Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• While on patrol at Greenfield Lake Wildlife Area, state wildlife officers Tony Zerkle and Josh Elster observed a man and woman fishing from the bank. They saw the man use wet wipes and throw them on the ground behind him. Officer Elster stopped the couple as they left the area and asked if they picked up their trash. The man denied using any wipes. Officer Zerkle retrieved the wipes from the bank, and the suspect was issued one summons to Fairfield County Municipal Court for litter and ordered to pay $177 in fines and court costs.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• State wildlife officers Linda Ringer and Bob Wolfrum were working at Lake La Su An Wildlife Area in July. The day was busy at the controlled access fishing ponds, which are managed for large sunfish. Boats started coming and going at sunrise. A group of four young adults decided to fish from shore off the fishing pier. Officers Ringer and Wolfrum continued to check the anglers fishing from boats as they returned to the ramp for licenses and bag limit compliance. Wolfrum was still checking several boats as Ringer made contact with a group of young adults, which consisted of two males and two females. The two females said they were 17 years old and one of the males said he was 16. The other male was 18 years old and had an Ohio fishing license. Officer Ringer continued to question the other three individuals. They indicated they were Michigan residents and said that in Michigan they didn’t need a fishing license. At that time, officer Wolfrum had finished checking the boats and joined Ringer. Officer Ringer spoke with the unlicensed male while officer Wolfrum spoke with one of the females. Further investigation revealed the male was 17 years old and the female was 18. The second female told the truth and was 17 years old. None of the three possessed a nonresident fishing license. The 18-year-old female received a citation and was required to post a $125 bond at Bryan Police Department.
• While looking through deer harvest data, state wildlife officer Scott Sharpe, assigned to Hancock County, discovered an individual in the system that checked in a deer using a deer tag but had not purchased a hunting license. Officer Sharpe looked at the individual’s license history and discovered that the man had not purchased a hunting license and had killed the deer prior to purchasing a deer tag. Officer Sharpe interviewed the suspect and learned that the man had shot his deer prior to buying his hunting license and deer tag. In a rush to get his deer tag bought and the deer checked in, he had forgotten to purchase his hunting license. The individual was cited for hunting without a hunting license and was fined $150.
• Lake Erie state wildlife investigators Brian Bury and Jerry Duckworth were working at Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area on the opening day of dove season and were in a position where they could easily watch the dove field. The officers observed an individual shoot and kill a non-game bird, which landed near their location. The hunter walked toward the shorebird, which was running toward the officers. When the hunter caught up to the injured bird he dispatched it. The officers then made contact with the shooter and another hunter in his party. The shooter was informed of his violation for taking a non-game bird and was issued a summons for court. In talking with the second hunter, the officers discovered that he did not have a plug in his shotgun as required by law. The second hunter was also issued a summons to court. The second hunter had a plugged shotgun back in his vehicle but he chose to use the unplugged gun instead.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• While patrolling Wayne County during the trapping season, state wildlife officer Aaron Brown discovered a body-gripping trap under a bridge on a rural road. The trap was properly tagged but it appeared that it had not been checked recently. After 24 hours passed, officer Brown was able to positively determine the trap had not been inspected as required by law. Using the information on the tag, officer Brown contacted the owner and issued him a summons for the violation. The individual was cited into Orrville Municipal Court and paid $136.
• While working deer investigations, state wildlife officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, noticed an individual in the Division of Wildlife’s game check database with harvest reporting discrepancies. He located a photograph on social media of an individual posing with an eight-point buck, instead of a deer with antlers less than three inches in length as reported. The deer had also been harvested six days prior to when it was reported and killed with a bow instead of a gun. The results of the investigation revealed that the man provided false information to the game check system and was charged with the violation. He appeared in court, was convicted, and paid $348 in fines and costs. The man was also placed on probation for one year. The antlers were forfeited to the Division of Wildlife.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• Information obtained from the harvest report of a deer taken by a hunter in the fall of 2013 led state wildlife officer Ryan Garrison, assigned to Mercer County, and state wildlife officer Byron Rice, assigned to Clark County, to conduct an investigation and determine if conflicting information in a hunter’s harvest report was a violation of the law, or perhaps something that could be explained by the hunter. The officers went to the hunter’s residence to interview him about the fact that he reported killing a deer, but Division of Wildlife records did not indicate that he had purchased a license or deer permit before doing so. The Division of Wildlife’s records also indicated that the hunter had purchased the license and deer permit after harvesting his deer. During the interview, the officers received answers from the hunter that were not consistent with the facts they had documented before speaking with him. Further investigation revealed that the officers’ suspicions were correct and that he had, in fact, purchased a hunting license and deer permit after harvesting a deer. The officers informed the hunter that licenses and permits must always be purchased before going deer hunting. He was charged with hunting without a license and hunting without a deer permit. He was later found guilty of both charges in Clark County Municipal Court.
Division of Watercraft
Northern – Ashtabula Area Office
• While patrolling with the U.S. Coast Guard on the Grand River, state watercraft officer Majewski and area supervisor Stauffer responded to a call for a capsized canoe with persons in the water off Mentor Lagoons in Mentor. Officers responded to the location and met Mentor Police and Fire departments who also responded. Mentor Police had a fishing boat take them out to retrieve the two victims from the water and return them to the marina safely. Both passengers were wearing life jackets and had taken the canoe from the lagoons out onto Lake Erie to paddle. Due to weather conditions, the canoe was turned sideways to the waves, and capsized when they stopped paddling, causing them to fall into the water. One victim was able to keep his phone dry enough to call for help. Due to the quick actions of the police department, both victims signed off on medical treatment, and returned home safely. It is always advised to be aware of the water conditions, weather changes, have the proper safety equipment, and be familiar with safe boating practices. Wearing life jackets helped save the two individuals in this situation.
