Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – August 14, 2020
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
During the month of June, state wildlife officers worked projects at the Indian Lake spillway in Logan County after receiving complaints of people taking game fish, particularly bluegills, with cast nets. The officers issued 11 summonses during the projects, which resulted in $2,200 in fines and courts costs being paid. The subjects who were issued citations were all taking bluegills with cast nets and were planning on fishing for catfish with the freshly caught bait. All the game fish were returned to the water alive. One subject who was contacted was discovered to have an active arrest warrant out of Logan County. The subject was arrested and transported to the Logan County jail. Only forage fish may be taken with a cast net. If you observe a wildlife violation, please call or text the Turn In a Poacher line at 1-800-POACHER (1-800-762-2437).
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
This spring, state wildlife officer Michele Butler, assigned to Erie County, was patrolling Resthaven Wildlife Area when she noticed two individuals approaching their vehicles with several firearms and a box of ammunition. Officer Butler contacted the individuals and determined that they had been target shooting on the wildlife area. When asked where their spent shell casings and targets were, the two men admitted they left it behind. Officer Butler explained that it was unsafe to target shoot on the wildlife area because they didn’t have a proper backstop, and they weren’t able to see what was beyond their target. The two men picked up their trash and were issued citations for the unlawful use of a firearm on a wildlife area. The men paid $430 in fees and court costs.
In May, state wildlife officer Nathan Kaufmann, assigned to Huron County, received a call from a concerned citizen about a great blue heron that was injured in Erie County. Office Kaufmann quickly drove to the location and found the bird. Upon closer inspection, it was discovered it was tangled in fishing line and unable to fly. Carefully, officer Kaufmann caught the heron and removed as much of the fishing line as possible. He then secured it in his travel carrier and, after ensuring the bird would not further injure itself during transport, took the heron to Back to the Wild Rehabilitation Center for medical care. Please remember to clean up all fishing line and hooks to help keep wildlife safe.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
While patrolling Lake Milton dam on the Mahoning River near the Trumbull and Mahoning county line, state wildlife officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, encountered three fishermen who were muskellunge fishing. They caught a few muskies, but without proper handling knowledge, these anglers suffered some cuts and bleeding on their hands. Officer Frank fixed them up with some basic first aid as well as some guidance for more suitably handling this toothy species next time. They were grateful to officer Frank for taking the time to help them out.
State wildlife officers Jesse Janosik, assigned to Columbiana County and Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, were conducting sport-fishing enforcement on Berlin Lake when they observed a group of individuals fishing from the shoreline. The officers observed a man swimming and placing water bottles about 40 yards from shore, and shortly thereafter, saw him lift what appeared to be a net out of the water. They contacted the group and asked the person who was in the water to retrieve the bottles. The officers examined the bottles and discovered a gill net with rocks attached to sink the net. The net contained 11 sport fish, including undersized crappies. Further investigation revealed that two of the men did not have a valid fishing license. The officers seized the equipment as evidence and charged the men with using a gill net in state waters, taking undersized crappies, and fishing without a license. The individuals appeared in Mahoning County Court and paid $632 in fines, court costs, and restitution.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
In late May, state wildlife officer Todd Stewart, assigned to Morgan County, was patrolling Jesse Owens State Park and Wildlife Area. He stopped to talk to a man who was looking at a map and appeared to be lost. The man explained to officer Stewart that his friend had told him about a hidden pond with excellent largemouth bass fishing, but he couldn’t find it on the map. Officer Stewart was familiar with the area, and together they looked at the map to find the pond. They decided it would be better to approach the area from another road. Low, dark clouds had appeared while they were talking, and the man was concerned about rain but did not have a way to check the weather. Officer Stewart checked the radar for him and pointed out that a storm was approaching the area. The man thanked officer Stewart for the help and stated he would wait and come back another time to avoid the storm.
State wildlife officer Matt VanCleve, assigned to Pike County, received a complaint that someone had dumped household trash at a road intersection. Officer VanCleve first spoke to the landowner living closest to the dump site. That individual denied dumping the trash, but did confirm the name of another individual. Officer VanCleve located the second individual, who said the items were his and was upset that his personal belongings were discarded without his consent. The second individual called a third individual, who admitted to disposing of the items along the road intersection. Officer VanCleve went back to the complaint area and spoke to the third individual, who admitted to dumping the trash. The man was issued a summons for litter in a Pike County court, where he later pleaded guilty. He was ordered to pay $250 in fines and court costs and to clean up the litter.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
State wildlife officer Jasmine Grossnickle, assigned to Miami County, received a call from a concerned citizen during the spring notifying her that ducklings were caught in a storm grate. Officer Grossnickle drove to the location and called the city of Troy to help remove the grate. Seven ducklings were discovered in the sewer drain. Grossnickle caught six ducklings in a net. She then got the seventh out of the grate by hand while mom watched cautiously nearby. City of Troy staff used a camera to check the pipe to make sure all the ducklings were removed. Once all of them were secured in an animal transport crate, officer Grossnickle walked the ducklings to the nearby creek and waited until mom approached before releasing them. The mother duck soon followed.
Shelby County, encompassing the corridor of the Great Miami River, is home to a booming aggregate business, which is accompanied by gravel pits and their lakes. State wildlife officer Tim Rourke, assigned to Shelby County, is routinely asked by the businesses to patrol their properties and guard against overzealous folks fishing the gravel pits without permission. To date in 2020, Officer Rourke has issued citations to nine people for not having permission to fish on private property. The total is 32 in the past two years, resulting in fines totaling $6,560. The Ohio Division of Wildlife wants outdoors enthusiasts to enjoy Ohio’s recreational opportunities, but make sure to secure permission before entering private property.