Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• State wildlife officer Matt Teders, assigned to Madison County, was on patrol during the summer at Deer Creek Wildlife Area in Fayette County. Officer Teders was checking fishing licenses and approached an angler attempting to hide a beer can. In the process, the individual knocked over the can and then attempted to conceal it under a plastic sack. It was apparent the individual was nervous. Teders noticed a small container lying on the ground that seemed out of place with fishing tackle. It was determined that the container had marijuana inside. The individual was cited for possession of marijuana and warned about the alcohol violation. The case is currently pending in Washington Court House Municipal Court.
• During an afternoon patrol of Alum Creek in July, state wildlife officers Chad Grote, assigned to Marion County, and Tyler Eldred, assigned to Morrow County, observed several individuals fishing along State Route 36. Of those several individuals, there were two adults fishing and accompanied by their children playing along the shoreline. After 30 minutes of observation, the family started to pack their belongings, but unfortunately decided to leave their trash along the shore. Officer Grote and officer Eldred made contact with the adults in the parking lot, at which time both stated they were not fishing but only baiting the hooks for the children (who were not observed fishing). The female denied leaving any trash until officer Grote retrieved it and showed it to her. Neither adult had a current fishing license. They were both found guilty in Delaware Municipal Court; the male for fishing without a license was ordered to pay $189 in fines and court costs and the female was found guilty for litter and was ordered to pay $179 in fines and court costs.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• State wildlife officer Ryan Kennedy, assigned to Hardin County, was patrolling the Scioto River when he observed two individuals fishing. Situated above the river bank and directly behind the subjects, officer Kennedy watched as the anglers fished. Both subjects were enjoying several beers and when one subject finished his beer and, without looking, tossed the empty can over his head. The can landed directly at officer Kennedy’s feet. Soon, the subjects decided to leave and officer Kennedy initiated a traffic stop. The subject who threw the can was adamant that he had not left an empty can. Officer Kennedy returned to the river, retrieved the can, and showed it to the subject. The man still denied throwing the can. A subsequent trial ensued, and the court found the defendant guilty. He was fined $150 plus court costs.
• State wildlife officer Troy Reimund, assigned to Henry County, and wildlife officer supervisor Bob Radcliff were patrolling Defiance County during the deer muzzleloader season. The officers watched a group of hunters conduct a deer drive and noticed several deer running toward them. The officers then noticed a truck driving toward them at a high rate of speed. As the deer began to cross the road, the driver of the truck stepped out of the vehicle, stood in the middle of the road, and pointed a muzzleloader in the direction of the officers. When the last deer had crossed the road, the driver shot at it from the middle of the road. The officers stopped the vehicle and charged the driver with shooting from the roadway. The suspect pleaded guilty and paid fines and court costs in Defiance Municipal Court.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• State wildlife officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, and state wildlife officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, were on patrol at the Portage Lakes in Summit County when they noticed a vehicle parked near an area noted for litter and fishing violations. Officer Porter approached the car and smelled an odor of marijuana coming from the vehicle. The automobile’s window was down and a marijuana cigarette was in plain view on the armrest of the driver’s door. No individuals were in the vehicle at the time. Shortly thereafter, officer Brown and officer Porter walked toward the spillway and observed four individuals smoking from a pipe in a manner consistent with marijuana use. Two of the four individuals had large drink cups in their possession. After some time, the individuals threw their cups into the waterway and headed back toward their automobile. The officers contacted the men and issued summonses to all the individuals for possession and use of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and stream litter.
• State wildlife officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, received several complaints last spring of a vehicle shooting from the roadway. Officer Turner patrolled the area the following evening and observed an automobile matching the description of the suspect vehicle driving slowly down the road. He witnessed the suspects shoot from the vehicle several times and initiated a traffic stop. During the course of his investigation, he learned that the driver was under 21 years old, consumed alcohol while driving without a license, and was in possession of a loaded firearm. The passenger in the back of the vehicle also had a loaded firearm in his possession. The driver was arrested and cited for several violations, including shooting at a wild turkey with a rifle, shooting from a roadway, and hunting without permission. The passenger was cited for hunting groundhogs with the aid of a motor vehicle, hunting without a nonresident hunting license, and shooting from a roadway. An Ohio State Highway Patrol Officer responded to assist officer Turner and cited the driver for several moving violations, including OVI. Both of the suspects pleaded guilty in Harrison County Court, lost their firearms and hunting privileges, and paid several hundred dollars in fines and costs.
