Ohio Cuffs & Collars – June 3rd, 2016
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• In November 2015, state wildlife officer Josh Shields, assigned to Union County, received complaints about illegal deer hunting activities. The complaints included dumping deer, hunting without permission, and hunting from the road. Officer Shields investigated the claims with state wildlife investigator Kandy Klosterman. The officers collected DNA, witnesses’ statements, and crossbow bolts as evidence. All of the information led to one suspect. By mid-December, wildlife officers in central Ohio served several warrants on a residence, vehicles, and a cellphone. An arrest warrant was issued for the alleged poacher. Further investigation revealed the suspect poached numerous deer at night from the road with a crossbow. Two trophy bucks were seized, along with several crossbows and other hunting equipment. The suspect was charged with 12 misdemeanor hunting violations and a felony firearms charge. Charges included hunting without permission, failing to tag and check deer, illegal possession of deer parts, harvesting more than one antlered deer, jacklighting, hunting from the road, and hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle. The suspect pleaded to nine of the 12 charges. The suspect was sentenced in Marysville Municipal Court, where he was ordered to pay $1,241 in fines and costs; $3,893.30 in restitution for the trophy deer, lost his hunting privileges for three years, and received 390 days of suspended jail time. The suspect cannot possess deer parts while on probation. The case was possible thanks to a coalition of Union County landowners, hunters, and witnesses that were willing to provide information aiding in the arrest of the poacher.
• State wildlife officer Matt Teders, assigned to Madison County, received information that an individual had killed two bucks during the 2015-2016 deer season. Officer Teders was able to locate pictures of the two deer on social media. Harvest records indicated that the suspect harvested one buck. Officer Teders went to the suspect’s residence, where the investigation revealed that the suspect harvested a deer. Officer Teders then learned that the suspect’s father had harvested a deer while hunting on his own property, but did not check it in. The father was issued a summons for failing to check in a deer.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• During the 2015-2016 deer season, state wildlife officer Brad Buening, assigned to Van Wert County, investigated a deer poaching case in Paulding County. Information was received alleging an individual had committed several deer violations throughout the season. Officer Buening quickly followed up on the case and discovered the individual did not have a deer permit for a large buck he had killed. The hunter knew the antlers were unique so he attempted to hide them by transporting them to Indiana. With the assistance of the Indiana DNR, the antlers were recovered and seized as evidence. The gross score of the deer antlers was 164 inches, which carries a restitution value of $7,500. The individual was summoned into Paulding Municipal Court and was later found guilty of taking a deer without a permit.
• On the opening day of the 2015 deer-gun season, state wildlife officer Anthony Lemle was on patrol in Williams County when he received a TIP call about someone who killed a second buck of the season earlier that morning. The TIP caller provided a name and address of the suspect. State wildlife investigator Mark Weihrauch and officer Lemle went to the suspect’s address and located the deer. The deer was tagged and had been checked in by the suspect’s father. Further investigation revealed that the suspect had killed the buck, his second of the year. The father of the suspect was also hunting without a deer permit at the time because his tag had been used on the illegally taken buck. Both subjects were charged with multiple deer hunting violations and found guilty in court. The father and son were ordered to pay multiple fines and costs, and received a combined four years hunting license suspension.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• State wildlife officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County, received a TIP complaint about an individual hunting within city limits and without written permission. Officer Moore arrived at the property and located an area where a deer had been killed. He followed the drag marks across multiple properties until he found where two deer had been field dressed behind the suspect’s house. A treestand overlooking a fresh bait site was set up nearby. Officer Moore drove to the suspect’s house and noticed two deer hanging in plain view inside the garage. Officer Moore spoke to the homeowner and determined that the deer had been killed several days earlier. Neither deer was tagged, nor were there any records that either animal had been permanently checked. Further investigation revealed the man shot both deer with his crossbow. Officer Moore seized the crossbow and deer, and issued the hunter four summonses for several wildlife violations. The man appeared in court, was convicted, and paid $660 in fines and court costs. The deer and crossbow were forfeited to the DNR Division of Wildlife.
