Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• State wildlife officer Brad Kiger, assigned to Franklin County, received a call through the 1-800-POACHER TIP line stating that someone did not check in a deer after it was harvested. Officer Kiger made several attempts to contact the hunter but was unsuccessful. It was later discovered that the address was his mother’s house and he was living with a girlfriend. Officer Kiger ended up making contact with the hunter’s brother, who gave the general area where the hunter was living. The next evening, officer Kiger found the hunter’s car at a house and made contact with him to ask about the deer. The hunter discovered that officer Kiger was looking for him. He decided to check the deer in three weeks after he killed it, just a short time before officer Kiger made contact with him. Officer Kiger issued a citation for failure to game check the deer by noon the following day and the hunter was ordered to pay $185 in fines and court costs.
• In November, state wildlife officers Josh Shields and Michael Budd were on patrol in Knox County and observed two hunters exiting the woods in a utility vehicle with a deer in the back. The officers met the hunters at their residence. The officers observed two deer in the back of the vehicle, neither bearing a temporary tag. The hunters were asked who had killed the deer and one replied he had. When asked for the temporary tags, the hunter produced a temporary tag from 2013 and a landowner tag he had just completed. The hunter stated the landowner tag was for the doe and then produced a valid 2014 either-sex permit for the buck, which was blank. Officer Shields asked the hunter how much land he owned. The hunter replied six acres, and officer Shields asked the hunter to take the officers to where he shot the doe on his property. The hunter then stated he did not kill the doe on his property, but killed it on the neighbor’s land. The hunter produced written permission for the neighbor’s property, but did not have a valid deer permit for the doe. Officer Shields informed the hunter that it was a violation to kill a deer before having purchased a valid tag. Further investigation revealed the hunter shot the buck first but was not sure if he killed it, and then saw the doe and shot it. The hunter then went to look for both deer and discovered he had killed both. Officer Shields then asked the hunter how many deer he killed in 2013, and he replied zero. A search in the game check database showed the hunter checked in two deer in 2013. Further investigation revealed he checked in the deer for his son because he was on probation and not supposed to be in possession of a firearm. The officers explained there were multiple violations, including failure to permanently tag a deer after harvest, twice by the son in 2013; failure to place a temporary tag on the deer after harvest, twice by the hunter; failure to place a temporary tag on a deer before pursuing a second deer; taking a deer without having first purchased a deer tag; and using a landowner tag on a deer that was not killed on property owned by the hunter. Several summonses were issued and the doe was taken as contraband since the hunter had no tag for the deer and illegally possessed it. After prosecutor approval, photographs were taken of the doe as evidence and the deer was donated to a local food bank.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• In November, state wildlife officer Scott Sharpe, assigned to Hancock County, received a call from an individual stating that he had observed someone setting raccoon traps along a piece of property before the season opened on Nov. 10. Officer Sharpe arrived at the location after dark. Unsure if he would be able to locate any traps, officer Sharpe walked the edge of the wood line. As he was walking, officer Sharpe heard the sound of a chain jingle. Officer Sharpe followed the sound and was able to locate a raccoon caught in a trap. After taking photographs, he released the raccoon unharmed. Attached to the trap was a name tag, and two more traps were located in the same area. As officer Sharpe conducted his investigation, the owner of the property drove up and asked officer Sharpe what he was doing. Officer Sharpe explained to her that whoever was trapping her property had set their traps too early. The owner stated that she did not give anyone permission to trap. Officer Sharpe went to the residence listed on the trap tag. Further investigation revealed the individual had set the traps. He was cited and later fined $265 and was required to forfeit the traps that were set illegally.
