Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – July 31, 2020
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
State wildlife officer Tony Zerkle, assigned to Fairfield County, recently teamed up with local members of Back Country Hunters and Anglers to clean up trash and maintain trails at Greenfield Lake Wildlife Area near Lancaster. Unfortunately, Ohio Division of Wildlife staff spend much of their time pursuing litter violations and cleaning up the aftermath of this thoughtless crime. The Ohio Division of Wildlife relies on partnerships with Back Country Hunters and Anglers and other national and grassroots organizations to accomplish our mission. Together, we conserve and protect Ohio’s fish and wildlife resources and their habitats for future generations to enjoy.
While working below the Delaware Dam along the Olentangy River, state wildlife officer Chad Grote, assigned to Marion County, observed a man fishing with a cast net. There are no signs prohibiting the use of a cast net below the Delaware Dam, but the individual appeared to be keeping game fish caught with the net, which is a violation. Officer Grote contacted the man and asked him about the fish he was catching. The man showed officer Grote a plastic container full of fish caught with his cast net, including 25 bluegills. The man was issued a summons for taking game fish with a net and paid $160 in fines and court costs to Delaware Municipal Court.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
Each year, the Ohio Division of Wildlife monitors several peregrine falcon nest boxes via remote cameras. State wildlife officer Craig Barr, assigned to Allen County, plays an integral part in assisting wildlife management and communications staff with monitoring the nest on the top of the Chase Bank building in Lima. Near the end of the 2020 nesting season, officer Barr received a call that a building adjacent to the Chase Bank building had caught fire and was producing a large amount of smoke in the area that could be potentially dangerous to the falcons. Officer Barr immediately drove to the location to find the four falcons, which had recently fledged from the nest. He also continued to monitor the camera for updates. While at the site, officer Barr observed the adult falcons but was unable to locate the fledglings. Officer Barr continued to monitor the camera and the site over the next several days, until confirmation was made that both adult falcons and all four fledglings were safe. Updates and nesting information on the Lima peregrine falcons can be found on the Your Wild Ohio Explorer Facebook page.
State wildlife officer Austin Dickinson, assigned to Defiance County, was conducting game fish enforcement at Independence Dam State Park in June when he observed several individuals using cast nets below the dam. Officer Dickinson observed the individuals placing minnows and game fish into a bucket. He contacted the individuals and observed multiple crappies in the bucket along with the minnows. Game fish are prohibited from being taken with the use of a cast net in Ohio. Officer Dickinson also discovered one of the individuals did not have a valid fishing license. Summonses were issued for taking crappies with the use of a cast net, and fishing without a resident fishing license.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
State wildlife officer Matt Madgar, assigned to Cuyahoga County, received several complaints of individuals jacklighting deer inside the Cleveland Metroparks Rocky River Reservation. During the fall, officer Madgar worked the area with state wildlife officer Randy White, assigned to Lorain County, and state wildlife officer Eric Moore, assigned to Medina County. One night at 11 p.m., officer Moore observed two vehicles use their headlights and what appeared to be bright LED flashlights to illuminate a field where he was positioned. Officer Moore initiated a traffic stop. The individuals in the first vehicle stopped while the second vehicle fled the area. Officers White and Madgar responded to the scene as officer Moore was being assisted by Cleveland Metroparks officers. A search of the vehicle revealed a cocked and loaded crossbow as well as several LED flashlights. The driver and passenger were issued summonses for jacklighting deer while in possession of a hunting device. Both men were convicted in court and ordered to pay fines and court costs. In addition, the men lost their hunting privileges for one year and were mandated to complete an Ohio hunter education course. The crossbow and the flashlights were forfeited to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
State wildlife officer Marino Pellegrini, assigned to Portage County, was approached at his residence by a concerned neighbor. She had concerns about another neighbor, a boy about 10 years old, collecting frogs and turtles from a retaining pond behind the homes in officer Pellegrini’s neighborhood. The officer informed his neighbor he would be happy to talk to the boy. Two days later, officer Pellegrini observed the boy out by the pond and went to talk to him. The boy was interested in reptiles and amphibians and described the process of a tadpole turning into a frog. He also informed officer Pellegrini that he often collects a frog or turtle and keeps it for a couple days to study it before releasing it back into the pond. Officer Pellegrini located some Ohio Division of Wildlife field guides about frogs, turtles, and fish. A few days later, he saw the boy at the pond again and gave him the field guides.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
During the first week of the 2020 spring wild turkey hunting season, state wildlife officer Chris Dodge, assigned to Hocking County, received a complaint from the Turn In a Poacher hotline with information about an individual hunting wild turkeys over bait on Wayne National Forest property. The caller observed a hunting blind, a feeder with corn on the ground, and a turkey decoy positioned in the corn pile. Officer Dodge and wildlife officer supervisor Dan Perko responded and located the baited area. They also located an illegal ATV trail that showed heavy use near the site. Two days later, officer Dodge and state wildlife officer Mark Basinger, assigned to Athens County, arrived at the site well before daylight. They observed an individual approach the site while carrying a shotgun and making turkey calls. The officers contacted the individual, who admitted to placing the blind and feeder, as well as hunting turkeys over a baited area. He also admitted to driving his ATV illegally on the area to hunt and fill his feeder. The individual was issued a summons for hunting wild turkeys over a baited area and a summons for operating a motor vehicle in a nondesignated area of Wayne National Forest.
In July, state wildlife officer Mark Basinger, assigned to Athens County, received a call about a litter of gray fox pups that were frequenting an urban backyard. The caller wanted to know if she should be worried about them being in an urban setting, and if they could be moved. Officer Basinger explained that wild animals in Ohio cannot be relocated, and that there was no cause for concern for the foxes. He also explained that the gray fox population has been declining in Ohio and provided her with information on how to report her sighting at wildohio.gov for wildlife biologists who monitor the animals. Officer Basinger also provided suggestions on keeping unwanted wild animals out of your yard – don’t feed pets outside and keep lids secured on trash cans.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
So far during the summer of 2020, state wildlife officer Trent Weaver, assigned to Montgomery County, has rescued two red-tailed hawks, a barred owl, and a great horned owl, all of which were transported to a wildlife rehabilitator. Officer Weaver was also called to safely euthanize two injured white-tailed deer, both in urban settings, and aided a birthing doe because the fawn was in a breech position. He also removed two peanut butter jars from the heads of raccoons; please remember to leave the lids on the jars when recycling.
State wildlife officer Mark Schemmel, assigned to Auglaize County, contacted two individuals returning to their vehicle after they were viewed leaving a nearby creek. The two individuals informed officer Schemmel they had just completed setting numerous banklines to catch turtles. Officer Schemmel inspected their fishing licenses and asked how they had tagged their lines. One individual replied they had tagged each line with their Ohio Division of Wildlife customer identification number. Furthermore, it was advised they had set five lines under the nearby railroad bridge trestle. The individuals departed and officer Schemmel inspected their banklines for compliance. Officer Schemmel discovered that all five of the banklines were untagged. A short time later, officer Schemmel and wildlife officer Brad Buening, assigned to Mercer County, contacted the two individuals at their residence. The individuals were both cited for the use of untagged banklines. They were both found guilty in Auglaize County Municipal Court, and each paid a fine and court costs totaling $100.