Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – March 1, 2019
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
While on patrol during the deer gun season, state wildlife officer Tony Zerkle, assigned to Fairfield County, contacted a group of hunters returning to their vehicles after a deer drive. After checking licenses and deer permits, officer Zerkle observed an untagged deer in the bed of a truck and asked who had shot the deer. One of the men admitted the deer had been loaded into the truck and driven from Licking County to Fairfield County without a temporary tag. The hunter was issued one summons for transporting the deer without having a tag filled out or attached. He was found guilty in Fairfield County Municipal Court and paid $275 in fines and court costs.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
During the 2018 deer gun season, state wildlife officer Ryan Kennedy, assigned to Hardin County, received a complaint of someone hunting without permission. The complainant was hunting on property where he had permission and had come across another hunter who did not have permission to hunt the property. Officer Kennedy responded to the call and located the suspect, issuing the man a citation for hunting without permission. He pleaded guilty and paid a $250 fine plus court costs.
In November 2018, state wildlife investigators Matthew Fisher and Jason Hadsell, both assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, were contacting waterfowl hunters when a boat with four people on board approached the ramp. Investigators Hadsell and Fisher asked to see the hunters’ licenses, state and federal waterfowl stamps, and proof of HIP survey. While the four occupants were getting out of the boat, investigator Hadsell saw a dead grebe lying on the floor. He asked who had shot the bird and one hunter indicated that he had, and it was the only bird killed that day. Investigator Hadsell asked if he knew what kind of bird it was, and the man said it was a merganser. He informed the man that it was a grebe and was not legal to hunt in Ohio. Investigator Fisher searched the Ohio license system and found that one of the other hunters did not possess a valid federal duck stamp, which is required to be carried while hunting waterfowl. That hunter was charged with hunting without having a federal stamp in his possession, and the other hunter was charged with killing a non-game bird for shooting the grebe. The hunter that had shot the grebe pleaded guilty to the charge in Conneaut Municipal Court and paid $345 in fines and court costs. The case is still pending for the hunter who did not have his federal waterfowl stamp.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
State wildlife officer Jason Warren, assigned to Ashtabula County, and state wildlife investigator Brian Keyser were on patrol when they observed a vehicle lose traction in the snow and become stranded on railroad tracks. The officers then heard a train whistle in the distance. The two officers ran to the car and noticed that the car’s tires were resting in deep groves that had been cut in the snowpack by train traffic. Officer Warren was able to quickly contact the Conneaut Police and the railroad company about the situation, and the train was stopped before the crossing. Another driver with a truck approached the crossing and pulled the vehicle free of the tracks. The driver of the vehicle thanked the officers for their assistance as they drove away.
In the evening following the last day of the deer gun season, state wildlife officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, was on patrol in an area of suspected spotlighting activity. After dark, he observed a truck on the opposite ridge spotlight several fields. As the truck approached his position, officer Turner could see the spotlight was being cast from the driver’s side of the truck. He performed a traffic stop and uncovered multiple violations. Two Pennsylvania residents in the truck were in possession of a loaded rifle and an untagged deer. They also admitted to hunting deer all week without a nonresident hunting license or deer tag. Both individuals were charged and ordered to appear in court. Both men were convicted and ordered to pay a total of $2,750 in fines, court costs, and restitution. In addition, their hunting privileges were revoked for six years, and the rifle, spotlight, and deer were forfeited to the DNR Division of Wildlife.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
During the 2018 deer season, state wildlife officer Wes Feldner, assigned to Monroe County, was working an area known for spotlighting activity. Long after dark, officer Feldner noticed a vehicle turning sideways in the road several times. Officer Feldner conducted a traffic stop on the vehicle and the driver admitted to looking for deer in the field. A rifle was found inside the vehicle. The driver was cited for spotlighting and ordered to appear in a Monroe County court. The individual pleaded guilty to the violations and was ordered to pay $355 in fines and court costs. The individual was also sentenced to 30 days in jail, suspended, and had his hunting license suspended for one year.
State wildlife officer Chris Gilkey, assigned to Meigs County, and his K-9 partner, Mattis, were called to Muskingum County to assist with a ginseng case in the summer of 2018. Officer Gilkey and K-9 Mattis joined state wildlife officer Brad St. Clair, assigned to Noble County, to track the suspects from their last known location. The officers discovered several pieces of evidence, including an energy drink that K-9 Mattis indicated on. The officers tracked the suspects back to a road where it was later determined the individuals had been picked up by an accomplice. State wildlife officer Jeff Berry, assigned to Muskingum County, was able to use the energy drink can to identify a suspect from a surveillance video at a local gas station. The suspects were located and confessed, resulting in multiple charges.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
Earlier this winter, state wildlife officer Scott Cartwright, assigned to Carroll County, state wildlife investigator Kevin Behr, assigned to southwest Ohio, and DNR Division of Parks and Watercraft investigator Troy Newman patrolled Brush Creek State Forest to address a Turn-In-a-Poacher report of unlawful all-purpose vehicle activity. A total of seven individuals were contacted and multiple violations were documented, such as operating an all-purpose vehicle in a non-designated area, placing bait on a public hunting area, and hunting white-tailed deer with more than one hunting implement. Four summonses were issued, and one handgun was seized. The individuals were found guilty paid a total of $940 in fines and court costs.