Ohio Cuffs & Collars – June 20th, 2014
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• While patrolling Delaware Wildlife Area, state wildlife officer Chad Grote, assigned to Marion County, noticed a car parked in a group of trees just off a parking lot. Further investigation revealed that the vehicle’s owner had a protection order against him. The owner had set up a tent behind his car and had likely camped there the night before. No one was in the car, but a man exited the tent and was identified as the vehicle’s owner. After a short delay, he was followed out of the tent by his girlfriend, who was identified as the protected person. Officer Grote confirmed that the protection order was still in effect, and with the assistance of a Delaware County sheriff’s deputy, he took the man to the Delaware County Jail. The man was arrested for violating his protection order and for parking in an undesignated area. He was also advised that it is illegal to camp on the wildlife area. The man faces up to $1,250 in fines and 210 days in jail along with any probation violations in Marion County.
• State wildlife officer John Coffman, assigned to Fayette County, was working litter enforcement this spring at Deer Creek Wildlife Area. Officer Coffman noticed a man pick up a large plastic container containing chicken liver. The man walked toward his vehicle and retrieved a plastic bag. The man shook the bag open, and then stared at the bait container. The man then decided to throw his bait container into the woods instead of taking his trash home. The bait container landed at the feet of officer Coffman, who was standing just yards from the man. Officer Coffman issued the man a summons. He was found guilty for stream litter and ordered to pay more than $200 in fines and court costs.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• During the 2014 spring walleye run in Fremont, state wildlife officer Matthew Leibengood watched as an angler placed walleyes on his stringer and on the river bank. Leibengood knew there were at least three or four walleyes on the angler’s stringer and two additional walleyes on the river bank, so he suspected an overbag situation. He watched the angler leave the river and take only the walleyes that were lying on the bank. Officer Leibengood contacted the angler in the parking lot. There was a language barrier between officer Leibengood and the angler, making questioning difficult for both parties. Officer Leibengood was trying to determine why the angler left his stringer behind. The angler responded by reaching under his car and pulling out a walleye with a piece of stringer tied to it. The angler said he purchased the hidden walleye from an unidentified person earlier that day. Officer Leibengood was able to determine that the man had also exceeded the daily limit of walleyes. The angler was given two summonses, one for taking more than the daily limit and one for purchasing a sport-caught walleye.
• While on patrol on Lake Erie, Lake Erie wildlife investigator Jerry Duckworth and Lake Erie Law Supervisor Gino Barna observed several anglers fishing in a boat anchored off Marblehead Lighthouse. While checking for license compliance, the officers discovered that the anglers were in possession of an undersized largemouth bass. The bass measured 12.5 inches; however, the legal length for possessing a largemouth bass on Lake Erie is 14 inches. The angler was informed of the violation and issued a summons.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• Following the deer season, state wildlife officer Jesse Janosik, assigned to Columbiana County, received a report from state wildlife officer Thomas Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, about several wildlife violations. Officer Frank indicated he discovered two men who had committed multiple violations in Mahoning, Stark, and Columbiana counties. The results of the investigation revealed that the two individuals had committed more than 11 wildlife violations during a two-year period. The offenses included hunting without a license or deer permit, and multiple tagging violations. The pair were issued summonses, appeared in Columbiana County Municipal Court, and were convicted. The men were ordered to pay more than $1,800 in fines and costs. Hunting privileges for one of the men was revoked for one year.
• State wildlife officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Summit County, and State watercraft officer Scott Stafford were on patrol during the deer-gun season. The two officers contacted a group of hunters at their vehicles and inspected their hunting licenses and deer permits. Officer Stafford noticed that one of the men produced a deer permit that was issued to a different individual than the name listed on the hunting license. Officer Stafford asked the individual about the discrepancy. The subject stated that he grabbed his father’s deer permit by mistake. Officer Brown was able to determine that the individual did not have a valid deer permit, and issued a summons for hunting deer without a deer permit. The individual was also warned that it is a violation to carry and exhibit the license and permit of another. The man appeared in court, was convicted and ordered to pay $124 in fines and costs.
