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Ohio Cuffs & Collars – October 10th, 2014

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• State wildlife officers Patrick Muldovan, assigned to Licking County, and Brad Kiger, assigned to Franklin County, worked Deer Creek Wildlife Area on the opening day of dove hunting season. Several of the fields were packed, but one field in particular had a large number of hunters. Officers Muldovan and Kiger watched the field and after a short time a nongame bird was shot. The officers contacted the hunter and retrieved the dead bird. After Officer Muldovan finished writing that summons, a second nongame bird was killed. That hunter was then contacted. Both hunters were issued summons for taking a nongame bird and had to appear in front of a judge. A total of 130 hunters were checked out of one field and three additional citations were issued for unplugged guns. Those hunters were each issued a summons for having a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells and had to pay $110 in fines and court costs.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• State wildlife officer Reid Van Cleve, assigned to Ottawa County, was checking waterfowl hunters on Sept. 1, the opening day of early goose season. At 6:41 a.m., 22 minutes before legal shooting time, officer Van Cleve observed two hunters shooting ducks. Officer Van Cleve was surprised because duck season was closed. Officer Van Cleve made contact with the hunters and asked what they had shot. One of the hunters stated they had shot two blue-winged teal. Officer Van Cleve explained to the hunters that teal season was closed and legal shooting time began at sunrise, not 30 minutes before sunrise. Officer Van Cleve also explained that wood duck season was closed. The hunters had harvested one blue-winged teal and one hen wood duck. The hunters stated that they had only been hunting waterfowl for two years and did not have much experience in the sport. Officer Van Cleve explained to them that it takes time to learn to identify waterfowl in flight, and it is always a good idea to start waterfowl hunting with someone with experience. Van Cleve also suggested that the men always read the regulations before hunting since seasons can change from year to year. The men were issued a citation for hunting ducks during the closed season.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

• State wildlife officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, received a call from two police departments in reference to an individual who killed a goose during the closed season. The witness gave a vehicle description to the police, who later made a traffic stop on the vehicle. Officer Brown arrived on scene and a suspect was determined through the witness statement. The results of the investigation revealed that the suspect had shot the goose from his vehicle using a high-powered air rifle. The man was convicted in court and ordered to pay $388 in fines and costs for taking the goose in a closed season. The air rifle was forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
• While working an enforcement project in Medina County, state wildlife officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, observed an individual snag a trout, place it on his stringer, and continue fishing. The suspect was contacted and issued a summons for the offense. The fish was also seized. The man was convicted in court and paid $100 in fines and costs.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

• Last spring while on patrol at the AEP Conesville Coal Lands, state wildlife officer Jerrod Allison, assigned to Coshocton County, observed a vehicle driving off-road on the area. The vehicle began driving toward officer Allison’s location and passed him by less than 20 yards. Officer Allison observed a thick coating of mud on the windows and realized that the driver did not see him. Officer Allison pulled in behind the vehicle and had to turn on his lights and siren in order to get the driver to realize he was being followed. The driver stopped and officer Allison explained that it was illegal to drive off-road on the area. Officer Allison also pointed out the sign that read “No Vehicles Beyond This Point,” which the vehicle drove right past. The driver said that he did not see the sign. Officer Allison explained to the driver that if driving on the wildlife area produced such a thick coating of mud on his windows that he couldn’t see, it was probably a good indication that he was not allowed to be there. The driver was given a ticket for driving a motor vehicle in an unauthorized area and was ordered by Coshocton Municipal Court to pay $100 in fines and court costs.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

• Investigator Joel Buddelmeyer was in Highland County in August when he discovered a vehicle parked in a known complaint area. Investigator Buddelmeyer believed that the occupants may have been digging ginseng out of season. Four individuals came out of the woods with 575 ginseng roots, which were seized, in addition to their bags and digging tools. One of the individuals had an outstanding warrant from Adams County and was transported to the Adams County jail. The other three appeared in Highland County Municipal Court and pleaded guilty. The individuals were found guilty and were each fined $1,000 with $1,000 suspended, placed on probation for two years, given 180 days of jail time with 173 days suspended, and court costs. The ginseng was forfeited to the landowner.
Division of Watercraft

