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Ohio Cuffs & Collars – July 3rd, 2015

Division of Wildlife

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1 

At the end of the 2014-2015 waterfowl season, state wildlife officer Maurice Irish, assigned to Delaware County, received information that two individuals had shot more than their daily bag limit of Canada geese. The two men were hunting geese over decoys in a harvested cornfield on the last morning of the season. During their hunt, the two men shot several geese out of the first flock that came in. Soon after, a truck drove into the field and the hunters tossed the geese into the bed. Then the men continued to hunt, killing an additional daily limit of geese. When officer Irish arrived at the residence to speak to one of the individuals, he noticed fresh tire tracks and boot prints in the snow on the driveway. Further investigation revealed the men had overharvested geese, and they were cited. Each man paid $160 in fines and court costs through Delaware Municipal Court.

In the spring, state wildlife officer Trent Weaver, assigned to Montgomery County, received a call about a red fox kit that was for sale online. The seller lived in Champaign County and was asking $450 for the wild animal. Officer Weaver contacted state wildlife officer Jeff Tipton, assigned to Champaign County. An investigation into the case confirmed that the wild animal was in captivity and for sale, and the suspect did not have the proper permits. The kit was confiscated and transported to a wildlife rehabilitation center. The suspect was charged with attempting to sell wildlife. He entered a not guilty plea in Champaign County Municipal Court. He was found guilty and sentenced to pay a $250 fine plus court costs, receive 10 days jail that were suspended, serve one year under community control, and serve 20 hours of community service.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

All state wildlife officers in District Two were assigned to work during Memorial Day weekend because of the busy holiday and the influx of people taking part in outdoor activities. State wildlife officer Craig Barr, assigned to Allen County, and state wildlife officer Anthony Lemle, assigned at-large, observed two men fishing along the bank of a reservoir. The two men had a large amount of trash around where they were fishing. Officers Barr and Lemle observed one of the subjects pull items out of a plastic grocery bag and place some trash in a cooler. When the two subjects were packing up to leave officer Barr observed one of the individuals pick up the plastic grocery bag and stick it into the cooler. The subjects then exited the area, leaving the cooler and all of the trash behind. Upon contacting the two individuals at their vehicle, the officers learned that the subjects were done fishing and were leaving the area for the day. The officers asked the subjects about the cooler and all of the trash they left behind. Officers Barr and Lemle walked back to the fishing area with one of the anglers to determine what was left behind. The cooler, the items the subjects placed in it, and empty packages from fishing tackle scattered on the ground were taken as evidence. The subject was issued a summons for litter.

During the deer-gun season, state wildlife investigator Jerry Duckworth, assigned to Lake Erie, received information from a hunter that a nonresponsive man was sitting in a vehicle along the road at Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area. The hunter said he tried to wake the man but could not. Officer Duckworth went to the area and found the vehicle with an individual sitting in the driver’s seat. Officer Duckworth was able to wake the driver up after a couple attempts. Officer Duckworth questioned the man to see if he was okay. The driver stated that he was sleeping because he had to work that night. Officer Duckworth then received a call from the Sandusky County Sheriff’s Office advising him of the same set of circumstances. Officer Duckworth informed the dispatcher that the man was okay.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

State wildlife officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, was traveling to assist the Harrison County Sheriff’s Office to investigate marijuana plants growing in a corn field. While driving to the site, the Ohio State Patrol advised over the radio that an armed robbery had just occurred nearby and their direction of travel was headed toward officer Turner’s location. He positioned his truck to watch the road and after a few minutes he noticed the suspect’s vehicle. Officer Turner pulled out behind the vehicle and requested backup units from the sheriff’s office. Once backup arrived, officer Turner, along with a lieutenant sheriff and the Cadiz police chief, stopped the vehicle and ordered the occupants out of it. Stolen cash, two loaded handguns, and narcotics were recovered. Three individuals were arrested.

State wildlife officer Jesse Janosik, assigned to Columbiana County, and state park officer Andrew Gatto were patrolling Beaver Creek State Forest. Officer Janosik noticed a group of three individuals drinking beer on the bank of Beaver Creek. Officer Janosik contacted the group and informed them that they could not drink alcohol on state property. Officer Gatto performed a sobriety test on the individual who stated that he was going to drive home. He failed the sobriety test and was informed that he needed to contact someone to pick him up. While leaving, officer Janosik noticed that the individual who had failed the sobriety test had returned to his car and was driving away. Officer Janosik conducted a traffic stop and arrested the man. He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and deterring a wildlife officer. He appeared in East Liverpool Municipal Court, was convicted, and ordered to pay more than $900 in fines and court costs.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

In March, state wildlife officer Roby Williams received a tip regarding road hunting in Guernsey County. The caller believed the suspects were hunting coyotes. Officer Williams responded to the area. While patrolling the area, officer Williams observed a pickup truck backed into a small pull-off along the road. Officer Williams stopped and made contact with the occupants. They stated they were running coyote dogs. Officer Williams observed two firearms between the front seats. Officer Williams searched the truck and discovered five loaded firearms. State wildlife officer Jerrod Allison arrived to assist and was able to contact a third subject who was also involved in the incident. During the course of the investigation it was discovered that none of the suspects had a valid hunting license, or permission to hunt the property they were on. Nine citations were issued: three for hunting without a license, three for hunting without permission, two for hunting a wild animal with the aid of a motor vehicle, and one for shooting at a wild animal from a public roadway. The individuals received $1,263 in fines and court costs, 10 days of suspended jail time, one year of probation, and a one-year hunting license revocation.

