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Ohio Cuffs & Collars – July 31st, 2015

Division of Wildlife

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• State wildlife officer Chad Grote teamed up with state parks officer Shannon Hoffer to work the Independence Day fireworks at Indian Lake State Park beach in Logan County. While the officers observed a group of people suspected of drinking alcohol on the park property, officer Grote noticed they were smoking marijuana. When the officers contacted the group, they denied smoking marijuana, but two individuals looked and acted like they were under the influence. As the officers ran their licenses, the parks’ K-9 unit arrived. Before the dog was even released, three of the individuals produced marijuana from their possession. All three were cited for possession of marijuana.

• While on patrol at Hoover Reservoir, state wildlife officers John Coffman, assigned to Fayette County, and Patrick Muldovan, assigned to Licking County, observed a man walking back to his vehicle with his fishing gear and a basket full of fish. Upon contacting the man, it was found that he had multiple crappies over the legal bag limit of 30, many of which were under the legal size length of nine inches. The fisherman was issued a summons for possessing fish over the limit. The undersized and overbagged fish were seized. The man pleaded guilty and paid $160 in fines and court costs.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• While on patrol during the Memorial Day weekend, state wildlife officer Jason Porinchok, assigned to Putnam County, observed an individual fishing at Columbus Grove Quarry pond. The individual caught a small bass and released it. Upon contacting the individual, the man did not have a license. As they walked back to the individual’s vehicle, officer Porinchok pointed out a sign that the individual had walked past, reminding everyone that a fishing license is required to fish there. Officer Porinchok issued the man a citation for fishing without a license. In Putnam County Municipal Court, the individual was found guilty and paid $125 in fines and $75 in court costs.

• State wildlife officer Greg Wasilewski, assigned to Richland County, received an anonymous TIP from an unknown caller advising that a subject shot and killed a deer and did not check the deer in. The caller also stated that the deer was hanging at the residence. Officer Wasilewski conducted a license check on the name provided and learned the subject currently possessed a valid hunting license and either-sex deer permit. Officer Wasilewski next checked to determine if the subject had recently checked in a deer, and the records showed he did not. Officer Wasilewski proceeded to the location and observed a deer head, deer hide, and other deer parts. Officer Wasilewski knocked on the door, and when the subject was asked about the deer, he said it was roadkill, and he and his friend had just processed it. Officer Wasilewski asked the subject to elaborate about the deer, but the man could not provide adequate details or a deer carcass receipt that is issued when someone takes possession of a road-killed deer. Officer Wasilewski inspected the remaining deer parts and discovered evidence consistent with a deer that had been killed with archery equipment. Further investigation revealed the man killed the deer with his crossbow. Officer Wasilewski also observed deer parts in the back of a vehicle that was parked at the residence. The owner of the vehicle had assisted the subject in processing the deer. The subject who killed the deer was convicted of failing to permanently check in a deer, and stream litter. He was assessed $728 in fines and court costs, was sentenced to 30 days in jail, which was suspended with two years of probation, and he was ordered to reimburse the state $500. His assistant was convicted of possessing untagged deer parts, and was assessed $164 in fines and court costs.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

• State wildlife officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, received a call in April from the Ohio TIP line regarding a deer that had been shot from the roadway. The caller gave officer Porter a description of the vehicle and also stated that the shot sounded like it came from a high-caliber rifle. Upon arriving at the scene, officer Porter was able to locate drag marks that contained what appeared to be deer fur, and a large amount of blood in the roadway. Officer Porter then patrolled the surrounding area and was able to locate a vehicle that matched the caller’s description. Officer Porter pulled into the driveway and contacted two individuals at the residence. After a short investigation, he learned that the men had shot and killed a deer from the roadway using a rifle. Officer Porter seized the rifle and venison, and collected evidence. Both individuals were issued multiple summonses, including taking deer during the closed season, shooting from a motor vehicle, shooting from a public roadway, litter, and hunting without permission. Both subjects pleaded no contest in a Jefferson County court and were found guilty on all charges. They were both fined $400 plus court costs, sentenced to six months of supervised probation, their hunting privileges were revoked for one year, and they were required to attend a hunter education course. The rifle and venison were forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.

