Division of Watercraft
Northern – Akron Area Office
• On Friday, July 4, 2014, Akron watercraft officer Daisher was patrolling the waters of Guilford Lake State Park in Columbiana County when he observed a passenger bow riding on a pontoon. The officer initiated a stop and spoke with the operator about the violation. Officer Daisher then conducted a safety inspection on the vessel and discovered that the operator did not have the registration card on board, a throwable personal floatation device (Type IV), an anchor and line, and did not have enough adult life jackets for all persons on board the vessel. The operator was given a warning for everything except the wearable life jackets. He was issued a citation for operating a vessel without carrying a sufficient number of life jackets on board and his boating trip was 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 at LaDue Reservoir in Geauga County during the waterfowl hunting season, officer Majewski was approached by a local resident in regard to a complaint from some bird watchers that she had met. The resident described a group of bird watchers that were parked on a pull-off along the road that follows the shoreline of LaDue Reservoir. Unbeknownst to the birders, a couple of waterfowl hunters had been sitting nearby along the shoreline, and had shot at a few passing ducks, scaring the bird watchers who did not know the hunters were there. The resident was concerned with the proximity of the hunters to the bird watchers and the lack of safety with shooting that close to the road. Officer Majewski told the resident that he would follow up on the issue and would forward the information on to the Geauga County wildlife officer to continue checking on the area throughout the season. Officer Majewski then drove and scanned the shoreline on foot to see if he could locate the position of the hunters as they were gone at the time of the complaint. Several locations were found, but it could not be determined where exactly the hunters were sitting previously. A few shotgun shells and a dead merganser were found out on the ice near one of the possible areas. Officer Majewski also spoke with a few birdwatchers that were still present and asked if they had any interaction with the hunters earlier in the day, but none of them had been at the location earlier. All information was passed onto the ODNR radio room and logged into the ODNR Incident Report System.
Northern – Cleveland Area Office
• On Aug. 24, 2014, a call came over the marine band radio regarding a man in the water near Whiskey Island. Officers Hill and Wyatt responded to the incident where a 30- year-old man had decided to jump in and swim from a boat to the shore. The distance was approximately 75 yards. During his swim, the man had begun to struggle and went underneath the water’s surface. Another bystander tried to help him but could not get to him in time. Officers Hill and Wyatt ran side-scan sonar for a few hours, then set up a security zone for the U.S. Coast Guard and other participating agencies. The man was found the next day close to where he had disappeared in the water.
Northern – Maumee Bay Area Office
• On Nov. 19, 2014, officer Genzman received a call from Wood County park officer Shiffler regarding a 14-foot boat coated with ice adrift in the Maumee River near Missionary Island. Park officer Shiffler was able to secure the vessel to shore. However, he was unable to locate a phone number for the registered owner. Both officers were concerned about the safety of the owner of the vessel. Officer Genzman went to the address listed on the registration and was able to get a phone number for the registered owner. Officer Genzman contacted the owner who advised that the vessel must have come undone from his property on the river and he would retrieve it that evening.
Northern – Sandusky Area Office
• On Aug. 30, 2014, multiple eyewitnesses observed an 18-foot jet boat operating in a reckless manner outside the entrance to the Middle Bass Island Marina. The vessel then proceeded up the channel on plane with the passenger sitting on the operator’s lap. The vessel turned to the right and drove up on the breakwall. Approximately 2⁄3 of the vessel was out of the water. The operator then backed the vessel off the breakwall and proceeded, on plane, to their dock in Middle Bass Island Marina. The operator and passenger quickly left the scene. Watercraft officers Hodgkiss and Beard responded on scene. The same witnesses that reported the boating accident observed the operator and passenger at a nearby bar. Officers worked with Put-In-Bay Police and the U.S. Coast Guard to bring the operator and passenger back to the scene of the accident. After obtaining witness statements and investigating the accident, officers transported the operator and the passenger to the Ottawa County Jail. The operator pleaded guilty to reckless operation and was ordered to pay $733 in fines and court costs. In addition, he has to complete the boat accident report he refused to complete and attend a boating safety course. The passenger pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct and was ordered to pay $261 in fines and court costs.
Northern – Wapakoneta Area Office
• On June 7, 2014, at Grand Lake St. Marys, a vessel was observed operating while displaying four registration decals. The vessel was stopped. The vessel was found to have a current registration, and an open beer can was located at the operator’s position on the vessel. The operator was not found to be intoxicated, but stated every boat on the lake has alcohol and “that is why I have alcohol.” The operator was given warnings on the proper display of registration numbers and not carrying aboard a type IV throwable life jacket. He was issued a citation for displaying and consuming an alcoholic beverage on the waters of Grand Lake St. Marys. A court date is currently pending in Celina Municipal Court.
Southern – Alum Creek Area Office
• While on patrol on July 19, 2014, officers Lange and Jones were patrolling the waters of Alum Creek Reservoir when they observed a vessel towing a skier after sunset. Upon making contact with the operator, officer Lange advised the operator that sunset was at 8:57 p.m. and it was now 9:10 p.m. Officer Lange explained to the operator that they are not allowed to ski between sunset and sunrise. A vessel safety check was then completed. The operator was missing the registration for the vessel, had no type IV throwable device, and no visual distress signal. The operator was cited in Delaware County Municipal Court for towing a skier/tuber between the hours of sunset and sunrise. The operator entered a waiver guilty plea to the violation and paid fine/court costs of $130. Warnings were issued for the other violations.
