Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• During the Thanksgiving holiday, wildlife officer supervisor Bill Bullard and state wildlife officer Josh Elster were contacted by the Turn In a Poacher line, 1-800-POACHER, about a subject shooting a deer with a rifle in Pickaway County. Supervisor Bullard and officer Elster arrived at the residence and located a buck that was field dressed and in the bed of a truck registered to a subject living at the residence. Both officers attempted to make contact with someone at the residence, and the subject answered the door. The officers asked the person about the deer. Further investigation revealed the deer was shot with a .22-caliber rifle. The deer and rifle were taken as evidence and the subject was issued two summonses for taking a deer with an illegal firearm and possessing an untagged deer or deer parts. The subject was ordered to appear in Circleville Municipal Court for the charges. The outcome of the case is pending because the subject is on parole for felony convictions in another state.
• In November 2014, state wildlife officer Adam Smith, assigned to Logan County, received a phone call from officer Chad Fenwick with the Russells Point Police Department. Officer Fenwick informed officer Smith that he had stopped a vehicle for traffic violations. Officer Fenwick, an avid hunter, observed muskrats and traps in the rear seat of the driver’s vehicle. When officer Fenwick inquired about a hunting license and fur taker permit, the driver informed officer Fenwick that he left them at home. Officer Fenwick called officer Smith and a quick license check revealed that the trapper did not have a license or a permit. Officer Smith arrived a short time later and met with the trapper. Further investigation revealed the suspect trapped the muskrats in Union County. The man was issued a summons for trapping muskrats without a fur taker permit, and eight muskrats were seized. The man paid $160 in Marysville Municipal Court and the muskrats were forfeited to the state. The seized muskrats will be used as a teaching aid in an educational setting by the ODNR Division of Wildlife.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• State wildlife officer Nathan Kaufmann received a call from the Huron County Sheriff’s Office about a large deer that had been shot with a rifle the night before. Officer Kaufmann responded to assist deputy John Vogel. The officers were able to speak with a witness who heard two shots that night and was able to get a license plate from the suspect’s vehicle. The officers also discovered that the suspect lost a cellular telephone near where the deer was found. Officer Kaufmann seized the 12-point deer and the telephone. Later, Huron County Sheriff Sargeant Chuck Summers contacted the two officers to inform them that he made a traffic stop the night the deer was shot on a subject that may have been involved. With the two license plate numbers, state wildlife officers Josh Zientek and Kaufmann identified two possible suspects. The officers determined that the suspects were from Tennessee and had been working in the county. Further investigation revealed one of the suspects shot the deer with a .308-caliber rifle after dark. When the suspects came back to retrieve the deer, they were spooked by a witness and were unable to recover it. After the conclusion of the investigation, officers Kaufmann and Zientek issued multiple summonses to one of the suspects to appear in Norwalk Municipal Court. The suspect was later found guilty and ordered to pay $900 in fines, $185 in court costs, and lost his hunting license for one year in Ohio and all other Wildlife Violator Compact states. Restitution for the trophy deer, which scored 1543⁄8, inches is $5,378. This case would not have been possible without the help of the Huron County Sheriff’s Office and concerned citizens who called 1-800-POACHER.