• While on foot patrol at the Killbuck Marsh State Wildlife Area, state wildlife officer Jeremy Carter, assigned to Holmes County, observed an individual leave two aluminum cans near the water’s edge. The man entered a vehicle and left. Officer Carter immediately notified state wildlife officer Brennan Earick, assigned to Ashland County, who initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle. In addition to the litter violation, the man was driving with a suspended driver’s license. He was issued summonses for both violations and ordered to appear in court.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

• During the spring wild turkey season, state wildlife officer Eric Lane, assigned to Perry County, received a call from a landowner stating that several individuals were hunting on his property without permission. After patrolling the area, officer Lane was able to locate the hunters. Officer Lane issued a summons for hunting without permission to three individuals, and an additional summons to one individual for hunting without a license or turkey tag. They paid $515 in fines and court costs.

• In November 2014, state wildlife officer Brad St. Clair received a call from the Noble County Sheriff’s Office about a hunting without permission complaint. The dispatcher advised that Sgt. Derek Norman and Ohio State Highway Patrol trooper Scott Buxton were on scene and had made contact with three individuals. Officer St. Clair and state wildlife officer Wes Feldner responded to the scene to investigate. The bed of the truck the individuals were driving contained blood, but it did not contain a deer. The officers then discovered a dead buck on the property where the hunting without permission complaint originated. The buck was untagged and had been shot with a rifle. The individuals claimed they did not shoot the buck, but they unloaded the deer when someone driving by observed them loading it. There was also evidence indicating the individuals had been in possession of more than one illegally harvested deer. The three individuals were then transported to the Noble County jail. Their vehicle was towed and held as evidence. Officer Feldner accompanied the individuals to jail while state wildlife officers Roby Williams and St. Clair stayed at the scene to follow up on additional information. Wildlife officers Williams and St. Clair investigated and eventually ended up in Morgan County, where they discovered a dead buck. The buck was untagged and was shot with a rifle. DNA samples were collected from the individuals, the vehicle, and the two dead deer. Tests confirmed the blood found inside the vehicle and on the individuals was from the deer recovered in Morgan County. The three individuals were charged with multiple violations, including hunting without permission, possession of a deer taken by illegal means, and possession of an untagged deer. The individuals were found guilty and served two days in jail. They were ordered to pay $3,507 in fines, court costs, and restitution. Additionally, their hunting licenses were suspended for five years. The deer were forfeited to the ODNR Division of Wildlife.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

• In November, state wildlife officer Ryan Schock, assigned to Hamilton County, and state wildlife officer Eric Lamb, assigned to Brown County, patrolled a complaint site at night in Adams County. They observed a truck come to a stop on the road approximately 200 yards from their location. The officers then heard a shot fired from inside the vehicle. The officers conducted a traffic stop and discovered three juveniles with a loaded handgun in their possession. The identified shooter said that he shot at some eyes in the field. Charges were presented to the Adams County Juvenile Court.

Division of Watercraft

Northern – Akron Area Office

• In June, watercraft officers were requested to assist at Sunny Park Lake in Aurora, Portage County, by local fire departments in response to a drowning. Upon arrival, the officers launched their vessel and headed to the last area where the swimmer had been seen. They activated their sonar unit, and the body was located within minutes. Officers marked the vicinity, and the fire department was able to remove the body from the lake.

Northern – Ashtabula Area Office 

• While patrolling at Rocky Fork Lake State Park in Highland County, a watercraft officer observed a vessel with Tennessee registration numbers operating at idle speed by North Shore Marina. The officer recognized this vessel from the previous summer boating on the lake and knew the operator was an Ohio resident. The vessel was stopped, and a safety inspection was conducted. After some initial questioning, the operator/owner admitted that he purchased the boat in February 2014 and had never registered it. The safety inspection revealed multiple violations regarding the absence of safety equipment, improper registration requirements, and the absence of required proper ventilation. Due to the vessel not having proper working ventilation, the operator’s trip was terminated. The operator was issued a citation for O.R.C. 1547.532, specifications regarding registration requirements, and issued a court date. The operator pleaded guilty and paid fines and court costs of $145.

Northern – Cleveland Area Office

• In June, a watercraft officer completed a live Sunday morning TV news spot for Channel 19 News in Cleveland. The spot highlighted Operation Dry Water, a nationwide outreach and enforcement campaign to prevent and spread awareness about the dangers of drinking and boating. Operation Dry Water ran from June 26-28, the weekend before the Fourth of July holiday. The campaign, coordinated by the National Association of State Boating Law Administrators, spreads the word about the dangers of drinking and boating. The officer talked about the importance of having a designated sober operator and mentioned that there would be increased efforts the next two weekends to detect and remove boaters who were under the influence. He also discussed the importance of various pieces of safety equipment that should be on boaters’ vessels, stressing the importance of life jackets.

