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Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – March 27, 2020

Division of Wildlife

Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1 

During the fall of 2019, state wildlife officer John Coffman, assigned to Fayette County, contacted a group of three men all wearing hunter orange vests and walking along a fence line. Two men were carrying shotguns. The group was hunting rabbits and had harvested a couple. The third man said he was just kicking brush for his friends. Officer Coffman suspected the man had dropped his shotgun because he did not have a valid hunting license. Officer Coffman asked the group if there were any guns in the fence line. The man retrieved his gun and was given a ticket for hunting without a license.

Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2

State wildlife investigators Kelsey Brockman and Kevin Good, assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, were conducting waterfowl hunting enforcement along the shores of Lake Erie during the 2019 early teal and goose seasons. The officers observed a group of hunters shoot a wood duck and two mallards out of season. The hunters waded out to retrieve the ducks. One mallard was never located, but the other two were taken back to their hunting location. State wildlife officer Nathan Kaufmann, assigned to Huron County, and K-9 officer May were called to assist with locating the two ducks. K-9 officer May was able to locate the mallard and wood duck that were hidden in the brush. The hunters admitted to shooting the three ducks out of season. Each hunter was issued summonses for shooting ducks out of season and for failing to retain migratory birds in their custody. Each hunter pleaded guilty and paid $130 in fines plus court costs.

State wildlife officer Brian Baker, assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, encountered a group of deer hunters in Erie County during muzzleloader season that appeared to be conducting a deer drive. The hunters were near property owned by Erie County MetroParks. Officer Baker continued past the active deer drive where he found an unoccupied vehicle in the MetroPark parking lot. Moments later, an Erie County sheriff’s deputy pulled into the same parking lot and asked officer Baker if he was there investigating a complaint of hunters on MetroPark property. Having no knowledge of the complaint, the deputy proceeded to tell officer Baker that information concerning illegal hunting on the MetroPark had been received by the sheriff’s office. The officer and deputy returned to the area of the deer drive. Further investigation revealed that two members of this hunting party had removed their hunter orange clothing and attempted to drive deer out of the MetroPark to other members of their hunting party. Both men were issued a summons for hunting without permission and paid $390 in fines and court costs, received 10 days suspended jail time, and two years probation.

Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3

While conducting sportfish enforcement at Berlin Lake several years ago, state wildlife officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, observed three individuals fishing along the shoreline. He contacted the men and asked to see their fishing licenses. One of the men did not have a valid fishing license and was asked to produce a form of identification. He did not have photo identification and provided officer Frank with his personal information. Officer Frank ran the information through the Ohio Division of Wildlife’s law enforcement databases and noted that the BMV photograph did not match. Further investigation revealed that the individual had provided his brother’s information because he thought he had two warrants for his arrest. Officer Frank issued the man a summons for the violation and ordered him to appear in court. Unfortunately, the man did not appear for his arraignment. Officer Frank attempted to locate the individual but was unsuccessful until recently, when he observed the man in court on an unrelated charge. The prosecutor was notified about the man’s failure to appear in court for violating the fishing without a license statute. The individual was arraigned in court, convicted, and ordered to pay $526.

While patrolling on opening day of deer gun season, state wildlife officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, was sitting in an open field after sunset watching for spotlighting activity. He soon observed a car shine its headlights into several fields looking for deer. Officer Turner initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle and observed two men inside. After securing the individuals, he located a shotgun, several shotgun slugs, and a spotlight inside the car. Further investigation revealed that the two men were attempting to kill a deer. The shotgun and the spotlight were seized as evidence. The two appeared in court, were convicted, and ordered to pay $500. The evidence seized was forfeited to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.

Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4

While on patrol during Ohio’s deer gun season, state wildlife officer Anthony Lemle, assigned to Guernsey County, was contacted by a landowner who reported people were hunting deer on his property without permission. Officer Lemle responded to the area and located two individuals on the property. When officer Lemle identified himself and began to approach, the two individuals fled on foot. They were eventually apprehended and taken to the Guernsey County jail. They were both charged in Cambridge Municipal Court with hunting without permission and deterring a wildlife officer. Both individuals were found guilty. They were each ordered to pay $683 in fines and court costs, received a three-year hunting suspension, and spent 10 days in the Guernsey County jail. In addition, their firearms were forfeited to the state.

Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5

State wildlife officer Houston Wireman, assigned to Adams County, along with state wildlife officer Jason Keller, assigned to Warren County, and his K-9 officer partner, Scout, were working stream litter enforcement on the Little Miami River. The officers observed an individual walk into the woods with an aluminum can in his hand. After a short time, the individual returned to his canoe without the can. The officers contacted the individual and K-9 officer Scout found the can a short distance off the trail. The individual admitted it was his can and he was subsequently issued a summons for stream litter. He pleaded guilty in Warren County Court and paid $275 in fines and court costs.

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