Ohio Cuffs & Collars – February 12th, 2016

Division of Wildlife

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• Last April, state wildlife officer Adam Smith, assigned to Logan County, was departing Indian Lake and heading for home. As officer Smith passed the Moundwood boat ramp he observed two subjects sitting in a parked car. Each subject was blowing up an inflatable boat raft. The air temperature was 50 degrees with wind gusts up to 40 mph. The water temperature was in the low 50s. There was a strong current moving out of the Moundwood channel toward the main part of the lake. Officer Smith contacted the two men to prevent a critical incident from occurring. Just as suspected, the two young men were planning to launch their boats. Officer Smith inquired about personal flotation devices, registrations, and equipment for their vessels. The individuals had none of these required items. Officer Smith explained the legalities of what they planned to do and further discussed the dangers associated with their planned activities, given the nature of the weather conditions and lack of safety equipment. The two individuals did not launch their boats and everyone went home safely without any citations needing to be issued.

• While checking dove hunters at Deer Creek Wildlife Area, state wildlife officer Josh Elster and state wildlife officer supervisor Dave Warner contacted an individual walking out of a dove field. The individual had harvested a limit of doves and carried them in a bag. Officer Elster inspected the bag to confirm a limit of doves, and observed only a few empty shotgun hulls. Further investigation revealed the individual shot about 25 times. Officer Elster asked where the rest of the empty shotgun hulls were located. The individual stated the hulls were lost in some tall weeds. Officer Elster and the hunter returned to the location where the individual had harvested the doves. Immediately, officer Elster could see the same style of empty shotgun hulls lying on the bare ground in front of where the individual was hunting. Upon further inspection of the area, officer Elster was able to locate more empty hulls near where the individual was standing. The individual was given a citation for litter and ordered to appear in the Washington Court House Municipal Court. The individual was found guilty and ordered to pay a $100 fine plus $125 in court costs.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• Last summer, state wildlife officers Craig Barr and Anthony Lemle were watching two men fishing at Lost Creek Reservoir in Allen County. One man took several packages of fishing tackle from a white plastic bag and began rigging up a fishing rod. On multiple occasions, both men were seen washing their hands in water from a broken cooler. After an hour, the two men packed up their belongings. The first man began walking toward the parking area. The second man picked up some of his trash and placed it in the white bag before placing the bag in the cooler. The man then proceeded toward the parking lot without the cooler and other trash items. The officers contacted the men in their vehicle. The engine was running, they were wearing their seat belts, and the driver was about to shift the vehicle into gear. The officers asked the men if they had brought everything out that they had taken in. Both men indicated that they had. The officers proceeded to ask the two men about the cooler with the trash in it. Then the men told the officers that they were just about to go back for the cooler. The officers walked with one individual back to where they had been fishing. After the man picked up the trash items, he and the officers returned to the parking area. Both men received tickets for litter, and both were later found guilty and ordered to pay $270 in fines and court costs in the Lima Municipal Court.

• During the statewide deer-gun season, state wildlife officer Jason Parr was checking a trapper along a rural Crawford County road when a vehicle pulled up. The vehicle contained several hunters who said that they were going to conduct a deer drive on an adjacent property. The hunters inquired if officer Parr wanted to see their hunting licenses and deer permits. Officer Parr declined checking the hunters’ licenses and permits at that time, wished them good luck, and asked them to be safe. Officer Parr continued speaking with the trapper after the hunters departed. He then noticed some members of the hunting party walking across a picked corn field. These four hunters were all carrying firearms. Officer Parr noticed that one of the hunters wasn’t wearing the required hunter orange vest, coat, jacket, or coveralls. Officer Parr attempted to contact the hunter. The hunter was approximately 75 yards away from officer Parr and walking toward him. Officer Parr moved down the road to where the hunter was going to come out of the woods. As officer Parr walked into the woods, the hunter disappeared. The man then suddenly appeared wearing a hunter orange vest. Officer Parr informed the man that he had been watching him and knew that he wasn’t wearing the required amount of hunter orange. Further investigation revealed the man put the orange vest on over his coat right before coming out to the road. Officer Parr proceeded to check the other hunters’ licenses, deer permits, and firearms. The hunter without the proper hunter orange attire was issued a summons. He appeared in Crawford County Municipal Court, pleaded no contest, and was found guilty of failing to wear the required amount of hunter orange during a deer-gun season.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

• During the 2015 deer season, state wildlife officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, received information that an individual had harvested several deer without first possessing the valid deer permits. Officer Porter contacted the suspect at his residence. The results of the investigation revealed that he had killed a doe on the opening day of the archery season and later purchased a hunting license and deer permit. On the opening day of the deer-gun season, he committed the same violation again, purchasing his deer permit after the harvest. The suspect was charged with three different violations in Jefferson County Court, convicted, and ordered to pay $760 in fines and court costs.

