Ohio Cuffs & Collars – March 11th, 2016

Division of Wildlife

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• During the extra two days of the 2015 deer-gun hunting season, state wildlife officer Matt Teders, assigned to Madison County, was on patrol at Deer Creek Wildlife Area. Officer Teders observed a large group of hunters about to start a deer drive. Officer Teders checked the hunters. He observed two-way radios on most of the hunters and could hear others communicating on a channel. Officer Teders left the contact and turned his two-way radio to the hunters’ channel. Officer Teders listened as the hunters put on the drive. Over the radio he heard of a deer running down a creek. Soon after the radio traffic, officer Teders heard several shots from the group. Officer Teders called in state wildlife officers John Coffman and Josh Elster. After an investigation, it was determined that one hunter had killed a second deer before temporarily tagging the first deer. The investigation also revealed which hunter had spoken on the radio to let the other hunters know which way the deer was running. Radios can be used while hunting, but cannot be used to communicate deer movement. Two hunters were cited, one for harvesting a second deer before attaching a tag to the first, and the second for the use of a radio to communicate deer movements. The hunters paid $390 in fines and court costs.

• During the 2015 deer-gun hunting season, state wildlife officers Tyler Eldred and Chad Grote conducted a patrol of a Morrow County property with ongoing hunting without permission complaints. Contact was made with three different hunting parties involving five hunters. Two hunters were issued summons for hunting without permission. It was determined that another person was hunting without permission, littered bottles and other trash, vandalized the property, and was not wearing the required hunter orange. Multiple citations were issued and the individuals were required to appear in Morrow County Municipal Court. The defendants paid more than $400 in fines and court costs, four days were served in the Morrow County jail with 56 additional days suspended, and two hunters lost their hunting privileges for two years. The Morrow County Sheriff’s Office assisted with the investigation.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• State wildlife officer Josh Zientek was on patrol in Fulton County when he was contacted by a township worker who discovered a large trash dump in a creek along a county road. During his investigation, Officer Zientek, found eight bags of household trash and several large boxes dumped in a creek along the remote road. Officer Zientek sorted through the trash and located the names of several suspects. Officer Zientek conducted an investigation, which revealed one of the suspects dumped the trash a few days before. Officer Zientek issued the suspect a summons to appear in Fulton County Western District Court for stream litter. The suspect was later found guilty and was ordered to pay $188 in fines and court costs, along with 60 hours of community service.

• In October 2015, state wildlife officer Eric VonAlmen, assigned to Hancock County, was on patrol when he noticed an unoccupied pickup truck with a dog box in the bed parked at a cooperative hunting property. While checking the parked vehicle, a dog was heard barking inside the woods. Officer VonAlmen observed a man with a rifle slung on his back and a squirrel dog walking through the woods. The individual disappeared into the brush, so officer VonAlmen waited at the vehicle for the hunter to exit. The man soon came walking down the road with the dog leashed and no rifle. The man stated he was simply walking his dog. Further investigation revealed the man was squirrel hunting and hid his rifle in the woods. The man had failed to purchase a hunting license. A citation was issued for hunting without a license, a misdemeanor of the fourth degree.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

• During the early waterfowl season, state wildlife officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, contacted a group of hunters and inquired about their hunt. The two adults stated they killed two birds, one green-winged teal and a mourning dove, which was also in season. Officer Brown checked their hunting licenses and migratory waterfowl stamps, and then asked to see the birds. When he looked in their boat he saw three birds, one of which was a green heron, a protected species. An investigation revealed that one of the men shot it thinking that it was a Virginia rail, a legal game bird. He was subsequently charged with taking a non-game bird and ordered to appear in Wayne County Municipal Court, and was later ordered to pay $163.

• In the fall, state wildlife officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County, was patrolling Spencer Lake Wildlife Area and the private property adjacent to it. He walked along one of the wildlife area’s boundaries and saw two individuals hunting on private property. Officer Moore identified himself and walked toward their location to make sure they had written permission from the landowner. The two hunters immediately turned around and ran back onto the wildlife area. Officer Moore pursued them on foot. The two hunters finally stopped running and were cautiously approached by officer Moore. Neither of them had permission to hunt the private property. Both were issued summonses for hunting without written permission, and later ordered to pay $709 in fines and court costs.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

• During the extra two days of the 2015 deer-gun hunting season, state wildlife officer Jerrod Allison observed two hunters on private property in Coshocton County. Officer Allison received complaints about people hunting without permission on this property, so he made contact with the two hunters. They did not have written permission to be on the property, and further investigation revealed two other individuals were hunting with them. Officer Allison met the hunters at their vehicle on the next road over. As officer Allison drove to that location, he observed a second group of seven hunters on the same property. He made contact with those hunters, who also did not have written permission. All 11 hunters were issued tickets for hunting without permission and all were ordered to pay fines and court costs in Coshocton Municipal Court.