Southern – East Fork Area Office
• On May 4, 2014, a 911 call came in regarding two young men missing on the Ohio River in Brown County. The two young men had decided to brave the violent conditions of the Ohio River on the evening of May 3 in a 16- foot canoe. The two men paddled across the Ohio River to the Kentucky shoreline to where they spent part of their evening before sunset. In their attempt to paddle back to the Ohio side, both men went missing. Water temperature is a danger that is easily overlooked in the spring. Hypothermia sets in quickly once a person is in the water. The night of the accident, the surface temperature was around 58 degrees. The young men failed to put life jackets in the boat. Alcohol also played a factor in the outcome of the event. The first young man was recovered by a volunteer six days after the accident on the Ohio side, just west of Higginsport. The second young man was recovered by watercraft officers 10 days after the accident near White Oak Creek, but closer to the Kentucky side of the river. Alcohol, no life jackets, and cold water temperatures each played a role in the fatal accident.
Southern – Scioto County Area Office
• On July 12, 2014, while on patrol of Rocky Fork Lake, officer Swinning noticed a personal watercraft causing a wake in a posted no-wake zone. Officer Swinning stopped and made contact with the operator. Officer Swinning advised the operator of the violation and conducted a vessel safety check. The operator had all required equipment and was only given a warning for the wake violation.
Southern – Springfield Area Office
• While patrolling Cowan Lake, officer Brown observed a vessel being operated with a 200- horsepower motor while a 9.9-horsepower motor on the back of the boat was tilted and up out of the water. The operator was cited for violation of Ohio Administrative Code Section 1501:47-3-19, for over horsepower limit.
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• While on patrol at Quarry Park, state wildlife officer Chad Grote, assigned to Marion County, observed three men taking turns fishing with one fishing pole. One would fish for about five minutes and then hand the pole to one of the other men. Officer Grote watched each of the men fish at least twice before he went and checked them for fishing licenses. None of them had a fishing license, and all three were issued a summons for fishing without a license. One man had a warrant for his arrest and he was turned over to the Marysville Police Department. All three men were found guilty and paid $188 each in fines and court cost.
• State wildlife officers Patrick Muldovan, assigned to Licking County, and Tony Zerkle, assigned to Fairfield County, received a report that a red fox had been stuck in a trap for three days. Upon arriving to the area, officers Muldovan and Zerkle located the trapped fox and verified that it had been there for multiple days. They released the live fox from the foothold trap and retrieved the trapper’s information. Upon interviewing the trapper, it was discovered that he removed all of his traps except for one because he thought it was frozen. The trapper received a summons for not checking his traps every calendar day. He pleaded guilty in Licking County Municipal Court and paid $150 in costs and fines.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• State wildlife officer Ryan Kennedy, assigned to Hardin County, was patrolling Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area during the archery season when something unusual caught his eye. He observed a truck parked on the area with a European-style deer skull wired to the hood. Officer Kennedy inspected it and could not locate a tag or check-in number attached to the antlers. Officer Kennedy contacted the owner of the vehicle. Further investigation revealed the man found the deer dead and cut the head off without contacting law enforcement agencies to obtain a receipt for the antlers. Officer Kennedy issued him a citation for possession of untagged deer parts. The man was fined $100 plus court costs.
• During the deer-gun season, state wildlife officers Troy Reimund and Kevin Newsome were patrolling an area of Henry County where Officer Reimund had received numerous complaints of road hunting. The officers noticed a herd of deer running through a field, and a vehicle driving down the road in reverse trying to catch up to them. The vehicle turned around and drove quickly down the road in an attempt to catch up to the deer. The vehicle reached the deer just as they crossed the road. The officers witnessed the driver of the vehicle shoot at the deer several times while he was still driving. The officers stopped the vehicle and discovered that the driver was alone, and he had a shotgun next to him on the seat. The officers issued the driver summonses for hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle and shooting at a wild animal from the roadway. Officer Reimund later issued the suspect another summons for a felony charge of shooting from a motor vehicle. The suspect appeared in Napoleon Municipal Court and was sentenced to serve 10 days in jail, had his hunting license suspended for five years, was ordered to pay fines and court costs totaling nearly $800, and forfeited the firearm used in the offense.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• During the deer-gun season, state wildlife officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County, received information that two hunters wearing only camouflage clothing were dropped off along the roadway and walked toward a woodlot. The informant met officer Moore at the property and showed him the tracks in the snow. The tracks continued through the woodlot toward a residence on the adjacent property. Officer Moore walked to the house, knocked on the door, and was invited in. Three men were standing inside the home. Two of the men were dressed in heavy hunting clothes and wearing boots, which appeared to be wet. Officer Moore asked the men if they had been hunting, and they replied that they were hunting earlier in the day but had just finished clearing snow from the driveway. The results of the investigation revealed that they were hunting deer without permission from the landowner and had failed to wear hunter orange clothing. In addition, one of the men was hunting without a deer permit. Both of the men were charged, appeared in court, convicted, and paid nearly $1,000 in fines and court costs.
• While working migratory waterfowl enforcement in Trumbull County at Shenango Wildlife Area, state wildlife officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, contacted a hunter in the field and inspected his license and firearm. Unfortunately, the man had failed to acquire an Ohio Wetlands Habitat Stamp as required by law. He was issued a summons, convicted in court, and ordered to pay more than $400 in fines and costs.