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Ohio Cuffs & Collars – November 7th, 2014

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• While on patrol in Fairfield County during the early muzzleloader season, state wildlife officers Tony Zerkle, assigned to Fairfield County, and Patrick Muldovan, assigned to Licking County, observed two deer hunters exiting a woodlot with archery equipment. Upon contacting the hunters, it was discovered that neither hunter possessed a valid 2014-2015 deer permit and they were not wearing hunter orange, which is required during the early muzzleloader and gun seasons, even while archery hunting. It was then explained to the hunters the importance of wearing hunter orange for safety purposes and the need to first purchase a current deer permit before hunting. One summons was issued to each for deer hunting without a valid 2014-2015 deer permit.
• In July, state wildlife officers Josh Shields, assigned to Union County, and Adam Smith, assigned to Logan County, were on a patrol boat at Indian Lake. The officers contacted numerous anglers who had been fishing, and they issued a few citations to those who were found to be fishing without a license. The officers then observed a remote-controlled airplane being flown over the water. As soon as the officers observed the plane, it began to nose-dive into the water. The officers were unsure if it was a planned maneuver by the operator or if the plane failed, but the plane crashed into the water. Officers Smith and Shields quickly motored over to the plane and recovered it from the water and returned it to the operator, who was standing along the bank. The man thanked the officers for recovering the plane.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• State wildlife officer Matthew Leibengood, assigned to Sandusky County, was checking anglers on area waterways in June. Leibengood saw two men fishing in an area plagued with fishing-related litter problems. As the officer watched, the two men added to the litter by throwing their empty beverage cans in the weeds. State wildlife officer Reid Van Cleve, assigned to Ottawa County, arrived and set up in a position to make contact with the anglers as they drove away. One of the anglers left the river bank and retrieved their vehicle, which he parked on the bridge closer to their fishing location. The two anglers then gathered their belongings and packed them in the vehicle. One of the men then added coolant to the vehicle and tossed the empty jug in the vicinity of their empty cans. Officer Van Cleve stopped the men, and both received summonses for littering. One man received a summons for fishing without a license, and the other man was cited for driving under suspension by an Ohio State Highway Patrol Trooper.
• State wildlife officers Austin Dickinson, assigned to Seneca County, and Josh Zientek, assigned to Huron County, were patrolling Seneca County in July when they received a call from state wildlife investigator Jeff Collingwood with information about an individual in Huron County poisoning animals. Officers Dickinson and Zientek interviewed several witnesses who stated they had observed a field baited with poison, and they had confronted the person responsible. Officers Dickinson, Zientek, and Collingwood then collected evidence from the field, including several containers with a substance consistent with poison, and a dead raccoon near one of the containers. The officers then questioned the suspect about placing the bait in the field, and further investigation revealed he put it there. The suspect was informed of the violation and that a citation would follow. The suspect informed the officers that he knew several people in the area who were also using poison to kill raccoons as the animals caused damage to their cornfields. Lab results confirmed there was pesticide residue in the raccoon found in the cornfield next to the containers of bait.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

