Ohio Cuffs & Collars – May 20th, 2016
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• While checking deer harvest records, state wildlife officer Josh Elster, assigned to Pickaway County, noticed an individual had checked in two does within a short time period during the 2015 deer-gun season. Officer Elster also noticed a relative had checked in a doe at approximately the same day and time. Officer Elster met with the landowner and asked about the deer. The landowner stated they had not hunted for a number of years, and only hunted upland birds. Officer Elster informed the landowner that harvest records showed two deer were checked in Pickaway County within minutes of each other. Further investigation revealed the relative had asked the landowner to check in the deer. The bag limit in Pickaway County is two deer, and the relative asked the landowner to check in the other two deer to continue to hunt the rest of the season. The relative was given multiple summonses and ordered to appear in Circleville Municipal Court. The relative was found guilty of overbagging deer in Pickaway County, falsifying information to a check station, and possessing a deer in violation of any DNR Division of Wildlife rule or regulation. The relative received 12 months of probation, was fined $831, and received a three-year hunting license revocation.
• While patrolling Fairfield County, state wildlife officer Tony Zerkle observed two individuals fishing in a privately owned quarry pond. The owners of the quarry had contacted officer Zerkle in the past and asked that he prosecute anyone fishing or hunting on the property. Officer Zerkle contacted the two men and asked if they had written permission to fish in the pond. The men stated they thought they were on a public fishing area. Officer Zerkle had his doubts about the statement because the men had walked past two no admittance signs, crossed a highway, and climbed a fence to access the pond. The suspects were issued summonses to Fairfield County Municipal Court. They were found guilty and ordered to pay $140 each in fines and court costs.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• During the 2016 walleye run, state wildlife officer Matthew Leibengood, assigned to Sandusky County, received a complaint regarding people fishing in the closed area of the Sandusky River. State wildlife investigator Jason Parr and state wildlife officer Nathan West assisted in the investigation. The officers located three men fishing with a cast net in the closed area of the river. The three men had two coolers full of fish. The officers found 17 walleyes, 18 quillback suckers, 12 log perch darters, and one gizzard shad in their possession. Each of the men was charged for taking walleyes with a cast net, fishing in a closed area, and taking more than the daily limit of walleyes. Two of the three men were charged for fishing without a license. The three men were not local to the area and were subsequently arrested and taken to jail. All of the fish and the cast nets were seized as evidence. The three men appeared in Fremont Municipal Court, were found guilty on all of the charges against them, and ordered to pay $660 in fines and $635 in court costs. All three men were sentenced to a one-year fishing license suspension, one year of probation, and 10 days of jail, which were suspended pending good behavior.
• State wildlife officer Austin Dickinson, assigned to Seneca County, was patrolling the Sandusky River in April as a part of enforcement efforts for the annual walleye run. Officer Dickinson received a TIP call about three men fishing near the Ballville Dam in a closed area during the walleye run. Officer Dickinson was able to locate the three men and observed them fishing in the closed area. He contacted the men, who had nine walleyes in their possession. Seven of the walleyes were caught in the closed area and were seized as evidence. One of the walleyes seized was shorter than the minimum length limit of 15 inches. Four summonses were issued, including three for fishing in a closed area, and one for possessing a walleye under 15 inches in length.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• State wildlife officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, received information regarding a harvested deer that was potentially not checked. A review of the suspect’s harvest history showed the man checked in a doe the morning after it was killed. However, the original information officer Brown received indicated that the deer was a buck. Officer Brown contacted the suspect and determined that he had provided false information when checking in the deer in order to continue hunting for a larger antlered deer during the season. The man was charged, appeared in court, was convicted, and ordered to pay $140 in fines and costs.
