Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs and Collars — Feb. 17, 2017

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1

• While on patrol Thanksgiving morning, state wildlife officer Josh Elster, assigned to Pickaway County, observed a group of individuals hunting waterfowl. Pickaway County is in the south waterfowl zone, and only Canada geese could legally be hunted at the time. Officer Elster observed the group from a distance and could see a spread of goose decoys. As officer Elster approached the group to check hunting licenses and waterfowl stamps, he could see a dead hen mallard lying next to one subject’s blind. While the subjects were retrieving their licenses and stamps, officer Elster asked if they had shot any other ducks that morning. One of the subjects stated they had only been able to shoot the hen mallard and a black duck, which the subject pulled out from inside his blind to show to officer Elster. Officer Elster reviewed the waterfowl zones with the hunters, and advised the subjects to pay closer attention to the dates in the future. Two of the subjects were issued a summons for taking ducks during the closed season. The ducks were collected as evidence and logged in to an evidence facility.

• In March 2016, state wildlife officer Adam Smith, assigned to Logan County, received a call from a concerned sportsperson who had found a dead deer with a snare around its neck. The caller was unable to find a tag bearing the trapper’s contact information. Further investigation by officer Smith revealed two subjects had committed numerous wildlife violations. One subject was cited for not having a valid hunting license and was ordered to pay $250.50 in fines and court costs, and 10 days in jail, which was suspended as long as the subject showed proof of obtaining a valid hunting license. The other subject was cited for failing to check his traps each day and was ordered to pay $250.50 in fines and court costs, and 30 days in jail, which was suspended as long as the subject showed proof of completing a trapper education course and has no wildlife violations in the next three years. The caller in this case received $50 from Ohio’s Turn-In-A-Poacher program.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

• During the 2016 youth deer hunting season, state wildlife officer Matthew Leibengood, assigned to Sandusky County, encountered two back-to-back situations where youth hunters were not accompanied by adults. In the first situation, the officer made contact with the accompanying adult who had left the youth alone to get coffee from his vehicle. In the second situation, the adult was pushing deer for his son when officer Leibengood encountered them. Each adult was charged for failing to accompany the youth hunters. Both pleaded guilty and paid $125 in fines and court costs.

• State wildlife officer Austin Dickinson, assigned to Seneca County, received a call while on patrol during the two-day deer gun season from a landowner concerning people who had been hunting on the property without permission earlier that day. The caller also believed a deer had been shot on the property. Officer Dickinson responded to the scene and found evidence confirming the hunters had shot a deer on the property. Further investigation by officer Dickinson revealed the deer harvested illegally on the landowner’s property was a seven-point buck that had been checked in as a doe, and was reported as harvested in a different county. The deer was seized as evidence and the person responsible was charged with hunting without permission, falsifying information for county of harvest, and falsifying information for type of deer harvested. The suspect was found guilty of all three charges and ordered to pay more than $1,100 in fines, court costs, and restitution.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

• During the 2016 deer archery season, state wildlife officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, received information that a West Virginia resident had harvested an antlered deer in Ohio and failed to game check the animal. Officer Porter contacted West Virginia DNR Officer Steve Haines for help locating the suspect. Several days later, Porter and state wildlife officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, traveled to West Virginia and met officer Haines at the suspect’s home. Further investigation revealed that the man harvested an 8-point white-tailed deer in Jefferson County, Ohio, and failed to check it in. The investigation also revealed that the man had failed to game-check a 10-point antlered deer he harvested in 2015. Officer Porter issued the man three summonses and Haines issued two summonses and seized the man’s cellphone. The suspect appeared in Jefferson County Court and was convicted. He paid $835 in fines and court costs, spent three days in jail, received six months supervised probation, and was ordered to complete 25 hours of community service. The man’s hunting privileges were also suspended until he paid $1,840 in restitution for the deer. The antlers were forfeited to the DNR Division of Wildlife.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

• While working the deer gun season in Perry County, a state wildlife investigator encountered hunters conducting a deer drive early one afternoon. While waiting for the hunters to conclude the drive, the investigator spotted a buck in the bed of a pickup truck. The investigator performed a license check on the individual listed on the temporary tag, which revealed the hunter had purchased only one deer permit. With the harvest of the buck, the individual was now hunting without a valid deer permit. The investigator entered the woods to locate the suspect. While searching for the suspect, a different hunter came back to the vehicle. State wildlife officer Eric Lane, assigned to Perry County, arrived on scene and contacted the second hunter. Officer Lane advised the hunter of the situation. The hunter called the suspect and asked him to come to the vehicle. The suspect subsequently arrived at the vehicle. Further investigation revealed the suspect had purchased a new deer permit while making his way back to the vehicle from the woods. The suspect was issued a summons for hunting deer without a deer permit, and issued two verbal warnings – one warning for failing to invalidate his first deer permit (upon the harvest of the buck), and a second warning for failing to carry and exhibit the second deer permit he purchased on his phone. The suspect was convicted and paid $175 in fines and court costs.

• During the 2016 two-day extended deer gun season, state wildlife officer Jeff Berry, assigned to Muskingum County, was on patrol when he noticed a hunter located down a long lane. Officer Berry drove down the lane and made contact with a group of five deer hunters. Officer Berry checked the five hunters’ licenses and deer permits. While checking one individual’s license and deer permit, officer Berry was handed the individual’s cellphone. Officer Berry verified his electronic hunting license on the cellphone and asked the individual for his deer permit, which the individual did not have on his person. Officer Berry explained to the hunter that it is required to carry a printed deer permit. The individual was convicted in court of failure to carry and exhibit a deer permit, and paid $175 in fines and court costs.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

• In late October, state wildlife officer Jason Keller, assigned to Warren County, received a call from a local waterfowl hunter about individuals shooting wood ducks at Spring Valley Marsh after sunset. Officer Keller responded to the marsh and observed two individuals in a canoe coming toward the parking lot. Officer Keller contacted the individuals, who stated they were duck hunting. Officer Keller observed no harvested ducks in the canoe, but numerous empty hulls. Both hunters stated that they would still be hunting, except that they ran out of shells. Neither individual was aware of regulations regarding legal shooting hours. After some extensive conversation about waterfowl hunting and the regulations, officer Keller cited both individuals for hunting after legal hours. Both individuals subsequently pleaded guilty in Warren County Court and each paid $275 in fines and court costs. Several weeks later, officer Keller contacted both individuals again. This time both individuals were in compliance with all waterfowl hunting laws, and were very happy to show Officer Keller their first harvested mallards.

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