• During the September Canada goose and teal seasons, the legal shooting time is from sunrise to sunset. This is different from the regular waterfowl season, when shooting time begins 30 minutes before sunrise. The primary reason for the different times is for bird identification purposes. It can be difficult to identify teal in low light prior to sunrise. Hunters who shoot prior to legal shooting time cause frustration to other hunters, particularly on public hunting areas. When a hunter shoots prior to legal time it greatly affects the quality of the hunt for those who follow the law. On one morning during the 2014 teal season, state wildlife officer Eric VonAlmen, assigned to Lucas County, was working at Mallard Club Wildlife Area. The officer had arrived at the marsh well before sunrise and was located in a position to observe three separate groups of hunters. Twenty-five minutes before sunrise the officer observed two individuals in one of the groups shoot at some ducks, but miss. Moments later more shots came from three individuals from another group, and two green-winged teal were harvested. The officer left his position to make contact with the first group of shooters. These two individuals were fairly new to waterfowl hunting and insisted that shooting time began 30 minutes before sunrise, even during the teal season. The second group of early shooters was then contacted. These three individuals were not new to waterfowl hunting. Further investigation revealed the hunters knew shooting hours began at sunrise. They claimed that they only shot early because the other group had done so first. Two green-winged teal were seized and five citations were issued for shooting before sunrise.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• During the archery season, state wildlife officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, and state wildlife officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, responded to a report of untagged deer carcasses hanging in the backyard of a residence in Jefferson County. Upon arrival the officers were able to locate the deer, which was properly tagged. However, after further investigation and speaking with the homeowners, it was determined that they had harvested deer earlier in the year and did not permanently tag them. The men also attempted to hide the antlers, which were subsequently located and seized. The brothers were charged in Jefferson County Court, convicted, and ordered to pay more than $450 in fines, court costs, and probation fees. They also received 30-day suspended jail sentences, six months supervised probation, and 64 hours of community service.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• During deer-gun season, state wildlife officer Eric Lane was patrolling Perry County when he noticed a hunter standing along the edge of the woods approximately 150 yards from the roadway. Officer Lane turned his patrol vehicle around and found an access road that brought him near the hunter. Officer Lane made contact with the hunter and checked his hunting license and his deer tags. He had both. During the conversation, officer Lane discovered the hunter had harvested a deer earlier in the day. Officer Lane asked the hunter where the deer was and he said that it was in the back of his pickup truck. Officer Lane and the hunter walked to the pickup truck and it was discovered that the deer was not tagged. Officer Lane wrote the hunter citations for failure to temporarily tag a deer, and for hunting a second deer before placing a temporary tag on the first. The hunter paid fines and court costs of $205.
• During the 2014 deer-gun season, state wildlife officer Hollie Fluharty and investigator Heath Horn encountered a group of hunters in Scioto County. The officers pulled into a driveway and observed two men dragging a deer to the side of a building. The officers made contact and observed that one of the men dragging the deer did not have a firearm or hunting implement. He claimed to just be helping drag the deer. It was then discovered that the deer was not temporarily tagged. While sorting out the situation, officer Fluharty discovered an illegal rifle under a truck. It was determined that the rifle belonged to the man who stated he was only helping. Summons for violations were issued and filed in Portsmouth Municipal Court.
• While on patrol in Pike County, state wildlife officer Matt VanCleve was driving on State Route 32 when he saw a vehicle stopped along the shoulder. As officer VanCleve passed the vehicle he noticed a man leaning against the rear door. Officer VanCleve found a safe place to turn around and went back to the vehicle to conduct a well-being check. As Officer VanCleve spoke to the man, a female exited the vehicle. After speaking to both occupants, Officer VanCleve discovered the man was intoxicated. A short time later a state trooper showed up to assist. It was discovered that the man, who had originally provided a false identity, had two active warrants from Florida and Georgia. He was taken into custody.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• In August, the Oakwood Police Department was contacted because a deer had been killed in Montgomery County. The caller stated that he was getting his morning newspaper when he heard two shots, which were later determined to be from a crossbow. Shortly after hearing the shots, the caller said a white-tailed deer fawn ran by and died in the yard. The police tracked the trail back to the yard of the shooter and questioned him. Further investigation revealed the person shot at a doe and missed, then shot the fawn. The shooter was upset with the damage he believed the deer had caused on his property. After talking with the officers, the shooter realized that it was a mistake to take matters into his own hands without securing the proper state deer damage permits and permission from the city to use the permits to harvest problematic deer. After receiving the information obtained by the Oakwood officers, state wildlife officer Trent Weaver, assigned to Montgomery County, charged the shooter for taking a deer out of season. The man was later found guilty in court. While it is preferable to implement deer population control methods during the legal deer hunting season, landowners who live within city limits that do not allow deer hunting during legal season should make sure they understand their city’s ordinances regarding the handling of nuisance animals that are causing documented damage to their property. City administrators and the state wildlife officer assigned to a particular county are able to assist landowners in deciding which lawful method for dealing with nuisance wildlife best fits the specific situation.
