Ohio Cuffs & Collars – January 1st, 2016

Division of Wildlife

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• Wildlife officer Maurice Irish, assigned to Delaware County, was on patrol at O’Shaughnessy Reservoir when he observed a man fishing with a cast net. Upon contact, officer Irish noticed part of a crappie inside the man’s bucket. The bucket contained mostly gizzard shad, but inspection of his catch revealed the man was in possession of several undersized crappies and one undersized largemouth bass. Further investigation revealed the man illegally took sport fish using a cast net. He was cited into Delaware Municipal Court and received $160 in fines and court costs.

• State wildlife officer Jeff Tipton, assigned to Champaign County, enjoys speaking at hunter education courses. He takes time to discuss hunting safety, and emphasizes the importance of leaving a positive legacy for the next generation of hunters. Officer Tipton also talks about how hunters can partner with wildlife officers to catch poachers by providing information about illegal hunting activities. During the deer-gun season, officer Tipton contacted three hunters and checked their hunting licenses. One of the hunters was the father of a boy who had attended a recent course. Officer Tipton was having issues in the area with people spotlighting at night; the men were able to provide new information about the activity. Later that same week, the man called officer Tipton to report that someone had illegally killed a buck. At the end of the week, the man again called officer Tipton to tell him about an incident. He and his son had witnessed another hunter doing something unsafe. The father went on to say that the boy recognized what happened was wrong because of what he learned during the hunter education course. The father thanked officer Tipton for making a positive impression on his son.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• On opening day of waterfowl season in the Lake Erie Marsh Zone, state wildlife officer Matthew Leibengood, assigned to Sandusky County, fielded a Turn-In-a-Poacher complaint regarding two trumpeter swans that had been killed at Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area. Thanks to accurate and timely information, officer Leibengood and fellow state wildlife officers Anthony Lemle and Kevin Newsome were able to locate the suspects and the swans. Three shooters were identified and issued summonses to court. All three appeared in court and pleaded no contest. All were convicted and each was ordered to pay a maximum fine of $250 plus $666.66 in restitution, one-third of the total minimum value of two trumpeter swans ($2,000).

• State wildlife officers Austin Dickinson, assigned to Seneca County, and Eric VonAlmen, assigned to Hancock County, were on patrol in October checking hunters during the North Zone waterfowl hunting season. The officers noticed several vehicles parked at a public hunting area about an hour before legal shooting time. They spotted two separate groups of hunters with decoys set out, each on opposite sides of the pond. The group on the far side of the pond started shooting more than 30 minutes before the legal time. The officers also observed the group kill multiple wood ducks, which were not in season. The officers made contact with the group, comprised of four adults and one juvenile. Two of the adults were charged with taking wood ducks during the closed season, and two of the adults were charged with shooting before the legal time. All of the adults were found guilty and paid fines.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

• While patrolling Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area, state wildlife officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, and state wildlife officer Kyle Queer, assigned to Carroll County, observed two men fishing from the shore. The officers began walking to their location. The men were gone when the officers arrived, but a bucket containing two beer cans remained. The men returned to their fishing spot a short time later, and the officers observed one of the individuals drink from a can. The officers contacted the men shortly thereafter and checked their fishing licenses. While inspecting their licenses, officer Brown noticed only one can remained in the bucket. One man denied drinking the second can. Officer Brown walked down the trail where the men were fishing and located a similar can floating in the river. He returned to the parking area and compared the two cans. The date and batch numbers on the bottom were the same. Further investigation revealed the man had discarded the can in the water. The man appeared in Holmes County Municipal Court on a charge of stream litter. He was convicted and ordered to pay $474 in fines and costs.

• While patrolling the Killbuck Marsh Wildlife Area during the summer, state wildlife officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, contacted three individuals fishing along the shore of Killbuck Creek. Through the course of the investigation, he was able to determine that a female in the group was a missing juvenile from Alabama and considered a runaway. Officer Brown was advised to take the individual into custody. The Wayne County Sheriff’s Office assisted officer Brown by transporting the juvenile to a youth facility. She was returned to Alabama several days later.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

• During deer-gun season, state wildlife officer Eric Lane, assigned to Perry County, observed three hunters dragging a deer approximately 100 yards into a wood line. Officer Lane made contact with the three individuals. After checking firearms and licenses, officer Lane discovered that the deer did not have a temporary tag. Officer Lane issued a summons for failing to temporarily tag the deer. The individual paid fines and court costs.

