Ohio Outdoor News Cuffs & Collars – October 9, 2020
Division of Wildlife
Central Ohio – Wildlife District 1
State wildlife officer Jeff Tipton, assigned to Champaign County, patrols a portion of the Mad River, which is a popular trout fishing stream in Ohio. Officer Tipton meets people from all over the state, and some from out of state, who come to fish for trout. Officer Tipton also enjoys fishing the Mad River himself, which has given him some practical knowledge of trout fishing. While on patrol one afternoon, officer Tipton contacted a person who was new to fly fishing but was eager to learn about trying it on the Mad River. Officer Tipton spent about 20 minutes with him going over fly rod casting, fly selection, and trout fishing techniques, and was able to get the man started for the day. Three years later, officer Tipton was on patrol when he contacted the same person. The man was well outfitted with the latest fly-fishing gear and was much more comfortable with his equipment. The man remembered officer Tipton and they talked for a while about trout fishing as seasoned anglers, and then they parted ways. While we try to get more people involved in the outdoors, remember that just one friendly contact can help a person become better at fishing and at the same time create a lifelong conservationist.
In early September, state wildlife officer Austin Levering, assigned to Knox County, received a call about an animal in Marion County with its head trapped inside a peanut butter jar. Officer Levering responded to the residence and met with the person. The person pointed the officer in the direction of the animal, and a brief search revealed a large groundhog with a clear plastic peanut butter jar completely covering its head and neck. Officer Levering could hear the groundhog struggling to breathe through the jar. He went to his truck and grabbed a catch pole. He secured the catch pole around the jar and began to pull. The jar was suctioned onto the animal, but officer Levering pulled hard on the jar and dislodged it from the groundhog. The groundhog was stunned for a moment before it scurried off. Officer Levering was thanked by the resident.
Northwest Ohio – Wildlife District 2
While checking anglers and counting limits of yellow perch at Catawba State Park, state wildlife investigator Kelsey Brockman, assigned to the Lake Erie Unit, observed an elderly woman struggling to safely exit her boat at the dock. Investigator Brockman offered to assist her in climbing out of the boat. Because of the high volume of boat traffic and choppy water, the dock was rocking, and investigator Brockman offered her arm to safely assist the woman off the dock and into her vehicle.
State wildlife officer Mike Ohlrich, assigned to Lucas County, was patrolling Mallard Club Wildlife Area during the early teal hunting season. Shortly after sunrise, a nearby hunter shot a duck, which happened to fall directly in front of officer Ohlrich. The officer could clearly see it was a wood duck and not a teal. He watched the hunter retrieve the duck and place it inside his chest waders as he returned to his hunting location. Officer Ohlrich approached the hunter, who was issued a summons for taking a wood duck during closed season. When waterfowl hunting, it’s important to be patient and always identify your target, especially in low-light situations.
Northeast Ohio – Wildlife District 3
In May, following previous incidents of illegal cast netting at Lake Milton Dam, state wildlife officer Tom Frank, assigned to Mahoning County, received additional complaints that individuals were illegally cast-netting below the Lake Milton dam. Officer Frank contacted state wildlife officer Jesse Janosik, assigned to Columbiana County, for assistance. Both officers observed individuals cast-netting for sport fish and contacted the individuals. These individuals had taken more than 70 fish, of which 35 were walleyes. Two individuals were issued summonses and paid more than $2,000 in restitution, fines, and court costs. One individual received a three-year fishing license revocation for misleading the officers during the contact.
Wildlife officer supervisor Brennan Earick received a call from a Holmes County resident asking for assistance about a live-trapped bobcat. The resident had set the trap to catch a nuisance raccoon. The caller told officer Earick he was having difficulty releasing the bobcat on his own and the animal was struggling in the trap. When officer Earick arrived, it was quickly determined that the animal was actually an angry house cat that did indeed look a little bit like a wild bobcat. It even had the characteristic bobbed tail. The angry cat was subsequently released unharmed.
Southeast Ohio – Wildlife District 4
In the spring of 2020, state wildlife officer Ted Witham, assigned to Jackson County, was looking for wild turkey hunters on a state wildlife area when he located a large trash dump. Someone had dumped two pickup truck loads of household garbage. Officer Witham identified a suspect through a lengthy investigation. After attempting to find the suspect at several locations, officer Witham finally checked the inmate list at the Jackson County Correctional Facility and discovered the suspect was in jail. Officer Witham interviewed the suspect, who admitted that he dumped the garbage on the wildlife area. He was issued a citation for littering on state owned property and was given a court date. The suspect was found guilty in Jackson County Municipal Court. He was ordered to pay $385 in fines and court costs and serve 100 hours of community service, and was sentenced to 15 days in jail (suspended).
State wildlife officer Eric Lane, assigned to Perry County, was on patrol this summer when he received a call from a woman who said she found two raccoons in a dumpster at her residence. She had been trying all morning to remove them from the dumpster but was not able to get them out. Officer Lane arrived at the residence, and with a catch pole was able to remove the raccoons one at a time and release them in a wooded area. Officer Lane advised the woman how to keep raccoons out of the dumpster in the future.
Southwest Ohio – Wildlife District 5
State wildlife investigator Kevin Behr assisted wildlife management staff on a project designed to help the population of the state-endangered Allegheny woodrat. Not to be mistaken for the invasive Norway rat, the Allegheny woodrat is native to Ohio, but is absent from most of the state. A few woodrats remain in Adams County, along Ohio’s southern border. Loss of habitat is one of the primary reasons for the Allegheny woodrat’s decline, but disease is also a factor. For the woodrat, raccoon roundworm is the culprit. Investigator Behr assisted with an aerial distribution of approximately 3,600 raccoon baits in Adams County. The vaccines were scattered from a helicopter over and around known woodrat habitat to deworm the raccoons in the vicinity. The raccoons that find and eat the bait are vaccinated against roundworms, and do not pass it on to the woodrats.
State wildlife officers Matt Roberts and Matt Smith came across three eastern box turtles within a 48-hour period. Two of the turtles were in the middle of the road at separate locations, Caesar Creek State Park and Cowan Lake State Park. The third turtle was found in Tranquility Wildlife Area in Adams County close to an access road. All three turtles were moved far from any danger and left to go on their way. Eastern box turtles are frequently found in wooded areas and are slow-moving reptiles, which makes them susceptible to traffic and other threats near populated areas. Make sure it is safe before moving any box turtles from a road.