• While working sport fishing enforcement at Berlin Lake, state wildlife officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, walked by a vehicle and noticed a small bag of what appeared to be marijuana lying in plain view on the driver’s seat. Shortly thereafter, officer Frank contacted the owner of the automobile fishing along the shoreline. The results of the investigation revealed that the small bag of marijuana was his. The individual was issued a summons for possession of marijuana and appeared in court. He was convicted, paid $220 in court costs and fines, and received a six-month driver’s license suspension.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• Wildlife officer Eric Lane, assigned to Perry County, was checking anglers and noticed several individuals fishing in Clouse Lake. He walked along the dam and was able to document all the individuals fishing. He made contact with the first of three groups and checked for fishing licenses. While he was talking to the first group, he noticed that one of the two individuals in the far group started walking up the bank. Officer Lane finished his check with the first three individuals and met the other individual at the top of the dam. Officer Lane asked to see his license and the individual produced it. While Officer Lane was contacting this individual, he saw that the other individual was coming up the dam to his right. He left the contact and hurried across the dam and made contact with the other individual and asked if he had his fishing license. This individual said no and that he had forgotten to buy one. He was issued a citation for fishing without a license. Officer Lane went back down the bank and checked the final group of two individuals. They had their licenses and caught a few nice bluegills. One of the individuals told officer Lane that they didn’t think he wanted to check them. Officer Lane told them he tries to check everyone.
• State wildlife officer Ted Witham, assigned to Jackson County, was on patrol at Cooper Hollow Wildlife Area in early August. Officer Witham pulled into a parking area and noticed a large amount of trash that was illegally dumped. Officer Witham sifted through the garbage and was able to locate a receipt from a grocery store. With receipt in hand, he proceeded to the store in an attempt to get the suspect’s name and address. The grocery store was able to provide the suspect’s name and address by using information on the receipt. Officer Witham interviewed the suspect at his residence later that same day, and further investigation revealed the suspect dumped the trash on the wildlife area. The individual was given a date to appear in the Jackson County Municipal Court. The suspect failed to appear in court and a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• State wildlife officer Jasmine Grossnickle, assigned to Miami County, was working a complaint area for jacklighting when she heard a shot south of her sitting location. Grossnickle stepped out of her truck and looked to the south, but did not see any activity. Approximately 10 minutes later, a truck drove past Grossnickle’s location with a spotlight shining out of the passenger window. Grossnickle drove out of her sitting location and stopped behind the truck, which was already pulled off the side of the road. She initiated the overhead truck lights. The two occupants of the truck were running into the field, but they ran back to the truck when they saw Grossnickle’s lights. The driver stated that his son’s shotgun was on the back seat of the truck, but said they were not using a spotlight. Grossnickle found a handheld spotlight hanging out of his son’s pocket. The driver said that he and his son had seen a coyote running through the field and decided to jump out of the truck and chase after it. Further investigation revealed that he was driving the truck and shining the light as his 15-year-old son shot a deer with his shotgun. They had driven back to the area to look for the deer. It was also revealed that the son and his father had shot another deer along the same road before the deer season, and that they did not retrieve that deer, either. The driver of the truck was convicted of jacklighting and hunting with the aid and use of a motor vehicle. He was ordered to pay $129 in fines and court costs in Miami County. The court ordered the driver to forfeit the shotgun, shell casings, and the spotlight. The driver is under a two-year hunting license revocation. His son was issued a citation for jacklighting through Miami County Juvenile Court.
Division of Watercraft
Northern – Akron Area Office
• On Monday, May 26, watercraft officers Uber and Bresko were requested to the marina at Mosquito Lake State Park by park officer Campana in reference to a man in the water. Upon arrival, they met and spoke with the individual, who stated he was fishing off the shore near the boat swim area in his float boat when the support bar of the float boat slipped out of place and he fell through the netting. Upon doing so, his waders began to fill with water and he was unable to resume his position on the float boat as the weight of the water-filled waders pulled him down below the surface. He did have an inflatable life jacket on, but it slipped off when he went through the netting. As he was attempting to swim to the surface, a passing 20-foot pontoon boat observed his distress and approached him to offer help. The operator and the passenger were able to pull him onto the pontoon boat and drove him to the marina. Once there, the proper authorities were contacted by the marina. The float boat operator was okay, but shaken up. The next day, he contacted the manufacturer of his float boat and it was discovered that the support bar that originally malfunctioned while he was out on the water was actually faulty. The manufacturer stated that they would send him a longer one that is more appropriate for that model.
