Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars Report – August 12th, 2016
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• While on patrol, state wildlife officer Josh Elster, assigned to Pickaway County, contacted a group of individuals fishing at Deer Creek Lake. When asked to see fishing licenses, one individual stated he was not fishing, but was instead playing Pokémon Go. As other members of the party retrieved their licenses, the individual informed officer Elster there were several water Pokémon in the area, but none were showing up available for capture. Officer Elster confirmed the others had licenses and left the area. When he returned to the area a short time later, officer Elster noticed the individual previously playing Pokémon Go was now fishing. Officer Elster contacted the individual and issued him a citation for fishing without a license. The results of the case are pending.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
State wildlife officer Nathan Kaufmann, assigned to Huron County, and state wildlife officer Gregory Wasilewski, assigned to Richland County, were conducting sport-fishing enforcement in Huron County. Officer Wasilewski observed a canoe with two occupants in the Huron River, and the officers made contact with them. The two occupants informed the officers they had been fishing for bass all morning and had caught a few; however, the bass were filleted while on the river. The officers asked to see the fillets and the occupants opened up their cooler. The officers explained that it is against the law to have fish other than whole while on state waters where a fishing license is required. The officers further explained that there is a size limit of 12 inches for bass on the Huron River and an accurate measurement could not be obtained. The fillets were measured and photographed by the officers. Fourteen fillets (seven bass) were taken as evidence. The two occupants were each issued a summons for possession of fillets other than whole on state waters. One of the occupants was found guilty and given a $75 fine with $55 in court costs. The second occupant had three prior wildlife violations, none relating to fishing, and was given a $150 fine with $55 in court costs.
• State wildlife officers are required to take on many different responsibilities and assignments as part of their jobs. Some of the most important work is dealing with wild animals that are listed as threatened or endangered. In April, state wildlife officer Mike Ohlrich, assigned to Lucas County, responded to a call that several people had found a Blanding’s turtle walking on a sidewalk in downtown Toledo. Unfortunately, in recent years Blanding’s turtle numbers have declined and they are currently listed as a threatened species. In Ohio, these turtles are typically found in northern counties with suitable marshes. This particular turtle was allegedly taken from the wild and illegally kept in captivity by a nearby resident. After following up on the complaint, officer Ohlrich was unable to locate sufficient evidence to charge the suspected individual. Before releasing the turtle, wildlife biologists needed to consider the threat of spreading diseases. A turtle kept in captivity can carry diseases that can spread to wild populations. Wildlife biologists determined that this turtle likely had minimal contact with humans and would be able to be relocated and released. With the help of the Toledo Zoo, this turtle was tagged with a transmitter and released at a nearby marsh. The turtle is now part of a study that the zoo is conducting to monitor Blanding’s turtles in the Lucas County area.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• State wildlife officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County, received a call from a concerned landowner who reported that an individual had shot a deer with a firearm during the closed season, and that the animal had died on his property. Officer Moore arrived at the residence along with deputies from the Medina County Sheriff’s Office. They spoke with the suspect and determined that he had killed the deer with a shotgun. Officer Moore smelled an odor of alcohol on his breath and asked him if he had been drinking. The man stated that he had consumed one beer prior to hunting and two alcoholic beverages after he shot the deer. The firearms season was closed and a search of the license system revealed that the man did not have a hunting license or a deer permit. The man was issued summonses for the two violations and the firearm and deer were seized as evidence. The man was convicted in court and paid more than $250 in fines and court costs. The deer and the firearm were forfeited to the DNR Division of Wildlife.
• While on patrol in October 2015, state wildlife officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, received a TIP complaint stating that several people were dragging a deer through downtown New Philadelphia. Officer Turner met state wildlife officer Kyle Queer, assigned to Carroll County, on scene to search for the suspects. Officer Queer was approached by a man on a bike who told him that he had helped some people drag a deer. The officers followed the man on the bike to a suspect’s home. The investigation revealed that the man had killed the deer with a crossbow on city property and then dumped the carcass in the river. The individual was issued summonses for hunting without written permission and stream litter. He was convicted in court and ordered to pay more than $300 in fines and court costs.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• During the 2015 two-day deer gun season, state wildlife officer Jerrod Allison received a call from a landowner in Coshocton County about someone hunting on his property without written permission. Officer Allison arrived at the area and could not find the hunter in question, but did find three other people hunting on an adjoining property. Officer Allison checked their licenses and discovered that one hunter did not have a hunting license or a deer permit. Another hunter showed officer Allison the hunting license and deer permit of his daughter, who was not with him or hunting at the time. The hunter had not purchased a deer permit and was found to have three previous wildlife violations from years past. Officer Allison issued one ticket to the first hunter for failing to carry and exhibit his deer permit. The hunter paid fines and court costs of $115. The other hunter was issued tickets for failing to purchase a permit and for carrying a deer permit of another. That hunter paid $325 in fines and received a hunting license suspension.