• State wildlife officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, received a complaint from a Carroll County resident that someone had shot a deer near his home. Officer Turner met with the landowner and discovered that he had video surveillance that may have captured the violation. He observed the violation and was able to obtain a distinct vehicle description from the video footage. Officer Turner and state wildlife officer Dan Shroyer, assigned to Carroll County, located the vehicle and the suspect. The man was cited and ordered to appear in a Carroll County court. He was convicted, paid $1,600 in fines and court costs, and his hunting privileges were revoked for two years. The venison and firearm used in the violation were also forfeited to the Division of Wildlife.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• State wildlife officer Jeff Berry was on patrol in Muskingum County checking fishing licenses near Dillon dam when he noticed two individuals fishing. Officer Berry parked his vehicle, then grabbed his spotting scope, binoculars, and notepad to observe for possible litter violations. Officer Berry documented one individual drink from a beer can and the other drink from a soda can. Approximately one hour went by, and then both individuals gathered up their things and walked to their vehicles. When Officer Berry approached the vehicles, they had their fishing licenses already in hand. Officer Berry checked their fishing licenses and then asked the individuals if they had anything to drink while they were fishing. One individual replied, “Yes, I drank a beer.” Officer Berry asked the individual where they put the empty can. The individual replied, “In the back of my truck.” Officer Berry asked both individuals to walk down to the spot where they were fishing. Upon their arrival to the area where they were fishing, officer Berry found the discarded cans. Officer Berry explained to the individuals that he observed them from a distance. Officer Berry then asked the individuals if that was their empty cans sitting in the rocks. Both individuals replied that it was their cans. Officer Berry then asked one individual if they placed a little red flag in the middle of a foam bait container and then tossed it in the water. The individual replied, “Yes, I made a little boat and wanted to see if it would float.” Both individuals were issued stream litter citations and ordered to pay $175 in fines and costs.
• A state wildlife investigator contacted an Athens County landowner about an open dumping and stream litter complaint. During the contact with the landowner, the investigator found numerous marijuana plants growing in pots on the property. The Athens County Sheriff’s Office was contacted, and after the landowner became agitated, assistance was provided by the Glouster Police Department and other wildlife officers. Deputy Keith Tabler and Lt. Aaron Maynard with the Athens County Sheriff’s Office took over the drug investigation and served a search warrant with detectives at the residence. In total, 16 marijuana plants, two suspected drug pipes, two baggies of marijuana seeds, and three unknown pills were seized. In addition to the drugs, one midland painted turtle and one eastern box turtle were found in a cage, while two more box turtles were found dead. Ohio has regulations that allow the possession of certain reptiles and amphibians. Box turtles are not allowed to be possessed if they are taken from the wild. Charges are currently pending. A summary of the reptile and amphibian regulations can be obtained by contacting the Division of Wildlife or by visiting wildohio.gov.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• Last July, a citizen observed dead fish and a possible pollutant in Cowan Creek in Clinton County. State wildlife officer Matt Hunt, assigned to Greene County, responded and found that the stream had been affected by liquid manure for approximately four to five miles. State wildlife officers Eric Lamb, assigned to Brown County, and Gus Kiebel, assigned to Clermont County, also responded and they located a field tile where liquid manure was entering the stream. With additional assistance from employees of the ODNR Division of Soil and Water Resources and the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency Emergency Response, the source of the pollution was identified as a tile that was not plugged when a manure lagoon was installed on a farm the previous year. State wildlife officers Marcus Schemmel, assigned to Adams County, and Ryan Schock, assigned to Hamilton County, and wildlife investigator James R. Tunnell responded and assisted with the investigation. They divided into teams and counted the dead fish and wild animals throughout the entire length of the affected stream. They counted 8,324 dead fish and other wild animals. The value of the dead animals and the cost of the investigation was determined to be $4,342.83. The polluter was sent a letter requesting restitution, and paid the Division of Wildlife the full amount. The polluter also removed the field tile, which ensured that the situation would not happen again. Hunters, anglers, conservationists, citizens, and other government agencies play an important role in helping the Division of Wildlife protect and conserve our wildlife resources. If you see dead fish in a public waterway and believe a pollutant is involved, call your local sheriff’s office or the Ohio EPA spills hotline at 1-800-282-9378.