Northern – Ashtabula Area Office
• In August, watercraft officer Majewski patrolled with deputies from the Lake County Sheriff’s Marine Patrol on the Grand River in Fairport Harbor and Chagrin River in Eastlake. Several violation stops were conducted including a wake violation and Ohio registration decal and Ohio registration number violations aboard several vessels. Vessel safety checks were completed, and minimal other violations aboard each vessel were noted. All vessels were found to be in compliance with other equipment required to be onboard the vessels. Officer Majewski and the deputies also assisted a disabled vessel with a dead battery while at the ramp until repairs could be made in order to keep the ramp traffic moving. Boaters are reminded to be aware of the wake they create in the rivers, which are designated as no wake/idle speed zones, since officers get many complaints of wake violations each summer. Boaters are also asked to make sure all of their safety equipment is accessible and in good working condition before each outing, ensuring a safe and enjoyable time on the water for everyone.
Northern – Cleveland Area Office
• On a Saturday evening in May, watercraft officers Hill, Pflager, and Feesler were patrolling the Cuyahoga River. Officers witnessed a male run his boat aground in the old river bed of the Cuyahoga River. The boat caught the officer’s attention when it throttled up in a no-wake zone. When they looked to see what was going on, the boat steered sharp to the port-side as if no one was in control of the boat. The boat ran aground onto the beach and was caught up on several logs surrounding the area. Officers helped free the boat, but the operator of the vessel was less than thankful, short tempered, and extremely frustrated. He claimed that he walked down into the cabin while the boat was underway to yell at his dog, leaving the helm unmanned. The vessel sustained cosmetic damage as well as bent propellers from striking large logs. The vessel operator was cited for failure to control, and given warnings for his lack of safety equipment on board after a thorough safety inspection.
Northern – Maumee Bay Area Office
• While on boat patrol on July 3, on the Maumee River in Wood County, officers Hartman and Genzman observed a personal watercraft in tow behind another personal watercraft. There were two people hanging on to the back of the personal watercraft in tow, being pulled through the water. Upon approaching the vessels, the operator advised that the second personal watercraft had broken down and they were trying to get back to the Maple Street launch ramp, which was nearly a mile away, before dark. The officers assisted the people from the second watercraft onto their boat and towed the broken down watercraft safely to the ramp while the operator of the first watercraft also returned to the ramp.
Northern – Sandusky Area Office
• On May 25, officers Hodgkiss and Beard stopped a personal watercraft near Cedar Point Marina for displaying an expired registration decal. The 16-year-old operator had not completed the required safe boating course and there was no sound producing device on board. Officers escorted the personal watercraft to the dock where they met with the owner of the watercraft. The owner was issued a citation for allowing the operation of a personal watercraft, a vessel powered by more than 10 horsepower, without the operator successfully completing a National Association of State Boating Law Administrators approved safe boating course.
Northern – Wapakoneta Area Office
• In June, while patrolling on Indian Lake near the Oldfield boater’s swim beach, officer Roeger had a pontoon boat approach him requesting a vessel safety check. The officer pulled alongside and checked for the required safety equipment. The operator had everything required onboard. Officer Roeger gave him a decal for this year. The boater said he always like to have this check done to make sure all his equipment is in proper working order.
Southern – Alum Creek Area Office
• Officers Foos and Lange attended the annual Delaware Safety Days event, sponsored by Ohio Health at the Delaware County Fairgrounds. The day is dedicated to teaching several aspects of safety in different forms to over 700 fifth-grade students in Delaware County. Officers Foos and Lange taught the students the importance of being safe around the water whether it is a lake, pond, or pool. Emphasis was placed on rescue techniques with everyday objects (known as Reach, Throw, Go get help) to avoid having the children attempt to physically go into the water and potentially become another victim. When the students left the event, they left with the knowledge needed to help someone in the event of a drowning emergency.
Southern – Cambridge Area Office
• In early summer of 2013 while patrolling on Burr Oak Lake, watercraft officer Klies was contacted on the ramp by a man and a woman with two small children and an infant. They inquired about the life jacket requirements for their family. Officer Klies explained the requirement for each of them to have a life jacket that was the correct size. He also explained the advantages of some of the child-size life jackets on the market that have straps that go between the legs of the wearer so that they cannot slip out of the jacket. He explained how this provides extra security for small children and infants. The parents stated that they were not aware that these types of life jackets existed.