Northern – Cleveland Area Office
• On June 4, a Cleveland watercraft officer was conducting voluntary vessel safety inspections at the Edgewater ramp. The officer observed two personal watercraft with incorrect OH numbering on the sides. Safety inspections were conducted on the PWCs prior to the operators going out into the lake. The officer asked to see their Ohio Boating Education card. Both individuals had never heard of the mandatory boater’s education requirements to operate a personal watercraft in the State of Ohio, and had not taken the course. All other safety equipment was on board. The two operators were advised that they were not to take the personal watercraft out onto any body of water without taking a boater’s education course first. The officer explained the different options for taking the course or the proficiency test to obtain their certificate. Disappointed, the two individuals pulled their personal watercraft out of the water and told the officer they would take the course as soon as they could.
Northern – Maumee Bay Area Office
• On July 4, while patrolling the Napoleon fireworks display on the Maumee River, state watercraft officers Brokamp and Genzman observed a vessel with a large amount of smoke coming from the engine compartment. Officers approached the vessel and determined there was no fire. The vessel’s operator indicated that the boat had overheated. The officers towed the vessel and its five occupants safely to a nearby launch ramp.
Northern – Sandusky Area Office
• On May 11, officers Beard and Hodgkiss stopped a vessel on the Sandusky River for displaying an expired registration decal. A vessel safety inspection was completed that found the operator was missing required life jackets, a fire extinguisher, and his flares were expired. Officers escorted the vessel back to the dock and issued one citation to the operator for operating a vessel without the correct number, size, or type of U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets.
Northern – Wapakoneta Area Office
• On June 7, while patrolling Indian Lake, officers Peters and Roeger were dispatched by the Logan County Sheriff’s Office to a boat sinking with five occupants. On arrival, passengers had already put on life jackets and boarded a Good Samaritan’s vessel. Officers towed the half sunken vessel to Moundwood ramp and assisted in loading the vessel onto its trailer. It was discovered that the rudder broke on the inboard vessel, causing a hole, letting water into vessel. A report was taken on the incident.
Southern – Alum Creek Area Office
• On Saturday, May 31, officer Potter was on patrol on Knox Lake, Knox County. Three kayakers were seen exiting the water with no visible registration. The officer watched the kayakers unload the kayaks onto the vehicle, still not seeing any life jackets leave the vessel. Officer Potter made contact with the occupants regarding safety equipment. The occupants advised the officer that only one kayaker had a life jacket on board the vessel the other two did not. A vessel safety check was performed on all three kayaks. One kayak was not legally registered. A warning was given for all three violations. Officer Potter informed the owner of the unregistered kayak and told him where and how to register his kayak. The owners of all vessels were advised of the law and the importance of having life jackets on board the kayaks.
Southern – Cambridge Area Office
• In the summer of 2013, officer Klies stopped a boat for bow riding. There were two passengers on the boat with the operator. The officer conducted a safety inspection and found the operator to be short two life jackets. The operator was issued a citation for operating a boat with insufficient life jackets.
Southern – East Fork Area Office
• During scheduled patrol on Harsha Lake on May 3, a watercraft officer observed a powerboat operating at greater than idle speed in a clearly marked no-wake zone. The officer stopped the vessel to address the citation. Upon stopping the vessel, the officer conducted a vessel safety inspection. The inspection revealed that the operator/owner did not have registration paperwork on board. In fact, the owner had purchased the vessel six months ago and had not had the registration transferred to his name. The inspection also revealed that the owner did not have enough wearable life jackets or a throwable life preserver on board. The boat lacked a capacity plate, had no distress signal, and had no sound producing device. The officer cited the owner of the vessel for the no-wake violation. Verbal warnings were given for the other six violations. A guilty plea was accepted and all fines and fees paid in the Clermont County court system.
Southern – Scioto County Area Office
• While patrolling Lake Vesuvius in Lawrence County, officer Cramer observed a small flat- bottom fishing boat with two occupants heading toward the launch ramp. Officer Cramer noticed that the vessel did not have a current year registration. The vessel was stopped and contact was made by officer Cramer at the launch ramp. The two occupants were juvenile boys. One of the young men stated that he had just bought the boat. A vessel safety inspection was conducted and revealed that they were missing a few safety equipment items along with an expired registration. Officer Cramer explained what equipment was required on the safety inspection and advised the two boys that they would be receiving warnings. Officer Cramer also advised the juvenile /owner of the vessel that his parents would be contacted and made aware that officer Cramer had made contact with them on a violation stop.
Southern – Springfield Area Office
• While on patrol on Caesar Creek Lake, officer Siler observed a vessel that sounded like it was having some motor issues while leaving a no-wake zone. The boat then accelerated and exploded, causing the two occupants to be ejected from the vessel. The vessel then caught on fire and officer Siler was able to retrieve the occupants from the water and transport them to shore. One of the occupants had severe burns to one leg and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. The vessel eventually burned to the water line and sank to the bottom of the lake in 60 feet of water. The occupants were treated for burns and eventually released.