Division of Watercraft
Southern – Scioto County Area Office
• On Aug. 14, 2013, while on patrol at Jackson Lake, officer Hittner received a complaint that a pontoon boat was being operated on the lake with a 40-horsepower motor. While officer Hittner was at the dock, a pontoon boat pulled in with a 40-horsepower motor being operated that was creating a wake. Contact was made with the operator and a vessel safety inspection was completed. The following violations were found: no watercraft registration paperwork onboard, numbers were not properly displayed, and no children’s life jackets were onboard. The operator admitted to being in the wrong, knowing that the lake has a 10-horsepower limit. He was cited for operating the 40-horsepower motor on a 10-horsepower lake in Jackson Municipal Court and was fined $123.
Southern – Springfield Area Office
• On Aug. 16, 2013, state watercraft officer Heasley was contacted by park officer Eyman for assistance in responding to a public indecency situation at Buck Creek State Park. Both officers then made contact with the suspects. Officer Heasley observed an open container and marijuana in plain view. Upon further search, officer Heasley found partially smoked joints, a glass pipe, rolling papers, and a plastic bag containing more marijuana. The female admitted that the marijuana was hers as well as the rolling papers. Neither person claimed possession of the glass pipe. The female was then cited for drug possession, drug paraphernalia, public indecency, and open container. The man was cited for drug paraphernalia and public indecency. The female pleaded guilty for drug possession, public indecency, and paid $541 in fines, and the open container and drug paraphernalia charges were dismissed. The male was found guilty of public indecency and drug paraphernalia and paid $247 in fines.
Northern – Ashtabula Area Office
• While on patrol on Lake Erie, Lake County, dispatch notified watercraft officers of shots fired at people along the Grand River by the docks. Officers responded by boat and notified Coast Guard Station Fairport of the situation. Once on scene, Fairport Harbor and Grand River police had already responded by land, and the shooting had stopped. The dock holders were sitting on land near their boat when they heard something ping off their car. Once they realized it was a shot fired, they ducked down and another shot hit and imbedded into a tree. The shots had been fired off the west bank toward the east bank. The Fairport Harbor police were across the bank of the river and conducted their investigation. Currently there are no suspects, but the dock holders around the area along with the law enforcement will remain vigilant for suspicious activity associated with this incident.
• Ashtabula watercraft officers Trisket and Conrad recently spoke with approximately 200 students about water safety at a student career day event. The students ranged from pre-kindergarten through second grade. The faculty and staff were very happy with the positive impression the officers made on the students. In addition to returning for next year’s event, the officers were asked to visit additional classrooms to speak with the children about water safety and the importance of wearing life jackets.
Northern – Cleveland Area Office
• In August of 2013, Cleveland area watercraft officers were notified of a person in the water observed by a wildlife officer on land near the 72nd Street public launch ramp. Just as the officers were contacted, they already had a visual of the person struggling in the water on Lake Erie. A middle-aged male, wearing a full set of clothing, including blue jeans and button down shirt, was attempting to reboard a personal watercraft without success. When approached, the male indicated that he could not swim, but was persistent that he did not need help. After a couple more attempts at reboarding the personal watercraft, officers observed how fatigued the male was, and knew they would have to pull him onto their boat, and tow the personal watercraft back to the launch ramp from which he had launched. Upon safety inspection, the male was found to be 24 years of age operating without a boating certificate, for which he was cited. Additionally, officers advised the male that blue jeans and a dress shirt are not the ideal watersport clothing.
• On a busy fall Sunday in October, officers from the Cleveland Watercraft Office responded to a boating collision that occurred in the Old Cuyahoga River bed involving a recreational vessel and a commercial freighter. The area, near two busy yacht clubs, saw pretty consistent boating traffic that morning as it was prime perch fishing season and Cleveland Browns tailgating was in progress. While unloading sand at a dock, the commercial vessel was obstructing the navigable channel from passage by boaters. After observing a larger boat ahead of him pass safely, the captain of the recreational boat decided to also pass. While passing, the freighter drifted slightly, pinching the less than eight-foot beam of the recreational vessel between the river bank and the stern of the commercial vessel. The captain of the commercial vessel was cited for obstructing a navigable channel.
