Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs and Collars – Oct. 13, 2017
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
• During the Memorial Day weekend, state wildlife officer supervisor Dave Warner and state wildlife officer Jeff Tipton, assigned to Champaign County, were patrolling the south side of Kiser Lake in western Champaign County when the officers observed a group of men fishing. As the men packed up their belongings and were preparing to leave, one of the men picked up several clear bottles and tossed them in the rocks along the fishing pier. The officers contacted the men at their vehicle, and after questioning, the man admitted to littering along the pier. The officers and the man returned to the pier, removed the litter, and the officers issued a citation to the man for littering on state property.
• While on patrol during last year’s deer archery season, state wildlife officer Brad Kiger, assigned to Franklin County, came across a vehicle in an area where he has received complaints of people hunting without permission. As officer Kiger scanned the area, he spotted a hunter in a nearby field. Officer Kiger contacted the man and learned that the subject did not have permission to be on the property. During the conversation, officer Kiger discovered that the subject had also been drinking. The subject was issued a citation for hunting without permission and someone was contacted to pick up the hunter and his vehicle. In court, the hunter paid a $100 fine plus court costs.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
• While patrolling the Ohio waters of Lake Erie, state wildlife officer Kelsey Brockman, assigned to Erie County, and state wildlife investigators Gary Manley and Cody Klima observed a boat that appeared to have only one person on board and trolling with five rods. The officers approached the boat and confirmed that the man was the only person on board and all five rods were in use. Officer Brockman boarded the boat and found that the man was in possession of 11 walleyes, five over his daily limit, and in addition, eight of those fish were undersized. The man also did not have a valid fishing license. He was cited for fishing too many rods, possessing short walleyes, being over his daily bag limit, and not having a fishing license.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
While working sportfishing enforcement along the Lake Erie shoreline, state wildlife officer Randy White, assigned to Lorain County, and state wildlife officer Jeremy Carter, assigned to Holmes County, spoke with a man who was fishing along the shoreline. Officer White greeted him and asked if he had caught any fish that day. The man stated that he was just practicing his casts, hadn’t caught anything, and therefore did not need a license. The officers informed the man he needed a fishing license to attempt to catch fish, regardless of whether or not he actually caught any. The man became more argumentative and uncooperative and refused to provide any identifying information to the officers. He was subsequently arrested and issued a summons for fishing without a license. The man was convicted and paid over $150 in fines and court costs.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
• State wildlife officer Eric Lane, assigned to Perry County, and state wildlife officer supervisor Dan Perko were recently working a project on AEP ReCreation Land in Muskingum County. The two officers checked several anglers and found them all to be in compliance, then continued on to a walk-in area. They noticed two boats on the water, each with two anglers, and two trucks parked along the lake. The officers did a license check and asked who owned the trucks. One person from each boat claimed ownership to a truck. The officers advised the men that this area was for foot traffic only, and each vehicle operator was issued a summons for operating a vehicle in a non-designated area. They both paid fines and court costs.
• During Labor Day weekend, state wildlife officer Brad St. Clair, assigned to Noble County, was on patrol at the AEP ReCreation Land when he observed a vehicle parked in a non-designated area of the public hunting grounds. Officer St. Clair contacted two individuals who were fishing near the vehicle. After questioning, the driver of the vehicle admitted to knowingly driving into the non-designated area. The man was issued a citation for the violation and was ordered to appear in a Muskingum County court. He was found guilty and ordered to pay $75 in court costs. In addition, he was ordered to perform 40 hours of community service.
• During the last week of August, state wildlife officer Jared Abele, assigned to Vinton County, received information through the Turn-In-A-Poacher hotline about individuals digging ginseng illegally near the Hocking/Vinton County line. Officer Abele called state wildlife officer Chris Dodge, assigned to Hocking County, who was closer to the location. When officer Dodge reached the complaint area he located the suspects’ car. At the same time, he witnessed two people exit the woods and run across the roadway toward the vehicle. Officer Dodge stopped the individuals at their vehicle and was able to determine that they had been illegally digging ginseng in the area for the past two days. Officer Dodge seized their digging tools and 113 green ginseng roots. Officer Abele arrived on scene, and the two officers followed the suspects back to their residence and obtained consent to search their homes. Both suspects were issued two summonses for digging ginseng out of season and digging ginseng without written permission from the landowner. The cases are still pending in Hocking County Municipal Court.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
• State wildlife officer Jasmine Grossnickle, assigned to Miami County, was on patrol during last year’s youth deer gun season. While driving in an area where she had previously received complaints of wildlife violations, she noticed a couple of bowhunters and multiple trucks parked near the railroad tracks. While speaking with the two hunters, a third bowhunter walked to his truck wearing dark clothing. Officer Grossnickle contacted the third hunter and asked if he was aware that it was youth deer gun season and that he was required to wear hunter orange. The hunter stated that he hadn’t paid attention to the youth season dates and was very cooperative and apologetic. The hunter appeared in Miami County Municipal Court and paid a $250 waiver for failing to wear hunter orange while hunting deer during the youth deer gun season.
• State wildlife officer Tim Rourke, assigned to Shelby County, began an investigation after receiving several complaints of a suspect exhibiting very questionable hunting tactics. As officer Rourke’s investigation broadened, it became clear that the individual was involved in frequent illegal hunting activities. Officer Rourke was able to gather an abundance of evidence, including public tips, statements, pictures, and videos from multiple sources. So much information was obtained that officer Rourke requested assistance from state wildlife investigator Ryan Garrison. Over the course of the next two months, the investigation revealed videos of live raccoons and coyotes with leads around their muzzles, and the suspect’s hunting dogs viciously attacking and killing them. Pictures were obtained of multiple dead deer, some displaying gruesome injuries, along with evidence of a vehicle, hammer, club, or baseball bat being involved. Officers Rourke and Garrison conducted an interview in which the suspect admitted to multiple wildlife violations. Following the interview, officer Rourke went to the suspect’s residence and recovered two butchered deer, as well as the wooden club used in the killing of several wild animals. Officer Rourke later met with the suspect and issued him multiple citations, including: hunting without permission, shooting at a deer from the roadway, illegal possession of a white-tailed deer, and illegal method of taking a wild animal. After several court appearances, the case resulted in six wildlife related hunting convictions, which entailed sentences containing $1,005 in fines, 18 days in jail, 282 additional days in jail suspended, loss of the defendant’s hunting privileges for a period of three years, two years of probation, 120 hours of community service, completion of a counseling program, and all evidence being forfeited to the DNR Division of Wildlife. In addition, the judge ordered that the defendant cannot be in the presence of any hunting activity for the duration of his probation, and that his dogs cannot be used in any hunting activity.