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Ohio Cuffs & Collars – December 19th, 2014

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• During deer-archery season, state wildlife officer John Coffman, assigned to Fayette County, received a call about a large buck found on private property. The deer had been shot recently with an arrow. When officer Coffman arrived at the property, the landowner informed him a hunter had come looking for the deer, but immediately left when the wildlife officer was mentioned. Officer Coffman was able to locate the hunter. The hunter said he believed he was trespassing, so he got scared and left. The hunter had not trespassed and was entitled to his buck. The landowner agreed to let him retrieve the deer and all was well until officer Coffman discovered another smaller buck shot by an arrow near the first deer. State wildlife officer Josh Elster, assigned to Pickaway County, arrived on scene to assist in interviews. Further investigation revealed the hunter killed the second trophy-sized deer after he had first harvested the smaller buck. The hunter was charged with taking two bucks, failure to tag a deer, and deterring a state wildlife officer. He was found guilty and ordered to pay fines and restitution.
• State wildlife officers Chad Grote, assigned to Marion County, and Tyler Eldred, assigned to Morrow County, were patrolling for spotlighters in October. Within five minutes of getting their patrol vehicle in place in Marion County, they noticed a slow-moving vehicle approaching their location. The officers then witnessed a large beam of light exit the driver’s side window. The vehicle continued to drive toward them while shining fields and nearby trees. Unbeknownst to the driver, he stopped directly in front of the officers’ location and exited his vehicle. The driver lowered his tailgate and then continued down the road. Officer Grote pursued the vehicle and made a traffic stop after nearly driving into a large branch that had fallen out of the suspect’s vehicle. Further investigation revealed the driver was looking for deer and was issued a summons for jacklighting. He was also warned for litter and was instructed to retrieve the branches that fell out of his truck, which he did. The officers seized the spotlight and the driver paid more than $250 in fines and court costs.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• During the fall, state wildlife officer Craig Barr and state wildlife officer supervisor Bob Radcliff attended the Lt. Col. Ted Epple Veterans With Disabilities Deer Hunt in Allen County. While at one of the hunting sites talking with some of the hunters and volunteers, the officers heard a single gunshot come from across the road. Officer Radcliff observed a Canada goose fall from the sky. Although legally permitted to hunt in the location, the situation seemed odd to the officers. The officers were able to see a man standing beside a car parked behind a nearby house. As the officers approached, they watched as the man fired two more shots at passing geese. When the hunter saw the approaching officers, he leaned the gun against the car, approached them, and showed the officers his licenses. After learning the man was properly licensed, officer Barr checked if the shotgun was capable of holding only three shells, the maximum allowed to hunt waterfowl. Officer Barr was able to put five shells into the gun’s magazine tube, and with the additional shell in the chamber, the gun could hold six shells. While officer Barr wrote out a ticket for hunting waterfowl with a shotgun capable of holding more than three shells, officer Radcliff helped the hunter cut a piece of wood and put it into the gun’s magazine to make it legal for him to hunt. The hunter was found guilty in the Lima Municipal Court and ordered to pay $210 in fines and costs.
• State wildlife officers Jason Parr and Nathan Kaufmann were recently checking anglers in Crawford County. Officer Kaufmann had recently graduated from the 2014 Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy and Ohio Wildlife Officer Training Academy. Officer Parr was the field-training officer with officer Kaufmann on this day. Officer Parr drove to the top of Outhwaite Reservoir just before dark. Officer Parr observed two individuals on the east side of the reservoir who appeared to be fishing. After several minutes of observation and determining that the men were in fact fishing, officers Parr and Kaufmann drove to the east side of the reservoir. As the two wildlife officers approached the anglers on foot, the men continued to fish. Officer Kaufmann introduced himself and asked to see their fishing licenses. Neither of the two men had a valid fishing license. The men stated they did not know a fishing license was required to fish at Outhwaite Reservoir. Each man was issued a summons for fishing without a license and each man pleaded guilty in Crawford County Municipal Court and paid $119 in fines and court costs.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• State wildlife officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, contacted an individual regarding an alleged deer violation. The results of the investigation revealed that during the last two years the man harvested five deer and had failed to permanently tag them. The man was issued two summonses for the violations, appeared in court, was convicted, and ordered to pay more than $340 in fines and court costs. The deer were forfeited to the state.
• While working enforcement activities in northeast Ohio, state wildlife officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County, and state wildlife officer Jesse Janosik, assigned to Columbiana County, observed three hunters in an open field surrounded by waterfowl decoys. The men looked at the officers and immediately began running in the opposite direction. Officer Janosik and officer Moore pursued the men, and the officers noticed several vehicles to the north where the hunters ran. The officers returned to their patrol vehicle and began driving down the roadway when they observed a truck with three occupants fitting the description of the hunters. The officers initiated a traffic stop and identified the men as the hunters who had fled from them earlier. When asked why they ran, they indicated that they were not sure if they had permission to hunt the property where their decoys were set. The officers later discovered that the group had obtained permission from the landowner.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• In August, wildlife investigator Travis Abele acquired two separate search warrants for residences in Pike and Ross counties after receiving information that ginseng was being purchased during the closed season. While conducting searches of these two residences, more than 12 pounds of dried ginseng was located and seized. The two men involved were charged with buying ginseng without a state dealer’s registration permit, buying ginseng out of season, possessing uncertified ginseng during the closed season, and failing to keep records. They paid more than $1,300 in fines and court costs and the ginseng was forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife. The estimated value of the ginseng at the time of the seizure was approximately $9,500. Special thanks to the Ross County Sheriff’s Office and Task Force for assisting with the execution of the search warrant.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• State wildlife officers Gus Kiebel, assigned to Clermont County, and Jason Keller, assigned to Warren County, were checking hunters in a field. A group of hunters advised the officers that another hunter had killed two deer that morning. Using information obtained from the licensing system, the officers were able to determine that the hunter checked in one deer and only had one deer permit. State wildlife officer Eric Lamb, assigned to Brown County, went to the residence. Officer Lamb determined that the man had killed two deer and had already butchered them. The venison was seized and the man was cited for multiple violations. The man faced $585 in fines, two years of probation, and a three-year suspension of his hunting rights through Clermont County Municipal Court.
Division of Watercraft

