Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• State wildlife officer Tyler Eldred, assigned to Morrow County, received a 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437) tip of an adult who had harvested two deer using a shotgun during the 2014 youth deer-gun season. Later, during the regular deer-gun season, state wildlife officer Adam Smith and officer Eldred made contact with a hunting party to check licenses and permits. The suspect was one of the members in the hunting party. Further investigation revealed the suspect harvested two antlered deer during the youth deer-gun season. Officers Smith and Eldred confiscated the suspect’s shotgun and two antlered deer. Several weeks later, a warrant was issued for the suspect’s arrest after failing to show up for a court date. The suspect was given one year of probation and ordered to pay more than $1,150 in fines and restitution. Two other members of that hunting party were issued summons for failing to immediately attach a game tag to their deer harvested earlier that day. They were ordered to pay more than $200 in fines and court costs.
• State wildlife officers John Coffman and Tony Zerkle were patrolling Deer Creek Wildlife Area in May. The officers noticed three lights moving quickly along a creek, and then they began to hear the sound of baying hounds coming from the same area. The officers made contact with three men working their dogs on the wildlife area. Deer Creek Wildlife Area is closed to all dog training between May 1 and Aug. 31.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• State wildlife officer Ryan Kennedy, assigned to Hardin County, was patrolling during the 2014 deer-gun season when he observed an individual driving in a manner consistent with someone hunting from a vehicle. Further observation by officer Kennedy revealed the driver was attempting to get in front of a group of deer with his vehicle. At one point, the driver drove in reverse approximately one-quarter of a mile, cut the deer off, and drove at a high rate of speed back a lane toward the deer. The driver then exited the vehicle, fired three shots, hit one of the deer, and then ran another 100 yards to shoot the deer again. Officer Kennedy contacted the subject and issued him a citation for hunting deer with the aid of a motor vehicle. He was fined $100 plus court costs.
• State wildlife officer Troy Reimund and state watercraft officer Neil Brokamp were patrolling Henry County during deer-gun season when they received a complaint from Hancock County. The caller said that someone had just shot at some deer in his field without permission, and from a vehicle in the middle of the road. The officers responded to the location and encountered a large group of hunters just across the Putnam County line. When they contacted the hunters the officers found two untagged deer in the back of a truck. The two hunters who killed the untagged deer were issued summonses in Ottawa Municipal Court.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• State wildlife officer Jeremy Carter, assigned to Holmes County, and state wildlife officer Randy White, assigned to Lorain County, were patrolling adjacent to Killbuck Wildlife Area when they observed a vehicle operated on a closed roadway. The roadway was closed due to hazardous weather conditions. The officers performed a traffic stop on the automobile and found that the driver did not have a valid driver’s license. He was charged with the offense and ordered to appear in court.
• State wildlife officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, received information that two hunters killed several antlered deer during the past two years and failed to tag them. Officer Turner contacted the suspects and was able to recover three illegally harvested deer heads. The two men were charged, appeared in Harrison County Court, were convicted, and ordered to pay $3,980 in fines, court costs, and restitution. Both men also lost their hunting privileges for one year and were ordered to take hunter education courses.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• While on patrol in Scioto County, state wildlife officer Hollie Fluharty observed two men fishing along the banks of the Scioto River. When officer Fluharty asked for the men to provide a fishing license, they were unable to. Both were issued a summons for fishing without a license.
• During the deer-gun season, state wildlife officer Todd Stewart received a call of road shooting in Morgan County. The caller provided a license plate number and a description of the driver. Officer Stewart checked the plate number and it returned to a nearby residence. He stopped at the residence and spoke with the owner’s son. Further investigation revealed the son was driving down the road and saw a buck cross in front of him. He stopped the vehicle, walked to the grass by the side of the road, and shot the deer. Officer Stewart located the deer. It had not been tagged. Officer Stewart seized the deer and cited the son for hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle and failing to tag the deer. The son pleaded no contest to the charges and was given $500 in fines and $500 in restitution for the deer.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• State wildlife officer Matt Hunt, assigned to Greene County, was patrolling Spring Valley Wildlife Area one evening and located two vehicles parked along an access lane. He checked the nearby riverbank for fishermen, but found no one. Officer Hunt next suspected that the vehicle owners were trespassing on the gravel quarry located next to the wildlife area. Officer Hunt drove around to the gravel quarry and positioned himself to cut off any trespassers who might be trying to make it back to the wildlife area. Officer Hunt was able to locate two men sneaking through the weeds. Officer Hunt approached the trespassers, who were carrying fishing poles and gear. Both men were issued a citation for fishing on private property without permission.
