Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – August 28, 2020
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
State wildlife officer Tony Zerkle, assigned to Fairfield County, received a call from a resident stating she observed a young raccoon in her yard with its head stuck in a can. The caller advised the raccoon ended up in a culvert under her driveway, and Fairfield County sheriff’s deputies were called to respond. The deputy who responded attempted to retrieve the raccoon from the culvert, but it was just out of arm’s reach. Officer Zerkle arrived and observed the raccoon sleeping in the culvert. He used his animal catch pole and coaxed the raccoon into the yard. A Chef Boyardee can was stuck tightly around the raccoon’s ears. Unable to pull the can off, officer Zerkle asked for assistance from a neighbor who had a pair of tin snips. Officer Zerkle used the tin snips to cut the can and it was removed with no injuries to the raccoon. The raccoon was released and immediately returned to the culvert.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
During the spring white bass run, state wildlife officer Matt Smith, assigned to Henry County, was patrolling the Maumee River when he contacted a group of men from the Cleveland area. The men asked where the fish were biting. Unfortunately, having only seen a handful of fish caught the entire day, Officer Smith didn’t have a good answer. He continued downstream and stopped at another group of fishermen who were catching many more fish than others he had seen throughout the day. Almost everyone in the group had a nice stringer of fish at their side. Officer Smith decided that since he had found where the fish were biting, he would go back and let the first group of anglers know. The men were not familiar with the area, so officer Smith had them follow him to the spot and told them what bait the other group was using. They were appreciative of the information and wasted no time getting to the water.
During the 2019 two-day white-tailed deer gun weekend, state wildlife officer Ethan Bingham, assigned to Williams County, contacted a group of hunters in Seneca County. Officer Bingham recognized one of the hunters, who he had checked during the weeklong deer gun season with a downed deer. The hunter provided his hunting license and stated he had already harvested his deer for the season. After further investigation, it was determined that the hunter had harvested four deer, three of which were antlered, during the 2019 season. He had not checked in any of them. The hunter had exceeded the one antlered deer per season limit, as well as the county harvest limit for Seneca County. He was found guilty of 12 violations in Tiffin Municipal Court, and was sentenced to two years of probation, two years hunting and fishing license revocation, 30 days jail suspended, and paid $1,750 in restitution, $600 in fines, and $1,190 in court costs.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
State wildlife officer Matt Madgar, assigned to Cuyahoga County, received a call about two red-tailed hawks tangled in netting material at an entertainment venue near Cleveland. These two birds of prey were alive but struggling to free themselves from the nets. Officer Madgar, with assistance from state wildlife officer supervisor Dave Shinko, teamed up with the city of Independence police and fire departments to obtain equipment to reach the hawks, one of which was several hundred feet above the ground. The hawks were carefully removed from the nets and transported to a certified wildlife rehabilitator for evaluation. A short time later, both hawks were successfully returned to the wild.
While on patrol, state wildlife officer Nick Turner, assigned to Harrison County, received information that a hunter had witnessed someone shoot a white-tailed deer from the road. The hunter provided officer Turner some information, which led him to a suspect. When he arrived at the suspect’s residence, officer Turner noticed a vehicle that matched the description provided by the hunter. The results of the investigation revealed that a father and his son had stopped along the roadway and shot a deer with a rifle. The father was issued a summons for aiding in taking a deer from a motor vehicle, and his son was issued summonses for taking a deer from a motor vehicle and shooting from a public road. The men appeared in court, were convicted, and paid $1,250 in fines and restitution. The seized deer and the rifle were forfeited to the Division of Wildlife.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
In February, state wildlife officer Anthony Lemle, assigned to Guernsey County, received information from the Turn In a Poacher hotline of multiple complaints about a family that was poaching white-tailed deer. Officer Lemle visited the residence to speak with the individuals and observed untagged deer antlers along with other items that indicated criminal activity. The following week, several wildlife officers returned with a search warrant and seized 10 untagged deer racks, 237 jars of canned venison, eight firearms, and three bows. Four members of the family were charged with deer hunting violations and all four were convicted in Cambridge Municipal Court. Combined they paid $2,300 in fines in court costs, were sentenced to 420 days in jail (suspended) and had hunting licenses suspended for 11 years. All seized items were forfeited to the state.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
While patrolling Clark Lake Wildlife Area in Clark County, state wildlife officer Jeff Wenning, assigned to Darke County, discovered a vehicle parked at the lake. Officer Wenning exited his cruiser and began walking the path to where the vehicle was parked. As he approached, he observed an individual using a cast net to take fish. He watched the angler take several small fish with the net and place them into his bucket. Officer Wenning contacted the angler. An inspection of the bucket revealed game fish and shad. When asked how he caught the game fish, the angler admitted to taking them with the cast net. The game fish taken were 11 crappies, two sunfish, and one largemouth bass. The angler was cited for taking fish other than shad with a net. It is illegal to take game fish with a cast net in Ohio. The angler appeared in court where he entered a guilty plea and was ordered to pay $50 in fines.