• In October, three officers were working spotlighting enforcement in Medina County. State wildlife officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, state wildlife officer Randy White, assigned to Lorain County, and state wildlife officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County, observed a vehicle approach their location and slow down. The officers expected to see a beam of light sweep the field, but instead the vehicle turned into a farm lane and shut off the engine. Two individuals exited the vehicle and used a head lamp and flashlight to illuminate their surroundings as they walked into the woods. The officers then heard the sound of raccoon dogs baying. Soon after hearing the dogs, officer Moore heard two faint gunshots. Officers Brown and Moore contacted the two men, one of whom was carrying a rifle. Further investigation revealed one of the individuals took two shots at a raccoon. The other individual was carrying the loaded gun as they exited the woods. Both individuals were charged with possessing a firearm while pursuing raccoons in the closed season and were ordered to appear in Wadsworth Municipal Court. The men were found guilty and ordered to pay fines and court costs.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

• State wildlife officer Chris Gilkey recently completed an investigation in Meigs County that involved four suspects killing deer from a vehicle. The suspects, who were all adults, were driving around shooting antlered deer from the roadway during the youth deer-gun season. They killed four antlered deer and used the names of one of the suspect’s children to tag them all in. They also tagged the deer in under a landowner status that did not apply to them. Charges are pending in a Meigs County Court on all four suspects. The state is seeking a revocation of hunting privileges for several years, as well as restitution for the illegally taken deer.

• During the two-day deer-gun season, state wildlife officer Wes Feldner received a call from a Monroe County landowner. The landowner advised officer Feldner he had a trail camera video of an individual shooting from a truck on his property. Officer Feldner met with the landowner. Officer Feldner reviewed the video and was able to get a description of the suspect’s truck. The investigation also revealed the violations had occurred during the deer-gun season. After meeting with the landowner, officer Feldner patrolled the area in attempt to locate the vehicle. Officer Feldner located the truck and made contact with a suspect. Further investigation revealed the suspect committed several wildlife violations. The suspect was charged with hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, shooting from a public roadway, hunting without permission, and possession of a deer that was taken illegally. The suspect appeared in a Monroe County Court and pleaded no contest to the charges. The suspect was found guilty of all four charges and ordered to pay $400 in fines, $67 in court costs, and $500 restitution for the illegally taken deer. He was also placed on one year of probation and lost his hunting privileges for one year. The deer and firearm that he used to kill it were both forfeited to the DNR Division of Wildlife.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

• While on patrol at Clark Lake Wildlife Area, state wildlife officer Byron Rice, assigned to Clark County, observed a parked truck with a large cooler in the bed and tanks for keeping bait. Officer Rice set out on foot in search of the vehicle’s owner. From a distance, officer Rice observed two individuals using cast nets from opposite sides of the spillway. Officer Rice moved close enough to hear what they were saying over the noise of the rushing water. The individuals discussed whether or not crappie made good bait. One individual kept some crappie caught in his cast net. Officer Rice contacted the fishermen at the vehicle and asked them for their fishing licenses and to inspect their catch. Officer Rice dipped a net into the bucket and immediately discovered the crappie. Officer Rice informed the individuals that taking game fish such as crappie in this manner was illegal. The man was issued a court summons for the violation and was later found guilty in the Clark County Municipal Court.

Division of Watercraft

Northeast – Cleveland Area Office

• Over the holidays, many students find themselves bored with a lot of extra time on their hands while on break from their studies. For the past two seasons, officers from the Cleveland and Ashtabula watercraft offices have tried to combat that boredom by providing a few hands-on kayaking courses at area recreation centers. Most recently, a class was held at the Westlake Recreation Center for a troop of Girl Scouts, celebrating all of their hard work for the past year, and even laying the foundation for their forthcoming badge in paddling. The girls were eager to learn and excited to have an opportunity to kayak at a time that would ordinarily be reserved for more winter-based activities. During the class, the Girl Scouts were taught about kayaking and paddling basics, including what the different parts of the boat were called and all of the equipment that needed to be carried with them on a trip down the river or on the lake. Nine-foot kayaks were then launched in the pool, where the girls learned how to properly board the boats. Once on the water, basic paddling strokes and techniques were covered, teaching the girls how to move forward, backward, and to turn the vessels. The most important lesson that was learned, however, was how to kayak safely. Students were able to demonstrate the importance of wearing a properly fitted life jacket, and they were taught what to wear when the weather and water become cooler later in the season. Once the Girl Scouts became more comfortable with their skills on the kayak, they enjoyed some friendly competition by racing each other in the pool around a challenging obstacle course. Overall, the event was very successful, and the officers hope this will encourage them to get out and kayak this summer.

Northwest – Maumee Bay Office

• A watercraft officer observed a vessel going the wrong way on Nettle Lake. The vessel was being operated in a clockwise motion going against the traffic pattern that is required on Nettle Lake. Upon stopping the vessel, the officer completed a safety inspection and found the vessel to be missing the following items: valid registration paperwork, properly displayed numbers, four wearable personal flotation devices for the four people on board, and a distress flag. The watercraft officer escorted the vessel back to shore and issued a citation for operating a vessel without having a sufficient number of wearable personal flotation devices on board. The owner of the vessel received fines and court costs of $138.50.

Central – Alum Creek Area Office

• In December, watercraft officers taught an Ohio Boating Education Course at the Alum Creek Watercraft Office. This course is required for any person born on or after Jan. 1, 1982, who operates a powerboat greater than 10 horsepower. This course covers boating safety, boat operation and laws. All of the students passed the course and received their certificates.

Southeast – Salt Fork Area Office

• While on patrol at Salt Fork Lake, two watercraft officers observed a male subject operating a vessel on-plane towing a female subject on a tube. The officers noticed there was no observer on the vessel. A vessel stop was initiated, and the officers made contact with the operator. The officers explained to the operator that an observer is required on board in order to pull a tube. The operator was cited for operating a vessel towing a person on water without an observer.

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