• While on patrol, state wildlife officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County, heard a volley of shots in the area and went to investigate. He arrived and saw a large group of people set up next to a pond hunting waterfowl. Officer Moore watched as the hunters shot multiple times and killed several geese. One of the men in the hunting party went out to retrieve the geese in a small boat. Officer Moore approached the hunters and noticed what appeared to be several different brands of shotshells, one of which contained lead shot. Officer Moore inspected the ammunition and determined that the group possessed nontoxic waterfowl loads and 30 rounds of lead shot. In addition to issuing the men summonses for possessing lead shot while hunting waterfowl, officer Moore also warned the hunters that their boat must be registered and that a life jacket must be worn by the individual operating the watercraft. The men were convicted in court and paid $571 in fines and court costs.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• State wildlife officer Roby Williams recently received information through the Turn-In-A-Poacher hotline regarding possible illegal activity at the Senecaville spillway in Guernsey County. Officer Williams patrolled the area several times throughout the late winter and early spring. During one patrol, officer Williams noticed an angler having some trouble with his fishing line. Officer Williams watched as the angler pulled on the line. The angler then tossed the line to the ground and continued fishing. After another 45 minutes of fishing, the angler gathered his gear and headed for the parking lot. Officer Williams contacted the angler and issued him a citation for littering. The angler paid the $170 ticket in Cambridge Municipal Court.
• In April, state wildlife officers Allen Patton and Eric Lane followed up on a possible turkey bait site in Athens County. Upon arriving, fresh vehicle tracks were found near the site. A short distance away, a vehicle with a Pennsylvania license plate was found. The officers visited the bait site. As officer Patton approached the site, three turkey decoys and a ground blind were observed. The turkey decoys where placed in the middle of a corn pile. Also, a turkey call was heard coming from the ground blind. Officer Patton made contact with two male hunters inside the blind. One hunter was given a citation for hunting wild turkey with the aid of bait. The other hunter, who leases the property, had neither a nonresident hunting license nor a spring turkey permit. He was given three citations. The defendants pleaded guilty and paid all fines.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• State wildlife officer Aaron Ireland, assigned to Butler County, was performing sport fishing enforcement along the Great Miami River. Officer Ireland had previously received complaints about people illegally keeping game fish that were incidentally caught while using cast nets for catching bait fish. As he patrolled, officer Ireland observed an individual throw a cast net and place all of the netted fish into a bait bucket. Officer Ireland contacted the individual and inspected the bucket. He observed five largemouth bass and one bluegill. The suspect was issued a summons for the illegal method of taking game fish. The individual was later found guilty in court and paid $126 in fines.
Division of Watercraft
• Watercraft officers from Alum Creek State Park attended the Field & Stream Deer and Turkey Expo in Columbus. The annual event has many vendors from around the country to promote hunting and different types of outdoor activities. The officers had several types of boating literature to offer and answered hundreds of boating questions. The event was well attended and gave the public a chance to have positive interaction with the officers.
• While on patrol on Alum Creek Lake, a watercraft officer observed a vessel operating at full plane in a designated no-wake zone. The officer made contact with the vessel and advised the operator of the violation. The operator said that he had not been on the lake very much and was unsure where the no-wake zone started. The officer explained to the operator where the no-wake zone began, completed a vessel safety inspection and found no violations. The officer issued a warning for the wake violation.
• While on patrol at Alum Creek Lake, a state watercraft officer observed a personal watercraft being operated with an expired registration. The officer made contact with the operator of the watercraft and advised of the expired registration. The officer completed a vessel safety inspection and found the operator did not have a visual distress signal onboard. The officer explained to the operator that this was a required piece of safety equipment that must be onboard at all times, issued warnings for both the expired registration and the visual distress signal, and terminated the operator from the water until the violations are corrected.
• While patrolling on Alum Creek Lake, a watercraft officer noticed two canoes horsing around in the middle of the lake. There were two people in each of the canoes, and as the officer watched, one of the canoes capsized, sending the occupants into the water. As the officer approached to assist, he noticed that the two people in the water were not wearing life jackets and were treading water while trying to right their boat and were showing signs of tiring quickly. The officer had the swimmers grab their life jackets and put them on and then helped them right their canoe and get the water out of it. The two people in the water made it back into the canoe and paddled safely back to where they had rented the boats.
• A watercraft officer witnessed a boat operating on plane one night after sunset at Alum Creek Lake. Ohio State Park lakes generally have a 10 mile per hour speed limit from sunset to sunrise. The officer stopped the boat and conducted a vessel safety inspection to check for the required safety equipment. It was discovered that the operator had not taken the required boating safety course and that there was no registration paperwork onboard. The operator was cited for operating a boat at greater than 10 miles per hour on Alum Creek Lake between sunset and sunrise. After going to court, the individual was found guilty and paid $214 in fines and court costs.