State wildlife officer Allen Patton, assigned to Athens County, received a phone call in May about a repeat wildlife offender shooting a deer from a vehicle several days prior. Officer Patton was informed that the deer carcass had been dumped behind the caller’s house. Officer Patton found out that the suspect had an active felony warrant for his arrest in Athens County. Officer Patton was assisted by state wildlife officers Jared Abele and Chris Dodge, as well as the Athens County Sheriff’s Office. They made contact with the suspect and located the deer carcass. After receiving consent to enter the residence, several untagged deer parts were located and seized as evidence. Venison was found in the refrigerator. Additional evidence was found in the trunk of the car, along with several firearms. The suspect was taken to jail for his arrest warrant. This investigation is still in progress and charges are pending.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

While working in May at C.J. Brown Reservoir in Clark County, state wildlife officer Jeff Wenning, assigned to Darke County, was alerted by several anglers that two individuals were keeping crappies not of legal length. Officer Wenning found the two men and asked if they had caught anything. Upon inspecting the fish, the crappies that the men caught were measured and were determined to be under the legal length limit to possess at C.J. Brown. Both men were subsequently cited. They pleaded guilty and were assessed fines and court costs.

Division of Watercraft

Northern – Akron Area Office

In April, officers Staiger and Stafford were on patrol at Portage Lakes, Summit County, when they observed a vessel operating on full plane in Turkeyfoot Lake. The zone was not yet marked as a speed zone and was still considered a “no-wake” idle zone. Officers initiated a stop with the vessel and explained the reason for the stop. A vessel safety inspection was performed, and it was discovered that the operator lacked five child-sized life jackets for his five grandchildren on board, required by law. He was then cited for the insufficient number of life jackets, terminated from the water, and provided with a warning for the wake violation. The operator later pleaded guilty to the charge in court and was fined $138.

Northern – Ashtabula Area Office 

In May, officers Conrad and Trisket responded to a call on Lake Erie of a boater that was overdue by more than five hours outside of Conneaut Harbor in Ashtabula County. Officers arrived near the scene and quickly identified the overdue vessel. Officers found that  all persons were accounted for with no injuries, but the vessel’s engine was inoperable. Officers towed the disabled vessel back to Conneaut Harbor and conducted a safety inspection where several pieces of equipment were noted as missing. Officer Conrad explained to the operator the need to have all equipment on board the vessel especially in incidents like this one. Fortunately, conditions were excellent that day and they were easily located. Officer Conrad issued one citation to the operator for not carrying an approved visual distress signal onboard his vessel, a minor misdemeanor. 

Northern – Cleveland Area Office

During Memorial Day enforcement patrol in the Cleveland Harbor area, watercraft officers 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 where they had rented the boats from in the Cuyahoga River. Wind gusts were recorded at up to 33 mph and sustained winds out of the southwest at 18 mph. Officers decided to contact the kayakers to see if they needed assistance, which they accepted. The officers boarded the kayakers onto the patrol boat along with the kayak and transported them back to the livery.

Northern – Maumee Bay Area Office

In May, watercraft officers Brokamp and Genzman observed two swamped personal watercraft being towed by a boat shortly after launching their patrol boat on the Auglaize River near Oakwood. The officers contacted the occupants on the tow boat to determine if an accident had occurred. Officers met with the operators, who were not injured, at the Oakwood boat launch to conduct an investigation. Both personal watercraft sustained moderate to heavy fiberglass impact damage during the accident. Further interviews determined the operators had both jumped from the personal watercraft prior to impact. Officers plan to meet with the Paulding County prosecutor to determine if charges will be filed.

Northern – Sandusky Area Office

In May, officers Beard and Hodgkiss were on patrol in West Harbor in Ottawa County. They observed a cabin vessel being operated up the channel with an expired registration decal. Officer Hodgkiss boarded the vessel and completed a vessel safety inspection to find the boat operator did not have the required registration paperwork, a Type 4 throwable device, fire extinguisher, or flares. At the completion of the stop, officer Hodgkiss issued one citation for operating a vessel without a current registration. In addition, he issued four warnings and told the operator he had to return to the dock until all the safety equipment violations were corrected.

Northern – Wapakoneta Area Office

While officers Peters and Roeger were patrolling Indian Lake, they stopped a watercraft for pulling a tube in an area not designated as a ski or open zone. A safety inspection was completed. The following violations were found: no registration paperwork, no throwable device, and missing one life jacket. A citation was issued for operating a watercraft without having a sufficient number of life-saving devices on board. The operator paid $150 in court cost and fines. 

Southern – Cambridge Area Office

While patrolling Burr Oak Lake, officers Klies and Wireman stopped a boat for bow riding. They gave the operator a warning for the bow riding. 

Southern – Scioto County Area Office

In 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 watercraft registration. Officer Cramer made contact with the individual and 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 operating 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.

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