Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Nov. 23, 2018
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
State wildlife officer Tony Zerkle, assigned to Fairfield County, received a call from a homeowner who was having issues with a neighbor tampering with traps. The caller explained that she had hired a nuisance animal control company to trap animals that were digging under her house. The nuisance operator advised her an animal had been caught in their trap and someone let it out. She confronted her neighbor about it and he admitted he had removed a raccoon from the trap. Officer Zerkle contacted the man and issued him a summons for tampering with and removing an animal from a legally set trap. He pleaded guilty and paid $200 in fines and court costs.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
Before dawn on Labor Day, state wildlife officer Matthew Leibengood, assigned to Sandusky County, was patrolling Pickerel Creek Wildlife Area in the controlled waterfowl hunting area. About 25 minutes before the legal time to begin hunting waterfowl, officer Leibengood heard a gunshot from one of the units. With his waders on, officer Leibengood walked to the hunters who had fired the early shot. There were three hunters together and one of them showed officer Leibengood his freshly killed blue-winged teal. Officer Leibengood seized the teal and issued a summons to the hunter for the violation.
State wildlife officer Greg Wasilewski, assigned to Richland County, received a complaint about several bags of trash that had been found in a local park in the Ashland County Park District. The complainant informed officer Wasilewski that he had found several receipts in one of the bags, including one to a local restaurant where the suspect had used a credit card to pay for food. State wildlife officer Tyler Eldred, assigned to Morrow County, reached out to the restaurant and obtained additional information about the suspect. Officer Wasilewski then contacted the suspect who admitted to littering. The suspect was charged with littering and paid $154 in fines and court costs.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
During last year’s deer gun season, state wildlife officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, received information regarding an individual who had retrieved a deer on private property without permission. The caller stated that he had approached an individual who was in the process of field dressing a deer on his property, and the individual had stated that he was hunting on the adjoining property and provided a name of the landowner. Officer Brown was unable to find property that matched the landowner’s name provided by the suspect. The following afternoon, officer Brown checked the DNR Division of Wildlife harvest database for deer harvested the previous day. Upon investigation, officer Brown determined that the trespassing individual had illegally killed and checked in three deer during gun week and worked with someone else to check in deer on his behalf. That person was charged and convicted of providing false information. He paid $140 in fines and costs. The trespassing individual was charged with two counts of hunting deer without a valid deer permit. The individual pleaded guilty and was ordered to pay $276 in fines and costs. All of the deer meat was forfeited to the DNR Division of Wildlife.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
In March, state wildlife investigator Travis Abele and state wildlife officer Chris Dodge, assigned to Hocking County, placed several cameras in various locations on O’Dowd Wildlife Area. The officers were targeting littering violations and motor vehicles driving in non-designated areas. In July, one of the cameras captured a video of a man and woman dumping an entire truck load of trash, including TVs, tires, household trash, and auto parts. Unfortunately, the camera could not capture a legible license plate. Officer Dodge reached out to the Hocking County Sheriff’s Office, who placed the video on social media. Within 24 hours, the two suspects had been identified and located. Officer Dodge was able to obtain confessions to two separate litter dumps and issued four summonses. Both individuals pleaded guilty to the charges in Hocking Municipal Court. Combined, they were ordered to pay over $650 in fines and court costs and were each placed on two years of probation. Additionally, the woman was sentenced to 60 days in jail, with 55 days suspended, and must serve 80 hours of community service in lieu of jail time. The man was sentenced to a combined 120 days in jail, with 110 days suspended, and must serve 160 hours of community service in lieu of jail time. All community service will be performed on DNR Division of Wildlife property.
After the 2017 deer gun season, state wildlife officer Matt VanCleve, assigned to Pike County, received a complaint that someone had dumped multiple deer carcass along a roadway. Officer VanCleve responded to the area and discovered 12 butchered deer carcasses, most of which were button bucks and does. Along with the carcasses was a tarp and a cardboard box bearing a woman’s name and address. Officer VanCleve headed to the address and spoke to the woman’s husband, who admitted to game checking in two of the deer. The man stated the other animals were deer his friends had killed during the deer gun season. Officer VanCleve interviewed the other men and discovered that of the 12 animals, only one buck and one doe had been game checked. Officer VanCleve issued 24 summonses to eight individuals for wildlife and litter violations. The defendants appeared in a Pike County Court and paid a total of $3,490 in fines and court costs. Each person received a one-year hunting license revocation.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
Before the legal digging season for ginseng, investigator Joel Buddelmeyer was driving the rural country roads in Adams County in search of early ginseng diggers when he noticed a truck parked in a creek bed, which appeared as though the driver was trying to hide the vehicle. Investigator Buddelmeyer waited nearby and watched three males walk back to the vehicle, place some items in the truck, and begin to drive away. Investigator Buddelmeyer contacted state wildlife officer Eric Lamb, assigned to Brown County, who was parked nearby. Officer Lamb picked up investigator Buddelmeyer and they conducted a traffic stop on the truck. When investigator Buddelmeyer saw one of the passengers, he realized that he had caught this man digging ginseng out of season for two years in a row. During their investigation, the officers retrieved 331 ginseng roots and 92 ginseng berries as evidence and learned that all three men had been illegally digging the ginseng roots. Two of the subjects (the third was a juvenile) were charged with several ginseng related charges and ordered to appear in an Adams County court. Both men were found guilty and received a $350 fine, two years of probation, and 180 days in jail. All of the seized evidence was forfeited to the state.