Northern – Maumee Bay Area Office
• In August of 2013, state watercraft officers Hartman and Genzman responded to a report of a capsized vessel with two people in the water in Lake Erie near the Lucas County water intake. The 21-foot fishing vessel had taken on water and the bilge had stopped working, causing the vessel to swamp and capsize. When the officers arrived on scene, the two vessel occupants had been rescued by a Good Samaritan. Victims were treated for mild hypothermia and transported to shore by the officers.
• In May while on patrol on the Maumee River in Henry County, officer Brokamp observed a pontoon boat with 13 people on board. The vessel struck a wave from another boat and immediately the bow of the pontoon submerged and the motor came out of the water. Officer Brokamp stopped the vessel to check its capacity and immediately noticed the entire deck of the boat was wet from being submerged. Officer Brokamp checked the capacity plate, which read 11 people. Officer Brokamp assisted the vessel back to shore in order to be in compliance with the capacity plate.
Northern – Sandusky Area Office
• On June 29, 2013, while on patrol, officers Beard and Hodgkiss observed a vessel not displaying any registration numbers or decal being operated near Johnson’s Island. When stopped, the operator informed officers that he just purchased the vessel. The officers asked if he had the required bill of sale on board and he did not. The officers asked if he had enough wearable life jackets on board. He had only three Type-III life jackets when he needed four. During the conversation, officers observed an open beer near the operator’s position, and that the operator had slurred speech. The officers had him don a life jacket and board the patrol vessel. On the patrol vessel, officers observed a strong odor of alcohol on the subject’s breath and he admitted to consuming two beers. He also stated he was taking prescription medication for a medical issue. The subject performed poorly on the horizontal and vertical Nystagmus test, as well as the seated field sobriety tests. The officers placed him under arrest for operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs of abuse. He was read and shown the Miranda Rights form and the implied consent form, he signed both and agreed to submit a chemical test. The defendant submitted a urine sample that was sent to the Ohio State Highway Patrol Crime Lab and the results were .218. At the completion of the stop, the defendant was issued two citations. One for operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs of abuse and one for operating a vessel without a sufficient number/size/type of U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets. The defendant was released to a sober passenger. The defendant had two prior Operating a Motor Vehicle While Intoxicated convictions. The defendant was cooperative and polite. The defendant pleaded no contest to the charges in an Ottawa County court and was fined $750 and jail time of 180 days, of which 150 days were suspended as long as the defendant remained law abiding for two years with no similar offenses.
• On May 8, officer Beard was dispatched to the Sandusky River for a capsized vessel. Two men had taken a 171⁄2-foot vessel out fishing when it began to fill with water and capsized, plunging both men into the 56-degree water. The operator of the vessel was wearing a life jacket, but did not have the buckles fastened. The passenger did not have a life jacket on. A passing boat pulled the operator from the frigid water. The passenger decided he would swim the estimated 15 to 20 yards to shore. Once the passenger was on shore, he said he collapsed from exhaustion because the cold water took away his energy. After completing the interviews with both men at the hospital, officer Beard asked what they would have done differently. The operator said he would have had his life jacket properly fastened because “it all happened so fast.” The passenger stated that he would have worn his life jacket also and stayed with the boat because he didn’t know that cold water would affect him in that way. (Cold water cools the body 25 times faster than cold air of the same temperature. For safety sake, boaters should choose the fastest way out of cold water. Even the best swimmers lose muscle control very quickly in cold water and cannot swim.)
Northern – Wapakoneta Area Office
• On July 28, 2013, state watercraft officers Roeger and Peters were patrolling Indian Lake State Park. They received a call from the Logan County Sheriff’s Office at 6:10 p.m. about a boat creating an excessive wake down one of the residential channels on Indian Lake. The vessel was described as a Lake Erie style boat creating an extremely large wake. Once officers arrived at the scene they were able to locate the boat, which was unoccupied at that time. A witness observed several people exit the large boat and leave in a small white car with Indiana license plates. Another witness on scene observed the car with Indiana license plates at a house a few blocks from the dock. DNR officers located the operator and owner of the boat. The man was found to be intoxicated and admitted to operating the boat too fast down the channel. The man was cited for Operating a Watercraft under the Influence, Reckless Operation of a Watercraft, and not having a current registration on the boat.