Division of Watercraft
Northern – Akron Area Office
• In March, Akron watercraft officers coordinated an educational effort of information distribution for the Niles Sportsman’s Fishing and Hunting Super Show and Sale. More than 150 exhibitors were present to showcase their goods. The Trumbull County Federation of Sportsmen’s Clubs donated fishing rods to the first 100 children in attendance on Saturday and 100 reels on Sunday. Besides the ODNR divisions of Watercraft and Scenic Rivers information tables, the three-day show also boasted a chance to fish in the live trout pond, speak with gold prospectors from Ohio, shoot at the archery range, and club raffles for guns. The Akron Watercraft officers answered numerous questions about life jacket safety, Ohio boating and registration laws, necessary equipment to operate safely and legally while recreating on Ohio’s waterways, and many other inquiries to the hundreds of individuals in attendance.
Northern – Ashtabula Area Office
• In May, while on watercraft patrol on Lake Erie outside of Conneaut Harbor in Ashtabula County, officer Chris Conrad stopped a vessel for having an expired registration. As officer Conrad was completing the safety inspection, he asked, “How was the fishing today?” The operator responded that it was well and opened his cooler to show off his day’s catch. However, officer Conrad observed a large female smallmouth bass within the catch, which is illegal to possess at this time of year. The operator and his fishing counterpart advised that they had no idea that they were illegal to possess as they do not fish for bass, only walleye, and happened upon this fish on that day. Officer Conrad contacted local Ashtabula County Wildlife Officer Jason Warren and explained the violation. After completing the vessel safety inspection and phone call with the wildlife officer, officer Conrad advised that although the fish was taken illegally, it was believed that they simply did not know they were illegal to possess at this time of the year. Officer Conrad gave the operator one citation for the expired tag and several warnings for equipment violations and the fishing violation.
Northern – Cleveland Area Office
• During Memorial Day enforcement patrol, officers in the Cleveland Harbor area assisted a two-person kayak north of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The officers noticed that the kayakers were making minimal headway as they paddled west toward the livery they had rented the boats from in the Cuyahoga River. Wind gusts at the time of the incident were recorded at up to 33 mph, with sustained winds out of the southwest at 18 mph. Officers decided to contact the kayakers to see if they needed assistance, which they accepted. They boarded the kayakers onto the patrol boat along with the kayaks and transported them back to the livery.
Northern – Maumee Bay Area Office
• In May, officers Brokamp and Genzman were dispatched to a missing 12-year-old boy on a kayak on the Maumee River near Grand Rapids, Ohio, in Wood County. A father and his 12-year-old twin boys had disembarked on three kayaks from a livery located in Grand Rapids. While downstream, one smaller boy struggled to paddle due to high winds and current and capsized. The father retrieved the smaller boy and lost track of his other son, who was being pushed downstream faster due to winds and current. After losing sight of his other son, the father called 911. Park officer Bishop, who was in the area, immediately went to the livery to get information and was able to determine that the father had called the livery first to get assistance and the livery owner was able to locate all three individuals with a PWC that they have staged on the river. Agencies dispatched also included Grand Rapids Fire Department, Lucas and Wood County Sheriff’s Offices. Officer Genzman conducted a television interview with Toledo 13ABC news.
Northern – Sandusky Area Office
• During May, the Coast Guard received a call from a Michigan boater that could not get under the railroad bridge on the Sandusky Bay. The boater was coming from the Sandusky River and headed back to Michigan. Due to the high winds, the railroad would not lift up the bridge. The boater did not know the area and was requesting help. The Coast Guard vessel could not fit under the bridge so ODNR officers Lamb, Keller, and Massello responded to Clemons Marina, close to where the boat was in the Sandusky Bay. By activating their blue lights on their patrol vehicle and talking to the boater on the phone, they were able to guide the vessel safely into Clemons Marina where they moored up for the night.
Northern – Wapakoneta Area Office
• Officers Peters and Roeger were patrolling Indian Lake when they received a call from the Logan County Sheriff’s Office about a man who fell into the water from a boat and was pulled to shore near Acheson’s Resort. Upon arriving on the scene, the subject was already being treated by EMS. After speaking to the subject and witnesses, it was concluded that the subject was highly intoxicated and jumped into the lake on his own to wade to shore. While wading to shore, the subject came across a deep hole and started struggling to stay afloat. Observers nearby pulled him to shore. The subject was transported to Mary Rutan Hospital by Indian Lake EMS. The subject was cited for public intoxication and paid fines and court costs of $150.
