Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• This summer, state wildlife officer Matt Teders, assigned to Madison County, patrolled Madison Lake State Park and contacted anglers and park visitors. During officer Teder’s interactions with the public at the park, he has encountered violations including fishing without a license, operating a motor vehicle off a designated roadway, and littering. Officer Teders has also been working with ODNR Division of State Parks and Watercraft to investigate complaints of individuals bringing trash from outside the park to the dumpsters at the park.
• During the 2016 deer gun season, state wildlife officer Tyler Eldred, assigned to Morrow County, and state wildlife investigator Christopher Rice were notified that a landowner hunting on his own property in Knox County had his hunt interrupted by a group conducting a deer drive. After being startled by several gunshots, the landowner got out of his stand and contacted the hunters. An investigation by the officers revealed that a doe and buck had been harvested by a group of eight hunters during their deer drive. It was also determined that none of the hunters had permission to be on the property, and some hunters were hunting without a valid license or deer permit. The officers issued 12 violations to the group of hunters. The equipment used in the deer drive and both harvested deer were seized as evidence. In court, members of the group paid more than $2,500 in fines and court costs.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• In May, state wildlife officer Craig Barr, assigned to Allen County, was patrolling western Lake Erie with Lake Erie investigator Brian Bury. The officers noticed a boat with four occupants trolling eight fishing rods. As they approached the boat, the officers also noticed that the down riggers were deployed but none of the rods being used appeared to be associated with them. The officers contacted the fishermen and found they were all properly licensed but had two walleyes shorter than the 15-inch minimum length limit. The officers then observed lures on the downriggers, which made the total number of units of rod and reel to be 10, two more than the legal limit for the four fishermen. The captain was issued summonses for fishing with more than two rod and reels per person, and possession of two short walleyes. He paid $180 in fines and court costs to the Ottawa County Municipal Court.
• In November 2016, during the weeklong white-tailed deer gun season, state wildlife officer Nathan West, assigned to Wyandot County, received an active Turn In A Poacher (TIP) call from a landowner who indicated there were people hunting without permission on his property. Officer West responded to the property and found a vehicle parked along the road, where he saw at least 10 hunters exiting the woodlot with six deer. Officer West requested assistance, and District Two Wildlife Law Supervisor Paul Kurfis and former executive administrator of law enforcement Ken Fitz arrived to assist. Officer West met with the landowner, who identified two individuals in the group. Both suspects admitted to walking into a field without permission to recover the deer they had killed. One individual was charged with hunting without permission, and the second individual was charged with hunting without permission and hunting deer without a valid either-sex permit. Both suspects later pleaded guilty and paid $1,115 in fines and court costs, with $500 suspended if no future wildlife violations are committed for one year. The deer were seized as evidence and later donated to local charities.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
• Prior to the spring wild turkey season, state wildlife officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, received a Turn In A Poacher (TIP) call regarding an individual in Tuscarawas County possibly baiting an area to hunt turkeys. Officer Brown and state wildlife officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County, investigated the site and discovered a hunting blind with fresh corn several yards in front of it. On the opening morning of wild turkey season, the officers arrived at the site and heard an individual inside the blind using a turkey call. The officers contacted the man and determined that he was turkey hunting. Further investigation revealed that the landowner was also hunting on the next ridge. With assistance from the hunter, the officers were able to contact the landowner at his blind. A large amount of shelled corn was located at this location as well. Both individuals were issued summonses for hunting turkeys over bait and ordered to appear in court. The men were convicted and paid $390 in fines and court costs. They were also ordered to complete several hours of community service and successfully pass a hunter education course.
• On the opening day of spring turkey season, state wildlife officer Jeremy Carter, assigned to Holmes County, and state wildlife officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, conducted surveillance on a ground blind that was placed near several piles of corn and bird feed in Tuscarawas County. Before sunrise, the officers watched two men walk through the woods with the aid of a flashlight and enter the blind. After legal shooting hours and before the men could shoot any birds, the officers ordered them out of the blind. The father and son were issued summons for hunting turkey over bait, and ordered to appear in New Philadelphia Municipal Court. Both men were convicted and paid $380 in fines and court costs.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• In early 2017, state wildlife officer Roby Williams, assigned to Guernsey County, received information about an illegal dump on Salt Fork Wildlife Area. Officer Williams responded to the area to investigate the complaint and found 11 bags of trash piled at the end of a parking area. Through the course of the investigation, officer Williams discovered the name of the individual who had dumped the refuse. Officer Williams contacted the suspect, who admitted to dumping the trash. The suspect was cited in Cambridge Municipal Court, where he received 30 days of community service and was ordered to pay $125 in court costs.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• State wildlife officer Brad Turner, assigned to Preble County, responded to complaints about allegations of people hunting without permission. When officer Turner checked one particular property, he found that someone had dumped a large amount of corn in a field where, according to the landowner, no one was allowed to hunt. Officer Turner noticed there was also a deer stand set up on the adjacent property, which was positioned to allow shooting access to the field where the corn was scattered. Officer Turner left the area but made plans to return later that season. One morning, when officer Turner arrived to check the property, he could see someone sitting in the stand with a hunting implement. Officer Turner contacted the man in the treestand, and confirmed that he cut tree limbs so that he could shoot into the neighbor’s field. Officer Turner issued the man a summons for hunting without permission. The man paid $220 in fines and court costs.