• State wildlife officers Jim Carnes, assigned to Highland County, and Trent Weaver, assigned to Montgomery County, were on separate patrols in Highland County when officer Carnes encountered a vehicle and pedestrian accident involving an Amish child. While emergency staff was administering medical treatment to the child, two other children recognized officer Carnes’ patrol truck and approached him. The children asked officer Carnes if he could help them find their horse and buggy so they could return home and let the child’s mother know about the accident. While officer Carnes assisted the children in finding the horse and buggy, officer Weaver was given the address information of the injured child’s mother. He was asked to contact the mother to inform her of the situation. Once the family’s horse and buggy were secured, officer Carnes transported the two children home. Along the way, he was informed that the injured child was going to be flown from the scene to the hospital with her father. Knowing that the child’s mother did not have transportation of her own, officer Carnes made arrangements for officer Weaver to give her a ride to the hospital, where she was reunited with her child and the father. The child was treated and released into the care of her family.
Division of Watercraft
Northern – Akron Area Office
• On Jan. 23, officer Stafford and officer Vanderwall attended a career day at Jackson Middle School in Stark County. The students asked officers questions about becoming a watercraft officer, career paths, classes to take in school, and advancement opportunities. There was a variety of other participants, including other law enforcement, attorneys, pilots, and the military. The kids were very interested in the ODNR Division of Watercraft since it offers a unique combined education and law enforcement entity. The career day was very successful with approximately 300 contacts.
Northern – Ashtabula Area Office
• Ohio watercraft officer Trisket was notified of a sailing vessel sunk near the Fairport Harbor breakwall in Painesville Township. The vessel had lost control in hazardous weather conditions and struck the west side of the breakwall near the Fairport Harbor lighthouse. U.S. Coast Guard Station Fairport was able to quickly respond to the scene of the incident. The sailing vessel was occupied by a single, inexperienced operator who was unable to maintain control of the vessel. After several courageous attempts, the operator was safely rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard. The sailboat operator was cold and wet, but also very lucky. After a complete investigation of the incident, officers found that the vessel was not equipped with a functioning marine radio. Therefore, he was unable to effectively communicate with emergency response vessels. In addition, the operator did not consult the marine weather before starting his trip. Boaters and occupants should be familiar with all equipment in the vessel. Boaters on Lake Erie should also be aware that weather conditions can change quickly, and water temperatures can drop rapidly. Water temperature can be colder than the air temperature. People who are in the water can quickly become hypothermic. If boaters fall into the water, it is important for an operator and boat occupants to stay together and with the vessel. Note that a larger vessel, or object, is much easier to see and find than a person.
Northern – Cleveland Area Office
• On Oct. 9, 2014, a call came over the marine band radio of a reported boat fire near Rocky River. The boat was reported as being engulfed in flames with one person in the water. Lakewood Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard had boats underway and responded to the fire. Officers Hill and Pflager, along with area supervisor Stiver and investigator McCullough, responded. While responding, rescuers could see the black smoke from the Cleveland Shoreway. Lakewood Fire Department rescued the gentleman in the water and transported him to the hospital. He was treated for minor hypothermia and released that day. He was taking the boat out for a test drive before placing it on a trailer for the winter. He had only been out for around five minutes when he heard a pop and started to see smoke billowing out of the engine compartment. He put on his life jacket and abandoned the boat. He was in the water for about 20 minutes before Lakewood Fire Department got to him. After the fire was put out, the boat turtled and began to drift east toward Cleveland. Cleveland Marine Towing found the boat along the rocks and brought it to Edgewater Marina where it was placed on dry ground. A state fire marshal, officers Hill and Pflager, and investigator Ford looked over the boat to try and determine the cause of the fire. The State Fire Marshal said the origin of the fire was the engine compartment, but left the cause of the fire undetermined in his report.