• State wildlife officer Bob Nelson, assigned to Ross County, received a tip in November about a wildlife violation. The informant stated an individual had killed two bucks and had his wife check one of the deer in her name. Officer Nelson and state wildlife officer Jared Abele, assigned to Vinton County, investigated the tip. The officers spoke with both the husband and wife. An investigation revealed the husband shot a smaller buck in October and checked it in with his wife’s name. He then shot a larger buck in November, which he checked in with his own name. The husband was issued a summons for the violation. The officers seized the second buck and his bow. The case is pending in Chillicothe Municipal Court.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

• State wildlife investigator Kevin Behr assisted the Greenfield Police Department from April through August 2015 with an investigation that involved the seizure of 52.90 pounds of dried ginseng. The ginseng was seized as a result of the execution of a Greenfield Police Department search warrant. The suspect failed to certify the ginseng for holding over in the closed season, failed to keep accurate records, and falsified ginseng records. The ginseng charges were rolled into the entire criminal case proceedings. The suspect was convicted of felony drug possession, drug trafficking, and receiving stolen property. The suspect was sentenced to 10 years in prison with a $10,000 fine. The ginseng was forfeited to the Greenfield Police Department.

Division of Watercraft

Northeast – Akron Area Office

• Watercraft officers were patrolling Guilford Lake State Park Lake this summer when they observed a pontoon boat being operated with an occupant sitting on the front of the vessel outside of the passenger compartment area with her feet and lower legs dragging through the water. Officers stopped the vessel and advised the operator of the violation. Upon speaking with him, multiple alcoholic beverages were observed in plain view in the vessel. A vessel safety check was conducted, and it was discovered that the operator  did not have sufficient adult wearable life jackets, an anchor, a distress flag, nor the registration paperwork onboard the vessel. When questioned about the alcoholic beverages, the operator admitted to consuming five beers. He also advised that he was intoxicated, but he was driving safely. The operator displayed signs of glassy, bloodshot eyes. He was then given the horizontal gaze nystagmus test and the seated battery of field sobriety tests on which he performed poorly on all tests. The operator was placed under arrest for operating a vessel while under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs of abuse. He was read and shown all pertinent paperwork for this offense and was asked to submit to a urine test. He agreed, and it was later determined that his urine tested .21 (.11 is the legal limit for urine testing). A citation was issued for operating a vessel under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs of abuse, open container, insufficient amount of life jackets and for operating a vessel while an occupant was sitting in an area not designated for such activity while under way. He was issued warnings for the remaining three violations. The pontoon was released to a sober occupant onboard. The operator was cooperative. Upon completion of all court dates, the operator paid approximately $758 in fines and court costs, had to serve 30 hours of community service, serve three days in a drug intervention program in lieu of 90 days in jail and also had his driver’s license suspended with limited work privileges for six months. He is also subject to random drug/alcohol tests at his cost as directed by an officer of the court.

Northwest – Sandusky Area Office

• In September, two people from Virginia attempted to set buoys on Lake Erie approximately a tenth of a mile off Cedar Point beach for the triathlon scheduled the next day. There was a 12 mph northeast wind, and it was raining hard. They were on a pontoon vessel that was loaded with 14 50-pound weights on the stern of the vessel. Due to improper loading of the vessel and the weather, the engine became flooded with water. The vessel became swamped, and the two people onboard called to shore for help. The U.S. Coast Guard was called and pulled them off the swamped vessel. The following day, the vessel was pulled to Cedar Point. Watercraft officers completed the required accident report and found they were missing a life jacket and had five other equipment violations. The operator was issued one citation for not having enough life jackets on board.

Southeast – Salt Fork Area Office

• In August, while patrolling Salt Fork Lake, a watercraft officer observed many vessels on the water enjoying the day. Later in the day, the officer observed a vessel without a current registration. The officer stopped the vessel and asked the operator if he was aware that the registration was not current. The operator of the vessel stated he was not aware that the registration had expired and was cited for operating a vessel without current registration. A guilty plea was accepted, and the operator paid $130 in court costs and fines.

Southwest – East Fork Area Office

• In October, two watercraft officers were patrolling East Fork State Park. The officers observed two individuals in the woods with what looked like a rifle and a bow and arrow. The officers approached with caution because they did not know what was going on. The individuals were standing on a trail. The officers approached the subjects and determined that they were target practicing on the trail into the woods. The officers disarmed the individuals to conduct an investigation into what exactly they were doing. Bottles were set up on a log, and other targets were in the area. One of the individuals was cited for unlawfully discharging a weapon on a trail in a state park. The case is still pending in court.

Categories: Cuffs & Collars

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