Southern – Scioto County Area Office

• On June 15, watercraft officers Cramer and Swinning were patrolling the Manchester Islands on the Ohio River in Adams County. Officer Swinning observed a male subject operating a personal watercraft directly following a boat that was pulling a tuber, well within the 200-foot distance required to be given by state law. Officers Cramer and Swinning attempted to stop the personal watercraft prior to it being beached on one of the islands. Officer Swinning made contact with the operator on shore and advised the operator the reason for the stop. Officer Swinning then conducted a vessel safety check on the personal watercraft. During the vessel safety check, officer Swinning noticed the personal watercraft had no registration numbers or decal on it. The operator advised he didn’t know the law about having to be 200 feet behind a skier/tuber and he had the personal watercraft registered but didn’t have the numbers put on it yet due to him just purchasing it from someone the week before. Officer Swinning ran the operator’s information and found that the personal watercraft was registered. Officer Swinning then finished the vessel safety check and gave the operator warnings for reckless operation (Less 200 feet behind a skier ORC 1547.07(B)(3)) and lack of a watercraft registration decal being displayed. Officer Swinning advised the operator to put the registration numbers and decal on the personal watercraft before his next outing.
• While patrolling Lake White State Park in Pike County in July, watercraft officers Cramer and Swinning observed a vessel with four occupants pulling a single tuber. They watched the operator make a sharp turn, which caused the occupant on the tube to fall off. With closer observation, the two officers noticed that the vessel had an expired registration license displayed. The vessel was stopped, and the tuber was asked to board the vessel for safety reasons while the safety inspection was completed. During the completion of the safety inspection, the operator stated a few times that they had just purchased the vessel a couple weeks prior and had not checked to see what equipment was on the boat. Officer Cramer completed the vessel safety inspection, which revealed seven total safety equipment violations. The operator was issued a citation for life jacket specifications, and was advised that the vessel was terminated from operation until the required safety equipment was on the boat. 

Southern – Alum Creek Area Office

• On July 13, watercraft officer Manley was patrolling the Licking River/Dillon Wildlife Area when he observed a Ford 4X4 truck covered with mud. As officer Manley approached the truck in his state vehicle, he observed a male and female walking toward the wooded area from the truck. Officer Manley requested the two subjects to walk to his patrol vehicle, which they complied with. While waiting for the two subjects, officer Manley observed another male in the woods next to a Chevrolet pickup truck that was stuck in a mud hole. Officer Manley ordered the individual out of the woods and to his patrol vehicle. It was determined that the operator of the Chevrolet truck and her passenger attempted to drive to the river the night before and got stuck in the mud on ODNR Division of Wildlife property. The two subjects spent the night in the Chevrolet truck and waited for a friend to tow them out. The owner of the mud covered Ford truck was there to help pull the Chevrolet truck out of the mud. Officer Manley issued a citation to the operator of the Chevrolet truck after advising her that she had operated a motor vehicle on a non-designated area. Officer Manley thanked the operator of the Ford truck for helping, but also gave a warning to him for operating a motor vehicle on a non-designated area. The operator that received the citation pleaded guilty and paid $150 in fines and court costs. 
• On July 20, watercraft officer Lange was patrolling Delaware Lake in Delaware County. Officer Lange observed a vessel pulling an occupant on a tube who was not wearing a life jacket. Officer Lange made contact with the vessel and advised of the violation. The occupant on the tube was actually the owner of the vessel. Officer Lange performed a vessel safety inspection and found that the vessel did not have a properly working fire extinguisher and that the operator of the vessel had not completed a boater education course. Officer Lange cited the registered owner for not having a proper working fire extinguisher and warnings were given for the other violations. 

Southern – Cambridge Area Office

• While on patrol on the Hocking River, officer Klies met with a local boater and made a hull identification number inspection of the man’s boat. This allowed the man to complete the title work on his boat so that he could get it registered. By meeting the officer at the Coolville boat ramp on the Hocking River, the boater was able to avoid traveling to the Division of Watercraft area office, approximately a four-hour round trip. 
• Officer Plumly was patrolling Salt Fork Lake on a warm June evening when he observed a large cabin cruiser anchored in the no-wake zone. The vessel was not exhibiting a stern light. Officer Plumly approached the vessel to inform the occupants they needed to turn on their stern light. The officer noticed the two occupants were attempting to hide something as he approached the vessel. Officer Plumly smelled an odor of alcohol coming from the vessel. The officer asked both occupants if they had open containers. The male occupant admitted that he hid an open container as the officer approached. The female occupant stated several times she had not hid anything, and she adamantly denied having an open container. The officer explained to the female occupant that he knew she was lying. The female occupant finally admitted that she had an open container. Officer Plumly explained to both occupants that alcohol was not permitted on state park lakes. He also explained to the female occupant that she was going to receive a citation for the open container. Officer Plumly explained that in most cases this would only warrant a warning, but he was citing the female for the open container, because she did not tell the truth. The male subject was given a warning for the open container.