• During last spring’s walleye run in the Maumee River, state wildlife officers Craig Barr and Scott Sharpe were checking anglers. One man caught the officers’ attention. He was having a particularly hard time landing a fish, a sure sign that the fish was hooked somewhere other than legally in the mouth. When the fish was netted, it was clear that it was snagged in its back near the dorsal fin. The angler netted the fish, removed it, and held it against his hip for several minutes while he tried to dislodge the hook. He was unsuccessful and borrowed a pair of pliers from a nearby fisherman who was not a member of his fishing party. He was able to free the hook and, while still holding the fish, he returned the pliers. The man and his fishing partner discussed keeping the fish. The man who netted the fish then proceeded to place the fish on the stringer of the man who reeled it in. Later, the man who snagged the fish reeled in another. This one was snagged in the head. He removed it and placed it on his stringer. The men were contacted and informed of their violations. Several tickets were issued and paid in Perrysburg Municipal Court.
• State wildlife investigator Gary Manley, assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, was on patrol when he received a call from the United States Coast Guard. He was advised that they had stopped a charter boat coming back into Ohio from Canada. The USCG performed an inspection of the vessel and asked the captain for all of his licenses. The captain had failed to obtain an Ohio Lake Erie Guide license, which is required by law for anyone to take someone fishing for hire. Investigator Manley met the USCG and the fishing boat at the marina. After questioning the captain, a summons was issued to the captain for not being properly licensed. He pleaded no contest in Ottawa County Municipal Court, was found guilty, and fined $100 plus $58 in court costs.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• State wildlife officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County, was working a law enforcement project with state wildlife investigator Rick Louttit when he received a call that an individual shot a deer with a high-powered rifle at night and the following day had walked across multiple properties with another man tracking the deer. They responded to the residence and observed a fresh deer blood trail and two sets of bootprints leading away from a house onto the adjoining property, and then returning. They also located a freshly fired rifle casing nearby. The officers contacted two men inside the house and learned that one of the men had shot into a herd of deer the previous night and then attempted to locate the animal the following day with another individual. The deer was tracked across several properties but never found. Both men were issued summonses for hunting without permission. The man who shot the deer was issued summonses for taking a deer in the closed season, hunting with a rifle, and hunting deer without a hunting license. The rifle was seized as evidence.
• State wildlife officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, received multiple complaints about a group of individuals hunting waterfowl at Spencer Lake from a permanent blind. The blind was constructed of plywood and 2x4s and was located in a popular hunting spot on the lake. Officer Brown found all three individuals and issued them summonses for constructing a permanent hunting blind on a wildlife area. The men were convicted in court and each was ordered to pay $177 in fines and costs.
• While working migratory waterfowl enforcement in Trumbull County at Shenango Wildlife Area, state wildlife officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, observed an individual duck hunting in the marsh. He contacted the man, and then inspected his license, firearm, and bag limit. Unfortunately, the waterfowl hunter failed to purchase an Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp, as required by law. The man was issued a summons for the violation, appeared in court, was convicted, and ordered to pay more than $400 in fines and court costs.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• In November, state wildlife officer Allen Patton received a phone call about a man in Athens County who was keeping a northern copperhead snake as a pet. On Thanksgiving morning, officer Patton and field supervisor Dan Perko discovered that the snake had been moved to another residence to try to keep the officers from finding it. Once the snake was located, it was taken as evidence. The officers charged the man with illegal possession of a non-collectible species. He was fined $175, sentenced to 30 days in jail (suspended), and placed under probation for two years. The snake was relocated to a naturalist to be used for educational purposes in Ohio.