• State wildlife officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, and state wildlife officer Jesse Janosik, assigned to Columbiana County, were working sport fishing enforcement one evening in Mahoning County. Using night vision equipment, the officers observed two men fishing below the Lake Milton dam. The officers contacted one of the men while the other angler hid and attempted to elude officer Frank. The second angler was located, handcuffed, and taken to the officers’ vehicle. Officer Frank returned the site where the first man was fishing and located 12 hidden walleyes. Another seven walleyes were located near where the second individual was hiding. The walleyes and fishing equipment were seized as evidence. The men were issued summonses for taking over the legal limit of walleyes. Further investigation revealed that one of the men had been charged with the same violation the previous year. Both men appeared in court, were found guilty, paid more than $800 in fines and court costs, and received a one-year fishing license suspension. The walleyes and fishing equipment were forfeited to the DNR Division of Wildlife.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• Prior to the 2016 spring wild turkey season, state wildlife officer Chris Gilkey, assigned to Meigs County, and state wildlife investigator Heath Horn received information about a location that was baited with corn. The officers surveyed the area prior to the opening day of the season to verify the complaint. On opening morning, the officers made their way to the baited site. At dawn, the suspect started to call for turkeys. The officers approached the blind and made contact with the suspect. Further investigation revealed the suspect placed the corn in the feeder the previous weekend. The suspect was cited for hunting turkeys with the aid of bait. Charges are pending in a Meigs County court.
• In December 2015, state wildlife officer Jared Abele received information about trapping violations in Vinton County. Officer Abele arrived at the location and discovered three raccoons in foothold traps, and determined they had been there for several days. He euthanized the raccoons and photographed the scene. None of the four traps was tagged with identifiable information as required by law. When he visited the site a second time, officer Abele found that the traps still had not been checked and the raccoons had not been removed. Officer Abele seized the raccoons and traps as evidence. Officer Abele and state wildlife officer Chris Dodge, assigned to Hocking County, followed up on the case and interviewed multiple suspects. Further investigation revealed one of suspects owned and had set the traps. The suspect was issued summonses for trapping without a fur taker permit, trapping with untagged traps, and failing to check and remove animals from traps daily. The defendant pleaded guilty to all charges and paid $366 in court costs and fines. The traps were forfeited to the state.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• While on patrol along Buck Creek in Springfield, state wildlife officer Byron Rice, assigned to Clark County, observed three anglers fishing in the creek. Officer Rice contacted them to check their fishing licenses. None of the anglers had purchased a fishing license. The anglers told officer Rice that they thought a fishing license was not needed to fish inside the city limits. The individuals had confused fishing in the creek with fishing in specific public park ponds owned by the city of Springfield where a license is not required. Officer Rice explained to them that Buck Creek was considered to be waters of the state, and therefore a fishing license is required to fish regardless of where it is located. Officer Rice further explained that the only place where a fishing license is not required is where fish cannot swim into or out of a privately owned pond. The three individuals were each issued a citation for fishing without a license and were given a copy of the current fishing regulations. Officer Rice suggested they contact him or the district office in the future if they are confused by any regulations. The individuals were later found guilty in Clark County Municipal Court.
Division of Watercraft
• Watercraft officers from the Cleveland Area Office had the opportunity to teach children at Chatham Head Start School in Spencer about boating and water safety. Important lessons shared were: never swim alone, always wear a life jacket, and the “reach, throw, and go get help” method. The children also were able to enjoy the company of the Division of Watercraft’s remote controlled assistant, “Coastie!” Scenes were set up that placed the children at make-believe beaches, on fishing boats, or at the pool. The children were provided with objects traditionally found at those scenes such as oars, fishing poles, and tackle boxes. They were then given pretend emergency scenarios and asked to react to that emergency. The importance of wearing a life jacket was also highlighted and demonstrated by a simulated boat accident. In the scenario, the children sat in a boat furnished with classroom chairs and life jackets placed below them. When the boat began taking on water, the kids had to rush around to get their life jackets on properly, resulting in a less than positive rate of success. As a thank you, the children sent the Cleveland office a homemade appreciation book.