Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• State wildlife officer Matt Teders, assigned to Madison County, received a phone call in the early archery deer season regarding a trespassing complaint. The gentleman advised Officer Teders that two hunters were hunting without permission on the property he had permission to hunt. The person was able to provide the officer with the license plate number of the hunters’ vehicle. During a follow up investigation at the property, both hunters were located and identified. Upon contact with the hunters, officer Teders discovered that neither hunter possessed a valid hunting license or a deer permit. One hunter was found in violation of hunting without the proper license and permit, while the other hunter tried to explain that he was not hunting but was just out in the woods learning to shoot a crossbow. Both individuals were charged with hunting without a hunting license and a deer permit and were found guilty in Madison County Municipal Court. Both hunters were ordered to pay $602 in fines and court costs, and each individual received a criminal trespass warning on the property.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• Two days before the antlerless muzzleloader season, state wildlife officer Ryan Kennedy, assigned to Hardin County, received a call from an individual acting on behalf of an out-of-state landowner. The caller wanted to report an individual who was deer hunting without permission from the landowner. The landowner, who lives in Pennsylvania, was contacted and informed officer Kennedy who was allowed to hunt the property. On opening day of the antlerless muzzleloader season, officers Jeremy Payne and Kennedy set up surveillance at the property and observed an adult and juvenile hunting. The officers contacted the subjects and they were found to be hunting without permission. The adult was issued a citation for hunting without permission. He was found guilty and received a $175 fine plus court costs.
• Wildlife officer Troy Reimund was patrolling the Maumee River in Henry County when he observed a canoe on the opposite side of the river. Officer Reimund watched the canoe to determine if the operator was fishing or boating. Reimund was unable to observe a fishing pole, but determined the operator may have been setting banklines or using another method to take fish. Officer Reimund contacted the man as he returned to shore. During a brief conversation Reimund learned that the individual was setting banklines and taking fish and turtles. The angler had a valid fishing license and was in possession of a large softshell turtle longer than the 13-inch legal limit. Reimund also noticed a burlap bag in the canoe and inquired about its contents. The angler said he had one catfish in the bag and opened the bag just enough to show a large channel catfish. Reimund was suspicious of the angler’s behavior and looked deeper into the bag. Under the large catfish were two more softshell turtles. Both were 7 inches long and well under the legal length limit. The suspect told Reimund that he had about 20 banklines set along the river. Later that day, Reimund launched a boat in the river to make sure the banklines complied with Ohio law. Reimund found 40 banklines and none were tagged as required by law. The angler was issued two summonses for taking turtles under the legal length limit and setting untagged banklines. The suspect paid $400 in fines and court costs in Napoleon Municipal Court.
• On July 4, Lake Erie wildlife investigator Gary Manley and law supervisor Gino Barna were on boat patrol on Lake Erie near West Sister Island. Investigator Manley recognized a vessel trolling in the distance that had a previous violation. The officers approached the vessel and observed a lone fisherman reeling in a rod. The officers were able to observe too many rods being fished. As contact was made with the individual, the officers counted nine rods actively fishing. Officer Barna asked how the fisherman was doing, and he advised he had walleyes. The fisherman was instructed to reel in all of his lines and put his boat in neutral. While he was doing that, Manley ran the boat registration through dispatch and asked for prior wildlife violations. The radio operator confirmed that this individual had prior violations, including one for fishing with too many rods. Officer Barna boarded the boat and counted eight walleyes in the cooler. The subject was ordered to appear in Oregon Municipal Court. He was charged with fishing more than two rods and taking two walleyes over the limit. The defendant appeared and pleaded no contest to the charges and was found guilty. The individual was fined $305, ordered to pay $87 in court costs, and received 30 days of suspended jail time, six months of probation with no like crimes, and a one-year fishing license revocation.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• State wildlife officer Wade Dunlap, assigned to Tuscarawas County, received a call after the end of the 2012 deer hunting season from a probation officer with the Tuscarawas South County Court. He indicated that while they were conducting a probation visit at a residence, he observed a freshly killed deer hanging in a tree at the rear of the home and found this suspicious. Officer Dunlap arrived at the location and spoke to an individual at the residence. Further inspection of the deer found that it was shot with a large-caliber gun and then stabbed several times in the heart area with a knife. Another partially butchered deer carcass, four separate piles of deer entrails, and two untagged antlered deer heads were also located in the yard. After further investigation by state wildlife officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, and officer Dunlap it was determined that all the deer involved were taken illegally, and all but one were shot at night with use of an artificial light. The officers were able piece together several previous complaints and TIPs from the public relating to the killing of the deer, which took place several months prior. Three subjects were charged with 20 separate violations in both Harrison and Tuscarawas counties following the conclusion of the investigation. Charges included jacklighting deer, taking a deer from a motor vehicle, shooting from a roadway, taking deer during the closed season, and possession of illegally taken and untagged deer. The men were convicted in court and paid over $3,300 in fines, court costs, and restitution. In addition, all of the subject’s hunting privileges were suspended by the court and all weapons involved were forfeited to the state.
