Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – Sept. 13, 2019
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
State wildlife officer Matt Teders, assigned to Madison County, was on patrol at Madison Lake State Park early one morning. Officer Teders observed a tent set up near the beach. Three individuals were near a fire pit and one was drinking a beer. Officer Teders approached the individuals to advise them of their camping and alcohol violations. The individuals stated that they were fishing the night before and camped overnight. Officer Teders smelled the odor of marijuana on one individual. The individuals gave consent to search the tent and bags. Marijuana, drug paraphernalia, and unmarked pills were located. The drugs were seized. The individuals were issued warnings for illegal camping and open container.
Earlier this summer while on patrol in Knox County, state wildlife officer Tyler Eldred was confronted by a concerned fisherman who discovered multiple unlawfully set banklines at Knox Lake. The next day, officer Eldred and state wildlife officer Austin Levering, assigned to Morrow County, were on patrol at Knox Lake when they observed a vehicle with a large bait tank in the back. An individual was showing others a 50-pound flathead catfish that he caught using a bankline. After further investigation, it was determined that he had set the banklines the previous day. The officers examined the catfish and determined that the hook on the bankline pierced a part of the body of the fish other than in its mouth, and therefore was snagged. Finally, they discovered that the individual did not possess a fishing license. Three summonses were issued, and the individual was found guilty in Mount Vernon Municipal Court on all three counts. He was ordered to pay $330 in fines and court costs. The fish was released alive back into Knox Lake.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
In March, state wildlife officer Matthew Leibengood, assigned to Sandusky County, and K9 officer May were checking Lake Erie Island ice anglers upon their return to the Ottawa County Airport. Officer Leibengood contacted two men with ice-fishing gear. The men had some bagged walleye fillets, which were kept in legal fashion. Officer Leibengood asked if they had any other fish, and one of the men opened a dry bag and removed articles of clothing along with two bags of frozen walleye chunks. The walleye chunks were not kept in a manner that allowed for easy identification and counting. One of the men was issued a summons for the violation. A $90 waiver was later paid.
State wildlife officer Austin Dickinson, assigned to Defiance County, was patrolling Lake La Su An Wildlife Area in September 2018 when he noticed a vehicle with multiple dove hunters inside driving toward him. The occupants stopped and talked with officer Dickinson, who provided information where the dove fields were located on the wildlife area. As the vehicle drove away, officer Dickinson observed the occupants throw trash out of the vehicle windows. Officer Dickinson stopped the vehicle and issued a summons for litter to the occupants. The occupants were found guilty and paid $125 in court costs and fines.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
During the spring turkey season, state wildlife officer Scott Cartwright, assigned to Carroll County, state wildlife officer Michael Budd, assigned to Tuscarawas County, and state wildlife investigator Brian Banbury contacted two men who were hunting turkey over a baited area. One of the men had harvested a turkey over the bait earlier in the morning. Both men were charged with the violation, convicted in Carroll County Municipal Court, and paid fines, court costs, and restitution totaling $940.
During the trapping season, state wildlife officer Aaron Brown, assigned to Wayne County, and state wildlife officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County, were patrolling Wayne County. While driving along one of the rural roads, the officers noticed an individual sitting on the tailgate of a truck parked along a creek. The officers contacted him. The individual stated that two of his friends were trapping beaver along the creek. The officers detected an odor of alcohol. It was later determined that the man had hidden a beer can from the officers and had thrown another beer can into the ditch that enters the creek. Further investigation revealed that one individual had set beaver traps without the proper tags. The trapper was charged with failing to attach a tag to his traps, and the other man was charged with stream litter. Warnings were given for open container. Both individuals were convicted in Wayne County Municipal Court and paid fines and court costs totaling $276.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
In June, state wildlife officer Bob Nelson, assigned to Ross County, was on patrol at Ross Lake Wildlife Area when he stopped a vehicle for being on the area during restricted hours. All wildlife areas are closed to all activity other than hunting, trapping, and fishing from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. from Sept. 1 through May 1, and from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. May 2 through Aug. 31. Upon contacting the two occupants in the vehicle, officer Nelson noticed the odor of marijuana. When asked, one of the passengers handed officer Nelson a container containing marijuana. Officer Nelson had the two occupants exit the vehicle so he could conduct a search based on probable cause. During the search, he located more marijuana, methamphetamine, drug paraphernalia, and a handgun. Officer Nelson requested assistance of the Ross County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Ryan Morris arrived to assist him. Both individuals were charged with restricted hours violations, possession of marijuana, and possession of drug paraphernalia. They were found guilty of all charges in Chillicothe Municipal Court. Other felony drug and gun charges are pending.
On Memorial Day, state wildlife officer Jeff Berry, assigned to Muskingum County, and state wildlife investigator Kirk Kiefer patrolled the Dillon Lake dam spillway. Officer Berry documented three individuals leaving trash between the rocks where they were fishing. As the individuals left the area, they were contacted by investigator Kiefer, who checked their fishing licenses. The officers issued two summonses for fishing without a license and three summonses for stream litter. The individuals appeared in Muskingum County Court where they were ordered to pay a total of $975 in fines and to complete 20 hours of community service.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
During the Independence Day weekend, state wildlife officers Aaron Ireland, assigned to Butler County, and Eric Lamb, assigned to Brown County, and state wildlife investigator Ryan Garrison conducted a sport fishing compliance project in Butler County along the Great Miami River. Officers checked 22 anglers and issued two summonses: one for fishing without a license and one for stream litter. The officers concentrated on known problem and complaint areas along the river and made some great contacts along the way. Several anglers expressed their happiness to see state wildlife officers enforcing the laws.