• State wildlife officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, received information that an individual killed an antlered deer on another individual’s property and permanently tagged it as a deer harvested on his own land. Officer Brown searched the county auditor’s site and found that the individual did not own property in the county where the deer was killed. State wildlife officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County, and officer Brown contacted the man at his residence. Through the course of the investigation, it was determined that the man shot and killed a doe and an 8-point buck on another individual’s property without first purchasing deer permits. The officers seized the antlers as evidence and issued the man two summonses; one for providing false information to the Ohio game check system, and one for killing a deer without first purchasing a deer permit. He was convicted in court and ordered to pay $320 in fines and costs. The antlers were forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
• While working sport fishing enforcement at Berlin Lake, state wildlife officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, and state wildlife officer Jesse Janosik, assigned to Columbiana County, observed three individuals fishing from shore. Shortly thereafter, officer Janosik observed the three men smoking what appeared to be a marijuana cigarette. The officers contacted them and determined that the men were smoking marijuana, and none had a valid fishing license. The anglers packed up their equipment and were ordered to return to their vehicle. As officer Frank walked past the rear window of the car he observed what appeared to be another marijuana cigarette. Believing the car to contain additional drugs, officer Frank contacted officer Stout with the ODNR Division of Parks and Recreation, who arrived with his drug canine. The dog promptly indicated the presence of drugs. A search of the car produced six pipes, a bag of marijuana, and other drug paraphernalia. Two of the subjects were issued summonses for possession of marijuana and for fishing without a license. The third individual received a summons for fishing without a license. The cases are currently pending in court.
• State wildlife officer Barry Hennig, assigned to Portage County, received information that individuals were going to hunt over a baited corn field on the opening day of waterfowl season. Officer Hennig located the field prior to opening day and observed what appeared to be wagon loads of sweet corn dumped in the field, as well as numerous geese feeding. State wildlife investigator Matt Fisher, state wildlife officer Mark Basinger, assigned to Stark County, and officer Hennig went to the farm on opening morning and observed two hunters in the field. Ears of corn were placed under their decoys as visual aids and the men had already killed one bird when the officers contacted them. Both men were charged with hunting waterfowl over a baited field. The cases are currently pending in the Portage County Municipal Court.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

• During the opening day of deer-archery season, state wildlife officer Chris Gilkey, assigned to Meigs County, and state wildlife officer Allan Patton worked a hunting without permission TIP they received the day before. The complaint stated that a neighbor was hunting a property where he did not have permission. The suspect was warned numerous times but continued to hunt the property. Gilkey and Patton witnessed the suspect return home carrying a bow in one hand and a bloody arrow in the other. The suspect had been hunting on land where he did not have permission. In an attempt to locate the wounded deer, the officers walked the property in search of evidence. The officers found several bait piles, treestands, and blinds. To their surprise they ran into a second suspect who had no deer permits, license, or permission to hunt. The officers and the second suspect returned to the home to discuss the wildlife violations and confront the first suspect. The first suspect was said to have gone home and was no longer at the residence. With further investigation, the officers discovered the first suspect had warrants out for his arrest and was hiding inside the home. The suspect decided to give himself up and came out of hiding. That suspect had several prior wildlife violations and was under hunting revocation the year before. The second suspect also had a prior deer violation. Officer Gilkey then entered the home with the suspect’s wife to retrieve the hunting implements. While in the home, Gilkey noticed two marijuana plants. The officers contacted the local sheriff’s office. Gilkey and Patton obtained consent to search the home along with a deputy from the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office to retrieve the two plants. Upon searching the home, the officers discovered an indoor marijuana growing operation in a concealed room. The room housed 38 large marijuana plants and equipment. The plants and all equipment were seized as evidence and charges are pending on the drugs in Meigs County. The suspects each received citations for no deer permits, no hunting licenses, and hunting without permission. The state is seeking hunting revocations in this case. The cases are all pending in a Meigs County court.
• During this past spring wild turkey season, wildlife officer Eric Bear received a call from a landowner in Washington County. The landowner observed two subjects shoot a turkey from the road. He watched one of the subjects shoot the turkey while it was standing in the roadway. He was able to get the license plate number of the vehicle. Officer Bear then went to the subject’s residence. After a short investigation, officer Bear learned that a father and son had killed the turkey. The turkey was shot by the son while the father drove. He also learned that the turkey was a hen. During the investigation, officer Bear collected eight untagged deer skulls from the subject’s residence. The father was charged with aiding and for possession of untagged deer parts. The son was charged with taking a hen turkey during a closed season, shooting from a roadway, and possession of untagged deer parts. The father pleaded guilty and paid his fines and court costs. The son’s case is pending in court.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

• Wildlife Officers Gus Kiebel and Austin Levering were on patrol in Clermont County in July, and officer Kiebel decided to travel down a remote road. The officers came to a bridge that crossed over a small stream, where they found a car parked in the roadway with no one inside. After some investigation the officers discovered that the owner of the vehicle was from Dayton. Upon further observation, they noticed a small minnow trap located directly beneath the bridge with no identification on it, as required by law. The officers decided to wait and see who returned to the car. The officers then heard voices coming from the direction of the woods. They contacted the individuals, and officer Levering noticed that one woman carried a green ginseng plant. The man with her stated that his mother was showing him and his wife where she used to dig ginseng each year on private property. He said he had been watching a television show and he wanted to start digging ginseng. After sorting out some further details, the man was issued a citation for illegal ginseng harvest out of season. The ginseng plant was forfeited to the state and the man was required to pay $240 in fines and court costs.

