Pennsylvania Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars Report – July 15th, 2016
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• While checking fishing licenses at Hoover Reservoir, an individual was observed by state wildlife officer Brad Kiger, assigned to Franklin County, with a fishing pole in his hand. When the fisherman saw officer Kiger pulling into the parking lot, he set the pole down. Officer Kiger started to check the fishing licenses of other fishermen in the area and the suspect began to walk away. Officer Kiger met up with the fisherman as he was trying to leave the parking lot. The fisherman stated that he was just on his way to buy his license at the bait store. Officer Kiger noticed that he had fresh minnows because he had already stopped at the bait store. A citation was issued and the fisherman was ordered to pay $128 in fines and court costs.
• In March, state wildlife officer Michael Budd, assigned to Knox County, received a call regarding a complaint about an individual hunting without permission. The property owner stated he had not given permission to anyone to hunt his property, and had seen the individual actively hunting on his property with a firearm. Officer Budd went to the area and found a hunting party, who stated they were coyote hunting with dogs. Officer Budd asked a member of the hunting party for permission slips for the property on which they were hunting. The hunters were able to provide a few permission slips, but not one for the property in question. The hunter in question was issued a citation for hunting without permission.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• During the Memorial Day weekend, state wildlife officer Kelsey Brockman was patrolling the shoreline of Lake Erie in Erie County with state wildlife investigators Brian Bury and Kevin Good. The officers observed a group of people who appeared to be bass fishing. The group was contacted to check for license compliance and to see if they were keeping black bass during the closed season. The officers discovered a smallmouth bass on the group’s stringer. The bass was not only taken during the closed season on Lake Erie, but was also found to be too short to possess. The person who caught it was cited for possession of a black bass during the closed season. She paid $150 in fine and court costs.
• State wildlife officer Josh Zientek, assigned to Fulton County, was contacted by a concerned sportsman during the 2015-2016 deer archery season. The caller advised officer Zientek that he observed two suspects hunting deer with shotguns, and one of the suspects harvested a deer using a shotgun. This occurred on the opening day of Michigan’s firearm season, and the location of the complaint was one-half mile into Ohio. The caller was unable to provide an identity of the suspects. Five days later, officer Zientek was on patrol in the same area and located a parked vehicle. Upon further investigation, officer Zientek located a hunter in a treestand with a shotgun. The hunter thought he was in Michigan. Officer Zientek explained to the individual that he was at least one-half mile into Ohio and he showed the man the state line. Officer Zientek also pointed out where the man had driven his vehicle past a sign stating that he was now entering Ohio. During the investigation, officer Zientek was able to determine that the individual was one of the suspects the caller had previously seen in the same area. Officer Zientek later identified the second suspect who shot the deer with a shotgun in Ohio. The suspects were ordered to appear in Fulton County Western District Court and were found guilty.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• While on patrol at Spencer Lake Wildlife Area, state wildlife officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County, observed five individuals sitting on a dock. The group had only two fishing poles and all of the anglers were observed actively fishing with this equipment. Officer Moore documented their activity and approached the men shortly thereafter. Officer Moore identified himself and asked to see their fishing licenses. All of the men stated that they were not fishing and were simply enjoying the weather. None of them was able to produce valid a fishing license, so officer Moore advised that each person was going to be issued a summons for the offense. Each of them was issued a summons and ordered to appear in court. They were convicted and paid a total of $770 in fines and court costs.