• State wildlife officer Chris Gilkey, assigned to Meigs County, received a call from a landowner during the 2015 two-day deer gun season. The landowner had captured pictures on his trail camera of two individuals hunting without permission on his property. Both suspects were wearing hunter orange clothing and carrying firearms. Officer Gilkey was able to identify both of the individuals, noting that one of them was currently under a three-year hunting revocation for the illegal take of a deer. Officer Gilkey contacted the suspect, who was adamant that he had not hunted since being placed under revocation. During the contact, the suspect was wearing clothing that matched the picture from the trail camera. Further investigation revealed both suspects were hunting. The suspect under revocation was ordered to pay $600 in fines and court costs, was placed on two years of reporting probation, and must complete 200 hours of community service. In addition, five more years of revocation were added to his current suspension, and he could serve up to 180 days in jail for breaking any of the restrictions. The second suspect had neither a hunting license nor a deer permit and was also hunting without permission. He was charged with two of the three violations and paid $400 in fines and court costs.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
Last June, state wildlife officer Scott Cartwright, assigned to Adams County, and state wildlife officer Eric Lamb, assigned to Brown County, contacted a man fishing on the bank of the Ohio River in Brown County. The man was fishing with four rods, two more than allowed. After the officers checked his fishing license, he was warned about fishing with more than two rods. The officers instructed the man to reel in all but two of the rods. The man reeled in all of his rods and said he was leaving. The officers departed from the area. Several hours later, officer Cartwright returned to his patrol truck and saw the same man fishing. Officer Cartwright contacted him again and discovered that he was now fishing with six rods. Officer Cartwright issued the man a summons for fishing with more than two rods. He was fined $110 in a Brown County court.
Division of Watercraft
• While patrolling Portage Lakes State Park, a watercraft officer observed two women riding on the top deck of a vessel in an area not designated for such activity. The officer stopped the boat and upon pulling up to the vessel, the older female yelled, “don’t you have anything more important to do than mess with us for being up here?” As the officer continued with his stop for the violation the older female passenger repeatedly interrupted. As the officer continued with a vessel safety check it was discovered that the male operator did not have a boating license and was missing a visual distress signal. The officer then informed the occupants of the boat that as the older female passenger was the registered owner of the vessel, she would be issued a citation for allowing the operation of the vessel by someone who did not complete a required boater safety education course. When asked for her driver’s license, she was reluctant about providing it. The radio dispatch could not locate her in the system as she had an out-of-state license. She was then asked for her Social Security number and, again, was reluctant to provide it. She eventually provided an incorrect one and was warned she would be arrested if she could not be properly identified. She was then asked if she had been drinking, to which she replied she had had two drinks at one of the local establishments on the lake. The officer then tested her impairment levels, which tested high. He then towed the vessel back to the docks and had a park officer meet him on land. The older woman continued to be rude, belligerent, and disrespectful as the officer served her with her citation and two warnings. Upon appearing for her court date, the older female was found guilty and paid the $174 in fine and court costs.
• While patrolling Portage Lakes State Park, an officer observed a vessel with a 2015 registration sticker. When the officer stopped the boat, it was confirmed that the registration had expired. The vessel safety check revealed that the operator did not have a Type IV throwable personal flotation device on board and did not possess the correct paperwork for the registration. The operator was issued a citation for expired registration and terminated from the water. The operator pleaded guilty in court and paid a fine of $124.
• While patrolling West Branch State Park, an officer observed a pontoon boat east of Rock Spring Road bridge in the posted “no-wake” zone creating a substantial wake. The male operator, once he had passed the second set of no-wake buoys, then switched seats with a female passenger. The officer stopped the boat and the female operator brought the pontoon boat to an idle speed. When the officer activated his blue lights, the male occupant began flailing his arms in the air and directing a string of profanity toward the officer as he paced back and forth on his vessel. Before the officer could speak, the male occupant grabbed what appeared to be a boating education certificate and accused the officer of stopping him for no reason. The officer was finally able to explain the reason for the stop and conducted a vessel safety check. It was discovered that the male operator did not have a boating education card/certificate, a Type IV throwable personal flotation device, or a visual distress signal, and his registration was improperly displayed on the vessel. The male occupant was cited for not having a boating education card/certificate and for creating a wake in a posted no-wake zone. He was then provided with warnings for three other violations and hired an attorney to represent him in court to plead “not guilty.” His fine was $185.
• While on patrol at Wingfoot Lake State Park, an officer observed a boat being operated on the lake with an improper registration display. When the boat exited the water, the officer approached the operator and explained the reason for the stop. The numbers on the side of the vessel were short a number on each side and were in cursive script instead of block characters, which makes them difficult to read. The operator stated that he purchased the boat that way. The officer conducted a vessel safety check and found the fire extinguisher was expired and the operator did not have any life jackets on board. The operator was issued a citation for the registration violation and given warnings for the other two violations. The officer further explained to the operator that he was terminated from the water until the violations were corrected. The fine was $185 for the charge.
• DNR received a call about a boat on the Conneaut breakwall on Lake Erie. The U.S. Coast Guard Station Ashtabula responded by boat, and DNR responded by vehicle. The owner/operator and his passenger were not injured and no medical attention was required. The U.S. Coast Guard pulled the operator and passenger off the boat and brought them back to Conneaut Harbor. The operator was not accustomed to operating at night and believed he was headed south toward the Conneaut harbor entrance (while he was actually headed west toward the breakwall). The operator mistook the lights on land for the navigation lights to the entrance of the harbor. Field sobriety test were conducted and it was determined that alcohol was not a factor in the crash. The owner/operator had the boat removed from the breakwall several days later. The boat was considered totaled.