• In October, wildlife officer Roby Williams, assigned to Guernsey County, received a tip that a large buck deer had been poached the night before. The caller witnessed the violation and obtained the vehicle’s license plate. The deer was not retrieved by the poachers. Officer Williams, along with field supervisor Bryan Postlethwait and state wildlife officer Jerrod Allison, arrived on scene and took possession of the illegally killed 9-point buck. Officers Postlethwait and Williams were able to locate two suspects who were in the vehicle the night before. Further investigation revealed the suspects shot and killed the deer from the road using the headlights from their vehicle. The suspects were issued five summonses. Both suspects appeared in Cambridge Municipal Court. Both suspects were found guilty and sentenced to a combined $1,250 in fines, $250 in courts costs, 150 days jail with 150 days suspended, four years’ probation, four years of hunting license suspensions, and ordered to pay restitution for the deer in the amount of $1,691.74.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• In July 2014, state wildlife officer Byron Rice, assigned to Clark County, received a phone call from state watercraft officer Ryan Zimmerman about an individual who intentionally operated his boat through the middle of a flock of geese swimming in C.J .Brown Reservoir. Officer Zimmerman had been contacted by witnesses who observed the event. Officer Zimmerman was able to retrieve one of the geese that had been killed as a result of the boater’s actions. Officer Rice responded to the scene and examined the dead goose, and noted severe propeller injuries. Officer Zimmerman and Officer Rice were able to get witness statements at the boat dock, and then went out on the lake and interviewed the suspect. Further investigation revealed the suspect drove the boat through the geese, but he thought the geese would fly out of the way when the boat got close. Officer Rice informed the boater that the geese had not yet developed their flight feathers and were not able to fly out of the way. The suspect was charged with taking waterfowl using a motor-driven water conveyance. He was found guilty in the Clark County Municipal Court and ordered to pay a $400 fine.
Division of Watercraft
Southern – Alum Creek Area Office
• On June 14, officer Manley was patrolling Buckeye Lake when he observed an adult male sitting in an area of a vessel that is not permitted while underway. Officer Manley approached the vessel and asked the operator of the vessel if he knew why he was being stopped. The operator stated he did not know why he was being stopped. Officer Manley explained to the operator that the passenger on his vessel was in an area that is not permitted while underway, also known as bow riding. During officer Manley’s explanation, he observed alcoholic beverage containers on board. Following the explanation, a vessel safety inspection was conducted and no valid registration paperwork was on board. Officer Manley asked the operator of the vessel if there were any intoxicating beverages on board. The operator stated that there were intoxicating beverages on board. Officer Manley then asked the operator if he was aware that it is illegal to overtly display and/or publicly consume intoxicating beverages on state park property and if he had consumed any intoxicating beverages. The operator stated that he was aware of the rule and also admitted that he had consumed some beer. Officer Manley conducted a field sobriety test to determine if the operator was under the influence of alcohol. It was determined that the operator was not under the influence of alcohol. The operator was issued a citation for displaying/consuming intoxicating beverages on state park property and was given a warning for the bow riding violation. The operator agreed to allow the passenger to operate the vessel for the rest of the day since he had not been drinking alcohol. The operator pleaded guilty and paid $122.50 in fines and court cost.
Southern – Scioto County Area Office
• On June 29, while on patrol at Rocky Fork Lake, officer Swinning noticed a personal watercraft in the middle of the lake with no operator on board. As he approached the personal watercraft, he noticed someone swimming beside it with their life jacket on. Officer Swinning asked the person if they were operating the personal watercraft and they said that they were. Officer Swinning had the person board the personal watercraft and then performed a vessel safety check. The operator had all the required equipment, but did not have registration paperwork onboard. Officer Swinning gave the operator warnings for swimming out of zone and for not having registration paperwork.
Southern – Springfield Area Office
• This past fall, officer Cruset and two park officers responded to a call at Caesar Creek Lake of an irate man yelling in the water at night. The two park officers responded by land and officer Cruset responded by boat. The location on the lake was near the Hope Well day lodge. Once on scene, officer Cruset found the man in the water who was approximately 500 to 600 yards off shore with no life jacket on and struggling to stay afloat. Officer Cruset was able to retrieve the man out of the water into his vessel. Once he had the man on the patrol vessel, officer Cruset treated him for hypothermia. Officer Cruset then noticed the man was not the typical hypothermia victim and that something else was wrong. The man was then transported back to shore to wait for emergency medical services to arrive. Once on shore, officer Cruset was met by a park officer who agreed that the man was suffering from something other than hypothermia. It was later determined that the man was under the influence of methamphetamine, and had wrecked his truck. The man had exited his truck and thought he could swim back home to avoid the police, to no avail.