Northern – Akron Area Office
• On Friday, July 4, Akron Watercraft officer Daisher was patrolling the waters of Guilford Lake State Park, in Columbiana County, when he observed a passenger on a white pontoon riding outside the normal passenger compartment (bow riding). Officer Daisher initiated a stop and spoke with the operator about the violation. During the course of the stop, the officer discovered that the operator did not have a throwable personal floatation device, a visual distress signal on board, or a sufficient number of life jackets for all the children on board. The operator was provided with a warning for everything except the wearable life jackets for the children. She was issued a citation for operating a vessel without carrying a sufficient number of life jackets on board and her boating privileges were terminated from the lake until the violations were corrected. The operator was cooperative and soon after paid the $107 fine.

Northern – Ashtabula Area Office
• While on patrol, officers Brown and Trisket responded to a mayday call for a boat against the east side of the Ashtabula breakwall. The boat had lost engine power and drifted into the breakwall north of the Ashtabula Lighthouse. The operator stated that his engine had blown up and stopped running as he was leaving the Ashtabula River channel. With no time to drop his anchor, he was pushed against the wall by the current. Officers Brown and Trisket arrived quickly on the scene to assist the boater off the breakwall. Officer Brown approached the disabled vessel as officer Trisket threw a rescue bag to the operator and instructed him how to tie the line to his boat. Officer Brown pulled the vessel away from the rocks. Once it was cleared from the breakwall, officer Brown assessed the condition of the vessel. The officers administered a stern tow and towed the vessel to a nearby marina were it could be pulled from the water. Once the victim and the disabled vessel were secure at the nearby marina, the officers completed a vessel safety check and began generating an accident report. There were no injuries acquired during this rescue. Unfortunately, the vessel sustained extensive engine damage, and as a result, the vessel was a total loss.

