Ohio Outdoor New Cuffs & Collars – Feb. 1, 2019
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
Just prior to the 2018 deer gun season, state wildlife officer Chad Grote, assigned to Marion County, was contacted about a social media post. The caller said that the post included a picture of a young lady posing with a dead deer and a shotgun. Officer Grote checked harvest records and found that she had not checked in a deer. He contacted the young lady and her father who both admitted that they had gone out together and each had shot at the deer that was harvested. The daughter had a hunting license, but she did not have a deer permit. Her father had both a hunting license and a deer permit. Instead of checking in the deer accurately and contacting a state wildlife officer about the mistake of harvesting a deer with a firearm before the start of the season, the pair butchered the deer and did not check it in. They then disposed of the carcass in a small stream. Officer Grote issued each of them summonses for their violations, and both were found guilty in Marion Municipal Court. They paid $326 in fines and court cost and were sentenced to 10 days of jail, which were suspended.
While on patrol prior to the deer archery season, state wildlife officer Patrick Muldovan, assigned to Licking County, and state wildlife officer supervisor Bill Bullard received a Turn-In-a-Poacher report regarding a deer that had been killed the day before. The person believed to be responsible for killing the animal denied he had killed it. However, pictures had been taken showing the suspect with the deer the day prior. The man was issued a summons for possessing a dead deer without properly tagging it and paid $256 in fines and court costs.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
During the 2018 deer gun season, state wildlife officer Nathan Kaufmann, assigned to Huron County, received a complaint about out-of-state hunters crossing property they did not have permission to be on to gain easier access to property where they had permission to hunt. After speaking with the complainant, it was clear that the hunters were no longer on the property. The next morning, officer Kaufmann received information from the same complainant that the hunters had again crossed his property. Officer Kaufmann arrived at the complainant’s property and located two sets of boot tracks in the fresh snow that had fallen overnight. Officer Kaufmann followed the tracks to a treestand where he contacted one hunter. A second hunter soon arrived in the same location, and both were issued a summons for hunting without permission. Each hunter appeared in court and paid $175 in fines and court costs.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
One evening during the fall, state wildlife officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, and state wildlife officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, were conducting surveillance along a rural road where they had received several reports of deer being shot. While sitting at their location, they observed a truck traveling toward them while casting three spotlights from three different windows. The officers initiated a traffic stop on the truck, which had West Virginia license plates. An inspection of the vehicle uncovered a loaded rifle, several spotlights, and knives covered in deer hair and blood. All items were seized as evidence. During the investigation, the officers determined that the men were responsible for a deer killed on that road within the previous week. Officer Turner contacted the West Virginia DNR, who sent officers to the suspect’s home. The West Virginia officers recovered 17 deer heads that had been killed illegally within the past two weeks, including a large antlered deer. The suspects were issued several summonses and ordered to appear in court. After the men were convicted, they were ordered to pay a total of $3,000 in fines and court costs and $9,784.86 in restitution for the large antlered deer. The men also spent 10 days in jail and had their hunting privileges suspended for 10 years. The spotlights, knives, deer parts, and rifle were forfeited to the DNR Division of Wildlife. Additional cases are pending in West Virginia.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
In September 2018, state wildlife officer Brad St. Clair, assigned to Noble County, received a report of a woman digging ginseng without permission. The landowner was able to provide valuable information, which allowed officer St. Clair to identify the woman. Officer St. Clair then contacted the woman, who admitted to digging ginseng without permission on the landowner’s property. In addition, officer St. Clair discovered the woman had dug ginseng several times that month and failed to keep records as required by law. She was issued citations for digging ginseng without permission and failing to keep accurate and complete records. The woman appeared in Noble County Court and Cambridge Municipal Court where she was found guilty. She was ordered to pay a total of $644 in fines and court costs.
In November 2018, state wildlife officer Ted Witham, assigned to Jackson County, received a phone call about hunting violations that had occurred on the second day of the youth deer gun season. Officer Witham responded to the area and was able to speak with both the caller and a landowner. The caller had seen someone wearing camouflage walk onto the landowner’s property while carrying a shotgun. A short time later, the caller had heard a gunshot and then witnessed the suspect drive a truck back to the woods and load up the deer. The landowner had not given anyone permission to hunt on his property. Officer Witham was able to locate the suspect, who admitted to killing a doe on the property with a shotgun. The suspect was found guilty of hunting without permission, hunting without a deer permit, taking a deer with a firearm during the youth-only firearm season, and failing to game check the deer. He was ordered to pay $610 in fines, restitution, and court costs, lost his hunting privileges for one year, and forfeited the shotgun used in the crime.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
On the opening day of the deer gun season, state wildlife officer Jason Keller, assigned to Warren County, received a call from a local hunter who informed officer Keller that someone was hunting without permission on private property close to where he was currently hunting. Officer Keller responded to the area and was speaking with the hunter when he heard an ATV engine start nearby. Officer Keller went into the woods in search of the ATV operator, whom he caught up with about a half mile away. On the ATV were two hunters, one of whom was using an illegal rifle to hunt deer. After speaking with the pair, officer Keller discovered other wildlife violations that had been committed. Both individuals were charged with hunting without permission in addition to numerous other charges. The two defendants pleaded guilty in Lebanon Municipal Court and paid $1,746 in total fines and court costs. In addition, the hunter who was using the illegal rifle had his hunting privileges revoked for two years.