Division of Watercraft

Northern – Akron Area Office

• On May 25, while patrolling Mosquito Lake, officer Bresko observed a vessel travelling down the lake with an occupant hanging their feet over the bow. The vessel was stopped and the operator was educated on the dangers of the activity. Due to the slow speed the vessel had been travelling at the time of the violation, a warning was given to the operator. A safety inspection was then performed and the vessel was found to have an insufficient number of life jackets and too many people on board per the capacity plate. The operator was issued a citation for insufficient life jackets and one passenger was then placed on board the patrol vessel. Officer Bresko with one passenger on board then followed the subject’s boat to shore. Officer Bresko explained to the operator neither the weight nor the number of persons on the capacity plate can be exceeded. The operator pleaded guilty in court and was fined $124.

Northern – Ashtabula Area Office 

• While on patrol on Lake Erie near Mentor, Ohio, in June, officers Conrad and Majewski responded to a call of persons in the water near Osborn Beach. As officers arrived on scene, a Good Samaritan in a kayak rushed to their aid and gave them a life jacket. Officer Majewski hurried to open the patrol vessel’s dive door while officer Conrad maneuvered the vessel close to the victims and shut the engines off. The officers coached the victims to the boat beginning with an individual that was struggling to stay afloat. Officers were able to rescue all three victims without any injuries. The victims stated that three of the four people on the boat jumped into open water without wearing life jackets. As the boat started to float away with the wind and current, the last individual tried to start the boat and pick them up because they were getting farther and farther away and becoming fatigued. When the boat failed to start, the operator did not think to throw the anchor. A person onshore noticed the victims struggling and called 911. The victims had been in contact with the Division of Watercraft earlier that day – they had been stopped and received a citation for not having enough safety equipment onboard the vessel. They did, however, have all the required equipment onboard the vessel at the time of the incident. 

Northern – Cleveland Area Office

• On July 27, Cleveland watercraft officers were patrolling the Cuyahoga River when they observed a small boat not displaying any navigation lights after dark. The boat was stopped and advised of the situation. Officers gave the boat red and green chemical lights to attach to their boat as they operated slowly toward the public boat ramp. Officers did a full boarding of the vessel, completed a vessel safety inspection, and tested the operator for alcohol. While alcohol was present, and the operator had been drinking, no clues were observed for being over the limit. A passenger that was also operating the boat that day was found to have a warrant out of Cleveland.  Radio dispatch advised that the warrant had been taken care of. The operator of the vessel was cited for not having a boater’s education certificate while operating a vessel of over 10 horsepower. 

Northern – Maumee Bay Area Office

• On Aug. 2, while on patrol on the Maumee River, near Farnsworth Metropark, officer Ferguson observed a pontoon boat displaying two sets of registration numbers on the same side of the vessel. Officer Ferguson made contact with the vessel and conducted a safety inspection. Officer Ferguson issued several warnings.
Northern – Sandusky Area Office
• In late July, a kayaker paddled from Marblehead Lighthouse to Middle Island in Canada. When he was paddling back to the Marblehead Lighthouse at approximately 9 p.m. the waves were at least three feet, and it was raining, thundering, and dark. He started paddling aggressively and was not able to stay perpendicular to the waves. At that time, his kayak capsized and he went into the water. He tried multiple times to board his kayak but could not. For the next three to four hours, he tried to swim his kayak to the Marblehead Lighthouse. At sunrise the next day, he could see Cedar Point. He tried to swim his kayak toward Cedar Point for the remainder of the day. At approximately 4 p.m. two Good Samaritans pulled the kayaker out of the water and brought him to shore at Sawmill Creek Marina. Officer Hodgkiss and officer Beard responded to the scene as the Huron Fire Department was transporting the kayaker to the hospital for hypothermia and dehydration. Officers completed the required boat accident report. The kayaker spent an estimated 19 hours in Lake Erie. He had little boating experience and had just purchased the kayak. The two Good Samaritans later received an award at the Cedar Point Boat Show for saving the kayaker.

