Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs and Collars — March 31, 2017
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• During the 2016 deer gun season, state wildlife officer John Coffman, assigned to Fayette County, made contact with two hunters in a field. One man was without a deer permit and was carrying shot shells ranging from #6 to 00 Buck. The suspect claimed that he carried the shot shells because he wanted to shoot rabbits or coyotes. He also mentioned to officer Coffman about two coyotes he had killed on an earlier date that had been in “illegal leg traps.” Officer Coffman had previously investigated a complaint from a trapper whose traps had been destroyed and two coyotes in the traps, which had been shot multiple times. The suspect admitted that he had shot the two coyotes and destroyed the traps. The man was charged with two deer violations and disturbing legally set traps. He was found guilty and ordered to pay fines and court costs.
• Throughout the 2015-2016 deer season, state wildlife officer Maurice Irish, assigned to Delaware County, received multiple reports of deer carcasses being dumped on City of Columbus property. A total of four bucks were found on the property, all of which had been shot by broadheads and had their antlers removed, but otherwise left intact. Later that year, officer Irish received another report of a deer carcass discovered near the same location. The deer had also been shot with a broadhead, the antlers had been cut off, and no meat was removed from the animal. This time, extensive surveillance conducted during the year led to a suspect. During the interview, the man admitted to killing the bucks with a crossbow and only keeping the antlers. The antlers and other evidence were seized and he received several citations. After pleading guilty, the man paid $1,400 in fines, restitution, and court costs.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• During the 2016 deer gun season, state wildlife officer Nathan West, assigned to Wyandot County, state wildlife officer Austin Dickinson, assigned to Seneca County, and a deputy with the Wyandot County Sheriff’s Office all responded to a complaint regarding nine individuals trespassing and hunting on property without permission. The officers arrived on scene and documented the locations of all hunters, while the complainant stopped by to show officers the property boundaries. Officer West confirmed property parcels and ownership using the online auditor’s mapping system. All nine individuals were charged with hunting without permission of the landowner or the landowner’s authorized agent. Five individuals paid a waiver and four individuals came to court and pleaded no contest. Each paid a total of $220 in fines and court costs to Upper Sandusky Municipal Court.
• In January during the deer muzzleloader season, state wildlife officer Craig Barr, assigned to Allen County, responded to a complaint regarding hunting on a landowner’s property without permission. Officer Barr contacted state wildlife officer Brad Buening, assigned to Van Wert County, to meet him in the area. Upon arrival, both officers made contact with the group of four hunters, one of whom had shot a deer and retrieved it from the complainant’s property. The hunter believed he had permission from the owner of the property to retrieve the deer, but further investigation revealed the current property owner had bought the property from the person whom the hunters believed owned it 10 years before. During the course of the hunt, the hunter had shot a deer on a neighboring property and he and one other hunter entered the complainant’s woods to retrieve the deer. After presenting the story and evidence to the landowner, she decided to file charges against both hunters who entered her property without permission. Both hunters entered pleas of no contest in Lima Municipal Court and were ordered to pay $750 in fines and court costs. Additionally, the seven-point buck was forfeited and donated to a local food bank.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• While patrolling the shoreline of Charles Mill Lake, state wildlife officer Brennan Earick, assigned to Ashland County, and state wildlife supervisor Eric Bear observed two individuals standing along the edge of the spillway, one of whom was throwing a cast net into the water. As they approached the two men, officer Earick noticed that their truck matched the description of a vehicle associated with complaints regarding individuals taking game fish with a net. Officer Earick spoke with the men and checked their fishing licenses while officer Bear inspected a holding tank in the automobile. Further investigation by officer Bear resulted in the discovery of a bucket behind the back seat, which contained six channel catfish ranging from four to six inches in length. One of the men admitted that he had netted the channel catfish and was planning to use them for bait at a pay lake fishing tournament that night. He was charged with taking fish by unlawful means and ordered to appear in Ashland Municipal Court. He was later convicted and paid $137 in fines and costs.
• While instructing a hunter education course, state wildlife officer Randy White, assigned to Lorain County, observed a clearly intoxicated individual in a verbal altercation concerning the man’s use of profanity around students in the class. Officer White approached the man who became increasingly agitated and uncooperative. The man fled the building, got in his vehicle, and left the facility. Officer White followed the man and was able to stop the vehicle. He contacted the local police department and held the man until they arrived. The man was arrested and charged with OVI, convicted in Avon Lake Municipal Court, and sentenced to 30 days in jail. He also paid $677 in fines and costs, and his driving privileges were suspended for two years.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• During the 2016 deer gun season, state wildlife officer Hollie Fluharty, assigned to Scioto County, received information regarding a bobcat being killed by a hunter. The caller stated a nonresident hunter from Maryland had shot the bobcat with a muzzleloader, then had discarded the carcass near the cabin where the suspect was staying. Through the course of the investigation, officer Fluharty was able to locate the carcass and collect statements from other hunters in the area. The case also involved efforts by Maryland wildlife officers who assisted with interviewing the suspect. After appearing in Portsmouth Municipal Court, the suspect was sentenced to probation and ordered to pay $500 in restitution plus fines and court costs.
• In early spring 2017, state wildlife officer Roby Williams, assigned to Guernsey County, and state wildlife officer supervisor Bryan Postlethwait were checking a fishing access area below the Dillon Reservoir spillway in Muskingum County. The officers contacted two fishermen, neither of whom had purchased a 2017 fishing license. Both men were issued citations for fishing without a license and ordered to appear in Muskingum County Court. Both were found guilty and ordered to pay $125 in fines and court costs, ordered to purchase a fishing license, and must have no other wildlife violations for 60 months.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• In fall 2016, state wildlife officer Matt Roberts, assigned to Clinton County, was patrolling an area in Adams County known for spotlighting activity. Officer Roberts observed a vehicle spotlighting and was able to perform a traffic stop. Upon reaching the vehicle, officer Roberts discovered a 12-gauge shotgun located between the two individuals in the front of the vehicle and several deer slugs on one of the individuals. The three individuals admitted to spotlighting deer and further admitted to planning on killing a deer that night. All three were issued summonses for spotlighting and the gun and flashlight were seized as evidence. The individuals were each found guilty and received a $300 fine plus court costs and two years of probation