• During the deer-archery season, state wildlife officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, received information regarding an illegally taken deer. Several concerned sportsmen sent officer Turner a picture of the deer and the hunter who allegedly shot it. During the course of the investigation, officer Turner was able to obtain several witness statements and enough physical evidence to secure a search warrant for the suspect’s home. During the search warrant, officers took the deer mount in question and multiple rifles. The man was charged and appeared in court. He pleaded guilty to taking a deer with a rifle and providing false information during a game check. The court ordered the suspect to pay $1,120 in fines and court costs, as well as forfeit the buck mount and rifle to the DNR Division of Wildlife. The buck was scored at 197 inches and the suspect was also ordered to pay a civil restitution penalty of $10,000. The suspect lost his hunting privileges for three years.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• While on patrol in the Crown City Wildlife Area, state wildlife officers Roy Rucker and Bob Nelson made contact with an individual who appeared to be having vehicle trouble. While the officers spoke with the individual, they discovered that he had expired tags on the vehicle, no driver’s license, and an active warrant for his arrest in Gallia County. As the officers took the individual into custody and prepared to transport him to the Gallia County Jail, officer Rucker heard ATVs headed in their direction on an illegal trail through the wildlife area. Officer Rucker ran to the trail on foot and stopped the ATVs as officer Nelson placed the subject with the warrant in their patrol vehicle. Two citations were issued to the individuals driving the ATVs for operating a motor vehicle in a nondesignated area. The officers then transported the subject to the Gallia County Jail and transferred custody with one citation for no driver’s license. The individual was ordered to pay $365 in fines and court costs. The two individuals on the ATVs paid a combined $410 in fines and court costs.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• While on patrol one morning at Darke Wildlife Area, state wildlife officer Jeff Wenning, assigned to Darke County, was looking for individuals who were hunting before the legal shooting time. As officer Wenning drove along one of the dove fields, he observed decoys and two chairs, but no hunters. Officer Wenning then discovered an area where he observed approximately 40 shotgun hulls and some dove feathers. About 15 minutes later, two hunters were seen walking from one of the grassy fields toward the chairs. Officer Wenning drove out to meet the men. Officer Wenning asked to see their hunting licenses, which were found to be in order. Further investigation revealed one man had shot several doves earlier in the morning. The two men were both given warnings for hunting before legal hours, while the subject who shot the doves received a citation. The man was found guilty and ordered to pay fines and court costs. In addition, he was ordered to forfeit the doves he possessed to the DNR Division of Wildlife.
Division of Watercraft
• While patrolling the 10-horsepower Cowan Lake State Park lake, an individual was seen operating a fishing boat with a 55-horsepower motor while sitting on top of the driver’s seat back using his right foot to steer. An officer stopped the boat and conducted a vessel safety check and found it had all the required equipment, but the operator was cited for operating a motor greater than 10 horsepower on a limited horsepower lake.
• A watercraft officer was called to assist with a boating accident that occurred on the Great Miami River in West Carrolton. A personal watercraft was operating on full plane and spraying people on the dock with the wake and spray from the engine before the accident occurred. The operator of the personal watercraft struck a bystander in the water near the dock in the face and head after he jumped into the path of the personal watercraft. The personal watercraft continued until stopping on the river bank. It was discovered that the operator had a warrant for his arrest, and he began to flee the scene. The operator’s name was given to a West Carrolton police officer. He was later picked up by a Franklin police officer on a previous warrant. The operator gave a full confession of what had happened and stated that he had not been drinking any alcohol prior to the accident. The operator submitted to a urine sample to test for drugs and alcohol, which was turned over to an DNR investigator for analysis. The operator stated that the urine might test positive for marijuana and Adderall. The operator was cited for fleeing from the scene, reckless operation of a vessel, operation in a restricted area with a vessel, and not maintaining a proper look out. Further charges may be made including boating under the influence.
• While on patrol at Rocky Fork State Park Lake, a watercraft officer observed a vessel traveling at greater than idle speed in a designated no-wake zone and stopped the vessel. After informing the operator for the reason for the stop, a vessel safety check was completed. Upon completion of the vessel safety check, the following violations were found or noted: no valid registration paperwork, no throwable flotation device, no visual distress signal, no sound producing device, creating a wake in a no-wake zone, and open containers of alcohol in a state park. The operator admitted to consuming alcohol and was tested for field sobriety. The operator was found to not be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. In interaction with the operator after field sobriety testing he admitted there was marijuana aboard the vessel. The drugs and paraphernalia were confiscated. The operator was cited for the following: unlawfully traveling at greater than idle speed in a designated no-wake zone, unlawfully displaying/consuming an alcoholic beverage or intoxicating liquor in a state park, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia. The passenger aboard the vessel admitted the other drugs and paraphernalia were theirs and was cited for possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. Warnings were given for the other violations from the vessel safety check and charges are still pending in court.
• While patrolling Rocky Fork State Park Lake, a watercraft officer observed a vessel operating without displaying a valid registration decal and stopped it. After informing the operator of the reason for the stop, a vessel safety check was completed. Upon completion of the vessel safety check the following violations were found: no valid registration paperwork, no valid registration decal, and no throwable flotation device. The operator was issued a citation for unlawfully operating a vessel without displaying a valid registration decal. Warnings were given for the other violations. Charges are still pending in court.
• While patrolling on the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, watercraft officers observed a Kentucky vessel operating with expired registration decals. Upon making contact with the driver, the officers noticed a marijuana pipe at the driver’s console and the pipe had an odor of marijuana. The officers cited the operator for possession of illegal drugs, and issued warnings for an expired registration and drug paraphernalia.