Northern – Wapakoneta Area Office

• On June 7, while patrolling Indian Lake, officer Peters and officer 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 a trailer. It was discovered that the rudder broke on the vessel’s inboard motor, causing a hole, and letting water into the vessel. A report was taken on the incident.

Southern – Alum Creek Area Office

• On May 10, officer Gartner was patrolling Buckeye Lake. Officer Gartner observed an individual operating a personal watercraft without wearing a personal flotation device. After stopping the vessel, the officer conducted a vessel safety inspection. The following violations were found during the inspection: missing registration paperwork, numbers were not properly displayed, and the individual had not taken an approved boating education course. The individual was cited for unlawfully operating a personal watercraft without wearing a life jacket. Warnings were given for the other violations.

Southern – Cambridge Area Office

• While on patrol on Burr Oak Lake, officer Klies stopped a pontoon boat being operated with a man sitting on the bow with his feet in the water. The officer conducted a safety inspection and cited the operator for allowing a passenger to sit outside of the passenger compartment while the boat was underway. 

Southern – East Fork Area Office

• In June, watercraft officers Kruse and Ferguson were on patrol on the Ohio River when they received a VHF distress call about a 34-foot Sea Ray’s anchor that was stuck in middle of the river. When the officers arrived at the scene, it was discovered that the bearings went out of the electric anchor and dropped while the vessel was traveling downriver. The Sea Ray was stuck and couldn’t raise the anchor. After an hour of trying to free the anchor, the only option, with a commercial barge coming into the path of the Sea Ray, was to unbolt the chain completely from the vessel.

Southern – Scioto County Area Office

• On Aug. 10, Scioto County watercraft officers Cramer and Campbell were patrolling the Scioto River in Ross County. As the two officers navigated around a bend, they observed two individuals operating kayaks along the bank. With closer observation, the officers noticed that neither kayak was displaying the proper registration/license. Officers Cramer and Campbell approached the two individuals, identified themselves as state watercraft officers, and advised them of the reason they were being stopped. Vessel safety inspections were conducted on both kayaks. During officer Campbell’s inspection, he detected the odor of alcohol coming from one of the individuals. With further questioning by officer Campbell, the suspect stated that he had consumed a couple beers while paddling. As officers Cramer and Campbell continued the safety inspections/investigation of the two kayaks, they found the individual also was unlawfully in possession of a controlled substance. The standard field sobriety test was conducted on the suspect to check for impairment. The suspect passed all tests conducted. Two citations were issued to the two individuals, one for operation of a kayak while not having a valid registration/license, and one citation for possession of a controlled substance. 

Southern – Springfield Area Office

• While on patrol on the Little Miami River, officer Cruset pulled into a river access parking lot and observed a vehicle with its windows rolled down and no occupants. He ran the license plate and the registered owner came up with a non-valid driver’s license. At the access to the river, officer Cruset met two individuals putting a canoe into the river. The individuals stated that they forgot their life jackets and they would take the vessel back home. Officer Cruset helped them carry the canoe back to their vehicle. The owner that matched the description of the suspended driver’s license got in and started the car. Officer Cruset went to the driver and asked if he had a valid driver’s license. The operator put the car into park and stepped out of the car and stated that he did, but it was not from Ohio. When the driver opened the door, the smell of marijuana came from inside the vehicle. When confronted, the driver stated that he had just smoked a bowl before they unloaded the canoe. He was asked for the pipe and if there was any more marijuana on him or in his vehicle. Officer Cruset had both men go to the front of the vehicle as he performed a search. During the search two large blue containers were found with black trash bags containing a very small amount of marijuana. This led to the apprehension of over $90,000 in marijuana and locating an operation that consisted of three different grow sites and a major hydroponic system at the man’s home.

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