• For the last two deer seasons, antlerless permits were not available for use in Washington County. State wildlife officer Eric Bear and state wildlife officer supervisor Dan Perko contacted a male and a female who had used the permits during the 2015-2016 hunting season in the county. It was determined that the male suspect had used an antlerless permit to check in a deer, and the female had used an antlerless permit to check in a deer that was harvested by the male suspect’s son. The officers learned that the son had also harvested a second deer, and both deer were killed with a shotgun during the archery season. Four summonses were issued to the three suspects, and the firearm was taken as evidence. The case is pending in Marietta Municipal Court. Because of similar cases to this one, and for his hard work with the youth of Washington County, Officer Bear was recently recognized by the Ohio Bowhunters Association as that organization’s Officer of the Year.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

• While patrolling in the Lake Loramie area, state wildlife officer Tim Rourke, assigned to Shelby County, was approached by a state park camp volunteer. The volunteer reported a bucket of dead fish had been left near a campground water spigot. Officer Rourke investigated and found the bucket to contain crappie noticeably shorter than the required nine-inch legal limit for the lake. Further investigation led officer Rourke to the camp of an Indiana man at the park. The man initially denied any knowledge of the fish. Further investigation revealed he had left the fish in the bucket. Subsequently, the individual was issued one summons for fishing without a nonresident fishing license, and another summons for taking undersized fish. He paid $205 in court fines.

Division of Watercraft

Northeast – Cleveland Area Office

• In December, watercraft officers were called to respond to a canoe that had capsized on the Grand River with three people in the water. The Grand River was running at flood stage, and the water temperature was 40 degrees. When officers arrived, two males and one female were being treated for hypothermia. All three people were aboard the canoe when they hit a log and flipped about 10 minutes into the trip. The two males were able to grab life jackets, but the female was not. The males assisted the female to shore. Once on shore, the paddlers were wandering around a private campground, and their hypothermia was impairing their ability to get help. A groundskeeper spotted the paddlers on a security camera and was able to get medical help immediately. Because of the conditions of the river and lack of white-water paddling experience, as well as the lack of appropriate gear, they were cited for reckless operation.

Northwest – Sandusky Area Office

• While on patrol in Sandusky Bay in Lake Erie, a watercraft officer witnessed an operator of a small inflatable vessel operating in a restricted area on full plane as he passed under a bridge. The operator was stopped and was asked to provide required safety equipment. The operator did not have registration paperwork, a life jacket, or a sound producing device. The officer explained the violations and informed the operator that he would be receiving a citation for operating a vessel without sufficient size, type, or number of U.S. Coast Guard approved life jackets. The defendant said that he had been boating in the area for a long time and that he knew he should have the required equipment, but he did not think about it when he started out that day. The operator was issued warnings for the other equipment violations and restricted area violation, and he was then towed back to his dock where he was met by his children, all wearing life jackets.

Central – Alum Creek Area Office

• While on patrol at Delaware State Park, a watercraft officer observed an adult male walking down the road dressed in camouflage. The officer observed the male for a short period of time before making contact with him for a hunting violation. Upon making contact with the individual, the officer advised him that it was unlawful to walk upon the roadway with a cocked and loaded crossbow and that he had to be at least 200 feet from the roadway before he could load the crossbow with his bolt. The officer gave the subject a warning.

Southeast – Scioto Area Office

• In December, two watercraft officers were patrolling Tycoon Lake Wildlife area in Gallia County. While conducting a vessel safety inspection at the ramp, one of the officers noticed a vehicle pull out of a parking spot and drive onto a nondesignated grass area parking alongside three Amish buggies. After completing the vessel safety inspection, both officers approached the vehicle and made contact with the operator. The suspect was very moody and was very angry with the officers. With closer observation by the officers, they observed five other individuals lying on the ground around the horse buggies sleeping. One officer continued questioning the operator of the vehicle while the other officer walked over to the area where the other five suspects were sleeping. The officer noticed approximately 15-20 empty beer cans scattered on the grass. It took the officer several attempts speaking in a loud voice to wake the individuals up. The officer advised them that they were in a nondesignated area, and that their horse and buggies needed to be removed. There was clear damage to the grass and surrounding area caused by the horses being there overnight. The operator of the vehicle also admitted that some of the empty beer cans were consumed by him. The individuals also stated that the Gallia County sheriff had an officer sent out to the location due to a noise complaint the previous night. Several charges were filed with the suspects. 

Southwest – Buck Creek Office

• While patrolling Buck Creek State Park, a watercraft officer came across a young woman that had fallen off a personal watercraft. The officer immediately began helping the young woman. She had been in the water for approximately 30 minutes before the officer found her, and the water temperature was very cold. After some work and assistance, the young woman was taken back to shore, and the officer called for an ambulance to meet her. The officer asked her if she had taken an Ohio Boater Education Course, and she answered that she had not. Paramedics tended to the young woman’s health. The owner of the personal watercraft told the officer that he knew that the operator did not have the required training, but still allowed her to operate his boat. The officer cited the owner for allowing the operation of his watercraft when the person did not have a valid Ohio Boating Education Course.

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