Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Aug. 16, 2019
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
In May 2018, state wildlife officer Adam Smith, assigned to Logan County, received information about subjects illegally taking numerous saugeyes with a cast net below the spillway at Indian Lake at night. In March 2019, officer Smith observed the same male subject from the previous year throwing a cast net in the same area. The subject was observed taking several saugeyes from the Great Miami River. Officer Smith contacted the man, and the fish were returned to the water alive. The man was found guilty on charges of taking game fish with a cast net, and taking more than his daily limit of saugeyes. He was ordered to pay $400 in fines and court costs in Bellefontaine Municipal Court. The citizens who called in 2018 were each awarded a $50 TIP reward for providing information of wildlife violations. Wildlife enthusiasts are encouraged to report wildlife violations by calling 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437).
During a wet spring day, state wildlife officer Josh Elster, assigned to Pickaway County, was on patrol at Deer Creek Wildlife Area. As officer Elster approached a parking area, he observed a vehicle driving in the grass and leaving large ruts. Officer Elster stopped the vehicle and contacted the driver. Officer Elster informed the driver that it is illegal to drive in unmarked locations at a wildlife area. Officer Elster issued a citation for operating a vehicle off a designated roadway. The driver was ordered to appear in Washington Court House Municipal Court and ordered to pay $175 in fines and court costs.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
In March, state wildlife officers Nathan Kaufmann, assigned to Huron County, and Nathan Cass, assigned to Crawford County, were conducting sport fishing enforcement near Lake Erie in Ottawa County. They contacted several anglers who had just trailered their boats. One individual advised he had a fishing license, but it was in his vehicle and his vehicle was not at the location. After further investigation, it was found that this individual did not have a fishing license, and he also had a warrant for his arrest in southern Ohio. The individual later pleaded guilty for fishing without a license, and his four walleyes were seized as evidence. He was later transported to southern Ohio to serve the warrant.
Wildlife officers in northwest Ohio conducted an investigation at several wildlife areas after receiving reports of illegal activity. Multiple violations were discovered, including vehicles driving on undesignated areas of state property. One of the drivers was later contacted while rabbit hunting by state wildlife investigator Jason Parr and state wildlife officer Matt Leibengood, assigned to Sandusky County. The suspect was found to have been previously convicted of several wildlife violations. He was also found to be a convicted felon and was not allowed to possess a firearm. The gun he was using while rabbit hunting was seized as evidence and the suspect was turned over to local law enforcement for a violation of having weapons while under disability, a felony charge. In court, the suspect entered a guilty plea and was found guilty of a separate misdemeanor. The suspect paid $593 in fines and court costs and was placed on two years of probation.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
While on patrol, state wildlife officer Craig Porter, assigned to Jefferson County, and state wildlife officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, responded to a call from the Ohio State Highway Patrol regarding several individuals who were allegedly riding stolen ATVs near the Ohio River. One of the suspects was previously arrested in the same area for an assault warrant and fishing without a license. The officers arrived on scene and observed two men on ATVs, one being the suspect they had arrested the year before. The suspect fled when officer Turner activated his lights and siren, and they were able to detain the second individual. Over the next month, officer Porter and officer Turner worked with Jefferson County Drug Task Force detective Jason Hanlin to conduct interviews and execute numerous search and arrest warrants. Seven stolen ATVs were recovered, and five adults and one juvenile were charged. They were convicted of more than 35 felonies and three misdemeanor charges, and ordered to serve a total of 14 years in prison. They were also directed to pay thousands of dollars in restitution.
During the deer gun season last year, state wildlife officer Scott Cartwright, assigned to Carroll County, discovered a skinned and untagged white-tailed deer on private property. The man who harvested the deer was located. It was later discovered that he had harvested four deer, none of which was properly game-checked. He was charged with multiple wildlife violations and appeared in Carroll County Municipal Court. He was convicted and ordered to pay $520 in fines and court costs. In addition, his hunting privileges were suspended for one year.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
During the 2019 spring wild turkey hunting season, state wildlife officer Jerrod Allison, assigned to Coshocton County, received calls about two possible turkey baiting sites. Early one morning, officer Allison and state wildlife officer Jeff Berry, assigned to Muskingum County, checked one of the sites. A pile of sunflower seeds was discovered in front of a ground blind. When they approached the blind, the officers asked for anyone inside to step out. An adult male stepped out of the blind with his son and daughter. The officers explained to him that it was illegal to hunt turkeys over a baited area, and explained that the sunflower seeds in front of the blind made it a baited area. The man was issued a ticket for hunting turkeys over a baited area. The officers proceeded to a second location. As they approached the blind, they asked for any anyone inside to step out. A man stepped out of the blind. Officer Berry found cracked corn scattered on the ground near the blind. The officers explained to the hunter that it was illegal to hunt turkeys over a baited area, and the cracked corn scattered on the ground made it a baited area. This hunter was also issued a ticket for hunting turkeys over a baited area. Each hunter paid fines and court costs of $150 to Coshocton Municipal Court.
In January, state wildlife officer Darin Abbott, assigned to Lawrence County, was patrolling near Timbre Ridge Lake when he observed a vehicle with expired tags. The registered owner, who was driving, also had a bench warrant. Officer Abbott initiated a traffic stop and was advised by dispatch that the driver was also under a driver’s license suspension. Officer Abbott smelled the odor of an alcoholic beverage upon the suspect’s person and asked how much and what had he been drinking. The suspect said he had a couple of alcoholic drinks. Officer Abbott contacted the Ohio State Highway Patrol, which responded to the scene. The defendant was arrested and charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, driving under suspension, and expired tags, in addition to the bench warrant for DUI. Officer Abbott had the vehicle towed as well. The case is still pending in Lawrence County Municipal Court.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
In the spring, state wildlife officer Ryan Schock, assigned to Hamilton County, received numerous TIP complaints regarding a video showing someone killing a snapping turtle while fishing. Officer Schock investigated and spoke to the person who took the video of the incident. Officer Schock then spoke to the person who killed the turtle. Officer Schock charged the man with taking a snapping turtle during the closed season. The suspect paid $135 in fines and court costs. If a turtle is caught while fishing during a closed season, it must be released without harm. If the hook cannot be easily removed, it is better for the overall health of the turtle to simply cut the line.