Southern – East Fork Area Office

• On May 19, East Fork and Springfield watercraft officers responded to the Little Miami River near Milford, Ohio, in regard to an overturned kayak floating down the river along with a life jacket and other gear. Springfield officers launched a small jon boat near Loveland and proceeded down river in search of the missing kayaker. Officers Cruset and Heasley found the victim near Kelly Nature Preserve in Miami Township on an island. The victim stated the rapids became extreme due to the water being higher than normal paddling conditions and caused him to capsize. The victim swam to the nearby island and waited for help. The rapids were too swift for self-rescue. Weather can be a big hazard to paddlers due to river environments changing so quickly as heavy rains pass through. Always check the weather and river gauges before you paddle. 

Southern – Springfield Area Office

• On June 29, officer Heasley was on patrol at Buck Creek State Park and observed a man operating a watercraft at a high rate of speed while pulling into the marina. Officer Heasley made contact with the operator and conducted a vessel safety check for required equipment. Upon completion of the inspection, it was discovered that the operator had not taken a boater education course. Officer Heasley cited the operator for the wake zone violation, warned him for failing to take a boater education course, and terminated his operation of the vessel. The operator pleaded guilty to the wake zone violation and paid $40 in fines and $105 in court costs.

Northern – Akron Area Office

• On Sunday, June 29, officer Feesler and officer Orwick were patrolling Portage Lake when they observed a vessel creating a wake in a designated “No Wake” area. The officers conducted a vessel stop and informed the operator of the violation. Upon further investigation, both officers observed an odor of an alcoholic beverage coming from the operator as well as noticeably slow speech and bloodshot eyes. The officers also noticed several open 12-ounce beer cans in the boat. The operator admitted to consuming four to five cans of beer throughout the day. The operator was then given a series of field sobriety tests in which he performed poorly. He was then placed under arrest for operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol or drugs of abuse. The operator refused to submit to a chemical test to determine his blood alcohol content. The operator was further cited for operating at greater than idle speed in a designated “No Wake” zone.  He was warned on equipment violations and released to his girlfriend. The operator was fined a total of $444 and was ordered to complete a three day alcohol program.  

Northern – Ashtabula Area Office 

• Officer Majewski was invited to speak at a children’s Discovery Day in Conneaut, Ohio. The event hosted local agencies and groups for kids and parents. Officer Majewski gave a presentation on water safety and what kids can do if a friend or family member falls in the water and can’t swim, as well as the importance of wearing a life jacket while on the water. 

Northern – Cleveland Area Office

• On June 27, Cleveland watercraft officers were patrolling Lake Erie at sunset when they observed a personal watercraft operating toward the Cleveland Browns’ stadium. The personal watercraft was stopped due to not being permitted to operate after sunset. The operator and passengers advised that they had borrowed the personal watercraft from their friend and didn’t know all the rules. A full safety inspection was completed, which was successfully passed. The personal watercraft operator was advised to operate slowly toward the marina that they came out of, while the officers followed them back to ensure safety. The personal watercraft operator was given a warning for operating a personal watercraft after sunset. 

Northern – Maumee Bay Area Office

• On Sept. 14, officers Brokamp, Hartman, and Genzman worked a special event patrol for the 2014 USA Wakeboard Midwest Regional Tournament hosted by Ohio State University on the Maumee River in Defiance County. The event served as a national qualifier for the Midwest Region with the top three teams advancing to the Collegiate Wakeboard Nationals in the spring. 

Northern – Sandusky Area Office

• On June 16, officers Beard and Hodgkiss were patrolling the west side of Bay Point sand bar. There were around 40 vessels anchored in the area with persons swimming in the water and enjoying the summer day. Officers spotted a personal watercraft come up on plane near the highly congested area. The PWC was heading toward a vessel anchored on the outside of the group of boats. Officers met up with the PWC operator and informed him of the violation. Officers checked the safety gear on the personal watercraft.

Northern – Wapakoneta Area Office

• On June 14, while patrolling Grand Lake St. Marys, officer Peters observed an individual operating a personal watercraft on full plane in the Big Chickasaw channel. The individual operated approximately 2,000 feet up the channel. The personal watercraft operator didn’t have a distress flag or registration paperwork on board. The operator was cited for operating greater than idle speed in a designated no wake zone.

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