• Although wildlife law enforcement activities are occasionally highlighted by difficult and challenging circumstances, most interactions with sportsmen and sportswomen are positive. Recently while on patrol at the Portage Lakes, state wildlife officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Summit County, observed two individuals drinking beverages from cans while fishing along the shoreline. All of the cans found their way to the edge of the weeds. At one point, one individual collected the cans, crushed them, and placed them in the location of an illegal fire pit. Shortly thereafter, Officer Brown was surprised when he observed the individual take a plastic grocery bag and place it inside a bucket. The individual then proceeded to collect not only their own cans, but bait containers, fishing line, and other trash that had been previously left behind by others. Officer Brown contacted the individuals on their way back to their vehicle and thanked them greatly for taking the time to pick up their own trash as well as everyone else’s discarded items.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• A concerned citizen fishing at the Greenup dam on the Ohio River contacted the Ohio Division of Wildlife about several persons taking a large amount of fish over their daily limit of hybrid striped bass and white bass. Wildlife investigator Travis Abele observed three males taking a cooler of fish back to their vehicle, in addition to actively fishing. Wildlife officer Darin Abbott, assigned to Lawrence County, initiated a traffic stop as the suspects exited the area. Officer Abbott checked their cooler for fish and found them to be in possession of 28 hybrid striped bass over 15 inches. The legal daily limit is four per person. The excess fish were seized as evidence, and two of the individuals were each issued two summonses for overbag of hybrid striped bass. Charges are pending in Portsmouth Municipal Court. On the same day, investigator Abele also observed a man and woman using a dip net to take thousands of baitfish, and saw they were in possession of 36 white bass. Officer Abbott also stopped their vehicle as they exited the area and inspected their catch. After interviewing them both, officer Abbott issued two summonses, one for overbag of white bass and one for illegal possession of more than 500 batfish without a bait dealer’s permit.
• State wildlife officer Brian Baker, assigned to Belmont County, observed a flatbed tanker and a semi tanker pumping water from a pond in August on Egypt Valley Wildlife Area. Wildlife investigator Randy Smith was instructed to contact the drivers and inform them not to return, and if they did to arrest them. Investigator Smith was assigned to the case, which was handled as a theft. He interviewed three drivers of the trucks and two of them were found in violation of removing water from the wildlife area. The two individuals were charged in Western Division Court in Belmont County for two counts of theft of water, which is a misdemeanor of the first degree. The theft charge was amended through a plea agreement to removing water from the wildlife area, which is a misdemeanor of the fourth degree. The first individual was fined $150 and ordered to pay $95 in court costs and $350 in restitution. The second individual was fined $150 and ordered to pay $95 in court costs and $210 in restitution.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• On two occasions this past summer, state wildlife officer Matt Hunt was working along the Mad River in Greene County when he observed large groups of people floating down the river with float tubes and canoes. Officer Hunt observed most of the group members drinking beer and other alcoholic beverages. The tubers and canoeists had to exit the water to cross over a bridge at one particular location on the river. The group lingered for a while at that place and officer Hunt observed them swim, continue to drink alcoholic beverages, and litter numerous cans and bottles. Once they had moved on from that place and continued their trip downstream, both groups were contacted a short time later by officer Hunt and were issued citations for the violations he witnessed. Between the two groups, 10 stream litter citations and four citations for not having personal flotation devices (PFDs) were issued. Each litter tickets had a fine of $100, and the PFD citations carried a fine of $25 each.