution, and court costs.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• State wildlife officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, and wildlife investigator Brett Barnes were patrolling Brush Creek Wildlife Area in late July when officer Barnes noticed an unoccupied vehicle parked in a strange location. After a short investigation, the officers determined that the vehicle was owned by an individual known to dig ginseng illegally. Shortly thereafter, investigator Barnes noticed the suspect walking along the road toward his truck. State wildlife officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, arrived on site and stayed with the suspect while officer Barnes and officer Porter walked the road in an attempt to locate any evidence. Not far from their vehicle, the officers found several ginseng roots and a digging tool. The investigation revealed that the individual was digging ginseng on state property during the closed season. The man was charged, convicted, and ordered to pay fines and court costs. The ginseng roots and the digging tool were forfeited to the Division of Wildlife.
• State wildlife officer Hollie Fluharty, assigned to Trumbull County, received a call from the sheriff’s department about an injured animal. The dispatcher indicated that a resident had found an injured platypus and that it needed to be rehabilitated. Upon arrival, it was determined that the injured animal was not a platypus at all, but instead a very disgruntled beaver. The beaver had sustained a minor injury to its foot and the individual transported it in a car to the sheriff’s office in an attempt to seek medical attention for the animal. Considering the injury, the beaver was returned to the location where it was found.
• State wildlife officer Hollie Fluharty, assigned to Trumbull County, received information regarding an untagged deer following the opening day of bow season. During the investigation, officer Fluharty discovered pictures of a buck, which had been harvested on opening day but had not been permanently tagged. When she met with the suspect and asked him why the deer had not been properly tagged, the man claimed that he forgot. The individual was charged and ordered to appear in court. The case is pending.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• A resident of Scioto County provided information that someone posted a picture of a black bear on Facebook and claimed to have killed it in Scioto County. The person who posted the picture stated it was killed so people would know bears are present in Scioto County. An investigation was done and the person who posted the picture was interviewed. The subject said that his son had posted it as a joke and didn’t intend any harm. It was never posted as being killed in Ohio; that was an inference made by people who saw the picture. The subject did kill the bear, and did so legally in Maine.
• In September, state wildlife officer Jeff Berry, assigned to Muskingum County, was patrolling Blue Rock State Forest when he noticed a vehicle backed into a pull-off along the road. Officer Berry parked down the road and waited for someone to return to the vehicle. Approximately one hour later, the vehicle sped off in the opposite direction. Officer Berry caught up with the vehicle, turned on his overhead lights and pulled the vehicle over. Officer Berry made contact with two individuals in the vehicle and asked them if they were hunting. The driver of the vehicle replied they were scouting. Officer Berry noticed dirt under the fingernails of the driver, and the passenger acted nervous. Further investigation revealed they were digging ginseng. Officer Berry found a bag that contained 76 ginseng roots. Both individuals were issued a citation for harvesting ginseng on state property.
• On July 14, state wildlife officer Wes Feldner, assigned to Monroe County, attended a Passport to Fishing event held by Broken Timber Outdoor Education Center. Broken Timber Outdoor Education Center is located in Monroe County and a group of individuals volunteer their time for outdoor education. The center provides a variety of outdoor educational programs for individuals of all ages, including hunter education courses, trapper education courses, Passport to Fishing events, fly-tying seminars, nature walks, and building bluebird nesting boxes, just to name a few. This particular event hosted 65 young anglers for a Passport to Fishing training. After the training was held at the center, the youth were transported to a pond located on the Consol Agreement Area south of Clarington to put their new skills to the test. Individuals fished for two hours and caught almost 90 fish, with the biggest being a 17-inch channel catfish. Everyone had a great time and is looking forward to future events. Officer Feldner and the members of the Broken Timber Education Center would like to offer a special thanks to Ohio Division of Wildlife District Four fish management and the Senecaville fish hatchery personnel for stocking catchable-sized channel catfish in the pond prior to the event.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• State wildlife officer Matt Hunt, assigned to Greene County, was observing canoe riders along the Little Miami River in early summer. Officer Hunt watched a man and woman remove a plastic bag and glass pipe from their canoe at a popular sandbar. The couple filled the pipe with a green, leafy substance, which Officer Hunt suspected to be marijuana, and lit it. The two canoeists spent the next several minutes smoking from the pipe and passing it back and forth. When the couple finished, the man placed the items back into the canoe. A short time later, officer Hunt attempted to make contact with the male as he was canoeing down the river. When the man saw officer Hunt on the bank, he reached inside a black bag and removed something. The man then deliberately dropped the items he had taken out of his bag over the side of the canoe, despite the fact that officer Hunt was giving him orders to stop dropping things into the water and pull his canoe over to the shore. Officer Hunt entered the water to redirect the canoe. While in the water, officer Hunt reached a point where he could see the other side of the canoe and he discovered a plastic bag floating in the water next to it. Officer Hunt retrieved the bag and found that it contained a green, leafy substance. The canoeist denied knowing anything about a pipe or the bag of suspected marijuana. Based on all of the officer’s facts of observation, the male was issued a citation for possession of marijuana. The pipe was never located.