Northern – Cleveland Area Office
• On Sunday June 15, officers Hill and Wyatt were patrolling the Cleveland Harbor area. They saw a vessel approximately one-half mile off the coast of Edgewater Park, moving at a high rate of speed with a person sitting on the bow of the vessel with their legs hanging over the side. Being a fairly choppy day, they could see that the individual was bouncing up and down with the vessel, becoming slightly airborne at times. The officers made a stop and, because of the rough weather, they asked that the vessel follow the patrol boat into the harbor where they could continue the stop. Coming into the dock at Edgewater Marina, the vessel approached at a higher speed than desired and slammed into the dock, not causing any damage. Once moored to the dock, the officers continued with the stop. While speaking with the operator and conducting a vessel safety check, the officers found two other citable offenses with the vessel. The officers explained the dangerous circumstances of bow riding with the operator, one citation was issued for bow riding, while two warnings were given for equipment violations.

Northern – Maumee Bay Area Office
• While on patrol on Aug. 31, officers Brokamp and Genzman observed a group of kayakers in distress in the Maumee River in Henry County. It was very windy due to a quickly approaching storm and three of the kayakers had capsized. Two females in the water were wearing life jackets and struggling against the wind and current to swim to shore. A male, not wearing a life jacket, was also in the water attempting to upright two submerged kayaks. Officers Brokamp and Genzman assisted the male in putting on a life jacket and pulled him onto the patrol vessel. The officers also assisted the females onto their patrol boat and retrieved the submerged kayaks. The exhausted kayakers were grateful for the assistance.

Northern – Sandusky Area Office
• On Nov. 1, a Good Samaritan found a 20-foot vessel adrift in East Harbor, Ottawa County. He secured it to a nearby private dock and called ODNR radio dispatch to request a watercraft officer to help with finding the owner. Over the phone, officer Hodgkiss tried running the Ohio numbers through the watercraft registration system. It came back with no registration matching the number. Officer Hodgkiss went to the vessel location and found the vessel hull identification number. He also observed broken lines still attached to the vessel cleats. He was able to determine the owner of the vessel by running the HIN through the watercraft registration system and also determined that the owner transposed two of his Ohio numbers, which made it more difficult to locate the owner. The owner was contacted and moved his vessel the next day from the private dock. No damage to the vessel was reported. Boaters are reminded to tie their boats up properly, and check on their boats periodically. They are to keep the registration paperwork on board the vessel and make sure the correct OH numbers are displayed.

Northern – Wapakoneta Area Office
• On Aug. 5, officer Roeger was on a law enforcement stop when another boater approached and interrupted, stating a pontoon boat was sinking near the island close to McDonald’s. Officer Roeger ended the stop he was on and went to the pontoon boat. Upon arrival, the left side of the pontoon boat was submerged and was being towed into a marina by a Good Samaritan who also took the passengers on board. Everyone on board was fine, but a little rattled. Upon inspecting the boat, the support connecting the deck to the pontoon had pulled away, allowing water to enter the pontoon over the course of the day until it filled.

Southern – East Fork Area Office
• On Monday, July 21, while on patrol on the Ohio River, officers observed a vessel traveling at night displaying a spotlight that was impeding their navigation lights. As the officers turned on the patrol boat’s blue lights, they observed the operator making secretive movements near the helm of the vessel. The officers stopped the vessel and conducted a vessel safety check. Throughout the vessel safety check, the officers observed open containers of alcohol near the helm as well as aboard the boat. Registration numbering violations were discovered at the end of the vessel safety check. A metal box was found near the helm of the vessel. The operator gave consent to the officers to search the metal box. A pill bottle containing multiple pills and a straw was found inside the box. The operator was cited for the navigation lights violation. The pill bottle and other drug paraphernalia were confiscated. The pill bottle was sent to the lab for testing. The test results showed that the bottle contained heroin and Schedule II drugs. An officer went before the Hamilton County Grand Jury and received an indictment for the case. The charges against the operator are felony drug charges and are set to go to trial.

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