Southern – Alum Creek Area Office
• While patrolling Alum Creek Reservoir, officer Foos witnessed a vessel leaving the New Galena launch ramp on plane, thus creating an excessive wake in a marked no-wake zone. The vessel proceeded toward the main area of the lake and circled back around and ran on plane all the way back to the ramp where his vehicle was blocking the ramp area. Once officer Foos made contact with the operator and advised him of the violation, the operator said he was afraid the motor was going to die. The officer advised him that was no excuse to clearly violate the law. The operator was cited for creating an excessive wake in a marked no-wake zone, which resulted in a $130 fine.
Southern – East Fork Area Office
• In April, officer Cover had just arrived at the East Fork office to begin his shift at 11 a.m. Fifteen minutes later, a park visitor reported that someone had rolled their kayak on the lake. The paddler swam to shore safely, but the kayak blew across the lake with the strong winds that they were experiencing that day. Officer Cover launched a patrol boat and recovered the paddler’s kayak, paddle, and personal flotation device that had been blown to the opposite side of the lake. Unfortunately, the paddler had not registered the kayak he had been operating, and he was driving under a suspended driver’s license. Officer Cover issued a citation for failing to have a registration for his kayak and issued a warning for driving under suspension. The paddler was able to call family members to come pick him and his vehicle up.
Southern – Scioto County Area Office
• During May, while patrolling Jackson Lake State Park, officer Cramer observed several kayaks and a canoe paddling across the lake toward the ramp. As the operator of the canoe got closer, officer Cramer noticed that the canoe had no visual registration attached to the canoe, and the officer made contact with the individual at this time. Officer Cramer asked if he was the owner, to which the operator replied, “Yes, I have owned the canoe for approximately 20 years.” The operator was cited for O.R.C. 1547.531, specifications regarding operation of a vessel without having a current valid registration. He was given a court date and failed to appear. The defendant was issued a warrant by the Jackson County Municipal Court.
Southern – Springfield Area Office
• Watercraft officer Zimmerman was called by park officer Mack to respond for assistance to a man stuck in the mud at CJ Brown Reservoir. The man was trying to disassemble his duck blind on an island in the east end of the lake. However, with low water levels, the area became a mud bog. The duck hunter was wearing chest waders and had his companion (a black Labrador retriever) with him. The hunter walked about 130 feet out into the muck and began to sink. He sank up to his mid-section in quicksand-like mud. The man was able to retrieve his cell phone from inside his waders and dial 911. Officer Mack was notified by 911, and he got on his patrol all-terrain vehicle in search of the man. Soon after, a local fire department and wildlife officer Rice arrived on scene. They quickly knew that due to his distance off shore, this was not an ordinary stuck in the mud situation. The man’s dog had followed the hunter out to the duck blind. However, the dog was able to free himself and went back to shore, while not losing sight of his owner. The man was about 130 feet into the mud, but throw bags are only 75 feet long. Officer Mack tied two throw bags together and attached one end to the dog’s collar. The man stuck in the mud called for his dog, who was towing the throw bag along with him to help his owner get to safety. The dog set out through the muck and water in 30-degree air temperature and mid-40-degree water temperature to save his owner. On the second try, the dog made it to his owner, who was able to retrieve the line from the dog’s collar. The dog swam back to shore and watched as the rescuers tried to pull his master out of the mud. As the man tugged on the line and tried to get free, he kept sinking in the mud, which created a vacuum around his body. The local fire department called for a boat-based rescue, but they were not able to get to the location due to the mud and lack of water. After nearly two hours of being stranded in the mud, in freezing cold conditions, rescuers called for additional support. Watercraft officer Cruset arrived on scene, put on a dry suit and a personal flotation device, and he formulated a plan to get to the man. He then lay on his stomach while a line was tied to his life jacket. Officer Cruset started to work his way out to the man using a hand-over-hand technique, pulling himself to the hunter. Once with the man, officer Cruset tried to stay as flat as much as possible so he would not sink into the mucky water. A hole was hand-dug around the man’s legs and torso to break the vacuum. Officer Cruset then wrapped his legs around the man and had him use the officer’s body as a platform for him to start to move. Soon after, the suction was broken. Once freed, the officer was able to lift the male out of the muck, and they were pulled back to dry land by the shore-based rescuers. Once on land, and covered in mud, the owner’s faithful black Labrador retriever ran over to check on his master who was wet and borderline hypothermic. The local fire department checked the man out and warmed him for a successful recovery.