Ohio Outdoor News Calendar – Aug. 30, 2019
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
During the 2018 deer gun season, state wildlife officer Josh Shields, assigned to Union County, received a complaint of gunshots from a property where limited hunting is allowed. Trespassing was suspected. Officer Shields patrolled the area and contacted a hunter who was on the property without permission. During the investigation, officer Shields learned that the hunter was a convicted felon and could not legally possess a firearm. Officer Shields worked with the Union County Sheriff’s Office and the Union County Adult Parole Authority to execute a search of the suspect’s residence. Three shotguns and one untagged deer were seized from the residence. The suspect pleaded guilty to possessing an untagged deer and paid $270 in fines and costs in Marysville Municipal Court. The suspect was also indicted on two counts of having a weapon while under disability, a felony of the third degree. He pleaded guilty and paid $913 in fines and received a 30-month suspended prison sentence with probation. One antlered deer and three shotguns were forfeited to the state.
During the past month, state wildlife officer Tony Zerkle, assigned to Fairfield County, has conducted wild animal permit inspections. During his inspections of new permit applications, officer Zerkle discovered that several people applied to keep animals that were taken from the wild. These applications were denied because it is illegal to take animals from the wild to keep as a pet. Wild animals native to Ohio may only be possessed when born in captivity and purchased from a licensed propagator. Some of the animals were returned to the wild, and some were not because they were dependent on humans. Good intentions can hurt; leave young wildlife in the wild.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
While working law enforcement on Lake Erie, state wildlife investigator Kevin Good, assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, and state wildlife officer Matt Smith, assigned to Henry County, were checking for undersized walleyes and bag limit compliance. The officers boarded a boat and checked the walleyes they caught that day. Two walleyes that measured less than the 15-inch minimum size limit were found in the cooler and summonses were issued to the two men.
In March, state wildlife investigator Kevin Good, assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, and state wildlife officer Tim Rourke, assigned to Shelby County, were working along the Lake Erie lakeshore in Ottawa County. The officers observed a truck at Catawba Island State Park with a decal on it advertising as a fishing guide. The driver of the truck took several people on board a boat. A search revealed that the boat’s owner did not have a valid Ohio Guide License. After several hours, the vessel returned to the dock. One of the passengers was observed handing money to the owner of the boat. The officers contacted the passengers and the owner of the vessel. The owner of the vessel admitted he was acting as a guide. The owner was charged with operating as a Lake Erie fishing guide without an Ohio Guide License. He was found guilty in Ottawa County Municipal Court and, among other penalties, had his fishing license suspended for one year.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
During the Memorial Day holiday weekend, state wildlife officer Jesse Janosik, assigned to Columbiana County, state wildlife officer Evan Huegel, assigned to Stark County, and state wildlife officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, were on boat patrol at Berlin Lake when they observed two individuals fishing from shore. Officer Frank recognized one of the men as an individual who previously failed to appear in court for fishing without a license. They contacted the man. Although he had a valid 2019 fishing license, he had two arrest warrants in Mahoning County for failing to appear in court for fishing without a license in 2009 and 2012. The man was transported to the Mahoning County Jail where he remained in custody over the holiday weekend. The man appeared in court, was convicted, and ordered to pay $367 in fines and court costs.
During the deer gun season, state wildlife officer Scott Cartwright, assigned to Carroll County, and state wildlife investigator Brett Barnes were on patrol when they observed two men in a field carrying firearms. Both individuals were found to be hunting without a license or deer permit. Both men claimed to be the landowner, although neither owned the property. One of them had harvested an antlered deer and failed to tag it. Both individuals were issued summonses for hunting without a license and a deer permit. In addition, the deer was seized as evidence and taken to a meat processor. The men were later convicted in Carroll County Municipal Court and paid $640 in fines and court costs. The venison was forfeited to the Division of Wildlife and donated to a local food pantry.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
During the 2018 deer hunting season, state wildlife officer Wes Feldner received information about spotlighting activity in Monroe County. Officer Feldner investigated and identified several suspects. A search warrant was executed on a residence. Several items were seized as evidence, including illegally harvested venison, untagged deer antlers, firearms, and a spotlight. Four individuals were charged with various violations, including jacklighting, hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle, hunting without a license, possession of untagged deer parts, improper handling of firearms in a motor vehicle, and taking deer after hours. Three individuals were charged in a Monroe County court, all pleaded no contest, and were found guilty. Each individual received a three-year hunting license suspension. Together the defendants paid $900 in fines, $750 in restitution, and additional court costs. Jail time to be served ranged from three to 30 days, with additional jail time on each individual suspended on the condition they have no violations while on probation. One individual was charged in a Belmont County court and paid $195 in fines and court costs. Two additional cases are still pending. All evidence seized was forfeited to the Division of Wildlife. Information received from the public was vital in making this case.
During the 2018 deer archery season, state wildlife officer Ryan Donnelly received multiple complaints from concerned residents in Washington County about spotlighting deer at night. One night in mid-October, officer Donnelly and state wildlife officer supervisor Dan Perko conducted surveillance in the complaint area. Early in the evening, a truck drove slowly down the road. The officers saw a ray of light come from the driver’s side of the truck, and then heard a gunshot. Officer Donnelly stopped the vehicle. A loaded revolver and a flashlight were found inside the truck, and the driver admitted to shooting at a deer, which was never located. The driver was charged in Marietta Municipal Court with hunting with the aid of a motor vehicle and jacklighting. The driver was found guilty and paid $500 in fines. The firearm and light were forfeited to the Division of Wildlife.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
After deer season ended last year, state wildlife officer Aaron Ireland, assigned to Butler County, followed up with a nonresident hunter about his deer harvest. Officer Ireland spoke to the hunter on the phone and was able to obtain an admission from the man that the antlered deer he checked in was harvested before he purchased his deer permit. Officer Ireland issued the suspect a summons for the violation. The judge found the suspect guilty on a reduced charge and ordered the deer’s antlers forfeited to the state. The suspect was ordered to pay a $225 fine.