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 in Wood County. A father and his 12-year-old twin boys each embarked on three kayaks from a livery located in Grand Rapids. While downstream, the smaller boy struggled to paddle due to the 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. A park officer, 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 personal watercraft that they had moored on the river. Other agencies that were dispatched included the Grand Rapids Fire Department and the sheriff’s offices for Lucas and Wood counties.

Northern – Sandusky Area Office

• In May, the U.S. Coast Guard received a call from a Michigan boater who 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 U.S. Coast Guard vessel could not fit under the bridge so watercraft officers responded to Clemons Marina, close to where the boat was in 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 it moored for the night.

Northern – Wapakoneta Area Office

• In July, watercraft officers received a call from Logan County radio dispatch regarding four highly intoxicated males leaving Oldfield Beach boat swim area in an older green boat heading toward Acheson’s Resort. It was reported one of the males had fallen from the boat while leaving. The officers identified an older green boat with four males between Oldfield Beach and Acheson’s Resort stopped in the open zone with one of the males in the water trying to get back on board. It was discovered that the only intoxicated individual was the one in the water. The male who had been jumping into the water was cited for swimming, diving, or wading from a watercraft in an area not designated for such activity. This case is still ongoing.

Southern – Alum Creek Area Office

• In August 2014, while on patrol at Buckeye Lake State Park, a watercraft officer observed a vessel operating at a speed greater than 10 mph between the hours of sunset and sunrise. The officer also observed that the vessel was improperly displaying its navigation lights. The officer made contact with the operator at the Lieb’s Island boat ramp. The officer explained to the operator that he needed to have his red navigation light displayed on the left and the green on the right side of his vessel. The operator was cited for operating his vessel at a speed greater than 10 mph between the hours of sunset and sunrise. A warning was given for the improper display of navigation lights. The operator paid $137 in fines and court costs.

Southern – Cambridge Area Office

• In April, while driving on Interstate 70, a watercraft officer observed a small vessel operating on Egypt Valley Wildlife Area. The vessel appeared not to have a valid registration. The officer turned his patrol vehicle around and made contact with the male subject. The vessel did not have a current registration. Upon conducting a safety inspection, it was found there were no wearable life jackets aboard. The male subject was given a warning for the life jacket infraction and terminated from operating the rest of the day. The subject was issued a citation for the registration violation and paid a $100 fine to Belmont County Western Division Court.

Southern – East Fork Area Office

• In March, two East Fork watercraft officers responded to a call involving two individuals stranded on the East Fork of the Little Miami River. Due to heavy rains, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was releasing water from East Fork’s Harsha Lake at a high capacity, causing the river current to be very swift and dangerous. The officers were the first on scene and quickly launched a 14-foot jon boat equipped with a 25 hp motor. The officers proceeded upriver through the strong current and cold water, finding a father and son stranded on an island in the middle of the river. The current violently wrapped the canoe around a tree, and the two individuals were found standing on the side of the canoe to keep from going into the water. Due to the condition of the river and the location of the two individuals, a boat rescue was too dangerous, and the officers had to secure their rescue boat to a nearby island. The officers were able to make a safety line with the use of a throw rope from their location to the nearby island. Both victims were assisted across the moving water to the rescue boat. The father was starting to suffer from hypothermia and was transported to Clermont Mercy Hospital upon arrival at the shoreline. Both father and son recovered from the accident. After the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers operator slowed the water release, the canoe was recovered with severe damage.

Southern – Scioto County Area Office

• In June, while patrolling Rocky Fork Lake, a watercraft officer observed two individuals on a personal watercraft operating at greater than idle speed in a marked no-wake zone near the Fisherman’s Wharf launch ramp. The operator of the personal watercraft was stopped, and the officer advised him of the violation. The operator of the vessel was immediately agitated and was non-compliant. A safety inspection was conducted, checking for the proper safety equipment required to have on board under operation. The operator was cited for O.R.C. 1547.08, specifications regarding operation of a vessel at greater than idle speed in a designated marked no-wake zone. The operator pleaded guilty and paid $120 in fines and court costs.

Southern – Springfield Area Office

• In July, a watercraft officer was flagged down at Caesar Creek Lake, by a boater near the beach whose boat would not start. After attempting to troubleshoot the engine problem to no avail, the officer had everyone in the boat put on a life jacket and towed the boat to the Furnace Shore ramp. While towing the vessel, there was a call for an injury boat accident in the north pool area of the lake. The victim was transported, also. 

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